Transfer Credit Card Balance Interest Free

The right balance transfer credit card can help you save a lot of money and get out of debt much sooner than you would otherwise. How? Well, a balance transfer credit card gives you the money to repay an existing lender, letting you trade in a higher interest rate for a lower one. And since many balance transfer cards offer 0% introductory APRs, you might be able to avoid paying any more interest before reaching debt freedom. But when comparing balance transfer credit card offers, you have to consider the total cost. That means evaluating each card’s balance transfer fee and regular APR as well as the length of its introductory period.

Balance transfer credit cards with 0% intro rates are usually available only to people with good or excellent credit. Finally, if you’d like a recommendation, you can check out the best balance transfer credit cards, which can be found below.

Best 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards

The best balance transfer credit card is not one-size-fits-all. The answer depends on how much you owe, how quickly you’ll be able to repay it and what your credit score is. Those factors will tell you which cards are attainable and help you figure out how much each will save you. But we can certainly point you in the right direction.

We compared hundreds of credit cards based on their balance-transfer appeal. In the end, five cards in particular stood out. None of them charge annual fees. All of them require at least good credit for approval. And you can get the rest of the particulars below.

Here are the best balance transfer credit cards of 2018:

Card Name Intro APR Balance Transfer Fee Regular APR
The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express 0% for 15 months $0 for the first 60 days 14.74% – 25.74% (V)
BankAmericard® Credit Card for Students 0% for 15 months None 14.74% – 24.74% (V)
SunTrust Prime Rewards Credit Card 5% (V) for 36 months None 12.99% – 22.99% (V)
Santander Bank Sphere Credit Card 0% for 18 months 4% (min $10) 14.24% – 24.24% (V)
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card – 21 Month Balance Transfer Offer 0% for 21 months 5% (min $5) 14.74% – 24.74% (V)
Citi Simplicity® Card – No Late Fees Ever 0% for 18 months 5% (min $5) 15.74% – 25.74% (V)
Chase Slate® 0% for 15 months None 16.74% – 25.49% (V)

The 5 Best 0% Balance Transfer Credit Card Offers

Credit card issuers have been using 0% introductory rates as a marketing incentive for years. These interest free offers can apply to purchases, balance transfers, or both. Several years ago my wife and I used 0% balance transfer offers to get out of debt. We kept transferring the balance to another card offering no interest until our debt was paid off.

It turns out that we weren’t alone. According to one study published by the Finance Department of The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, “in the early 2000s, as much as 17% of credit card balances were transferred annually by consumers seeking better terms.”

Yet not all balance transfer offers are created equal. Some cards offer the 0% introductory rate for a longer period of time than others. And in rare cases, you’ll find a card that doesn’t charge a balance transfer fee. To that end, in this article we’ll look at five of the best offers currently available.

Note that the interest rates and other terms listed below are as of April 25, 2015. These terms can and do change frequently, so be sure to check the terms on the credit card issuer’s website before applying. You can also find a regularly updated list of balance transfer options here.

1. Chase

The Chase Slate makes this list as the only option without a balance transfer fee. The introductory rate doesn’t last as long as the cards offered by Citi, but 0% for 15 months with no balance transfer fee is a solid offer. To get the no fee deal, however, the transfer must be completed within the first 60 days of account opening. After 60 days, Chase does charge a 3% transfer fee ($5 minimum).

After the 0% introductory period, the interest rate will go to a variable rate of between 12.99% and 22.99% based on creditworthiness. Like the Citi cards, there is no annual fee. Chase Slate also provides members with their free monthly FICO score, as well as zero liability protection, fraud protection and fraud alerts, and purchase protection.

2. Citi 

Citi gets the top slot because it offers 0% for 21 months. This is the longest 0% offer currently available. The balance transfer must be completed within four months and there is a transfer fee of 3% of the balance transferred (minimum $5). The 21-month deal is offered on two Citi cards, the Citi Simplicity card and the Citi Diamond Preferred card.

Citi Simplicity Card: This card offers 0% on both balance transfers and purchases. It charges no annual fee, late fees or penalty rates. Once the 21-month period expires, the interest rate will go to a variable rate of between 12.99% and 22.99%, depending on creditworthiness.

The Citi Simplicity card also offers $0 liability on unauthorized charges, Citi Identity Theft Solutions, an extended warranty of up to 5 years and up to $10,000 per year on certain purchases, worldwide car rental insurance for theft or damages up to $50,000, and travel and emergency assistance before or during a trip. Citi cards also work with Apple Pay – pay in-app or at over 200,000 stores with the iPhone 6, or in-app with the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3.

The card also comes with Citi Price Rewind, a benefit in which Citi will search for a lower price for up to 60 days after you make a purchase, then refund up to $300 per item, or up to $1,200 per year.

Citi Diamond Preferred Card:  Just like the Citi Simplicity Card, this card offers 0% on both balance transfers and purchases, and also comes with no annual fee, late fees or penalty rate. Once the 21-month period expires, the rate goes to a variable rate of between 11.99% and 21.99%, depending on creditworthiness – 1% better than the final rate on the Citi Simplicity Card. Citi Diamond Preferred Card offers all of the same services that are available on the Citi Simplicity Card.

3. Discover

Discover offers a card that combines 0% balance transfer terms with up to 5% cash back. Called the Discover it card, it comes with a 0% balance transfer for 14 months with a 3% transfer fee. There is no annual fee, no over limit fee, no late fee on your first late payment, and a promise that paying late won’t raise your APR. After the 14 month intro period, rates of between 10.99% and 22.99% will apply, based on creditworthiness.

Discover it offers 5% cash back – up to $1,500 – on spending categories that change on a quarterly basis. For example, in the current quarter, the category is restaurants and movies. They also provide 1% cash back on all other purchases, with no cap.

Discover also provides a Freeze It tool that enables you to freeze or unfreeze your credit line if you lose your card. The card comes with Discover’s free FICO credit score, included on your monthly statements, online and on your mobile app. And Discover’s $0 Fraud Liability Guarantee means you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges on your card.

4. Capital One

Capital One has several 0% balance transfer card offers. The standout offer is the Platinum Prestige card. It offers 0% on both balance transfers and purchases for about 15 months. There is no annual fee, but there is a 3% fee on balances transferred. After the 0% introductory period, a variable rate of between 10.9% and 20.9% will apply, depending on your creditworthiness.

Much like the Discover-it card, the Platinum Prestige comes with access to your credit score, referred to as Credit Tracker. The card also offers $0 Fraud Liability, an extended warranty program, auto rental insurance, travel accident insurance, and price protection features.

