Long 0 percent introductory APRs are tempting offers, but save you less money than no balance transfer fee.
For cardholders ready to break out of credit card debt, there are several different strategies to get you there. One of these is to take advantage of a balance transfer offer – a credit card designed to give you more time to pay off your debt without accruing steep interest.
With so many great balance transfer cards out there, it can be hard to decide which is best for you. Of course, you should consider your credit score and approval odds, as well as any other perks the card may have. You’ll also want to take a look at how many months you’ll get with a 0% APR – and determine if that’s enough time to pay down your debt.
There’s one other thing you should always keep an eye on when choosing a balance transfer card – the transfer fee. Typically between 3% and 5% of your balance, balance transfer fees can be very costly if you have significant debt to pay down. They can be worth it – especially if you’ll save more on interest in the long run – but it can be a tough price to pay.
Luckily, there are several 0% APR credit cards that do not charge a balance transfer fee. These credit cards might not have the longest introductory offers, but often they can save you even more.
Best credit cards with no balance transfer fee
No fee balance transfer cards: At a glance
|Card||Transfer fee||0% APR intro period||Regular APR|
|Chase Slate||15 months||16.49-25.24% (variable)|
|Amex EveryDay® Credit Card||$0||15 months (can only transfer balance in first 60 days)||14.49-25.49% (variable)|
|Navy Federal Credit Union Platinum Card||$0||12 months||7.49-18% (variable)|
The Chase Slate card is a great choice for cardholders who want to avoid a balance transfer fee, offering a competitive intro period to pay down your balance interest-free. Here’s what you need to know at a glance:
- $0 balance transfer fee for the first 60 days, then $5 or 5% (whichever is greater)
- 0% APR on new purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months, then 16.49% to 25.24%
To qualify for the $0 balance transfer fee, be sure to transfer your balance in the first 60 days. Otherwise, the 5% fee could amount to hundreds of dollars on a larger balance.
Amex EveryDay® Credit Card
If you are looking for a card with no balance transfer fee that also offers a bit of rewards potential – look no further than the Amex EveryDay Credit Card. Alongside a fair rewards rate, the card has a competitive balance transfer offer, detailed below:
- $0 balance transfer fee
- 0% APR on new purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months, then 14.49% to 25.49%
- Balance transfers can only be made in the first 60 days
In addition to a long time to pay down your balance with no interest, the Amex EveryDay offers cardholders 2 points per dollar on up to $6,000 per year in U.S. supermarket purchases (1 point per dollar thereafter) and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. Plus, you’ll earn 20% more points any billing period you make 20 or more purchases with your card.
Information about the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com. The issuer did not provide the content, nor is it responsible for its accuracy.
Navy Federal Credit Union Platinum Card
For cardholders chasing a balance transfer offer that is coupled with a low ongoing APR, the Platinum Card from Navy Federal Credit Union is a good choice. The card offers on of the best regular APRs on the market, on top of a limited time balance transfer offer. Here’s what you should know:
- $0 balance transfer fee
- 0% APR on balance transfers for the first 12 months, then 7.49% to 18%
- Intro APR offer expires Jan. 2, 2020
With an ongoing purchase and balance transfer APR as low as 7.49%, the Navy Federal Credit Union Platinum Card is a good one to keep around even after the introductory period expires – especially if you regularly carry a balance.
Comparing balance transfer offers: Why no fee is a better value
If you’ve been paying hefty interest charges on a large balance for a while, it is natural to hope for some reprieve when you choose a balance transfer card. While it can be tempting to jump at an 18-month or longer interest-free offer, it is almost always a better idea to go with a no-fee card – even if you’ll have less time with a 0% APR.
Since balance transfer fees typically hover between 3% and 5% you’ll usually save more money with a no-fee card than you’d pay in interest with a shorter introductory period.
To understand just how this works out, consider the Citi Simplicity® Card. While the Citi Simplicity has a regular variable APR of 16.24% to 26.24%, it has one of the longest introductory APRs you’ll find on a balance transfer card – 0 percent for 21 months. That’s six more interest-free months than the Chase Slate. However, the offer comes with a 5% balance transfer fee ($5 minimum). Here’s a quick look at what you could end up paying for the Citi Simplicity card’s transfer fee versus the Chase Slate card’s extra six months of interest.
Cost of transferring and paying down a balance over 21 months
|Citi Simplicity® Card||Chase Slate (with a 25.74% APR)|
|$500 balance with $25 monthly payment||$25 balance transfer fee||$9 in interest|
|$2,000 balance with $98 monthly payment||$100 balance transfer fee||$39 in interest|
|$4,000 balance with $195 monthly payment||$200 balance transfer fee||$81 in interest|
|$8,000 balance with $400 monthly payment||$400 balance transfer fee||$139 in interest|
If paying down debt is a top priority, a balance transfer card with no transfer fee is probably your best option. You’ll almost always save enough to make up for shorter introductory APR periods.