- Credit card payments directly with another credit card are not permitted.
- You can use balance transfers or cash advances to pay a credit card bill with another credit card.
- Balance transfers are generally less expensive than cash advances.
Credit cards are handy tools for covering both planned purchases and unexpected expenses. They offer consumers a way to pay a lump sum up front and then make smaller, more manageable monthly payments on the balance.
However, using credit cards can be a slippery slope when not handled thoughtfully. It can be easy to overspend and end up with high balances and large monthly payment obligations.
Every year, millions of people miss a credit card payment or pay late. A 2021 survey by WalletHub found that around one in six respondents said they expected to miss at least one credit card due date in 2022.
Cash-strapped consumers facing possible missed payments may consider using one of their credit cards to make a payment on another.
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Can I pay a credit card with another credit card?
A credit card payment cannot be paid directly by another credit card.
“But when there is a will, there is a way,” says Adem Selita, CEO and co-founder of The Debt Relief Company. “If a consumer really wanted to, they could technically use a balance transfer or take a cash advance on their credit card to pay off another credit card.”
Credit cards allow you to transfer the balance from one credit card to another. Balance transfers typically cost between 1% and 5% of the transferred amount. For example, transferring $1,000 to a credit card that charges a 3% transfer fee would cost $30. Interest rates also apply.
With a cash advance, you borrow money from your credit card company and pay it back over time.
“For example, if your credit card has an APR of 18%, you could get a $500 advance and repay $525 over time, for a fee of $25 plus interest charges,” explains Christine Uptain, payment industry expert and Marketing Director of Redde Payments. “Some cards will also charge interest on the cash advance from the day it is withdrawn until it is fully repaid.”
Although balance transfers and cash advances are available to consumers and can be used to make credit card payments, neither settles debt or helps pay it off. They simply move the balance from one card to another.
How do balance transfer credit cards work?
A balance transfer allows you to move part or all of the current balance to a new card. It’s a popular choice when a credit card offers better terms. Sometimes credit cards offer low or even zero introductory annual percentage rates (APR) for a specified period. There is also usually a balance transfer fee that is added to the balance.
To initiate a transfer, you can call the credit card company or use the checks that credit card companies sometimes provide. A balance transfer will typically cost 4% of the amount debited, which is essentially the same as an upfront interest payment, Selita says.
The biggest benefit of doing a balance transfer is that you can get a lower interest rate and not miss a monthly payment.
“If you’re looking for a short-term solution to your credit card debt, balance transfers can be a good option,” says Uptain.
The disadvantages of using a balance transfer to pay a credit card payment are that they do nothing to reduce your total indebtedness and, if you don’t pay off the balance before the end of the introductory period , it may cost you high interest charges.
How do credit card cash advances work?
You can get a cash advance on your credit card limit and receive the money from an ATM or bank.
Consumers can access cash advance money immediately, which is useful if they need to pay a bill that is due soon. However, there are significant downsides to borrowing money via a cash advance.
Selita points to the most important implication to consider: “Cash advance fees can be huge.”
In addition to the fees your credit card company will charge upfront (usually 3-5% of the total advance amount), you’ll likely pay much higher interest on the borrowed money. Some cards charge rates of around 30%. You’re also unlikely to have a grace period, which means interest will start accumulating immediately.
Of the two options, a balance transfer is the better decision, according to Uptain.
“Cash advances are often used by people who have no other way to get cash quickly,” she says. “In general, it’s better to use a balance transfer than a cash advance.”
While it’s possible to use balance transfers and cash advances to pay your credit card payments, it’s not a smart financial decision. None of these options help you pay off your debt, and they can cost you even more in interest and fees. You may find yourself in a worse situation than before.
Alternatives to paying a credit card with another card
Using credit to pay monthly credit obligations is generally not a good idea. Using credit cards to make payments only moves money around, which can put you further into debt.
Instead of using a cash advance or balance transfer to cover monthly credit card payments, consider these five alternatives.
1. Get a personal loan
Applying for a personal loan from a bank or credit union can help you consolidate your payments and get a lower interest rate. Personal loans can reduce the total monthly payments required, especially if you have balances on multiple credit cards.
A personal loan is an appropriate form of debt consolidation. These rates start at a fraction of what credit cards would charge.
2. Borrow from family or friends
Parents, siblings, or close friends who are financially stable may be willing to help a loved one with an interest-free loan. Borrowing from friends and family relieves the stress of paying late, which can lower your credit score if creditors report it to the credit bureaus.
3. Sell things
If you’re looking for a short-term way to settle your credit card payments, why not get rid of some items you no longer need or use? There are many ways to sell your clothes, jewelry, home decor, furniture, and electronics online. While this won’t completely erase your debt, you may be able to raise enough funds to cover the payments due.
4. Increase your income
If your bills are more than your income, consider a second job or side business. Find a job online, take a few shifts at the mall, or drive for Uber or Lyft. A few extra hundred dollars a month is more than enough to cover your credit card payments.
5. Negotiate with creditors
Contrary to popular belief, your credit card terms aren’t set in stone.
“Lower your interest rate, if possible,” advises Uptain. “If you have good or excellent credit, ask your issuer if they will lower your rate. They may offer you a lower rate or waive the annual fee if you’ve been a long-time customer, even if your account is in good standing. – which can save money on interest over time.”
The bottom line
Making a credit card payment with another credit card is indirectly possible using balance transfers and cash advances. However, these options are not recommended since they do not help reduce your debt. It’s a good idea to look for other ways to make credit card payments, so you can reduce the amount you owe and possibly get out of debt.
“Paying a credit card bill with another credit card is generally unwise,” says Selita. “There’s a reason credit card companies don’t allow these transactions to be made directly.”