5. U.S. Bank

U.S. Bank has several credit cards on which they are offering 0% balance transfers. Most provide the 0% rate for nine months, but they have two credit cards that offer it for 12 months each.

U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card: The 0% introductory offer applies to both purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months. After the intro period, a variable rate of between 9.99% and 20.99% will apply, depending upon your creditworthiness. The card comes with no annual fee, and offers zero fraud liability, fraud protection (notifications of unusual activity), and automobile rental insurance. However there is a balance transfer fee, which is the higher of 3% or $5.

U.S. Bank Perks + Visa Signature Card: The basic offer is similar here, with a 0% introductory rate for the first 12 months on both purchases and balance transfers, no annual fee, and an applicable balance transfer fee, which is the higher of 3% or $5. After the intro rate expires, the APR is slightly higher on this account, ranging from 11.99% to 21.99%.

The U.S. Bank Perks + Visa Signature Card offers many of the same features as the Visa Platinum Card, except for automobile rental insurance. Instead, the card offers “Perks and Rewards”, including 2X points on gas and grocery net purchases, and 1 point for all other purchases. You can redeem your points for brand name merchandise once you’ve accumulated 1,700 points. You can also redeem them for gift cards once you reach 2,500 points, cash back at 5,000 points, and one airline ticket with a value of up to $400 once you reach 25,000 points.

Each of the offers from these five banks are worth considering. But it may come down to the length of the 0% introductory offer, in combination with the various perks and benefits that each card offers.

How do balance transfers work?

With a balance transfer you get a new card to pay off debt on old credit and store cards, so you owe it instead, often at 0% interest – sometimes for a small fee. You’re debt-free quicker as more of your repayments reduce the debt, rather than pay interest. If unsure which to pick, use this golden rule…

The six golden rules

Get this wrong and it can cost you large, so please read the following.

    • Always clear debt or shift again before the 0% or cheap rate ends, or costs can rocket

    • Repay AT LEAST the monthly minimum or you may lose the cheap rate

    • Don’t spend or withdraw cash on a balance transfer card. If you do, you may get hammered with huge costs

    • First use our eligibility calculator to find cards you’re most likely to get…

    • ‘Up to’ deals mean you might not get the 0% length you apply for if you’ve a poorer credit score

  • You could cut interest WITHOUT new cards: the credit card shuffle

     

Best long-0% balance transfer cards

The longest credit card deals offer more than three years at 0%, though acceptance is tough, so don’t just apply willy-nilly.

Longest 0%, but you could get fewer months

MBNA

– UP TO 36 MONTHS, 2.49% FEE (21.9% INTEREST AFTER)

This MBNA card offers the longest 0% period. You could be offered fewer 0% months which won’t make it as good, but if you’re pre-approved through our eligibility calculator, you’ll definitely get the full 36 months.

Need-to-knows
  • You must transfer your balance within the first 60 days to get the 0% deal. Transfers made after this time will pay 21.9% APR and a 5% fee.
  • You can’t transfer a balance from another MBNA card.
  • After the 0%, it’s 21.9% interest per year on any remaining transferred debt.
  • Always pay at least the minimum monthly repayment, or you’ll lose the 0% deal.
  • Don’t spend/withdraw cash on this card. It usually isn’t at the cheap rate and cash withdrawals hit your credit file.
  • Balance transfer length & fee: Up to 36 months, 2.49% fee
  • Minimum payment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest, or £25 | Min balance transfer amount: £100
  • Min income: N/A | Card issuer: Visa | 0% balance transfer time limit: First 60 days
  • Rate: 19.9% representative APR

 

Best long-0% balance transfer cards with lowish fees

If you can clear debt quicker than the 0% periods above, it’s possible to slash the fee. We’ve ordered them starting with the longest 0% with a sub-1.5% fee.

Long 0% period plus £25 cashback

M&S BANK

– 32 MONTHS 0%, 0.99% FEE (19.9% REP APR AFTER)

This M&S credit card offers a decent 0% period, and if you’re accepted you’ll definitely get the full 32 months. Plus, apply via our link by Fri 31 Aug and transfer at least £100 by Wed 31 Oct and you’ll also get £25 cashback, meaning if you transfer less than £2,525 you’ll effectively pay no fee.

Need-to-knows
  • The cashback will be credited to your account no later than 30 Nov 2018.
  • You won’t be eligible for the voucher if you already hold an M&S credit card or have done within the last year.
  • After your 0% deal ends, you’ll pay 19.9% interest a year on any balance transfer debt left over.
  • You need to transfer the balance within 90 days, or you won’t get the 0% period.
  • Always pay at least the minimum monthly repayment, or you’ll lose the 0% deal.
  • Don’t spend/withdraw cash on this card. It usually isn’t at the cheap rate and cash withdrawals hit your credit file.
  • Balance transfer length & fee: 32 months 0%, 0.99% fee (min £5)
  • Min payment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest, 2.5% or £5 | Min balance transfer amount: £5
  • Min income: N/A | Card issuer: Master card | Balance transfer time limit: First 90 days
  • Rate: 19.9% representative APR

 

Long 0% period plus £25 cashback if you transfer £1,000+

MBNA

– UP TO 31 MONTHS 0%, 1.1% FEE (21.9% INTEREST AFTER)

This MBNA credit card offers a decent 0% period and comes with £25 cashback if you apply via our link and transfer at least £1,000 within 60 days. You could be offered fewer 0% months which won’t make it as good, but if you’re pre-approved through our eligibility calculator, you’ll definitely get the full 31 months.

Need-to-knows
  • The £25 will be credited to your card account within 60 days of the balance transfer.
  • You need to transfer a balance in the first 60 days to get the 0% interest period.
  • You can’t transfer a balance from another MBNA card.
  • After the 0%, it’s 21.9% interest per year on any remaining transferred debt.
  • Some poorer credit scorers will be offered a card with a higher fee.
  • Always pay at least the minimum monthly repayment, or you’ll lose the 0% deal.
  • Don’t spend/withdraw cash on this card. It usually isn’t at the cheap rate and cash withdrawals hit your credit file.
  • Balance transfer length & fee: up to 31 months, 1.1% fee
  • Minimum payment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest, or £25 | Min balance transfer amount: £100
  • Min income: N/A | Card issuer: Visa | 0% balance transfer time limit: First 60 days
  • Rate: 19.9% representative APR

 

Best NO-FEE 0% balance transfer cards

If you can clear your debts in 27 months, why pay a fee at all? They’re the best option if you can DEFINITELY pay it off within the 0% period. We’ve ordered them from longest to shortest.

