Find the Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards

The editorial content on this page (including, but not limited to, Pros and Cons) is not provided by any credit card issuer. Any opinions, analysis, reviews, or recommendations expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer’s Affiliate Program.

Credit Card Balance Transfer Offers

Those of you who are carrying credit card debt know how difficult it can be to manage and pay off with those finance charges adding to your debt on a monthly basis. Take a look at the balance transfer credit cards from our partners, you may find one that is a fit for you and that can help you alleviate some or all of that debt over time by helping you lower your monthly payment by reducing or eliminating for a set period of time the finance charges.

Show More

Having good or excellent credit is a plus and may help you get approved, however keep in mind card issuers look at your credit score as well as other factors when determining if you qualify for a credit card. If your are in the good to excellent credit range you may qualify for a card that offers rewards or other benefits in addition to the low introductory APR balance transfer offer. The low introductory APR is of course the main draw of the balance transfer credit card, it can help you pay down your debt by reducing or eliminating finance charges during the introductory period. Essentially, some tips on what to look for when comparing offers is the length of the 0% introductory APR balance transfer period, check for other fees such an annual fee and any balance transfer fees. You can start looking by matching yourself to the cards that match your credit score range.
from January 14, 2016

Credit Sesame Tip #1

If you have excellent credit, a large credit card balance with a high interest rate, and are having trouble paying it off, or if you are just looking for a lower rate to save money on finance charges then a balance transfer card is an option that may help you reduce that debt and save you money on finance charges.

from January 14, 2016

Credit Sesame Tip #2

A card with a 0% introductory APR balance transfer offer, if used responsibly by you, can be a useful tool to help you pay off that debt. Ideally with a lower introductory APR you can pay down your debt faster and save money on finance charges. Be sure to calculate if you can pay off the balance before the promotional period ends. Make your payments on time and try not to use the credit card for any additional purchases so you can steadily reduce your credit card balance. One of the best ways to help pay off that debt is not to create more debt, seek credit counseling if needed.

from January 14, 2016

Credit Sesame Tip #3

Selecting the right balance transfer offer for you has to be done carefully. Here are a few tips: read the fine print and pay attention to the terms such as the introductory APR being offered, if there is a balance transfer fee and if so how much is it, what is the regular APR (the APR offered after the introductory period ends), is there an annual fee, what happens if you make a late payment and what credit is needed to be considered for approval. Card issuers look at your credit score and other factors when determining if you will be approved.


Frequently Asked Questions

Why choose a balance transfer credit card?

Having this type of card, with responsible use, offers you the chance to save on monthly interest payments which in turn may result in paying off your debt faster. If you have a large debt that you are having difficulty paying off due to a high interest rate, you may be able to get a credit card that offers a zero percent or low introductory balance transfer APR. Having a low introductory APR may help you reduce that debt or better yet pay it off by lowering the monthly payment by reducing or eliminating, for a set period of time, the interest you pay on the debt you transfer and this could save you money. However keep in mind that some credit card offers include a balance transfer fee so be sure to factor that in when considering a card with a 0% introductory APR balance transfer offer. If you are interested in a balance transfer offer take a look at one of the cards from our partners listed above in our current offers.

What is a balance transfer credit card?

A balance transfer credit card is a card where you can transfer a part or all of the debt you own from one credit card to another card which has a lower interest rate or has an introductory APR on balance transfers for a set period of time. This effectively can help reduce your monthly payments by reducing or eliminating, for a set period of time, the interest you pay on the debt you transfer. There is usually a limit on the amount that you can transfer, so you may only be allowed to transfer a portion of your debt if your debt exceeds that limit. Also, keep in mind that cards with a balance transfer offer may also charge a balance transfer fee and with some offers you may need to transfer the balance within a certain time frame in order to be eligible for any introductory APR promotion. If you find a card that has no balance transfer fee, watch out for other factors that can counter that type of deal such as an annual fee.

What kind of card can I get?

The type of card you can get depends on your credit score and other related factors. If you are currently within the poor or fair range, for example, the credit card offers available to you may not have rewards programs or introductory APR offers and may charge an annual fee and higher interest rates. If you are in the good to excellent range chances are that the cards that are available to you may carry more perks and features such as rewards programs or promotional introductory APR offers. Many cards offer other features, here are some examples: fraud protection, price protection for purchases made with the card, extended warranty, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver and other features so be sure to shop around and look for what features are important to you.

