Which balance to transfer?

I know that in the long run, it doesn't really matter, but I can't seem to decide what to do here.  I want to use this transfer to pay down some of my astronomic cc debt (all legal fees). (It's  not really paying it down - just moving it, I know. I don't even remember why I wanted to do this. I've been having some cashflow problems recently and I think that was the reason.)

Anyway, a month ago, I applied for a 0% interest/18 month balance transfer card and was approved for a measly $3000. The transfer fee is 3% so that equals ~$87.

I have the following cards:

Card                Balance            Min Payment        Rate                Fin Charge (most recent)

BOA 1               $5900                    ~120                    12%                 $70

BOA 2               $5500                    ~120                    15%                 $60

Chase                $10,000                ~220                    14%                 $117

USAA                 $20,900               ~330                       7%                   $120


I would probably transfer the amount and then just let it ride for the 18 months and then pay it off in toto before the end date arrives.

Some (maybe, maybe not) helpful background info:

I'm going through a hideous 3+ year-long, never-ending acrimonious divorce (hence the cc debt). In the next few months (God-willing), I will need to refinance the mortgage into my name only so I need to keep my credit score as high as possible and reduce my income/debt ratio however I can.

I have 2 other cards that I use for daily stuff but pay off completely each month. For these cards above, I don't use them at all and just pay the minimums monthly.

The $5500 BOA and the Chase cards, my axx-Ex is on those, so those balances impact his credit score (negatively - he's currently in more debt than me, and no I am not feeling magnanimous).

Anyway, if you were me, which balance would you transfer and why? (Psychological, mathematical, etc)


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  • It sounds like you've got some good personal awareness with the issue that's hanging you up, which I think is pretty impressive. Relationships (and especially contentious endings) can so easily cloud our perception, so congrats on the insight.

    Personally, I *think* I would transfer from the account with the highest APR even though it's distressing to help out my ex. I've certainly "cut off my nose to spite my face" in the past--I'd hope to avoid that here, but I can't guarantee I would.

    Here are the things I'm thinking about at the moment.

    The sooner you pay these shared cards off, the sooner you can remove yet another reminder of the negatives that have been dragged out with the long divorce. You'll need things to be paid off eventually, and it could take a long time before you feel magnanimous enough to avoid the feelings that you have when you think of paying these cards right now. 

    It feels like a bit of a snowball effect. If you keep paying the same amount to the card that you were before, but ~$30/mo more is going to principal for 18 months. You can really make some extra progress on the remaining balance.

    Since you're the one paying the minimums, I assume that these are your cards and he was an authorized user, rather than the cards holding shared/mixed debt. If the cards do have some of his debt on them, it might also suck that you'd be converting some mixed debt into a private one. So there's that. 

    Whenever you are able to throw some extra $ toward CC debt, I'd also think about prioritizing these shared cards for the same reason. Minimum payments take a long time to pay off, and a little bit of extra principal really does significantly reduce that time!

    Whatever you decide, I'm rooting for you! I hope the long divorce wraps up swiftly, and that you quickly find peace, and closure, and freedom to enjoy your new beginnings. And of course our YNAB family will be right here to support you along the way!

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