Longest no-fee 0% card and you’ll get the headline deal if accepted

SANTANDER 27 MONTHS 0%, NO FEE (18.9% INTEREST AFTER)

This Santander card is a good no-fee option, and if you’re accepted you’ll definitely get the full 0% period – which isn’t always guaranteed on other cards. Unusually, you’ll pay no fee if you transfer at any point within the 27 months, though you’d have less interest-free time if you waited.

Need-to-knows
  • After the 0% period ends, it’s 18.9% interest.
  • Always pay at least the minimum monthly repayment, or you’ll lose the 0% deal.
  • Don’t spend/withdraw cash on this card. It usually isn’t at the cheap rate and cash withdrawals hit your credit file.
  • Balance transfer length & fee: 27 months 0%, no fee
  • Min payment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest or £5 | Min balance transfer amount: £100
  • Min income: N/A | Card issuer: Mastercard | Balance transfer time limit: N/A
  • Rate: 18.9% representative APR

 

Low interest rate for up to four years with a small fee

MBNA – 4.9% FOR UP TO 48 MONTHS, 0.5% FEE

The MBNA Low Rate card offers a low interest rate of 4.9% for up to four years, with a one-off fee of 0.5%, as long as you make your transfer within 60 days of account opening (you’ll pay 8.9% interest and a 0.99% fee otherwise).

We’ve put this card above the life-of-balance cards below because after crunching the numbers on balances up to £7,500 (as larger limits are rarer), we found it’s cheaper, even with the fee, as long as you budget to pay off your debt within four years. Any longer, and the cards below win.

Need-to-knows
  • After your low rate ends, you’ll pay 8.9% interest a year on any debt leftover.
  • Some poorer credit scorers getting this card may be given initial interest rates of 9.9%, jumping to 11.9% at the 48 months’ end.
  • You can’t transfer a balance from another MBNA card.
  • This card accepts transfers from non-MBNA issued Amex cards.
  • This card also offers money transfers at 4.9% interest for four years, with a 0.5% fee.
  • Always pay at least the minimum monthly repayment, or you’ll lose the low-rate deal.
  • Don’t withdraw cash on it; it’s not at the cheap rate and cash withdrawals hit your credit file.
  • Balance transfer rate & fee: 4.9% for 48mths then 8.9%, 0.5% fee
  • Min payment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest or £25 | Min balance transfer amount: £100
  • Min income: £20,000 | Card issuer: Mastercard | Time limit: 60 days
  • Representative variable APR on spending: 8.9%

 

Cheapest low rate card, with one interest-free month

TESCO – 6.05% REP APR, NO BALANCE TRANSFER FEE

This Tesco credit card lets you balance-transfer at 6.05% interest rate for the life of the balance, with no fee as long as you transfer within one month. As a bonus, there’s 0% interest for the first month.

If you know you’ll be able to clear your debt within four years, the MBNA card above will probably be cheaper due to the lower rate, in spite of its 0.5% fee. But if you need longer, this is best.

Need-to-knows
  • You must balance-transfer within the first month; transfers after this attract a 3.99% fee.
  • You can’t transfer a balance from another Tesco credit card, or apply if you hold more than one Tesco credit card already.
  • Some poorer credit scorers accepted for the card will be charged up to 12.5% on balance transfers, which isn’t such a good deal.
  • This card accepts transfers from Amex cards, though you’ll need to phone up to get it processed.
  • This card also has a low rate on spending, charging 5.9% rep APR – though again, you get the first month at 0%. Poorer credit scorers could be accepted for the card but charged a higher APR, up to 11.9%.
  • Always pay the monthly minimum payment or you’ll get a penalty for late payment and a mark on your credit file.
  • Don’t withdraw cash on this card. It isn’t at the cheap rate and cash withdrawals hit your credit file.
  • Balance transfer length & fee: 6.05%, no fee
  • Min payment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest or £25 | Min balance transfer amount: £1
  • Min income: £5,000 | Card issuer: Mastercard | Time limit: One month
  • Rate: 5.9% representative APR

 

Best balance transfer cards for poorer credit scorers

To be accepted for most of the deals above, you need a decent credit score. Yet there is hope for those with a patchy credit past with the deals below…

Best if you haven’t had much credit before

BARCLAYCARD 18 MONTHS 0%, 2.99% FEE (24.9% INTEREST AFTER)

If you’ve debts on high-interest cards, but maybe have only had one card in the past, the Barclaycard Platinum is aimed at you. It gives 18 months 0% as long as you transfer within 60 days – and if you’re accepted you’ll definitely get the full 0% period.

Need-to-knows
  • It’s easier to qualify for than other cards in this guide that require a top credit score.
  • If accepted, you’ll get 18 months. Barclaycard doesn’t operate risk-based offers for this card (ie, it doesn’t offer fewer months to poorer credit scorers).
  • You can’t transfer a balance from another Barclaycard.
  • After the 0% period ends, interest varies depending on your credit score, but will be at least 24.9% so aim to clear it by then, or shift the debt again.
  • It is NOT for those with serious credit problems, such as recent county court judgments (CCJs) or defaults.
  • Always pay at least the minimum monthly repayment, or you’ll lose the 0% deal.
  • Don’t spend/withdraw cash on this card. It usually isn’t at the cheap rate and cash withdrawals hit your credit file.
  • Balance transfer length & fee: 18 months, 2.99% fee
  • Min payment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest, 2.25%, or £5 | Min balance transfer amount: £250
  • Min income: N/A | Card issuer: Visa | 0% balance transfer time limit:First 60 days
  • Rate: 24.9% representative APR

 

Unlike the Barclaycard above, these cards are specifically designed for people who have had past credit problems.

A short-term respite from interest if you’ve a poor credit history

CAPITAL ONE 0% FOR 6 MONTHS, 3% FEE (34.9% INTEREST AFTER)

For those who’ve had past credit problems, Capital One’s Balance card provides a rare lifeline – even if you’ve had past defaults or CCJs. The 0% on balance transfers only lasts for six months, so treat it as an opportunity to shift debt in the short term, giving you a respite from interest which you should use to clear the card, if you can.