What are the pros & cons?

The upside of having a card like this is of course ideally being able to pay off debt faster due to having either no or reduced finance charges due to a lower introductory APR on your balance transfers for a set period of time. The downside is after the introductory time-frame has ended having a higher APR on any remaining balance that you transferred. Keep in mind you don’t want to add any additional charges to this card but just work at paying off your debt before the introductory offers ends.

Related Credit Cards

Prepaid Cards

The prepaid card is a way to make purchases without using cash or credit such as for online purchases or other locations that only accept credit, debit or prepaid cards. With a prepaid card you deposit money onto the card and your spending is limited to how much you deposit onto the card. A prepaid card may be suited to individuals with no credit history or those who are looking for an alternative to using cash, checks or credit cards. On the downside your transactions will not be reported to credit agencies so using a prepaid card will not help you build or rebuild your credit history. Some prepaid cards charge you for various transactions in addition to activation fees and a monthly maintenance fee, so be sure to shop around to find a card with low fees or one that will not charge a monthly fee if you meet certain deposit requirements.


Secured Credit Cards

Secured credit cards are an option if you never had a credit card or a loan, or are looking to rebuild your credit history. It’s important to note that having a secured card will not automatically improve your credit, it’s up to you to pay your balances on time each month and to manage your account responsibly.

Business Credit Cards

If you run a small, medium, or even large enterprise you may be interested in a business credit card. These cards are useful for purchasing business related products and services. In return, depending on the card, you may earn rewards and other incentives.

Cash Back Credit Cards

Cash back credit cards offer a way to earn cash back rewards on your every day purchases. There are a variety of cash back cards so look for one that fits your lifestyle or needs.

Low Interest Credit Cards

If you have good or excellent credit then you may be eligible for a low interest credit card. With a lower APR these cards can save you money on monthly finance charges if you tend to carry a balance.


0 Introductory APR Credit Cards

If you are considering a large purchase you may want to take a look at a card which offers a 0% introductory APR card on purchases. The introductory rate may last anywhere between 6 to 21 months depending on the card issuer and is a way to save on finance charges as long as you make your monthly payments on time and pay off the purchase balance before the introductory period ends.

Helpful Resources

Help: Choosing the Best Balance Transfer Credit Card

Balance transfer credit cards are designed to consolidate your credit card debt into one credit card. The best balance transfer credit cards are the ones that will save you the most money when transferring your current credit card debt onto the new card. If you are someone who has one or more credit cards with thousands of dollars worth of debt, then the balance transfer credit card may be the choice to make. With that being said, you’ll want to look for a balance transfer credit card that offers 0% APR as an introductory offer.

Intro APR

Credit card companies usually offer a 0% introductory APR that will last anywhere from 6 months to 21 months on average. After that, you will end up having to pay anywhere from 11% to as much as 24% APR, (usually a variable APR). But this won’t really matter because the point of getting a balance transfer credit card is to transfer all of your debt onto the new card as soon as you get it and to pay off the balance before the introductory balance transfer APR period ends. So with the 0% introductory APR that is on the new card, you won’t be charged any interest on the debt that you just transferred until the introductory time period has expired as long as your account stays in good standing and you make your monthly payment due on-time.

Now if you are someone who plans to just transfer a little bit of debt onto your balance transfer credit card and then use the card to make regular purchases later on, you need to consider the APR percentage that you will incur after the introductory rate has expired. What you’ll want to do is look for a balance transfer credit card that has the lowest APR that you can find. Remember, this is not the 0% introductory APR that you constantly see advertised because that is only the introductory offer. You usually have to look at the credit card terms in order to find the APR percentage or percentage range that the card offers.

Some companies charge a whopping 23.49% APR after the introductory rate expires. But there are other companies that go towards the lower end of the spectrum, such as 11.49%, but they are harder to find. The only chance you’ll have to get this lower APR is if you have a superb credit history with a high credit score.

Fees

In addition to the APR, you’ll want to pay attention to the balance transfer fee. Balance transfer fees can be anywhere from 1% to 5% of the total balance, or debt. You will obviously want to look for credit card plans that are closer to the 1% range on the balance transfer fee. However, there is one credit card plan that offers a $0 introductory balance transfer fee for transfers made during the first 60 days of account opening. That way if you are someone with a large debt balance and you want to transfer it onto a new credit card, then you can do so without having to pay a fee for the transfer.

