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A balance transfer loan is a useful way to help you manage any credit card debt you have accumulated, that you are struggling to repay. If you are currently paying around 25% p.a. interest on your credit card debt, you could borrow an amount equal to your debt and use the cash to pay off your credit card balance. As a result, instead of paying 25% p.a. on your credit card debt, you will pay a nominal interest rate of around 5% p.a. on your balance transfer loan (depending on amount borrowed, loan tenure, your credit history and other factors, and note that the effective interest rate, including fees, will be higher).
You will usually be able to choose a loan repayment period (loan tenure or tenor) to suit your personal circumstances. It would be a good idea to calculate how much of your surplus cash you can dedicate each month towards repaying your loan, and then choose a loan repayment period to accommodate this. For example, if you needed to borrow an amount of $5,000, and could afford around $105 per month for repayments, at an effective interest rate of 9% p.a. (including all fees) you would need to choose a repayment period of five years. Choose a longer repayment period if you want to leave yourself with more spare cash each month, but the longer the repayment period you choose, the more interest you will pay in total.
Yes. If you have a number of debts outstanding at various amounts and interest rates (e.g. credit cards, car loan, another personal loan) you could use a balance transfer to consolidate your debts at a consistent low interest rate by borrowing an amount equivalent to the sum of all your existing debts. You would then use the cash to pay them all off. This would leave you with a much more manageable single monthly repayment at a lower overall interest rate.
Provided you meet all the monthly repayments in full and on time, there should be no negative impact on your credit rating. In fact, if you are using a balance transfer personal loan for debt consolidation you will be reducing the number of credit facilities you have. Taken together with prompt and full servicing of your new loan debt, this should help to repair any existing damage in your credit history.