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Balance Transfer Credit Cards

Trying to manage debt? Try a balance transfer card. This card can help you pay down debt faster by letting you move an existing balance to a new card with lower interest. We analyzed over 1,000 balance transfer offers to find the best recommendations for you - compare the 10 best balance transfer offers from our partners below and see how much each card could help you save.

See the best balance transfer credit card offers from our partners below.

Estimated savings is based on on a total credit card transfer balance of $2,500, current APR of 15.00%, and a monthly repayment of $56.25 for the first 24 months.

Estimated Savings is a CreditCards.com calculation that is used to provide an example of how much you might save by transferring your balances to a new card after factoring in fees, length of promotional periods and interest charges. This amount is based on the transfer amount, assumes you make fixed monthly payments on time, and does not assume rewards or purchases, since those will vary per individual.

Discover it®

APPLY NOW

Intro Balance Transfer APR

0%

Intro Balance Transfer Period

18
months

Regular Balance Transfer APR

13.49% - 24.49%
variable

Estimated Savings

$439.58
?

Estimated Savings is a CreditCards.com calculation that is used to provide an example of how much you might save by transferring your balances to a new card after factoring in fees, length of promotional periods and interest charges. This amount is based on the transfer amount and does not assume rewards or purchases, since those will vary per individual.

Estimated savings are based on the following amounts: Transfer Amount: $2,500, Current APR: 15.00%, Monthly Repayment: $56.25, Savings Period: 24 mos.

Discover it®

(26,257 Reviews)

Intro Balance Transfer APR

0%

Intro Balance Transfer Period

18
months

Regular Balance Transfer APR

13.49% - 24.49%
variable

Estimated Savings

$439.58

Card Details

  • Intro Offer: Discover will match all the cash back earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate.
  • Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • 100% U.S. based customer service.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Receive Free Social Security number alerts— Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
  • No annual fee.

Recommended Credit Score

740 850
Excellent

Rates & Fees

Annual Fee $0
Purchase Intro APR 0% for 6 months
Regular APR 13.49% - 24.49% Variable
Balance Transfers Intro APR 0% for 18 months
Balance Transfer Fee 3%
View More Details

at Discover's
secure site

See Rates & fees
Chase Slate®

APPLY NOW

Intro Balance Transfer APR

0%

Intro Balance Transfer Period

15
months

Regular Balance Transfer APR

16.49% - 25.24%
variable

Estimated Savings

$268.04
?

Estimated Savings is a CreditCards.com calculation that is used to provide an example of how much you might save by transferring your balances to a new card after factoring in fees, length of promotional periods and interest charges. This amount is based on the transfer amount and does not assume rewards or purchases, since those will vary per individual.

Estimated savings are based on the following amounts: Transfer Amount: $2,500, Current APR: 15.00%, Monthly Repayment: $56.25, Savings Period: 24 mos.

Chase Slate®

(6,032 Reviews)

Intro Balance Transfer APR

0%

Intro Balance Transfer Period

15
months

Regular Balance Transfer APR

16.49% - 25.24%
variable

Estimated Savings

$268.04

Card Details

  • $0 Intro balance transfer fee for the first 60 days your account is open. After that, the fee for future transactions is 5% of the amount transferred with a minimum of $5.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After that, 16.49% - 25.24% variable APR.
  • See monthly updates to your FICO® Score and the reasons behind your score for free
  • No Penalty APR - Paying late won't raise your interest rate (APR). All other account pricing and terms apply
  • $0 Annual Fee

Recommended Credit Score

670 850
Good to Excellent

Rates & Fees

Annual Fee $0
Purchase Intro APR 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
Regular APR 16.49% - 25.24% Variable
Balance Transfers Intro APR 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

Features

EMV
No Annual Fee
0% Introductory APR
Free Credit Score
Auto Rental Insurance
Extended Warranty Program
Purchase Protection
Price Protection
Roadside Assistance
Travel Accident Insurance
Travel Assistance
Zero Fraud Liability
Mobile Pay Ready
View More Details

at Chase's
secure site

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

APPLY NOW

Intro Balance Transfer APR

0%

Intro Balance Transfer Period

15
months

Regular Balance Transfer APR

14.49% - 25.49%
variable

Estimated Savings

N/A

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Intro Balance Transfer APR

0%

Intro Balance Transfer Period

15
months

Regular Balance Transfer APR

14.49% - 25.49%
variable

Estimated Savings

N/A

Card Details

  • $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%).
  • 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores, 1% back on other purchases.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.49% to 25.49%.
  • Over 1.5 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2017.
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, and merchandise.
  • No annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Recommended Credit Score

670 850
Good to Excellent

Rates & Fees

Annual Fee $0
Purchase Intro APR 0% on Purchases for 15 months
Regular APR 14.49%-25.49% Variable
Balance Transfers Intro APR 0% on Balance Transfers for 15 months
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

Features

EMV
No Annual Fee
0% Introductory APR
Free Credit Score
Auto Rental Insurance
Extended Warranty Program
Purchase Protection
Roadside Assistance
Travel Accident Insurance
Travel Assistance
Zero Fraud Liability
Mobile Pay Ready
Presale Tickets
View More Details

at American Express's
secure site

See Rates & fees
Terms Apply
Citi® Double Cash Card

APPLY NOW

Intro Balance Transfer APR

0%

Intro Balance Transfer Period

18
months

Regular Balance Transfer APR

14.99% - 24.99%
variable

Estimated Savings

$431.85
?

