Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our content.

Best balance transfer credit cards of 2021

We compared over 200 cards to find the best options for paying off your debt in 2021

The best balance transfer cards have an exceptionally long intro period, with generous additional features such as ongoing rewards. We’ve ranked the best balance transfer card picks for 2020 based on our research and placed them into six major categories to help you choose the best card for you.
  • Why trust us? Unlike our competitors, Finder’s credit card experts research and write about all credit cards, including those from providers who aren’t partners on our site. Our trustworthy, unbiased evaluations are solely meant to help you choose the best credit card for your financial needs.

Best for cash back
Citi® Double Cash Card

Citi® Double Cash Card logo
Finder Rating: 3.8 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-850)
Apply at Citi
on Citi's secure site
670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
18 months
0% intro transfer APR
Up to 2%
Cash back
Though the Citi® Double Cash Card isn't the best flat-rate cash back card by our estimation — that goes to the Chase Freedom Flex — market changes have made it one of the better balance transfer card options available in 2021. That's because the card possesses not only a higher-than-average cashback rate at 2%, but a higher-than-average balance transfer period at 18 months — just behind the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum's 20 months.
  • Intro balance transfer APR. 0% intro APR for the first 18 months — then 13.99% to 23.99% variable.
  • Unlimited cash back. Earn 1% cash back when you make purchases, and an additional 1% back when you pay your balance.
  • No annual fee. Keep this card in your wallet without worrying about an annual fee.
  • Potentially high fees. You'll incur up to $40 in fees for each late payment. Citi may also impose a penalty APR of up to 29.99% for repeat offenses.
Annual fee $0
Purchase APR 13.99% to 23.99% variable
Balance transfer APR 0% intro for the first 18 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
Balance transfer fee $5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater
Rewards Up to 2% cash back on purchases (1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay)

Best for small purchases
Citi Rewards+® Card

Citi Rewards+® Card logo
Finder Rating: 4.1 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-850)
Apply at Citi
on Citi's secure site
670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
15 months
0% intro transfer APR
Up to 2x
Points
The Citi Rewards+® Card combines a solid 15 months intro APR on balance transfers with a unique rewards feature. On all purchases, Citi will round your points earned to the nearest 10 points. That measure once your balance transfer period is over, you have a great rewards card for racking up points on small purchases on your hands.
  • Rewards points. Earn 2x points at supermarkets and gas stations on up to $6,000 in combined purchases each year. Once you reach the cap and on all other purchases, you earn 1x points.
  • Round up points. A rewards rate of 2x and 1x points may not seem like it's worth earning a spot as one of the best rewards credit cards, but with the rounding up feature, your rewards rate is actually higher. Say you buy a $2 coffee. Your reward points will round up at 10x points, thus earning a 5% reward.
  • Bonus points. The card comes with 15,000 bonus points once you spend $1,000 in your first 3 months when you open your credit card account. Also, you get additional 10% bonus points for the first 100,000 points you redeem annually.
  • Foreign transaction fees. Using the card abroad or online with foreign merchants will cost 3% of the amount.
  • Balance transfer limitation. You'll need to complete your balance transfer within four months of account opening to take advantage of the intro APR.
Annual fee $0
Purchase APR 0% intro for the first 15 months (then 13.49% to 23.49% variable)
Balance transfer APR 0% intro for the first 15 months (then 13.49% to 23.49% variable)
Balance transfer fee $5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater
Rewards Earn 2x points at supermarkets and gas stations on up to $6,000 annually, then 1x points after that and on all other purchases

Best for simple 0% intro APR on balance transfers and purchases
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card logo
Finder Rating: 4.6 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-850)
Apply at Citi
on Citi's secure site
670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
18 months
0% intro transfer APR
n/a
Rewards
While the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card doesn't currently offer the 21-month intro APR it once did, it still boasts a respectable length of 18 months. The Diamond Preferred is especially notable for having an intro APR on purchases as well, giving you some flexibility in how you wish to use your new card.
  • Intro APRs. You'll get an 18 months 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers, reverting to 14.74% to 24.74% variable.
  • No annual fee. You won't pay an annual fee to use this card.
  • Additional cards free. You won't pay a fee to add additional cardholders to your account.
  • Balance transfer fees. You'll pay the greater of $5 or 3% on all balance transfers.
  • Four month transfer limit. You'll have just four months to take advantage of the balance transfer intro period. Penalty APR. The penalty APR for missed payments is steep at up to 29.99% variable.
Annual fee $0
Purchase APR 0% intro for the first 18 months (then 14.74% to 24.74% variable)
Balance transfer APR 0% intro for the first 18 months (then 14.74% to 24.74% variable)
Balance transfer fee $5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater
Rewards N/A

Best for a long 0% intro APR
U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card logo
Finder Rating: 4.8 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (740-850)
Read review
Rates & fees

