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Compare balance transfer credit cards for fair credit

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A balance transfer cards could be useful if you’re overwhelmed by high interest rates or need to consolidate debt. However, you usually need a good credit score. Card issuers only want to take on your debt if they’re certain you can repay it.

Your credit score is one of the ways credit card companies determine how likely you are to repay your debt. If you have a fair credit score between 580 and 669, you could qualify for a balance transfer card, yet, you’ll likely pay more in fees.

Our pick for fair credit balance transfers: UNITY Visa® Secured Credit Card

Borrow up to $10,000 and get your credit score back on track.

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Compare balance transfer cards for fair credit

Your options for balance transfer cards can be limited if you have fair credit. Fortunately, you still have a few good choices. Here’s a list of the best cards on the market.

Updated November 14th, 2018
Name Product Filter values Introductory Balance Transfer APR APR (Annual Percentage Rate) for Purchases Annual Fee Minimum Credit Score
9.95% for the first 6 months (then 17.99% fixed)
17.99% fixed
$39
350
Borrow up to $10,000 and get your credit score back on track.
Aspire Platinum Mastercard®
Aspire Platinum Mastercard®
0% for the first 6 billing cycles (then 8.9% to 18% variable)
8.9% to 18% variable
$0
620
We'll help you score major savings with a 0% introductory APR* on purchases and balance transfers for 6 months.
13.5% variable
$0
620
A great way to establish or improve your credit history.
10.99% for the first 6 months (then 24.99% variable)
24.99% variable
$0
300
2% Cashback at restaurants or gas stations on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus 1% cash back on all other credit card purchases.
25.99% variable
$24
580
Build, or rebuild, your credit with each purchase. Reports to the three major credit bureaus.
11.90% to 21.90% variable
$35
350
You can get travel benefits (no foreign transaction fees), retail benefits and collision damage waiver coverage on your rental car.
11.90% to 21.90% variable
$35
350
Get a card that can help you build credit. Determine your own credit limit. When you apply, you'll open a two-year certificate of deposit (CD) with $250 to $5,000. The balance of your CD is your credit limit.
24.99% variable
$0
300
Take control and build your credit with responsible use.
21.99% variable
$39
300
Help establish, strengthen - even rebuild your credit

Compare up to 4 providers

Fair credit explained

If you’re new to credit or working to get your credit back on track, you may find your score is in the fair range or between 580 and 669. You can still be approved for a credit card — but with a high APR and low spending limit. If your score is creeping up to the “good” range, work on building your score before making a big transfer. You could get better interest rates on loans, credit cards and even insurance rates in some states. Credit cards award good credit with offers of cash back, rewards and low interest rates. Credit bureaus consider the following when determining your credit score:

  • The age of credit history — or how long you’ve had credit.
  • How many credit applications you’ve recently submitted.
  • Your payment history, including late and on-time payments, collection actions and judgments against you.
  • Your credit utilization ratio, which is calculated by dividing your balance on existing credit cards by your available credit limits.
  • How many installment loans, auto loans, credit cards, mortgages and other types of credit you have.

What to expect from balance transfer cards if you have fair credit

If you have fair credit, you won’t qualify for the best balance transfer card and could see high APRs and transfer fees. Consider the following when applying for a card:

  • Don’t get fooled by the ongoing APRs. If you see APR terms advertised as “13.24% to 23.24%, based on your creditworthiness” realize that lower rates are reserved for those with good or excellent credit. If you have fair credit, expect to pay an APR closer to 23.24%.With APRs averaging around 16%, 23.24% is high. Try to pay off your transferred balance fully before your 0%-APR promotion
  • There’s more at play than just your credit score. Credit card companies consider factors like your income and outstanding debt along with your credit score.
  • Your credit limit may be lower than you expect. Credit card companies are in the business of making money, and their profits depends on customers’ ability to repay debt. They do this by setting credit limits to manage their risk. If you’re looking to transfer a large balance, your limit may be lower than you need.

Who is a balance transfer card good for?

