Can you spend on a balance transfer credit card?

By   |   Verified by Andrew Boyd   |   Updated 28 Sep 2023

digital credit card at the check out

It is possible to spend money with a balance transfer card, if you have some credit left on it. However, it is better not to. Here’s why.

Key takeaways

  • Balance transfer credit cards give you a respite from interest rates, but for a limited time.
  • If you have available credit, there is nothing to stop you from making use of it for new purchases.
  • But note that you will be most likely ineligible for rewards points and other privileges until you pay off the balance transferred.

Can you spend on a balance transfer card?

Yes, it is possible to spend with a balance transfer card. However, the question really is whether or not it's a good idea to do so because most people get a balance transfer card in order to save money that can be used to get out of debt faster.

Should you spend on a balance transfer card?

While it is possible to use a balance transfer credit card to spend with, here's why it's probably better not to.

You’ll probably not get interest-free days on purchases

Most balance transfer credit cards do not offer the interest-free days perk on purchases while the balance remains unpaid. Once you pay it off though, you will get the interest-free days.

You can get yourself into more debt

Most people use a balance transfer to get some respite from interest and free up some cash to pay off debt. However, spending more when you are already in debt is not a good idea. Avoid it as much as possible.

If you have to spend on a balance transfer card

Sometimes, you may have no other option but to spend on your balance transfer card, for example, to pay for an unexpected emergency.

Here are some ways to mitigate the risk of building insurmountable debt.

Set up an instalment plan

It’s possible to set up a fixed instalment plan on many cards, which means you can pay off eligible transactions over a fixed period of time, much like with BNPL. Typically this is only available for purchases on your last statement.

Avoid increasing the balance due beyond what was transferred

Commit to paying off your current month's purchases within the month and a bit more to reduce the transferred balance so that the balance is being reduced.

Make a substantial lump sum payment

If you can throw a lump sum at the card soon, you can reduce the amount owed and save on interest.

Don’t make it a habit to spend on your balance transfer card

When you want to get out of debt, make it difficult to use the credit card for new spending. Put the card away and remove it from your digital wallet, if it is still there.


Will balance transfer credit card purchases get interest-free days?

Most balance transfer cards do not offer interest-free days on purchases while there's an unpaid balance. Once the balance is paid off, interest-free days usually apply.