Estimated Savings is a CreditCards.com calculation that is used to provide an example of how much you might save by transferring your balances to a new card after factoring in fees, length of promotional periods and interest charges. This amount is based on the transfer amount and does not assume rewards or purchases, since those will vary per individual.

Estimated savings are based on the following amounts: Transfer Amount: $2,500, Current APR: 15.00%, Monthly Repayment: $56.25, Savings Period: 24 mos., with the Intro Balance Transfer Period at the Intro Balance Transfer APR rate, plus any remaining months at the Regular APR.

Citi® Double Cash Card

Intro Balance Transfer APR

0%

Intro Balance Transfer Period

18
months

Regular Balance Transfer APR

14.99% - 24.99%
variable

Estimated Savings

$431.85

Card Details

  • Earn cash back twice on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back
  • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 14.99% - 24.99% based on your creditworthiness*
  • Click 'Apply Now' to see the applicable balance transfer fee and how making a balance transfer impacts interest on purchases.
  • No categories to track, no caps on cash back, no annual fee*

Recommended Credit Score

670 850
Good to Excellent

Rates & Fees

Annual Fee $0*
Purchase Intro APR N/A
Regular APR 14.99% - 24.99%* (Variable)
Balance Transfers Intro APR 0% for 18 months*
Balance Transfer Fee 3% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.

Features

EMV
No Annual Fee
Free Credit Score
Auto Rental Insurance
Extended Warranty Program
Purchase Protection
Price Protection
Travel Accident Insurance
Trip Cancellation Insurance
Zero Fraud Liability
Mobile Pay Ready
Presale Tickets
View More Details

at Citi's
secure site

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express

APPLY NOW

Intro Balance Transfer APR

0%

Intro Balance Transfer Period

15
months

Regular Balance Transfer APR

14.49% - 25.49%
variable

Estimated Savings

N/A

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express

Intro Balance Transfer APR

0%

Intro Balance Transfer Period

15
months

Regular Balance Transfer APR

14.49% - 25.49%
variable

Estimated Savings

N/A

Card Details

  • Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.49% to 25.49%.
  • $0 balance transfer fee. Balance transfers must be requested within 60 days from account opening.
  • 2x points at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1x); 1x points on other purchases.
  • Use your Card 20 or more times on purchases in a billing period and earn 20% more points on those purchases less returns and credits.
  • Over 1.5 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2017.
  • No annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Recommended Credit Score

670 850
Good to Excellent

Rates & Fees

Annual Fee $0
Purchase Intro APR 0% on purchases for 15 months
Regular APR 14.49%-25.49% Variable
Balance Transfers Intro APR 0% on balance transfers for 15 months
Balance Transfer Fee $0

Features

EMV
No Annual Fee
0% Introductory APR
Free Credit Score
Auto Rental Insurance
Extended Warranty Program
Purchase Protection
Zero Fraud Liability
Mobile Pay Ready
Presale Tickets
View More Details

at American Express's
secure site

See Rates & fees
Terms Apply
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

APPLY NOW

Intro Balance Transfer APR

0%

Intro Balance Transfer Period

9
months

Regular Balance Transfer APR

14.49% - 24.49%
variable

Estimated Savings

N/A
?

Estimated Savings is a CreditCards.com calculation that is used to provide an example of how much you might save by transferring your balances to a new card after factoring in fees, length of promotional periods and interest charges. This amount is based on the transfer amount and does not assume rewards or purchases, since those will vary per individual.

Estimated savings are based on the following amounts: Transfer Amount: $2,500, Current APR: 15.00%, Monthly Repayment: $56.25, Savings Period: 24 mos.

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Intro Balance Transfer APR

0%

Intro Balance Transfer Period

9
months

Regular Balance Transfer APR

14.49% - 24.49%
variable

Estimated Savings

N/A

Card Details

  • One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 9 months; 14.49%-24.49% variable APR after that
  • Balance transfers also have a 0% intro APR for 9 months; 14.49%-24.49% variable APR after that; a 3% fee applies to each balance transferred
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees

Recommended Credit Score

740 850
Excellent

Rates & Fees

Annual Fee $0
Purchase Intro APR 0% intro on purchases for 9 months
Regular APR 14.49% - 24.49% (Variable)
Balance Transfers Intro APR 0% intro on balance transfers for 9 months
Balance Transfer Fee N/A
View More Details

at Capital One's
secure site

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

APPLY NOW

Intro Balance Transfer APR

0%

Intro Balance Transfer Period

15
months

Regular Balance Transfer APR

16.49% - 25.24%
variable

Estimated Savings

$268.04
?

Estimated Savings is a CreditCards.com calculation that is used to provide an example of how much you might save by transferring your balances to a new card after factoring in fees, length of promotional periods and interest charges. This amount is based on the transfer amount and does not assume rewards or purchases, since those will vary per individual.

