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Balance transfer credit cards with no transfer fee

A card with no balance transfer fee is often the better deal

Summary

Long 0 percent introductory APRs are tempting but tend to save you less money than credit cards that don’t charge a balance transfer fee. However, some rewards credit cards with 0 percent APR periods may be able to offset what you pay in balance transfer fees.

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The Bank of America content was last updated on October 3, 2022.

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 percent intro 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 percent and 5 percent 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.

Balance transfer offers became few and far between through the COVID-19 pandemic, but that trend has begun to reverse recently. What’s still tough is scoring one without a balance transfer fee. There are currently relatively few cards on the market without balance transfer fees, but here are a few no-balance-transfer-fee options that we found: 

Balance transfer cards with no balance transfer fee

Navy Federal Credit Union Platinum card

For cardholders chasing a balance transfer offer coupled with a low ongoing APR, the Navy Federal Credit Union Platinum card* is a good choice. The card offers one of the best regular APRs on the market, on top of a limited-time balance transfer offer

CardTransfer fee0% APR intro periodRegular APR
Navy Federal Credit Union Platinum card$012 months6.47% – 18.00% (variable)

Keep in mind:

With an ongoing purchase and balance transfer APR as low as 6.47 percent, 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.

Wings Visa Platinum Credit Card

Another option is the Wings Visa® Platinum Credit Card*, which charges no annual fee, balance transfer fees or foreign transaction fees. It comes with a 0 percent intro APR offer as well, lasting 12 months and applicable to balance transfers and new purchases. Its regular APR is 8.90 percent to 18.00 percent variable. 

The main difference between this card and the Navy Federal Credit Union card is that the Wings Financial Credit Union might be more difficult to join as a member since it depends on where you work or live or if you work within the aviation industry. 

CardTransfer fee0% APR intro periodRegular APR
Wings Visa® Platinum Credit Card$012 months8.90% – 18.00% (variable)

Union Bank Platinum Visa Credit Card

If you’re looking for a balance transfer card with a little longer intro APR period, consider the Union Bank® Platinum™ Visa® Credit Card*. Not only does it offer a 0 percent APR on balance transfers (and new purchases) for 15 months, but there’s also a $0 intro balance transfer fee on transfers completed within the first 60 days. 

After 60 days, the transfer fee goes up to 3 percent (or minimum $10) per transfer, and after 15 months your regular APR will be 9.99 percent to 21.49 percent variable. 

CardTransfer fee0% APR intro periodRegular APR
Union Bank® Platinum™ Visa® Credit Card$0 (for 60 days)15 months9.99% – 21.49% (variable)

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 a longer interest-free intro 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 percent APR.

Since balance transfer fees typically hover between 3 percent and 5 percent, you’ll usually save more money with a no-annual-fee card than you’d pay in interest with a shorter introductory period.

To understand just how this works out, consider the Citi® Double Cash Card. While the Citi Double Cash has a regular variable APR of 17.74 percent to 27.74 percent, it has one of the longer introductory APRs you’ll find on a balance transfer card — 0 percent for 18 months (transfer must be made in the first four months). That’s six more interest-free months than the Navy Federal Platinum Card. However, the Double Cash’s intro offer comes with a 3 percent balance transfer fee or $5 minimum (if you transfer after the first four months, the 3 percent bumps up to 5 percent).

The table below shows the cost of transferring and paying down the same balance over 18 months. For the Citi Double Cash, this is the cost of the balance transfer fee and then you’d have 0 percent APR for the 18 months. The Navy Federal Platinum has no balance transfer fee, but the regular APR would kick in after the first 12 months. The table reflects estimates of what you would pay at 18 percent APR for those last six months on the remaining transferred balance.

Rather than do the calculations yourself, you could use our payoff calculator. For the first example, if you start off with a debt of $500 and pay $29 a month for 12 months, you’d end up with a balance of $152. Paying that remaining balance off with an APR of 18 percent, you would pay a total interest of $8. That $8 in interest would still be less than the $15 you’d pay in balance transfer fees on the Citi Double Cash, despite the card’s longer intro APR period.

Transferred balance and monthly paymentsCost of Citi Double Cash Card (with 3% or $5 minimum transfer fee)Cost of Navy Federal Platinum Card (with an 18% APR for last six months)
$500 balance with $29 monthly payments$15 balance transfer fee$8 in interest
$2,000 balance with $114 monthly payments$60 balance transfer fee$33 in interest
$4,000 balance with $227 monthly payments$120 balance transfer fee$68 in interest
$8,000 balance with $453 monthly payments$240 balance transfer fee$136 in interest

Cards to consider despite their balance transfer fees

While choosing a card with no balance transfer fee can often save you money, there are still plenty of reasons to opt for a card that does charge a fee — particularly since there aren’t many no-balance-transfer-fee options available currently. For example, you may be looking to double-dip a hard pull to your credit by scoring a new rewards credit card alongside a balance transfer offer. Many of the most valuable rewards cards offer some kind of balance transfer introductory period but won’t have quite as competitive offers (and will charge a balance transfer fee).

You also might be able to offset a balance transfer fee with a high introductory bonus if you are planning on putting enough early spending on the card to qualify for the offer.

If you’re going to get plenty of ongoing value out of the card, paying the fee upfront might be worth it. Here are some of our favorite cards to consider despite their balance transfer fee.

CardRewards rateIntro APR period on balance transfersBalance transfer fee
Citi® Double Cash Card
  • 1% cash back on general purchases (excludes gift cards)
  • 1% additional cash back as you pay off those purchases
18 months (17.74% to 27.74% variable APR thereafter)$5 or 3% (whichever is greater) for first 4 months, then $5 or 5% (whichever is greater)
Citi Rewards+® Card
  • 2X points at supermarkets and gas stations (up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1 point per dollar)
  • 1X point on all other purchases
  • Every purchase rounded up to nearest 10 points ($2 soda earns 10 points, $13 movie ticket earns 20 points)
15 months (17.24% to 27.24% variable APR thereafter)$5 or 3% (whichever is greater) for first 4 months, then $5 or 5% (whichever is greater)
Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card
  • 3% cash back on a category of choice (gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores or home improvements and furnishings)
  • 2% cash back on grocery store and wholesale club purchases
  • $2,500 combined spend limit on 2% and 3% categories each quarter
  • 1% cash back on other purchases
18 billing cycles (16.99% to 26.99% variable APR thereafter on transfers made within the first 60 days)$10 or 3% (whichever is greater)
Discover it® Cash Back
  • Enroll every quarter to earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter in various categories throughout the year, then 1%
  • 1% cash back on general purchases
15 months (15.74% to 26.74% variable APR thereafter)Introductory 3% for first 3 months, then up to 5%

Bottom line

If paying down debt is a top priority, we usually recommend a balance transfer card with no transfer fee, especially if your debt is small enough to pay off the entire debt before the intro period ends. Even if your debt isn’t completely paid off during your intro period, what you pay in interest may still be lower than what you’d pay in balance transfer fees, so make sure you do your homework before you apply for a card.

*All information about the Navy Federal Credit Union Platinum card, Union Bank® Platinum™ Visa® Credit Card andWings Visa® Platinum Credit Card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

Credit Card Rate Report
Reward
18.76%
Student
19.53%
Airline
18.58%
Business
17.05%
Cash Back
18.68%

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