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Balance transfer credit cards statistics

Balance transfers are a staple of strong credit use, allowing you to move a balance from one card to another card with more beneficial APR terms. To get an idea of just how beneficial balance transfers can prove, we looked at data from the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau’s most recent credit cards report, as well as data from our own credit cards database to get a pulse on the inner workings of balance transfer credit cards.

Cost of balance transfers

The average cost of balance transfers fell slightly over the period observed by the CFPB, possibly thanks to a strengthening economy.

20152018
Cost of balance transfer3.2%2.8%

Source: The Consumer Credit Card Market 2019

The average debt amount transferred by credit score

The size of the average balance transfer differed based on credit score. As you’ll see below, those with higher credit scores transferred more debt with their balance transfer.

Credit scoreAverage balance transfer 2015Average balance transfer 2018
Excellent$5,049$5,453
Good$3,235$4,136
Fair$2,313$2,845

Source: Consumer Credit Card Market Report, August 2019, Consumer Finance Protection Bureau

The amount of debt transferred across all segments also grew from 2015 to 2018. This is most likely thanks to a growing economy over this period.

Balance transfers performed by credit score

Generally, the most valuable balance transfer credit cards or opportunities are found on credit cards requiring good or excellent credit.

See our breakdown of balance transfers based on cardholder credit score.

Credit scoreDebt transferredOverall percent
Excellent$38.8 million72%
Good$13.5 million25%
All other scores$1.62 million3%

Source: Consumer Credit Card Market Report, August 2019, Consumer Finance Protection Bureau

Breakdown of 0 APR periods on balance transfer cards

We dipped into our database of credit cards to break down the APR length of 0% APR periods. Surprisingly, the 15-month period fell only 1 card short the standard 12-month period.

PeriodNumber of cards
6 months10
9 months3
12 months50
13 months2
14 months3
15 months49
18 months6
21 months1
No period17

Source: finder.com

Number of cards that require a transfer in a certain amount of time

Most cards enforce some form of time limit on when you can transfer a balance. Based on our database, we found that roughly two-thirds of cards allowed a balance transfer within a year or more.

PeriodNumber of cards
6 months7.1%
9 months2.1%
12 months35.5%
13 months1.4%
14 months2.1%
15 months34.8%
18 months4.3%
21 months0.7%
No period12.0%

Source: finder.com

Average standard APR for balance transfer cards

Though the primary appeal of a balance transfer card is the 0% APR period, not everyone will necessarily be able to pay the full balance in time. To find out what the average cardholder would pay in interest on a balance transfer card, we combed through the data found within our credit card database.

Source: finder.com

Number of cards with no transfer fee

Present on some credit cards offering 0% balance transfer APRs, balance transfer fees can cut into your total interest savings on a balance transfer. We looked into our card database to find out how many cards offered a balance transfer but without the biting fee.

Source: finder.com

Number of cards that offer 0% APR periods on balance AND purchases

Flexibility on a credit card is always a great feature and when it comes to saving, credit cards that offer 0% APR periods on balance and purchases are a boon. Here are the number of cards we found within our credit card database that offer this perk.

Source: finder.com

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