Estimated savings are based on the following amounts: Transfer Amount: $2,500, Current APR: 15.00%, Monthly Repayment: $56.25, Savings Period: 24 mos.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

(9,179 Reviews)

Intro Balance Transfer APR

0%

Intro Balance Transfer Period

15
months

Regular Balance Transfer APR

16.49% - 25.24%
variable

Estimated Savings

$268.04

Card Details

  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase — it's automatic
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.49-25.24%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
  • No annual fee

Recommended Credit Score

670 850
Good to Excellent

Rates & Fees

Annual Fee $0
Purchase Intro APR 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
Regular APR 16.49% - 25.24% Variable
Balance Transfers Intro APR 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater

Features

EMV
No Annual Fee
0% Introductory APR
Concierge Service
Extended Warranty Program
Purchase Protection
Travel Accident Insurance
Zero Fraud Liability
Mobile Pay Ready
Visa Signature®
View More Details

at Chase's
secure site

Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Card

APPLY NOW

Intro Balance Transfer APR

0%

Intro Balance Transfer Period

15
months

Regular Balance Transfer APR

16.65% - 26.49%
variable

Estimated Savings

$258.49
?

Estimated Savings is a CreditCards.com calculation that is used to provide an example of how much you might save by transferring your balances to a new card after factoring in fees, length of promotional periods and interest charges. This amount is based on the transfer amount and does not assume rewards or purchases, since those will vary per individual.

Estimated savings are based on the following amounts: Transfer Amount: $2,500, Current APR: 15.00%, Monthly Repayment: $56.25, Savings Period: 24 mos.

Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Card

Intro Balance Transfer APR

0%

Intro Balance Transfer Period

15
months

Regular Balance Transfer APR

16.65% - 26.49%
variable

Estimated Savings

$258.49

Card Details

  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a 16.65%-26.49% variable APR; balance transfer fees apply
  • Get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Card
  • Free access to your FICO® Credit Score with Wells Fargo Online®
  • Zero Liability protection for promptly reported unauthorized transactions
  • Convenient tools to help create a budget and manage your spending with My Money Map
  • $0 Annual Fee
  • Select "Apply Now" to learn more about the product features, terms, and conditions

Recommended Credit Score

670 850
Good to Excellent

Rates & Fees

Annual Fee $0
Purchase Intro APR 0% for 15 months
Regular APR 16.65%-26.49% (Variable)
Balance Transfers Intro APR 0% for 15 months
Balance Transfer Fee 3% Intro for 15 months, then 5%

Features

EMV
No Annual Fee
0% Introductory APR
Free Credit Score
Auto Rental Insurance
Roadside Assistance
Travel Accident Insurance
Travel Assistance
Zero Fraud Liability
Mobile Pay Ready
Cellphone Insurance
View More Details

at Wells Fargo's
secure site

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card

APPLY NOW

Intro Balance Transfer APR

0%

Intro Balance Transfer Period

15
months

Regular Balance Transfer APR

14.99% - 24.99%
variable

Estimated Savings

$337.83
?

Estimated Savings is a CreditCards.com calculation that is used to provide an example of how much you might save by transferring your balances to a new card after factoring in fees, length of promotional periods and interest charges. This amount is based on the transfer amount and does not assume rewards or purchases, since those will vary per individual.

Estimated savings are based on the following amounts: Transfer Amount: $2,500, Current APR: 15.00%, Monthly Repayment: $56.25, Savings Period: 24 mos., with the Intro Balance Transfer Period at the Intro Balance Transfer APR rate, plus any remaining months at the Regular APR.

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card

Intro Balance Transfer APR

0%

Intro Balance Transfer Period

15
months

Regular Balance Transfer APR

14.99% - 24.99%
variable

Estimated Savings

$337.83

Card Details

  • Enjoy 0% Intro APR on purchases for 15 months from date of account opening and 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months from date of first transfer*
  • After that, the variable APR will be 14.99% - 24.99% based upon your creditworthiness*
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater*
  • Earn 2X Points on Dining Out & Entertainment
  • Earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases
  • Points are redeemable for gift cards to popular retailers, restaurants, and department and home stores. 2,500 ThankYou® Points can be redeemed for a $25 gift card at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No annual fee*

Recommended Credit Score

740 850
Excellent

Rates & Fees

Annual Fee $0*
Purchase Intro APR 0%* for 15 months on Purchases
Regular APR 14.99% - 24.99%* (Variable)
Balance Transfers Intro APR 0%* for 15 months on Balance Transfers
Balance Transfer Fee 3% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.

Features

EMV
No Annual Fee
0% Introductory APR
Free Credit Score
Auto Rental Insurance
Concierge Service
Extended Warranty Program
Lost Luggage Reimbursement
Purchase Protection
Price Protection
Travel Accident Insurance
Trip Cancellation Insurance
Zero Fraud Liability
Mobile Pay Ready
MasterCard World
Presale Tickets
View More Details

at Citi's
secure site

Chase Freedom®

APPLY NOW

Intro Balance Transfer APR

0%

Intro Balance Transfer Period

15
months

Regular Balance Transfer APR

16.49% - 25.24%
variable

Estimated Savings

$268.04
?

Estimated Savings is a CreditCards.com calculation that is used to provide an example of how much you might save by transferring your balances to a new card after factoring in fees, length of promotional periods and interest charges. This amount is based on the transfer amount and does not assume rewards or purchases, since those will vary per individual.

Estimated savings are based on the following amounts: Transfer Amount: $2,500, Current APR: 15.00%, Monthly Repayment: $56.25, Savings Period: 24 mos.