Need-to-knows
  • After the 0%, the rate jumps to a huge 34.9% interest so clear it by then or transfer again.
  • Credit limits are low, ranging from £200 to £1,500.
  • You still have to pass a credit check and CCJs or defaults must be more than a year old.
  • Always pay at least the minimum monthly repayment, or you’ll lose the 0% deal.
  • Don’t spend/withdraw cash on this card. It usually isn’t at the cheap rate and cash withdrawals hit your credit file.
  • Balance transfer length & fee: 6 months 0%, 3% fee
  • Min payment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest, or £5 | Min balance transfer amount: £50
  • Min income: N/A | Card issuer: Mastercard | 0% balance transfer time limit:N/A
  • Rate: 34.9% representative APR

 

Another option if you’ve a poor credit history

AQUA 0% FOR 6 MONTHS, 3% FEE (34.9% INTEREST AFTER)

Like the Capital One card above, this Aqua card is also designed for those with a poor credit history, accepting those with past defaults, CCJs or bankruptcies. It offers the same six month 0% period on balance transfers, giving you a short-term break from interest which you should use to clear the card, if you can.

Need-to-knows
  • After the 0%, the rate jumps to a huge 34.9% APR so clear it by then or transfer again. If you have a poor credit score it can jump even higher – up to a max to 59.9%.
  • Credit limits are low, starting between £250 and £1,200.
  • You still have to pass a credit check. CCJs must be more than a year old, and you must not have been registered bankrupt in the past 18mths or have bankruptcy proceedings against you.
  • Marbles issued by the same provider as Aqua, offers a card with 0% for five months for a 3% fee (up to 69.95% APR after) – just one month less than this Aqua card.
  • You won’t be eligible for the card if you’ve had an Aqua or Marbles card within the last year.
  • Always pay at least the minimum monthly repayment, or you’ll lose the 0% deal.
  • Don’t spend/withdraw cash on this card. It usually isn’t at the cheap rate and cash withdrawals hit your credit file.
  • Balance transfer length & fee: 6 months 0%, 3% fee (min £3)
  • Min payment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest, or £5 | Min balance transfer amount: £100
  • Min income: N/A | Card issuer: Mastercard | 0% balance transfer time limit:N/A
  • Rate: 34.9% representative APR

Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards

Overview of the Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards

The main draw for balance transfer credit cards is an obvious one: get out of paying interest on your credit card (and sometimes even loan) balances for a pre-defined period of time. On the top end, balance transfer cards can let pay no interest for up to 21 months and even waive the balance transfer fees! See More

Best All-Around Credit Card for Balance Transfers

Best Credit Card for Balance Transfers with No Penalty APR

Chase Freedom®

The Chase Freedom® card can earn you cash back and take care of all your balance transfer needs. In fact, any balance transfer made will get a 0% introductory APR for your first 15 months as a cardholder, with the same promotion applying to purchases. As far as cash back goes, you’ll earn a whopping 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases on bonus categories specified by Chase each quarter, as well as 1% on everything else. These rewards do not expire, and you can redeem them no matter the amount you currently have in your account. Get your cash back as a statement credit, deposit to a U.S. checking or savings account, gift card or right to your Amazon.com account — whatever works best for you.

SA First Year Rewards
$350
Pros
  • 5% cash back on rotating categories
  • No annual fee
Cons
  • Cardholders have to enroll quarterly for rotating rewards

If a balance transfer is what you’re looking to get done, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card offers that and more. You’ll save a lot in extra interest charges with a 0% introductory APR for 15 months on balance transfers and purchases alike, as well as no annual fee. Rewards come in the form of 1.5% cash back rate on every purchase you make, regardless of the category. Redeem that cash back as quickly or slowly as you’d like, because there’s no limit on how much you can hold onto and no minimum amount needed to redeem. Statement credits, deposits to U.S. checking or savings accounts, gift cards and Amazon.com credits are all available as redemption options for the cash back you earn.

SA First Year Rewards
$425
Pros
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase – it’s automatic!
Cons
  • 3% foreign transaction fee

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card

The cash back you can grab for yourself with the Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card is substantial, making it all the more surprising that it simultaneously features a 12-billing cycle, 0% introductory APR offer and no annual fee. This intro APR promotion applies to purchases and on any balance transfers made within 60 days of your account’s opening. Following this intro period, you’ll be given a 14.74% to 24.74% variable APR — a solid range for a card with so much rewards potential. Those rewards will come to you at the following rates: 3% cash back on gas, 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 1% cash back everywhere else. Your rewards earnings between the 3% and 2% categories will be limited to $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases per quarter. Additionally spending $500 during your first three months as a cardholder will earn you an $150 sign-up bonus and you can get 10% more when you redeem to a Bank of America® checking or savings account.

SA First Year Rewards
$435
Pros
  • Earn $150 online cash rewards after spending $500 in the first 90 days
  • Earn 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 3% on gas, for the first $2,500 in combined purchases each quarter
Cons
  • Bonus cash back categories limited to $2,500 in quarterly purchases

Credit Card Balance Transfers:Everything You Need to Know

The Basics

A balance transfer gives a consumer the chance to move debt from one credit account to another. Credit card balance transfers usually involve the movement of balances to a new credit card with a lower interest rate (or a 0% interest introductory period).

All of the major issuers give credit cardholders the opportunity to transfer their credit card balances. You can transfer balances from different types of credit cards, including store credit cards. Technically, you can also transfer debt from someone else’s credit card who’s related to you (as long as you’re willing to pay it off). Depending on your lender’s rules and regulations, you may also be able to transfer other forms of debt to credit cards, such as student debt and mortgage debt.

What Are Balance Transfer Credit Cards?

If you want to avoid paying too much for balance transfers, you may want to consider applying for a balance transfer credit card. Balance transfer cards are essentially credit cards that charge less interest on balance transfers. Consumers with these kinds of credit cards often pay zero interest on transferred balances during a short-term introductory period. Some of the best balance transfer credit cards don’t charge cardholders for balance transfers at all.

Some temporary 0% balance transfer offers last for just nine months. Others last for 12, 15 or 18 billing cycles (aka months). Some of the best balance transfer credit cards offer 0% introductory rates for as many as 21 months.

Keep in mind that 0% balance transfer offers and 0% APR credit card offers aren’t the same thing. When you have a 0% APR credit card, you won’t pay interest on standard purchases (at least temporarily). But you might pay interest on the balances you transfer. Similarly, a 0% balance transfer credit card may charge interest on regular credit card transactions. In some cases, a 0% interest promotional period applies to both balance transfers and everyday purchases.

Bottom line: If you’re looking for a credit card with a 0% balance transfer offer, you’ll need to consider whether the card also charges 0% interest on regular purchases.

