You can earn rewards on balance transfer cards but you won’t earn rewards on your transferred balance. You can still earn cash back, miles or even points on new spending – but you’ll accrue interest immediately.
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The Bank of America content was last updated on January 3, 2023.
Credit card rewards can be a helpful and lucrative benefit. You can earn cash back or frequent flyer miles or points that are redeemable for travel or other perks.
Before you choose a balance transfer rewards card, you should know you don’t earn rewards on the amount of a balance transfer: You earn rewards only on new spending. And if you’re carrying a balance, you’ll pay interest immediately on any new spending. Instead, focus on paying off your balance and on lowering that monthly payment by finding a balance transfer card with a 0% introductory APR.
There are cards that offer both low-interest balance transfers and rewards. But you shouldn’t let the promise of rewards be the deciding factor in choosing a card.
Best balance transfer cards with reward programs
If you look at the best balance transfer credit cards, you’ll notice a wide variety of cards from different issuers. The cards on this list tend to have lower interest rates than other cards — as well as introductory balance transfer APRs of 0% for 12 to 18 months.
Some of the best balance transfer cards also happen to have rewards programs:
Citi Double Cash Card
The Citi® Double Cash Card offers a 0% introductory APR on balance transfers for the first 18 months (followed by a variable APR of 18.24% to 28.24%). You can also earn 1% cash back when you spend and another 1% when you pay off your purchases. But the card does not offer an introductory APR on purchases.
Chase Slate Edge
The Chase Slate Edge℠ offers a 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 18 months (followed by a variable APR of 18.74% to 27.49%). Other notable features include an annual 2% reduction in your APR if you pay your balance on time and spend at least $1,000 by your next account anniversary and no annual fee.
Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card
The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card offers a 0% introductory APR on balance transfers (made within the first 60 days) and purchases for the first 18 billing cycles (then a variable APR of 18.24% to 28.24%). This card also allows you to earn 3% cash back on one of the following categories: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drugstores or home improvements and furniture — it’s your choice. It also offers 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 1% back on everything else. Note that there is a $2,500 combined spend limit on 2% and 3% categories each quarter.
Wells Fargo Active Cash Card
The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card offers a 0% introductory APR on qualifying balance transfers (made within the first 120 days) for the first 15 months from account opening (then a variable APR of 19.24%, 24.24% or 29.24%). Additional card benefits include a $200 cash rewards bonus when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months and a flat rate 2% cash rewards on purchases.
Should you get a balance transfer credit card without rewards?
If you are dead-set on earning rewards, you might want to separate the cards that have balances from those that offer rewards. In other words, don’t try to earn rewards with cards on which you carry balances, because you’ll pay interest on those charges.
Instead, if you qualify for a rewards-earning card, don’t carry a balance on it. Rather, carry the balance on a card with low or introductory 0% interest.
There are also some good options that don’t earn rewards among balance transfer cards. For instance, the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card offers 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 21 months and a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months (then a variable APR of 17.24% to 27.99%). Note that you must complete balance transfers within four months of opening the account. It also provides cardholders with VIP access to ticket sales, preferred seating and other perks through Citi Entertainment.
Should you get a balance transfer credit card with rewards?
If you like any of the aforementioned balance transfer cards that offer rewards, by all means, apply for it. But you may want to consider holding off on making any new purchases on the new card until you’ve paid off your transferred balance. So, if you want one of these cards and want to earn rewards now, don’t transfer a balance to it.
It’s better to focus on paying down your debt than worry about rewards. But if you absolutely must have a rewards card, make it one that you’re not paying interest on for the privilege of earning rewards.
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