Chase Freedom®

(14,163 Reviews)

Intro Balance Transfer APR

0%

Intro Balance Transfer Period

15
months

Regular Balance Transfer APR

16.49% - 25.24%
variable

Estimated Savings

$268.04

Card Details

  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.49-25.24%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
  • No annual fee

Recommended Credit Score

670 850
Good to Excellent

Rates & Fees

Annual Fee $0
Purchase Intro APR 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
Regular APR 16.49% - 25.24% Variable
Balance Transfers Intro APR 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater

Features

EMV
No Annual Fee
0% Introductory APR
Auto Rental Insurance
Concierge Service
Extended Warranty Program
Lost Luggage Reimbursement
Purchase Protection
Price Protection
Roadside Assistance
Travel Accident Insurance
Travel Assistance
Trip Cancellation Insurance
Zero Fraud Liability
Mobile Pay Ready
Visa Signature®
View More Details

at Chase's
secure site

Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by CreditCards.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the bank's website for the most current information.

Comparing Balance Transfer Credit Card Offers

Updated: April 19, 2018

You might want to consolidate your debt. Or perhaps you want to stop paying prohibitive interest charges. There are a number of reasons for obtaining a balance transfer, all excellent ways to save money and improve your budgeting skills.

However, it’s important to learn from your mistakes, and recognize what got you in the financial straits you are in in the first place. That means start a budget that includes room for fun and saving.

Ready for a balance transfer card? Here, we look at:

Not sure what the pitfalls are? Want to know more about how to use a balance transfer card? We can help.


CreditCards.com's Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards of 2018

We analyzed over 1,000 credit cards with a balance transfer promotion to get to our top picks. Of these cards, the Discover it® card offers one of the highest estimated savings at $439.58. The Discover it® and Citi® Double Cash both offer an intro 0% APR period of 18 months.

Research methodology: how we got to our top picks

Balance transfer credit cards analyzed: 1,002

Criteria used: 0% intro APR period for balance transfers, balance transfer fees, regular APR, savings period, current APR assumption, monthly payment assumption, other rates and fees, customer service, credit needed, security, ease of application, potential rewards, miscellaneous benefits

Details on our picks for the best balance transfer cards

Discover it®

The Discover it card is great for balance transfers - you get 18 months of no interest, no annual fee, and after you pay off your balance, you can use the card to earn valuable cash back rewards on rotating categories each quarter.

From Rebecca Lake (personal finance journalist): "If you’re looking for a balance transfer card that blends a generous introductory APR period with cash rewards, Discover it is a standout choice."

Highlights

  • Long intro balance transfer period
  • Low regular APR
  • Cash back rewards

Chase Slate®

Although the Chase Slate has a shorter intro BT period than the Discover it, this card has no balance transfer fee in the first 60 days of opening your account, which is a huge plus if you need to transfer a large amount to pay off.

From Matt Schulz (senior industry analyst at CreditCards.com): "What sets the Slate by Chase card apart is the ability to avoid paying a balance transfer fee. Other cards offer longer zero-percent introductory periods, but having no balance transfer fee is a big deal, so Slate is my pick."

Highlights

  • Medium intro balance transfer period
  • No penalty APR for paying late
  • No balance transfer fee in the first 60 days

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

The Amex BCE is a solid balance transfer card if you're looking to pay off a small or medium sized balance, but also looking for a card that can earn you rewards in the long term. The intro BT period is 15 months, it has a 3% fee for balance transfers, and good cash back rates at U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations.

Highlights

  • Medium intro balance transfer period
  • Low regular APR
  • Valuable cash back rewards

Citi® Double Cash Card

Typically known as a great cash back card, the Citi Double Cash is also good for balance transfers because of its long 18 month intro period with no interest. The regular APR is fairly low if you need to carry a balance past the first 18 months, it has no annual fee, and 2% total cash back (1% when you buy, and 1% when you pay your bill).

Highlights

  • Long intro balance transfer period
  • Low regular APR
  • Good rewards

The Amex Everyday® Credit Card from American Express

This is easily American Express's best balance transfer card. It has a 15 month intro no interest period for balance transfers, a fairly low regular APR, and best of all - no BT fee. The Amex Everyday is also one of the only balance transfer cards with a sign-up bonus (10,000 Membership Rewards points with $1,000 of spend in first 3 months).

Highlights

  • No balance transfer fee
  • Medium intro balance transfer fee
  • Sign-up bonus

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

The Quicksilver is good for someone who needs to make a small balance transfer that they are able to pay off in less than a year, but also wants to earn rewards when they spend with the card.

Highlights

  • 1.5% cash back on everything
  • Short intro balance transfer period (9 months)
  • No annual fee

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Although the Chase Freedom Unlimited has a high balance transfer fee of 5%, it has a decent intro BT period of 15 months. Get this card if you're looking for a good long-term rewards card, but need to use it for a small balance transfer when you get it.

Highlights

  • Medium intro balance transfer period
  • High BT fee
  • Also has a 15-month 0% intro APR for purchases

Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Card

With similar balance transfer benefits to the Chase Freedom Unlimited, the Wells Fargo Platinum Visa is a decent balance transfer card for people who are just getting started with their credit profile or have average credit.

Highlights

  • Medium 0% APR intro period for balance transfers and purchases
  • Standard BT fee for first 15 months (3%)
  • Good cell phone protection service

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card

The ThankYou® Preferred Card is good for people who want points rewards after paying off a balance transfer. This card has some pretty standard features for balance transfers, including a 15-month 0% intro period, 3% BT fee, and pretty average regular APR.