The Difference Between Credit Card Balance Transfers and Debt Consolidation

Consumers sometimes confuse credit card balance transfers with a debt repayment method known as debt consolidation. While they’re similar strategies, they’re two separate concepts. Debt consolidation refers to the act of using a credit card or a loan to cover multiple debts simultaneously. A balance transfer can involve the movement of more than one debt to a single credit card. But it doesn’t have to.

Getting a balance transfer credit card is one way to consolidate debt. It’s also possible to consolidate debt using a home equity loan or personal loan. Another option involves searching for a debt consolidation program. You would make a single payment to a credit counseling company that helps consumers manage their debts. The credit counselor would then use that payment to pay all of your lenders and creditors. It may also find a way to lower the cost of your monthly payments.

When you want to consolidate debt using a personal loan, you’ll be required to apply for a new loan and use that financing to pay off and replace your other debts. When you apply for a balance transfer credit card, however, you’re not required to close your old credit card account.

It’s important to think carefully before choosing a debt consolidation strategy. In some situations, signing up for a balance transfer credit card makes the most sense. For example, if you’re tired of paying large amounts of interest on your credit card debt, applying for a balance transfer credit card could be the most logical thing to do. However, if you’re drowning under a mountain of credit card debt and you have other unpaid loans – like student loans – you may want to look into getting a debt consolidation loan or applying for a debt management program.

The Benefits of Balance Transfer Credit Cards

Applying for a balance transfer credit card could be a good idea if you’re trying to save money. When you transfer a balance to a credit card with a low interest rate, you pay less interest when you carry a balance from month to month (when you don’t pay your bill in full). In short, balance transfer cards can reduce the size of your monthly credit card payments.

Having a balance transfer credit card could also be helpful if you’re trying to pay off debt more quickly. When you have a low interest rate, you can use your extra money (that you would have otherwise used to pay interest) to knock out other debt.

A balance transfer credit card could also be a useful tool if you’re trying to consolidate debt. Keeping track of multiple credit cards with different payment deadlines can be tricky. If you can transfer two or three credit card balances to a single card with a lower interest rate, you’ll only have one due date to remember moving forward. Furthermore, switching over to a balance transfer credit card may give you the chance to take advantage of a card with better rewards and credit card terms, like lower fees.

How a Balance Transfer Credit Card Could Save You Money

Let’s take a closer look at how a balance transfer credit card could save you money. Say, for example, that you have a credit card with a $4,800 balance and an annual percentage rate of 16%. A credit card calculator can tell you that if you make a monthly payment of $220, you can pay off your credit card in a little over two years. In that scenario, you’d spend a total of $910 on interest. That’s equal to roughly 19% of your credit card debt balance.

What would happen if you transferred all of your debt to a balance transfer credit card with a 0% introductory rate that lasts for 15 months? If that 0% deal applies to regular purchases, too, and there’s a 3% balance transfer fee ($144 in this case) you wouldn’t pay any interest at all for the first 15 months. Then a 15.02% APR (which is lower than the interest rate on your old card) kicks in. If you’ve been paying $220 per month all along, you could pay off your credit card balance in about 23 months and only spend about $78 on interest. Based on our example, you could save about $832 by transferring your debt to a new balance transfer credit card. And paying off your debt wouldn’t take as long.

Still not convinced that a balance transfer credit card is worth considering? Let’s look at a different example. Maybe you have $5,000 in credit card debt and your APR is 17%. If you’re serious about ditching your debt, you could make monthly payments of $310 and pay off your debt in about 19 months. Within that time frame, you’d spend a total of $717 on interest (or 14% of your credit card debt balance).

You find out about a 0% interest balance transfer card promotion that don’t charge interest on any purchases or balance transfers for 12 months. The balance transfer fee is 3%. If you transfer all of your debt to the balance transfer credit card, you’d spend $150 on your balance transfer fee but nothing on interest for 12 months. If you’re still committed to making monthly payments of $310 and a 14.86% APR applies after the introductory period ends, you could pay off your debt in 17 months and save about $675 on interest.

As you can see, you can score some serious savings by applying for a balance transfer credit card. But a balance transfer card by itself won’t help you get out of debt. You’ll have to make a conscious effort to keep up with your credit card payments. The lower your monthly payment, the less you’ll spend on interest over time.

The Drawbacks of Balance Transfer Credit Cards

Despite the various benefits that balance transfer credit cards offer, there are downsides to applying for these kinds of cards. For example, 0% balance transfer card offers can be misleading. Sure, you won’t pay interest on the balances you transfer from other cards. But in most cases, you’ll still have to pay a balance transfer fee. This means that the more money you transfer, the more you’ll pay in the long run.

Balance transfer credit cards can also leave consumers in a messy financial situation, especially if they fail to pay off their balances in full before the 0% interest introductory offer ends. Once that promotional period expires, eliminating credit card debt could be challenging (particularly if the 0% balance transfer offer was combined with a 0% APR credit card offer). And in some cases, credit cardholders can be required to pay interest retroactively on any balance left over after the conclusion of the promotional period.

You could also run into problems if you get approved for a balance transfer credit card but you don’t qualify for the terms that go along with a particular offer. If your credit score isn’t high enough, for example, you could end up with a smaller credit line than the one that was advertised. That may prevent you from transferring all of the debt that you had planned to move onto your new balance transfer card. In that scenario, you would wind up with two credit cards that you’d have to pay off (the balance transfer credit card and your old card with the leftover debt you couldn’t transfer). Plus, you wouldn’t be able to save as much money on interest.

There’s another disadvantage to getting a balance transfer credit card: You may ultimately take on more debt than you can afford to pay off. If you apply for a new balance transfer credit card and forget to close your old credit card account, you’ll have a larger overall credit limit. That could become an issue if you’re prone to overspending or maxing out credit cards.

Credit Card Balance Transfers and Grace Periods

A credit card’s grace period tells you how much time you’ll have to make a credit card payment and avoid interest charges and late fees. It’s the time period that falls between the end of a billing cycle and a credit card payment deadline. By law, all credit cards are required to have a grace period that lasts for at least 21 days.

Carrying a balance eliminates your credit card grace period. Keep in mind that you can lose your grace period in two ways: carrying a balance after making purchases and carrying a balance after transferring a credit card balance. When you lose your grace period (and the 0% interest promotional period is over), you’re required to begin paying interest right away.

