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I often receive credit card offers in the mail with very attractive balance transfer options.

I wonder what will happen if apply to a credit card and try to transfer a balance to a debit card.

Let us refrain from discussing the reason why I might want to do that. My question purely concerns technical validity of such a transaction.

If anyone had an experience doing this, please share.

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    This wouldn't be any different than paying off the balance. – Eric May 31 '15 at 11:39
  • is the debit card linked to a bank account? or is it a rechargeable card? – mhoran_psprep May 31 '15 at 11:48
  • @mhoran_psprep yes, this a debit card that is linked to my checking account. – AstroSharp Jun 1 '15 at 21:54
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To answer your question as clarified in a comment:

All I wanted to know what will happen if I enter my debit card number in the sixteen digit account number they offer on the application for balance transfer. That's all.

Almost certainly (subject to the particular terms and conditions of the offer), no money will move, the only question is exactly when and how they will say no.

If you do it online, and their system is clever enough to look up the IIN (the first six digits) of the card number you enter, their system might learn straight away that you have entered a debit card number (eg a card starting 431940 is a Bank of Ireland debit card).

Otherwise, you'll have to wait until the request goes to their back office system, which will eventually lead to the card issuer's system being contacted, at which point it will become clear that it's a debit card, and your transfer request will be refused at that point.


That said, some credit card companies do offer a "Money Transfer" aka "Super Balance Transfer", which is an offer to transfer money directly into a bank account, putting the resulting debt on the credit card. I've never seen these offered without having to call a service centre and talk to a person, though, presumably so that they can check that the details they have for you (about income etc) are still correct.

  • Also, any transfer to cash or cash account will likely not be eligible for balance transfer offers, and will likely be subject to cash advance fees. Finally, such transfers are typically not eligible for mileage/cash back offers. Too easily abused if they were. – Xalorous Jul 20 '17 at 17:37
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Transferring the balance of a credit card is what they call moving your debt from one credit card to another credit card or loan.

A debit card, however, is not debt. It is a card that is tied to a checking account with money in it. You can't transfer debt to your checking account.

If you have enough money in your checking account to cover the balance of your credit card, you can pay it off. That is a really good thing to do, because the balance on your credit card is costing you a lot in interest charges each month.

Were you perhaps thinking of "transferring a balance" from your debit card's checking account to a new credit card, where you would then have a new debt on the credit card, and extra cash in your debit card's checking account? This is possible with most credit cards, and is usually called a cash advance. However, just to caution you, cash advances typically have high interest rates. Often you will see promotions where they will offer low (or no) interest rate for a short time, but this is just a trick to entice you to borrow extra, knowing that if you need the money now, you'll most likely still need it in 6 months when the promotion expires. I don't recommend it.

  • Ben, thank you very much for trying to understand what I am thinking. I did not seek an advice on whether I should use cash advances or what interests do they come from. I appreciate the advice too. All I wanted to know what will happen if I enter my debit card number in the sixteen digit account number they offer on the application for balance transfer. That's all. – AstroSharp Jun 1 '15 at 21:54
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    @AstroSharp Normally, you would put a credit card with a balance (debt) on the application, and they can check your credit report and verify the balance. If you enter a debit card number onto your credit card application, my guess is that they won't allow it. They can tell if it is a credit card or a debit card. You could call up the credit card company and ask them. Then we won't have to speculate. – Ben Miller - Reinstate Monica Jun 2 '15 at 1:53
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The question Can I use balance transfer to buy car? is going to give you the same answer. It depends on the exact terms of that offer. Your offer may allow you you write yourself a check, to the checking account tied to your debit card. Or it may specifically request you identify an existing debt to repay. Read the terms.

  • Hi and thank you for your answer. I looked at the post and it had no answer to my question. I did not want to know if sometimes I can write myself a check. All I wanted to ask if anyone know what will happen if I specify 16 digit debit card number in the form for balance transfers. That's all. – AstroSharp Jun 1 '15 at 21:51
  • I don't know that one can fund an account this way. Doesn't a debit card pull from a checking account? Does the debit card allow a deposit as you suggest? – JTP - Apologise to Monica Jun 1 '15 at 22:32
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Circa 2002-2005, I was able to successfully "transfer" a balance from a debit card linked to a bank account to a Bank of America Visa credit card. As an example, I could say do a balance transfer from the card XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX (which was a valid debit card number) to the credit card, and the funds would appear in the checking account within a few days, and also the balance on the credit card would go up the amount plus any balance transfer fee. I think they've sealed off that loophole years ago.

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