Highlights

  • Medium intro balance transfer period
  • 2x points on dining and entertainment
  • Standard balance transfer fee

Chase Freedom®

The Chase Freedom boasts a solid 15-month 0% intro APR period for balance transfers and has a good cash back rewards program for people who want to keep the card around after their balance transfer.

Highlights

  • Medium intro balanace transfer period
  • High BT fee (5%)
  • Sign-up bonus

What are balance transfer credit cards and how do they work?

Balance transfer cards are credit cards that allow you to move debt from one card to another – essentially paying off credit card “A” with new credit card “B.” Typically, a person will transfer his or her balance to a card with a lower interest rate, allowing them to save money on monthly payments or pay off the balance more quickly. For example, if you’re paying 12 percent interest on a $3,000 debt, you will have to pay $560 per month for six months to pay off the balance. If you transfer that $3,000 balance to a card that doesn’t charge interest for the first six months, your payments will be $500 – for a savings of $60 each month.

While many credit cards offer a balance transfer option, only select cards offer an interest-free introductory period and/or waive balance transfer fees. According to CreditCards.com’s 2017 balance transfer survey, 38 out of the 100 cards polled offered a 0 percent interest rate on balance transfers. This teaser rate is usually offered for a promotional time period which ranges anywhere from six to 21 months, depending on the card.

For example, one card offers a 0 percent introductory APR on balance transfers for 15 months and does not charge a balance transfer fee if the transfer is made within 60 days of opening an account.

Cards that don’t waive the balance transfer fee generally charge 3 to 5 percent of each transfer with a minimum of $5 or $10.

Balance transfers are not limited to credit cards. Some cards also allow you to transfer debt from student loans and other installment payments, such as appliance purchases.

How do they work?

Once you sign up for a balance transfer card, you can request to transfer a card balance onto the new card either online or by calling customer service. You will be required to provide a few key details, including the account number of the old card and the amount you want to transfer. After receiving this information, the credit card company will evaluate your request and, based on your credit limit or other factors, may approve you for all or part of the requested transfer amount.

The new credit card issuer will contact the old issuer to transfer the balance. During this time – which may take up to three weeks – you should continue making payments on the old card account to avoid possible penalties.

How does a balance transfer credit card save you money?

A card with a 0-percent introductory APR can help you save money by sparing you interest payments for a limited time and allowing you to pay down your debt faster.

For example, let’s say you are currently carrying a $5,000 balance on a credit card with an 18 percent APR and you want to transfer it to the Chase Slate card – which doesn’t charge a fee for balances transferred within 60 days of account opening – and offers a 0-percent intro APR on balance transfers for the first 15 months (then 16.24% - 24.99% Variable).

If you made a monthly payment of $333 to the Chase Slate card, you could fully pay it off in 15 months, owing no fees or interest.

In comparison, if you kept the $5,000 balance on the original card and made the same monthly payment, it would take 18 months to pay off and would cost you $633 in interest. In other words, you would save over $600 in interest by transferring your debt to the Chase Slate card in this scenario.

Interest and fees owed on a $5,000 balance
Sample card
(18% APR)
Chase Slate card
(0% intro APR on balance transfer for 15 months (then 16.25% - 24.99% Variable), $0 intro balance transfer fee if made within 60 days of account opening)
Monthly payment = $333
Time to pay off balance = 18 months
Total interest = $633
Monthly payment = $333
Time to pay off balance = 15 months
Total interest = $0

How to compare two balance transfer cards

When comparing balance transfer cards, your gut may tell you to choose the card with the longest introductory period. You’re not entirely wrong, but there’s another very important consideration: The balance transfer fee. Most balance transfer cards charge a 3 to 5 percent fee to transfer a balance, which can add up to $100 or more in fees if you have a large balance to transfer.

There are a few cards – such as the Chase Slate card – that don’t charge a fee for your initial balance transfer within 60 days of account opening. So, which is a better way to go? A no-fee balance transfer offer, or a card with an especially long introductory period? Most of the time, the no-fee card wins out. Here’s the math to help you decide:

Step 1: Figure out your payment terms

Before you start comparing balance transfer cards, you need to figure out the following:

  • What size balance do you want to transfer? – What is the total existing balance that you want to transfer from your existing cards to your new card? (Keep in mind that your new card will come with a credit limit that may restrict the amount that you’re able to transfer.)
  • How much can you afford to pay each month? – How much can you reasonably afford to pay on the balance each month? While it’s a good idea to pay down your debt as quickly as possible, you should come up with a manageable amount.

Step 2: Calculate fees and interest

Once you know the size of the balance transfer and the installment amount, you need to calculate the fees and interest for each card. Basically, you need to calculate how much of a balance remains for each card once the introductory period expires (don’t forget to add the card’s balance transfer fee to the initial balance), and then calculate the interest that you will owe each month until the balance is paid off.

To calculate the monthly interest rate, you will have to estimate the card’s APR by looking at the card’s APR range and guessing where you might fall within that range, and then divide that APR by 12.

For example, in the table below, we show the interest and fees paid on a $5,000 balance transfer with an 18-month 0-percent introductory APR, 3 percent balance transfer fee and regular APR of 18.74 percent. You would pay a $150 balance transfer fee up front. It would take 21 months to pay the balance in full, resulting in $19.14 in interest payments. Your total paid, including the balance transfer fee and interest payments, would come to $5,169.14.