Fortunately, there’s a way to reclaim your grace period. In most cases, all you need to do is pay your credit card bill in full for two months in a row. In order to do that, you’ll need to keep track of your payment deadlines and your statement closing date. That’s the day that your billing cycle ends.

The catch is that you’ll have to be able to afford to make two full credit card payments back-to-back. That may not be possible, especially if you couldn’t pay your credit card bill in full in the first place.

How Balance Transfer Credit Cards Can Affect Your Credit Score

Balance transfers can potentially have a negative impact on your credit score. Whenever you apply for a line of credit or a loan, your credit score takes a bit of a hit temporarily. That’s known as a hard inquiry because a credit card issuer must pull your credit report in order to decide whether you’re eligible for a new credit card. So in the process of applying for a balance transfer credit card, your credit score could drop by several points.

Having an additional line of credit will lower the average age of all of your credit accounts. That can impact your credit score as well. Under the FICO credit scoring model, 15% of your score depends on the length of your credit history.

Your credit utilization ratio (also known as your debt-to-credit ratio) will also probably change. That’s the amount of available credit you have compared to your credit line. Your credit utilization ratio and the amount of debt you owe account for 30% of your credit score. The credit reporting bureaus typically calculate your credit score by looking at this ratio for your credit accounts both individually and collectively.

Having a credit utilization ratio above 30% can hurt your credit score. But keeping your credit utilization ratio low can be difficult, especially if you move your credit card debt to a balance transfer credit card with a low available credit line (and you close your old credit card account).

Let’s look at an example. Let’s say that you currently have a credit card with a $1,400 balance and a $5,000 credit limit. Your credit utilization ratio is 28% ($1,400/$5,000 x 100). If you were to transfer your entire balance to a new credit card with a lower interest rate and a $2,500 credit limit – and you decide to close your old account – your credit utilization ratio would rise to 56%. As a result, your credit score would likely take a dive.

Who Should Apply for a Balance Transfer Credit Card?

Balance transfer credit cards aren’t for everyone. In fact, they’re usually geared toward consumers with good or excellent credit scores. According to the FICO scoring model (the model most often used by lenders), this means that your credit score may need to fall between 670 and 850 if you want to qualify for a balance transfer credit card and be eligible for the best rates. Under the VantageScore model, your credit score would have to fall between 700 and 850 to be considered good or excellent.

Incorporating a balance transfer credit card into your debt repayment strategy could also be effective if high interest rates are keeping you from being able to pay off your principal balances. Having a concrete plan, however, is the key to making the most of a balance transfer credit card. This kind of card wouldn’t be helpful for someone who doesn’t know how to budget their money or come up with a practical way to pay off the debt they transfer before the 0% interest period expires.

A balance transfer credit card isn’t a good fit for anyone who’s planning to transfer balances back and forth or sign up for 0% interest credit cards as often as possible. Without making an effort to pay off your debt, signing up for a balance transfer credit card would be pointless. You might be better off consolidating your debt using a debt management program or a personal loan.

Folks who have good credit but want a higher score may also want to think about applying for a balance transfer credit card. With a credit card with a lower interest rate, they’ll be able to pay off their balances in a shorter amount of time and raise their credit scores in the process. And if they decide to keep their old credit card account open (and they avoid using it recklessly), they should be able to reduce their credit utilization ratio. That’s another way to build credit.

How to Evaluate Balance Transfer Credit Card Offers

Think you’re a good candidate for one of the best balance transfer credit cards? Before you apply, there are many factors that you’ll need to take into consideration. For one thing, it’s important to consider the fees that credit card issuers charge consumers with balance transfer credit cards. Balance transfer fees are normally 3% to 5% (on average) of the amount you’re transferring. And since there’s rarely a cap on balance transfer fees, you could be ponying up a lot of money if you want to move multiple balances to a new credit card.

If there are additional fees that go along with your balance transfer credit card – like foreign transaction fees and late payment penalties – you’ll also need to think about how that’ll affect your borrowing costs overall. In many cases, cards with lower interest rates charge more fees.

Don’t forget to compare annual percentage rates (APRs). If you’re trying to transfer balances from other credit cards, you’ll want your interest rate to be as low as possible. These rates can vary quite a bit. Nationwide, the average APR for a new credit card is around 15.63% (as of March 2017). The average APR for a balance transfer credit card is around 14.89%.

If one of your credit card payments is at least 60 days late, you could get stuck with an annual percentage rate that’s much higher than your original APR. That’s known as a penalty APR. It could be as high as 30% and it could apply to your account for at least six months.

In addition to fees, penalties and interest rates, you’ll need to look at the kinds of rewards that different balance transfer credit cards offer. Some give cardholders access to points or travel benefits while others provide cash back on qualifying purchases. Eliminating credit card debt may be your top priority. But if you can earn rewards at the same time, you might as well take advantage of some extra perks. Just make sure you’re aware of any rules or restrictions that may affect your ability to earn rewards.

Since applying for a credit card temporarily puts your credit score in jeopardy, you’ll also need to consider your odds of being able to get approved for one of the cards you’re considering. You’ll have a better chance of getting the card you want if it falls within your credit score range.

When you’re trying to choose a credit card, your personal spending habits matter, too. If you tend to rack up credit card debt and paying off that debt takes multiple months (or years), you may need to find a balance transfer credit card with a long 0% interest introductory period. That way, you’ll have more time to pay off your debt before the regular interest rate on balance transfers kicks in.

Another key factor that you’ll need to take into account is a card’s credit limit. A balance transfer credit card with a low credit limit may not be valuable to you, especially if you have a large amount of debt that you want to transfer (more on that later). Going over your credit card limit would not only hurt your credit but it would also result in an extra charge.

How to Evaluate 0% Balance Transfer Credit Card Offers

A 0% balance transfer promotion can be beneficial to consumers who want to pay off their credit card debt and reduce how much they’re spending on interest payments. Unfortunately, 0% balance transfer offers usually don’t last forever.

Once your 0% balance transfer offer ends, your balance transfers will be subject to the card’s regular rate, which can be as high as 20%. That’s why it’s important to pay close attention to the length of the promotional period. The longer the introductory period, the better. A good balance credit card should have a 0% offer that lasts for 12 months, at the very least.

When comparing 0% balance transfer credit card offers, you’ll also need to assess the terms and conditions associated with individual cards. Transferring balances might be free for 12 months. But during that period, you may owe interest if you use your credit card to purchase new items and you carry a balance. Reading the fine print should give you an idea of how a particular introductory offer will work.

