No. of Recommendations: 2
Greetings, crackerjack, this is one of the ways that credit card companies lock you down tight! The usual phraseology in the credit card agreement is something like "balances with lower interest will be paid off prior to balances with higher interest." However, if you have the possibility of doing a balance transfer of the ENTIRE BALANCE to another card (preferably one with a lower rate and no transfer fee) then you have effectively "paid off" the lower-rate purchase balance as well as simultaneously paying off the higher-rate cash advance balance. Then before the promotional rate period on the new card expires, you could transfer back any remaining balance to MBNA at your purchase rate (if they agree that's the rate they'll charge you). Of course, you'll want to see if you can waive the transfer fee in that direction, too - or at least ask for a credit to your account in the amount of the transfer fee. Same effect. You'll also want to be sure that the card you transfer back to has a ZERO balance at the beginning of the cycle in which you transfer - otherwise, you run into the multiple-rates-for-different-categories problem all over again!

But now that you are aware of differential rates for different types of transactions, if you are carrying a balance on a card you really don't want to be putting further purchases on it. Best to restrict that to a card that you can pay off in full every month while your balance is shrinking on the card that's carrying it.

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