Payment schedule for $5,000 balance
(0% APR for 18 months, 18.74% APR for 3 months, 3% balance transfer fee)
Month 1 (0% APR)$5,000 + (3% x $5,000) - $250$4,900$150
Month 2 (0% APR)$4,900 - $250$4,650$0
Month 3 (0% APR)$4,650 - $250$4,400$0
Month 4 (0% APR)$4,400 - $250$4,150$0
Month 5 (0% APR)$4,150 - $250$3,900$0
Month 6 (0% APR)$3,900 - $250$3,650$0
Month 7 (0% APR)$3,650 - $250$3,400$0
Month 8 (0% APR)$3,400 - $250$3,150$0
Month 9 (0% APR)$3,150 - $250$2,900$0
Month 10 (0% APR)$2,900 - $250$2,650$0
Month 11 (0% APR)$2,650 - $250$2,400$0
Month 12 (0% APR)$2,400 - $250$2,150$0
Month 13 (0% APR)$2,150 - $250$1,900$0
Month 14 (0% APR)$1,900 - $250$1,650$0
Month 15 (0% APR)$1,650 - $250$1,400$0
Month 16 (0% APR)$1,400 - $250$1,150$0
Month 17 (0% APR)$1,150 - $250$900$0
Month 18 (0% APR)$900 - $250$650$0
Month 19 (0% APR)$650 + ($650 x 1.56%) - $250$410.14$10.14
Month 20 (0% APR)$410.14 + ($410.14 x 1.56%) - $250$166.54$6.40
Month 21 (0% APR)$166.54 + ($166.54 x 1.56%) - $169.14$0$2.60
Total paid (including fees and interest) = $5,169.14

Step 3: Compare fees and interest on each card

Using the same balance transfer amount and installment payment, calculate the fees and interest for both cards, then compare the amounts side by side.

For example, in the table below, we compare the costs of transferring a $5,000 balance to the Discover it card and the Chase Slate cards with a repayment period of 21 months. Even though the introductory period on the Chase Slate card is shorter, you would save more than $100 with it in this scenario, due to its waived balance transfer fee.

Cost of a $5,000 balance transfer over 21 months
Discover it card
(0% intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers (then 13.49% - 24.49% Variable), 3% balance transfer fee)
Chase Slate card
(0% intro APR on balance transfer for 15 months (then 16.25% - 24.99% Variable), $0 intro balance transfer fee if made within 60 days of account opening)
Monthly payment = $250
3 months interest (18.74% APR) = $19.14
Balance transfer fee = $150
Total paid = $5,169.14
Monthly payment = $250
6 months interest (18.74% APR) = $61.93
Balance transfer fee = $0
Total paid = $5,061.93

Step 4: Compare the cards’ remaining features

Finding the card that will cost you the least to pay down your balance should be your first priority. However, if all else is equal between the cards, you should look at remaining features on the cards to see if either is worth holding onto in the long run. For instance, the Discover it card from our example has a very valuable cash back program. You can enroll every quarter to earn 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases made in various categories throughout the year.

How to perform a balance transfer

If you’re considering a balance transfer card, may be wondering how much work goes into moving the balance from one card to another. Overall, the process is relatively simple on the end of the cardholder. Here are the steps you should follow:

  • Apply for a balance transfer card – Before choosing a card, check out our balance transfer calculator, which factors in fees and interest rates to determine how much you’ll save by transferring your existing balance to a different card. Once you find the balance transfer card that best suits you, complete the card application.
  • Collect your information – Next, gather the account details for the card that has the debt – referred to as the “transfer from” card – including the account number and card balance.
  • Contact customer service – After receiving your balance transfer card, call customer service and inform them that you want to transfer a balance onto your new card. Once you provide them with the necessary information, they will reach out to the old card company and move the requested amount onto your new card. Many cards also allow you to make balance transfers through your online account.

Balances can take up to three weeks to transfer, so we recommend that you pay the minimum amount on your card before transferring the debt to avoid late fees and other penalties. Also, be sure to transfer your balance before the card’s introductory offer ends.

Pros and cons of balance transfer credit cards

While there are several benefits to using a balance transfer card, there are also drawbacks. Here are a few pros and cons of using a balance transfer card.

Pros

  • Avoid paying interest on old debt – By transferring your current credit card debt to a card with a 0-percent interest rate on balance transfers, you can pay off your debt without incurring interest charges.
  • Consolidate monthly payments – Instead of keeping track of several card balances and different payment due dates each month, you can streamline your payments by transferring debt from multiple cards to a single card.
  • Save money on interest - You can save money on interest and pay off your debt faster when you transfer your balance from a high-interest card to one with a lower rate.
  • Transfer non-credit card debt – Balance transfers are not limited to credit card debt. You may also be able to transfer car loans and monthly installment payments from appliances, furniture and more.

Cons

  • Possible negative impact on your credit score – While transferring a balance won’t necessarily affect your credit score, applying for a new balance transfer card will. The factors that may have a negative impact on your credit score are the hard inquiry, opening the account and card utilization.
  • Additional fees – Many balance transfer cards charge balance transfer fees, typically ranging from 3 to 5 percent per transfer. Out of the 100 credit cards polled in our annual balance transfer survey, 91 cards charged a balance transfer fee.
  • Exposure to more debt – Once you transfer your balance to a new card, you may be tempted to continue racking up debt on your old credit card.
  • You may get a higher interest rate – If you don’t have excellent credit, you typically won’t be approved for promotional interest rates. Instead, you will only qualify for the regular, higher interest rates.