What Matters Most When Applying for a Balance Transfer Credit Card

Which of the factors that we’ve identified matter most when you’re thinking about getting a balance transfer credit card? The short answer is that it depends on your preferences and your financial situation. Ultimately, you’ll have to weigh all of the pros and cons and pick the card that’s best for you. There’s no point of applying for a balance transfer credit card that doesn’t meet your individual needs.

Across the board, however, the most important factor to consider when applying for a balance transfer credit card is the interest rate tied to balance transfers. The purpose of a balance transfer is to move your existing debt to a different credit card in order to reduce the amount of money you’re spending and save on interest. Therefore, getting a balance transfer credit card doesn’t make sense if it doesn’t come with either a 0% interest deal or a lower interest rate than the rate attached to the cards you currently have in your wallet.

As you’re reviewing the interest rates associated with different credit cards, you may want to pay attention to whether the annual percentage rate is a variable rate or a fixed rate. If it’s a fixed rate, managing your credit card payments will be a bit easier since you’ll know exactly how much interest you’ll owe every month after the introductory rate expires. But fixed rates can change over time, especially if you start making late payments and your credit card issuer applies a penalty APR.

Fees should probably also rank high on your priority list when evaluating balance transfer credit card offers. If the costs outweigh the benefits and rewards that go along with a particular card, it’s not worth applying for. That rule of thumb applies regardless of whether you’re going to carry a balance. Even if you get a balance transfer credit card with the intention of paying your bills in full every month (and avoiding interest), you could still lose money if you’re forced to pay an annual fee. Plus, the balance transfer fee alone could significantly reduce the amount of money you’d be saving with a balance transfer credit card.

Finally, your own financial habits should carry a lot weight when it comes to choosing a balance transfer credit card. The fact that a card comes with travel rewards, for example, won’t matter if you never earn miles or points because you consistently make late payments. And if you rarely pay off your entire monthly credit card bill, you’ll need to pay close attention to the interest rate that’ll come into play once your 0% interest promotion ends. The way you manage your money will also dictate whether things like credit card limits matter to you.

If you compare some of the best balance transfer credit cards and you’re torn between two or more cards, you can read credit card reviews. They’ll provide you with information regarding what you can expect from specific credit card companies and the cards they offer.

Budgeting for a Credit Card Balance Transfer

As you’re comparing some of the best balance transfer credit cards, it would be wise to figure out how accepting any of those offers might affect your budget. For example, you can add up the total amount of debt you’re carrying across all of your credit cards. Then, you can pick a few balance credit cards and calculate how much you can afford to pay off before the 0% interest period expires.

As you’re running the numbers, you’ll need to make sure you include the balance transfer fee. You’ll also need to be realistic. You’ll need to determine how a credit card balance transfer may fit in with your other obligations and financial goals.

Using your calculations (and an online credit card payment calculator, if necessary), you can figure out how much you can expect to save by using a balance transfer card instead of your existing credit card. If you’re trying to consolidate debt, you can also try crunching some numbers to see whether you’d save more money with a personal loan.

What to Do After Choosing a Balance Transfer Credit Card

After you’ve found a balance transfer credit card that you like, you’ll need to apply for the card. You can fill out an application online or make a phone call. You can also mail in a paper application if you’ve received one.

How quickly you can get approved for a balance transfer credit card will depend on your application method and the kind of credit card you’re applying for. If you respond to an instant approval credit card offer, you can get approved for a card within minutes of submitting an online application. Otherwise, it could take weeks for you to find out whether you’ll have access to a new credit card.

In the process of reviewing your credit card application, card issuers usually take multiple factors into account, including your credit score and your debt-to-credit ratio. They also review credit reports and look for red flags that might indicate that you’re a risky borrower. For example, the fact that you’ve completed multiple credit card applications within a short time span could make it more difficult for you to get approved for a new line of credit.

If your request for a new credit card is rejected, you may need to work on boosting your credit score for as many as six months. But if you’re approved for a balance transfer credit card, you’ll need to prepare to begin the process of transferring the balances from your other credit cards.

How the Credit Card Balance Transfer Process Works

You’ll need to take certain steps in order to transfer a credit card balance. Specifically, you’ll need to find the account number associated with the balance you’re transferring and decide how much money you want to transfer. Then, you can contact a representative from the company that issued your balance transfer credit card and formally request a balance transfer.

Once you’ve gotten the green light to initiate a balance transfer, your new credit card issuer will cover the amount you want to transfer by paying off that debt on your behalf. Compensating your original creditor for the debt you’re transferring and moving the balance to a new card normally takes about a week. But in some cases, the whole process can take as many as 14 days or as few as three days.

It’s important to note that you can’t make a balance transfer whenever you feel like it. Most credit card issuers expect their customers to complete their balance transfers within the first 30, 60 or 90 days of opening their new accounts. After you’re approved for a balance transfer credit card, you’ll want to contact your issuer as soon as possible and ask for a balance transfer.

One more thing to keep in mind is that you can’t transfer balances between two credit card accounts managed by the same creditor. The only way to transfer credit card debt is to move it to an account from a different issuer. You can transfer a balance more than once, however. Just be prepared to pay a balance transfer fee for each transaction.

How to Decide How Much Debt to Transfer

In order to make the most of your balance transfer credit card, you’ll need to be strategic. Transferring all of your credit card debt to your new card at one time could be a bad idea. Depending on how much debt you’re carrying, that might not even be possible, particularly if your balance transfer credit card doesn’t come with a high credit limit.

It’s probably best to transfer a small amount (i.e. less than $10,000). That way, paying off your debt won’t be difficult. If you make it a priority, you may be able to get rid of the debt you transferred to your balance transfer credit card within a few months.

What to Do After Transferring a Credit Card Balance

After your credit card issuer transfers your balance to your new credit card, it’s important to focus on paying off that debt as soon as possible. Assuming that your balance credit card comes with a 0% introductory rate, it’s in your best interest to try and pay off your debt in full before that period comes to an end. If your monthly payment is at least 60 days late, your credit card issuer might cancel your 0% interest offer. If that happens, you could be expected to start paying interest on the unpaid charges from your balance transfers during the next billing cycle.

You’ll also need to do whatever you can to avoid using your balance transfer credit card to make additional purchases. That’s not what it’s for!

What to Do If Your Balance Transfer Card’s Credit Limit Isn’t High Enough

What if you haven’t been able to transfer as much debt as you would like because your credit limit isn’t as high as it could be? There may be something you can do. For example, you can contact your credit card issuer and try to ask for a credit limit increase. The issuer may be willing to help you out if you explain that you’re trying to transfer your credit card balances and get out of debt.

