These Are The Best Credit Cards For Making Balance Transfers
If you want to transfer a balance from a credit card that's charging you a high interest rate to a card with a lower rate, you might first need to apply for a new card. If so, here are several cards to consider because they offer one or more perks: a long 0% APR introductory period, no balance transfer fee or no annual fee.
Disclaimer: The cards listed here are based on the author's opinion of which balance transfer credit card offers available at the time of writing offer the best terms to consumers. This list is not meant to be all inclusive; there may be other balance transfer cards with excellent terms that aren't listed here. Also, credit card companies revise their offers frequently, and the terms shown here are subject to change. (Neither the author nor Investopedia receives compensation from any credit card company for recommending a specific card.)
The Chase Slate credit card has a 0% introductory APR on both balance transfers and purchases for 15 months. It also has no balance transfer fee when you complete your balance transfer within 60 days of opening your account. Chase Slate is the only card we're aware of that currently offers both a 0% introductory APR and no balance transfer fee.
After the first 60 days, the balance transfer fee is 3% of the amount transferred or $5, whichever is greater. If you're still carrying a balance when the 15-month promotional period ends, your APR will be 12.99%, 17.99% or 22.99% depending on your creditworthiness. The card has no annual fee.
Citi Simplicity Card
The Citi Simplicity card is offering a 0% APR on balance transfers and purchases for 18 months. The balance transfer fee is 3% of the amount transferred or $5, whichever is greater. Any balance you still have at the end of the promotional period will have a variable APR of 12.99% to 22.99%, based on your creditworthiness. The card also has no annual fee, no late fees and no penalty APR.
Citi Diamond Preferred
The Citi Diamond Preferred balance transfer offer is nearly identical to Citi Simplicity's. The only difference is that the variable APR at the end of the promotional period is a smidge lower: 11.99% to 21.99% variable, depending on your creditworthiness. This card doesn't have the Simplicity card's ongoing perks of no late fees and no penalty rate, however.
Slightly less generous is the Discover It card's 14-month, 0% APR balance transfer offer, also with a 3% fee. After the 14 months are up, the APR resets to 10.99% to 22.99% variable, based on your creditworthiness. The balance transfer must post to your account by February 10, 2015, to qualify for the 0% promotional rate.
The card has no annual fee and no penalty APR, and the late fee is waived the first time should you make a late payment. Because this card does not have a 0% promotional rate on purchases, you should only use this card for your balance transfer and not make any purchases until the transfer is paid off, or else you will pay interest on your purchases.
If you don't qualify for any of these cards, the following cards also have no annual fee and a 12- to 15-month, no-interest introductory period on balance transfers:
– U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card
– Citi Double Cash Card
– American Express Blue Cash Everyday Card
– Chase Freedom
– BankAmericard Visa
Balance Transfer Credit Card Comparison Websites
If you'd like to do more research, there are several credit card comparison websites that can help you find the best balance transfer credit card for your situation:
When consulting any credit card comparison website, be aware that these sites typically get referral fees from the credit card companies when a customer applies for a card through the website's affiliate link and is approved. Also, some credit card companies have influenced the information that websites post about their cards in a way that means you might not be getting an accurate picture of a card's costs. Be sure to read the fine print at the creditor's website before you apply for any card.
In addition, be aware that some comparison sites exclusively show cards from advertisers, which means you might not be getting a complete picture of all the cards available to you. If you visit the websites of each major credit card issuer, however, you can learn about every card they offer.
Finally, watch out for sites that rank balance transfer offers because some don't develop these rankings objectively with the consumer in mind, but base them on advertising incentives.
The Bottom Line
Before you apply, make sure you understand the pros and cons of balance transfers, the common problems consumers experience if they don't fully understand balance transfers, and who really benefits when you do a 0% balance transfer.
If you decide that doing a balance transfer is right for you, once you've received your new card, our article on transferring credit card balances to a new card can walk you through the balance transfer process.