Effect on credit

A balance transfer can save you money in the short term, but it can also impact your credit score. For example, performing too many balance transfers can appear to creditors that you are simply shuffling high-interest debts to lower interest cards instead of paying off your balances quickly.

Here are a few ways that a balance transfer can negatively impact your credit score:

Hard inquiry

If you apply for a balance transfer card, or any type of loan, a hard inquiry will appear on your credit report. A hard inquiry indicates that a lender has reviewed your credit because you have applied to borrow from them. Because a hard inquiry typically drops your credit score between five and 10 points each time you apply for a new loan, it is important to avoid applying for several loans within a brief period.

Length of credit history

The length of your credit history accounts for approximately 15 percent of your credit score. Two scoring factors that can be hurt by opening a new balance transfer card are the average account age, which can be affected by introducing a new card, and the age of the newest account, which gets younger each time a new account is opened.

Credit card utilization

In terms of credit scoring, credit card utilization is the second most important factor after paying your bill on time. Essentially, your card utilization ratio compares the amount of debt you’re using to the total credit available to you. The lower your utilization ratio, the better.

Because the amount of overall debt does not change when you move your balance from one card to another card, you probably wouldn’t expect a balance transfer to affect your utilization ratio. On the contrary, a transfer could raise your utilization on the receiving end of the transfer, and having just one highly utilized card can have a negative impact on your credit score.

Are credit card balance transfers a good idea?

If you qualify for a balance transfer card with a lower interest rate than your current card, then transferring your balance could be a good idea.

But before deciding if a balance transfer card is a good idea, here are a few things to consider:

Can you pay off your current balance quickly?

If you can pay your current balance off in six months or less, transferring your debt may not be worth it. While there are select cards that don’t have balance transfer fees, most cards charge between 3 and 5 percent each time you transfer a balance. These fees can easily outweigh the savings you would receive in interest.

Do you have excellent credit?

If your credit score is below 720, you most likely will not be approved for a low interest balance transfer offer or a 0 percent introductory offer. Remember: The main reason to transfer your balance to a different card is to get a lower interest rate.

Are you a responsible cardholder?

If you have a difficult time making credit card payments on time, you should think twice about getting a balance transfer card. In addition to racking up expensive late fees, issuers will typically cancel any promotional interest rate offers if you pay your bill late – meaning, you could be responsible for high interest payments right away.

How to choose the right balance transfer card

In general, you want to choose the card that will minimize your costs in transferring and paying off a balance. You also want to look for a card that’s not going to hassle you with a lot of restrictions, and – when all else is equal – might be worth keeping in the long run. Here’s a list of criteria you should use in selecting a balance transfer card:

Do you qualify for the card?

If you are in debt, your credit score may already be lower than usual, so you need to be especially careful in applying for a credit card. Applying for a card can temporarily lower your credit score due the hard inquiry generated on your credit report. If you are rejected by a card, it makes it even harder to qualify for others. Make sure your FICO score is high enough to qualify for a card before you apply.

Is it a true 0-percent APR card?

Be on the lookout for cards with deferred interest deals. Deferred interest means that -- if you don’t repay every last cent of your balance by the end of the introductory period -- you will owe interest for all of the preceding months. A true 0-percent balance transfer card does not charge interest during the introductory period (as long as you make your monthly payments on time), even if you are still carrying a balance at the end of the introductory period.

How long is the introductory period?

The introductory period is the length of time that the card offers a 0-percent APR on balance transfers (and new purchases, depending on the card). The length of the introductory period can vary drastically. According to our recent balance transfer survey, the average promotional period lasts 12 months, but you can find offers as short as six months or as long as 21 months . Generally, you want to shoot for the longest promotional period, but there’s another very important consideration:

What is the balance transfer fee?

Just because it says “0-percent” doesn’t mean a balance transfer doesn’t come with costs. Most balance transfer cards charge a 3 and 5 percent fee, which can really add up if you are transferring thousands of dollars. You will find a few cards – such as the Chase Slate card – that don’t charge a balance transfer fee. Cards without balance transfer fees are rare (only 9 out of the 38 cards in our balance transfer survey), but keep a lookout for them – transferring a balance to a card without a fee could save you more money than transferring a balance to a card with a longer introductory period.

What is the regular APR?

Behind a 0-percent introductory offer often lies a very pricey regular APR. Make sure you know exactly how much you are going to be paying in interest once the introductory period expires, so you aren’t caught off card. And keep an eye out for low-interest-rate cards that offer a reasonable APR in combination with a 0-percent introductory APR.

Is there a 0-percent APR on new purchases?

Some cards offer a combination of a 0-percent APR on balance transfers and new purchases. We don’t recommend using your card for new purchases until you’ve paid down your balance, but a card with a 0-percent APR can be useful if you have to use your new card in a bind – at least you won’t incur interest on that new balance.

Is there an annual fee?

Some balance transfer cards include an annual membership fee – try to avoid any cards with annual fees until you’ve dug yourself out of debt.

What is the penalty for missing a payment?

Take a careful look at the card’s terms and conditions to see what’s in store if you send a payment past the due date or completely miss a payment. Possible penalties can include losing your 0-percent introductory APR (even for paying just a day late), penalty fees and interest and penalty APRs of nearly 30 percent. You should opt for a card with more forgiving terms.