According to research, the Chase Slate® is the only card that offers an introductory balance transfer fee of $0 intro fee on transfers made within 60 days of account opening, after that the ongoing balance transfer fee is either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater. If you can find another balance transfer credit card that offers something similar then go with it. Otherwise, consider Chase Slate® to avoid this fee during the 60 day introductory balance transfer fee offer.

Fees: Annual

Annual fees may be present in some balance transfer credit card plans. This is basically (usually) one set fee that you pay every year in order to keep your account active. These fees can range from $25, $50, $95 and even up to $500. The good news is there are card offers with a $0 annual fee, so you will want to look out for those. You won’t want to have an annual fee charged on top of any debt balance you have.

Best Picks

Overall, the best balance transfer credit card plan would be one with 0% introductory APR on balance transfers for anywhere from 12 to 21 months, a low balance transfer fee, no annual fee and a low regular APR after the introductory rate expires. If you can find a card that comes close to this then you will have it made. But chances are you won’t find one card that will satisfy all of these features, so you have to weigh the importance of the interest rates versus the standard fees. Then choose the card that offers the fees or rates that will work for you.

Credit Card Balance Transfer Fee & Important Terms to Know

Balance transfer fees

Balance transfer credit cards usually charge a fee on the amount of the debt you move over. These fees can be anywhere from 1% to 5% of the total balance, or debt. For example, if you transfer over $10,000 to a card with a 1% balance transfer fee, you’ll owe an extra $100 for the fee. You will want to look for credit card plans that are closer to the 1% range on the balance transfer fee.

Standard or Regular APR

In regard to a balance transfer offer the standard or regular APR (annual percentage rate) refers to the interest rate you pay on your account balance after the introductory 0% rate expires. This is also important to consider when deciding which card offer will be best for you, in case you end up carrying a balance after the introductory period ends. Before you apply read over the credit card terms in order to find the APR percentage that the card issuer offers after the introductory period ends. The card issuer will determine your regular APR based on your creditworthiness and the APR is usually a variable rate (varies with the market based on the Prime Rate).

Some companies charge 23.49% variable APR after the introductory rate expires but there are other companies that go toward the lower end of the spectrum, such as 11.49% variable APR. However, they are harder to find. The only chance you’ll have to possibly get a low APR is if you have a strong credit. Remember that the card issuers look at other related factors other than just your credit score to make a determination.

Annual fees

Some balance transfer cards charge you an annual fee in order to keep your account active. These fees can range from $25 to $500 and up. The good news is there are credit card offers with a $0 annual fee.


Disclosure

† Approval Odds are estimations only and are meant to serve as an illustration of the likelihood for you to be approved for a particular product based on a comparison of similar Credit Sesame members who have historically been approved for the product. Approval Odds are not meant to imply or guarantee that you will be approved by the lender / issuing bank or that credit will be extended.

†† Approvals with these TransUnion Vantage 3 credit scores have been received by Credit Sesame members. Average and Lowest scores are meant to serve as general guidelines only and approval is not guaranteed. Factors beyond credit scores can and may affect credit card approval. Each respective lender / credit card issuer is responsible for approval.

See the online provider’s application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts have been made to maintain accurate information however, all information is presented without warranty or guarantee. When you click on the “Apply Now” button, you can review the terms and conditions on the provider’s website. Offers are subject to change and the terms displayed may not be available to all consumers. Please visit the provider’s site for current information and verify all terms and conditions of any offer prior to applying.

Advertiser Disclosure: The credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which this site may receive compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers.

Credit Sesame is an independent comparison service provider. Reasonable efforts have been made to maintain accurate information throughout our website, mobile apps, and communication methods; however, all information is presented without warranty or guarantee. All images and trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

The editorial content on this page (including, but not limited to, Pros and Cons) is not provided by any credit card issuer. Any opinions, analysis, reviews, or recommendations expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Savings and/or earnings calculations are estimates only and provided for illustrative purposes. These estimates savings or earnings are based upon several factors that are subject to change without notice. Any actual would depend on the terms and conditions of each particular offer and are not commissioned, guaranteed, or endorsed by any bank, partner, merchant, or advertiser. If the bonus is included in savings estimate, it is assumed the offer qualifications are met. Please review the terms and conditions on the provider’s website.

Disclaimer: The article and information provided here is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional advice.