If you’re considering a balance transfer card, you could be looking for financial fresh start. These cards can help you get your finances in order. Consider a balance transfer card if you’re looking:

  • To save money. A low interest rate keeps more cash in your pocket, slashing unnecessary interest on purchases made long ago.
  • To gets out of debt faster. Low interest allows you to pay down your debt more quickly, applying more of your monthly payment toward your principal balance.
  • To simplify your finances.Transferring the balances of multiple debts can consolidate many monthly payments into just one bill.

How to compare cards

When you’re comparing cards you want to consider the following to make the balance transfer worth it:

  • Introductory period. Most balance transfer cards offer a low or 0% APR for 6 to 24 months. Once it’s over, you’ll pay the a higher revert rate. Make sure you can pay off your balance before the introductory period is up to avoid paying too much in fees.
  • Reports to credit bureaus. If you have fair credit, look for a balance transfer card that reports to the credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. If you make regular on-time payments, you could reap rewards that come with a higher score.
  • Fees. Consider what you’ll pay in fees. Some charge a high balance transfer fee between 2% and 4%, or high annual fees.

Applying for a balance transfer card

To apply for a balance transfer card, you typically have to be at least 18 years old, or 19 in some states. While you’re applying, have the following information on hand:

  • Your name, residential status, and residential address.
  • Your Social Security number.
  • Your email address, phone number, and date of birth.
  • Financial information like your annual salary and wages.

How to make the most out of a balance transfer card that requires fair credit

  • Pay your balance. Make sure to pay off your balance before the introductory period is up to avoid a high revert rate. If you don’t you could end up paying a higher APR.
  • Low APR. If you don’t qualify for a 0% APR period, make sure the APR, annual fees and transfer fees are lower than what you’re already paying.
  • Don’t use the credit card. It may be tempting to use your credit card for new purchases, but if your goal is to pay down debt, put your balance transfer card away and focus on paying the balance.
  • Make more than the minimum payment. It’s likely you won’t be able to pay off your balance before the end of the the 0% transfer offer only making minimum payments. Divide your balance by the number of months you’re offer is good for.

Bottom line

If you’re on the path to cleaning up your finances, getting a balance transfer card is a good place to start. Avoiding APRs — even for as little as six months — can save you hundreds of dollars to put towards debt. Consider your credit and financial situation before you decide on a balance transfer credit card.

Frequently asked questions

Adrienne Fuller

Adrienne Fuller leads the publishing team at finder.com. She has one goal: to deliver the accurate and transparent information she wishes she had when she made some of life's important financial decisions. When she's not helping folks save money, she's hiking with her two Catahoulas around her home in San Diego.

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US Credit Card Offers

Important Information*
Deserve® Classic Card
Deserve® Classic Card

APR

24.49
variable

Annual fee

0 For the first year
More info
Luxury Card Mastercard® Gold Card™
Luxury Card Mastercard® Gold Card™

APR

16.74
variable

Annual fee

995 For the first year
More info
First Access Visa Card®
First Access Visa Card®

APR

29.99
variable

Annual fee

75 For the first year
More info
Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® Credit Card
Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® Credit Card

APR

23.9
variable

Annual fee

75 For the first year
More info

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4 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    robertJuly 25, 2017

    Easiest card to get with out security deposit

    • Default Gravatar
      DanielleJuly 25, 2017

      Hi Robert,

      Thank you for contacting finder. We are a comparison website and general information service, we’re more than happy to offer general advice.

      You may refer to this page for options that may suit your needs. You may review and compare the offers available on the table then scroll down to view more details regarding the cards.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Danielle

  2. Default Gravatar
    MandiJune 7, 2017

    How do I get a Build master card or an offer invite?

    • finder Customer Care
      HaroldJune 19, 2017Staff

      Hi Mandi,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      You can learn more about on how to get the Build Card through this page.

      I hope this information has helped.

      Cheers,
      Harold

US Credit Card Offers

Important Information*
Deserve® Classic Card
Deserve® Classic Card

APR

24.49
variable

Annual fee

0 For the first year
More info
Luxury Card Mastercard® Gold Card™
Luxury Card Mastercard® Gold Card™

APR

16.74
variable

Annual fee

995 For the first year
More info
First Access Visa Card®
First Access Visa Card®

APR

29.99
variable

Annual fee

75 For the first year
More info
Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® Credit Card
Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® Credit Card

APR

23.9
variable

Annual fee

75 For the first year
More info
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