What are the other features? Is there a rewards program?

Since you shouldn’t be making new purchases with a balance transfer card, rewards programs shouldn’t be your primary concern. But they’re a nice-to-have in case you want to keep the card in the long run, along with other card benefits such as purchase and travel protections.

Read all the fine print

A misstep with a balance transfer card can be costly, so you should familiarize yourself with all the restrictions in the card’s terms and conditions. Other things to consider: how long do you have to transfer a balance at 0-percent and/or with the balance transfer fee waived? Is there a grace period for new balances? Are there other unexpected fees or penalties? Make sure there’s nothing in the fine print that could catch you off guard.

How to use a balance transfer card

Balance transfer cards can be an excellent savings tool, but they also tend to carry high APRs, which can be a pitfall if you aren’t diligent in paying down your balance. Here are a few tips to keep you from digging yourself into more debt:

Figure out the best amount to transfer

Usually it makes sense to transfer as much of your debt as possible onto a 0-percent card to minimize your interest payments – but not always. Balance transfer cards usually carry higher-than-average APRs and – if you can’t repay the balance before the introductory period – it could potentially cost you more in interest rates and fees than if you leave the balance where it is. If your current account has a lower interest rate, you should do some math to figure out whether transferring all of your balance or just a portion of it will cost less.

Create a plan to pay off your balance

You’re not off the hook once you’ve transferred your balance – you need to pay it off in a timely manner so you don’t end up racking up a ton of interest on it. Have a plan in place that includes monthly installment payments before you do the transfer.

Pay your bill on time

Be sure to send your payment by the due date to avoid penalty fees. In fact, check the card’s terms and conditions, because making a payment even a day late may result in you losing your 0-percent introductory rate. Set up an automatic payment through your bank and schedule it a few days before your due date to be on the safe side.

Try to pay it off before the introductory period expires

You should try to pay off your balance before the regular APR kicks in. However, you should also take into account balances on other cards. You may want to focus on paying down accounts with higher interest rates first, and then make larger payments toward your 0-percent card once you’ve paid off your other accounts.

Avoid making new purchases on your card

Don’t get yourself in more debt. Incurring new debt could undermine your ability to repay your balance transfer before the introductory period expires, and -- unless your new card includes a 0-percent introductory period for new purchases -- you will immediately start incurring interest on that new debt. Put your new card to the side until you’ve finished paying it off.

Keep your old card open

Don’t close down your old account once you’ve transferred your balance from it, especially if you’ve had it for a long time. Doing so could significantly lower your credit score, by lowering the average age of your accounts and raising your credit utilization ratio.

Evaluate your spending habits

Consider how you accumulated a large balance and steps you need to modify your spending habits. Perhaps the balance was the result of an emergency that couldn’t be avoided. Or perhaps you are living beyond your means. Also, you might consider developing a savings for yourself, so you don’t have to fall back on credit in an emergency. Establish a strict budget or seek the help of a credit counselor.

Is a balance transfer card right for me?

For those struggling under the weight of heavy credit card debt, a balance transfer card can offer a great opportunity to lower your interest payments and pay off your debt more quickly. If you can relate to any of the following, a balance transfer card may be the right fit for you.

  • You want to save money – Balance transfers are typically performed by those who want to reduce the amount of interest they pay. If may even qualify for a card that doesn’t charge interest on balance transfers and or balance transfer fees.
  • You want convenience – Balance transfer cards allow you to make one low-interest payment each month instead of juggling several different card payments.
  • You want to pay off your debt fast – You can apply the money you’ll save on interest to the principal of your balance and pay off your debt more quickly.

Remember – if you can pay off your balance quickly and within the promotional period, before interest rates rise, balance transfers are a helpful tool. However, if you don’t think you’ll be able to pay off your debt soon after transferring your balance, you should consider another option, such as a personal loan.

To see how much you can save from transferring your balance to a lower-interest card, use our balance transfer calculator.

In Review: Our Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards of 2018

Credit CardCreditCards.com RatingBest For:Our Savings EstimateBalance Transfers Intro APRBalance Transfer FeeRegular APR
Discover it®N/ABest for long promo period and low variable APR$439.5818 months3.00%13.49% - 24.49% Variable
Chase Slate®3.8 / 5Best for intro no BT fee$417.1215 months$0 intro fee for first 60 days. After that, 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum16.99% - 24.99% Variable
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express3.7 / 5Best for long promo period and cash back on everyday spendingN/A15 months3% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum14.49% - 25.49% Variable
Citi® Double Cash Card3.6 / 5Best for long promo period and flat-rate cash back$431.8518 months3% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum14.99% - 24.99%* Variable
The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express3.7 / 5Best for long promo period and US supermarketsN/A15 months$0, balance transfers must be requested within 60 days from account opening14.49% - 25.49% Variable
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card3.1 / 5Best for short BT periods and cash back$117.789 months3.00%14.49% - 24.49% Variable
Chase Freedom Unlimited®2.5 / 5Best for long promo period$271.4115 months5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum16.24% - 24.99% Variable
Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® CardN/ABest for long intro APR period
$258.4915 months3% intro for 15 months, then 5%16.65% - 26.49% Variable
Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card3.7 / 5Best for long promo period and rewards points$337.8315 months3% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum14.99% - 24.99% Variable
Chase Freedom®2.5 / 5Best for long promo period and rotating rewards$271.4115 months5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum16.24% - 24.99% Variable

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