Before asking for a higher credit limit, however, you’ll need to think about how that’ll affect your credit score. In some cases, a credit limit increase request can count as a hard inquiry. In other words, requesting a credit limit increase could cause your score to fall.

Of course, asking for access to additional credit isn’t a good move for everyone. If your credit score isn’t great, you may want to concentrate on improving your score. Making on-time payments every month and trying to pay your bill in full as often as possible can help.

If you have a good track record with your credit card issuer and the company recognizes that you’re a responsible borrower, it may automatically raise your credit limit. Unlike credit limit increase requests, automatic credit line increases are typically considered soft inquiries. While soft inquiries have no direct impact on your credit score, a voluntary boost in your credit line could improve your credit since it’ll likely cause your debt-to-credit ratio to drop.

Should You Close a Credit Card Account Following a Balance Transfer?

What about your old credit cards? Will you need to close those accounts after transferring your balances to your new credit card? That’s something you’ll need to decide for yourself. Canceling a credit card can reduce the number of bills you have to worry about paying. It can also prevent you from being tempted to overspend by limiting the amount of credit that’s available to you.

At the same time, closing one of your credit card accounts can do some serious damage to your credit score. That might happen if you have a few credit cards and high balances on each card. Closing one account and transferring your debt to a balance credit card account could raise your credit utilization ratio substantially. That could be a problem if you’re preparing to buy a house or take out a loan in the near future. Remember, the lower your credit score, the better your chances of qualifying for a low interest rate.

Final Thoughts

Balance transfer credit cards give consumers the chance to get their debt under control and potentially eliminate it for good. Knowing what to look for when comparing the best balance transfer credit cards is critical if you want to save as much money as possible.

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Those who live under a mountain of credit card debt quickly realize that their suffering has two components. First there is the principal, the actual amount of goods and services that was charged to their credit card. Secondly, there are the financing charges imposed each month on their balance. With each statement cycle, their average daily balance is multiplied by one twelfth of the card’s Annual Percentage Rate (APR). Therefore, if you owe $10,000 on a card with an APR of 12%, you are incurring $100 in interest each month. Due to the effect of compounding interest, the finance charges incurred each month add to your balance, resulting in more interest being accrued with each passing month.

How a Balance Transfer Works

To help relieve the burden of debt and acquire new customers, banks have long offered credit cards with a 0% promotional APR, for a limited time, on balance transfers. Applicants who qualify for a new card with these promotional rates can have their existing balance paid off by their new card. During the time that the 0% promotional rate applies, interest is not being accrued on the balance transferred; however, the amount transferred is almost always subject to a one-time balance transfer fee. This fee, typically 3%-5%, is added to the new balance. Also, cardholders are still responsible for making minimum payments on their account. New transactions may incur interest at the standard rate, although in some instances, the 0% promotional rate also applies to new purchases as well. Finally, no matter how much you are struggling with your debt, it is critical that you continue to make all of your payments on time, as only applicants with the excellent credit will qualify for most of these promotional credit card offers.

How to Save Money With a Balance Transfer

First, it is crucial that those seeking a balance transfer do so as part of a comprehensive plan to eliminate their credit card debt. Such a plan should focus on maximizing their income, minimizing their expenses, and regularly paying down their entire credit card balance before the promotional rate expires.

As part of an overall plan to eliminate debt, the benefits of a balance transfer are clear. For example, if a cardholder has an existing credit balance of $10,000 on a card with a 15% APR, that cardholder is currently accruing $125 in interest each month. If the cardholder continues to pay interest while reducing the balance by $500 each month, that person will still have accrued $1,250 of interest over the 20 months it took him to pay off the balance (15% interest applied to an average daily balance of $5,000 over 12 months). Alternatively, that person could accept a balance transfer offer of 21 months at 0% interest with a 3% balance transfer fee. In this case, that person’s old balance of $10,000 will be paid off, while they will incur a new balance of $10,000 plus $300 in balance transfer fees. If all goes according to plan, at the end of the 21 months, the new balance will be paid off and the cardholder will have saved nearly $1,000 in interest.

A 0% balance transfer is not an instant solution to the problem of credit card debt. You should think of these offers as a significant push up a big mountain, but you will still have to do most of the work yourself.

Top 0% Balance Transfer Cards on the Market

Like every aspect of the credit card industry, we are fortunate to enjoy an extremely competitive market for 0% balance transfer credit cards. None of these cards have annual fees. Here are the top offers currently available.

BankAmericard® credit card

The BankAmericard® credit card offers 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 billing cycles, one of the longest introductory periods currently offered by credit cards. This introductory rate applies to balance transfers made in the first 60 days of opening your account. After that, a standard APR for both purchases and balance transfers is 14.74% – 24.74% variable. There is a 3% balance transfer fee, minimum $10. There is no annual fee.

Citi Simplicity® Card – No Late Fees Ever

The Citi Simplicity® Card – No Late Fees Ever from our partner Citi offers an intro 0% APR for 18 months on both balance transfers and new purchases (that’s a long time). After that, the regular balance transfer APR will be 15.74%-25.74% (variable), depending on your credit. There is a $5 or 5% balance transfer fee (whichever is greater). Simplicity doesn’t have any cash back or points program, but it does offer no late fees or penalty interest rates, and include exclusive services like Citi Price Rewind. It also includes EMV Chip technology and is compatible with Apple Pay. There is no annual fee.

Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard®

The Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard® has a 0% intro APR for 12 months for balance transfers made within the first 45 days. After that, the APR of 13.74% (variable) will apply. The balance transfer fee is 3% ($5 minimum) for balances transferred within the first 45 days of account opening. There is no balance transfer fee for transfers posted to the account after 45 days of account opening. This card has no foreign transaction fees, and no annual fee. 

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card

The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card offers 0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases AND for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days, then, 14.99% – 24.99% Variable APR. 3% fee (min $10) applies to balance transfers. You can earn 3% cash back for gas is among the highest available, and 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (for the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter). There is no annual fee.

HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card

The HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card offers a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 18 months from account opening. Then a variable APR of 12.74%, 16.74% or 20.74% will apply. This card also has no penalty APR and a late fee waiver. There are also no foreign transaction fees and no annual fee.

Low Interest Credit Cards for Long Term Debt

Another option to save money if you have a large credit card debt is to transfer the balance(s) to a low interest credit card. This option is especially attractive if you won’t be able to pay off the entire balance within the 0% intro APR period of the cards above.

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