740
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
20 months
0% intro transfer APR
n/a
Rewards
After the Citi Diamond Preferred and Citi Simplicity lost their 21-month intro APRs, the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card became the defacto choice for a balance transfer card with the longest intro APR period. It helps that the card is solid in other respects, including requiring no annual fee and perks like cell phone protection.
  • Intro APR period. Get 20 months of 0% intro APR period on balance transfers and purchases when you open your account. After the intro APR period ends, your rate reverts to variable 14.49% to 24.49%.
  • No annual fee. You won't pay an annual fee to own the card.
  • Cell phone protection. Pay your cell phone bill with your card to get coverage against phone damage or theft up to $600. You're limited to two claims in a 12-month period for a total of $1,200.
  • Foreign transaction fees. Avoid using this card online at foreign merchants or when traveling abroad or you'll pay 3% fee of the amount of each transaction.
  • No reward program. You won't earn any rewards on your purchases.
  • No signup bonus. There's no bonus to earn upon signup.
Annual fee $0
Purchase APR 0% intro for the first 20 months (then 14.49% to 24.49% variable)
Balance transfer APR 0% intro for the first 20 months (then 14.49% to 24.49% variable)
Balance transfer fee $5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater
Rewards N/A

Best for cash back flexibility
U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card logo
Finder Rating: 4.4 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-850)
Read review
Rates & fees

670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
12 months
0% intro transfer APR
Up to 5%
Cash back
The U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card is another great example of a rewards card that doubles as a more than solid balance transfer card. While the Citi Double Cash is still the kind of rewards when it comes to such card, the flexibility offered but the U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card is an asset for targeted spending.
  • Intro APR. Enjoy a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for the first 12 months, reverting to 13.99% to 23.99% variable.
  • Cash back. Earn 5% cash back on up to $2,000 each quarter in combined purchases on two categories of your choice, reverting to 1%. Earn 2% back on one selected category all year round, and 1% back on everything else.
  • Signup bonus. Earn a $150 after you spend $500 in your first 90 days of card membership.
  • Cash back requires enrollment. You'll need to enroll in you bonus categories each quarter to earn the accelerated rewards.
  • Balance transfer time limit. You have just 60 days to make your balance transfer and receive the intro period.
Annual fee $0
Purchase APR 13.99% to 23.99% variable
Balance transfer APR 0% intro for the first 12 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
Balance transfer fee $5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater
Rewards 5% on up to $2,000 each activated quarter on two categories combined (1% after), 2% on one everyday category and 1% on all other purchases

Best for no balance transfer fee
Navy Federal Platinum Credit Card

Navy Federal Platinum Credit Card logo
Credit recommended (580-850)
Read review
580
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
12 months
0% intro transfer APR
n/a
Rewards
The Navy Federal Platinum Credit Card is one of the few cards on the market right now that don't charge a balance transfer fee on transfers. In fact, the card is light on fees on the whole, requiring no annual fee, no cash advance fee, no foreign transaction fee and a low average APR. The tradeoff is you'll need to be a Navy Federal Credit Union member to obtain this card.
  • Intro APR. Get a 0% intro APR on balance transfers, reverting to 5.99% to 18% variable.
  • Low fees. You won't pay an annual fee, balance transfer fees, cash advance fees or foreign transaction fees with this card.
  • Low interest rate. The low end of this card's interest rate is just 5.99%, which is among the lowest on the market.
  • Membership required. You need to be a member of the NFCU to obtain this card.
  • No rewards. This card doesn't earn rewards on purchases.
Annual fee $0
Purchase APR 0% intro for the first 12 months (then 5.99% to 18% variable)
Balance transfer APR 0% intro for the first 12 months (then 5.99% to 18% variable)
Balance transfer fee None
Rewards N/A

What’s changed in 2021

Many cards lost their balance transfer offers in 2020, with U.S. Bank remaining one of the few providers to leave their offers relatively untouched. As a result, U.S. Bank has taken several spots for 2021, including cashback flexibility, dining, and the longest intro APR period.

Compare all balance transfer credit cards

See more balance transfer offers and save money on interest.

How to choose the best balance transfer card

To make the right credit card choice and save money, consider the following:

  • Length of intro APR period. The longest 0% intro APR period used to be 21 months, now it’s at 20 months. This is the best option if you only want to pay off your debt without interest and get as much headroom as possible.
  • Balance transfer fees. Most balance transfer credit cards charge either a 3% or 5% fee of the amount. This can add up if you’re transferring a larger sum. For example, a $10,000 balance transfer could cost you either $300 or $500 in fees. Some cards waive this fee. Make sure you read the fine print to know what you’re getting.
  • Rewards. If you want to get value after you pay off your debt, a rewards card is the way to go. Most rewards cards that also offer a 0% intro APR period, do so for 12 to 18 months. This isn’t bad, considering you get to earn rewards and save money on interest.
  • Credit limit. Typically, you can transfer amounts, including fees, up to the card’s credit limit. If you want to transfer larger amount, look for cards with high credit limits.

How do balance transfer credit cards work?

A balance transfer credit card allows you to move debts, like loans and credit card balances, to a new card with a lower interest rate. This allows you to pay off your balances faster and save money on interest.

Here are the steps to complete a balance transfer:

  1. Compare and apply for a card

    Look for balance transfer offers with a 0% intro APR period for as long as possible — often 12, 15, 18 or even 21 months if you have great credit.

  2. Transfer the balance

    Follow the instructions provided by the card issuer to transfer your existing balances to your new card.

  3. Pay off the debt

    Be sure to pay down the balance within the intro offer period, so you can save the most money on interest, get out of debt, and avoid any repercussions of the revert rate.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Save money on interest. Balance transfer cards can help you save money on interest that you already pay on your credit card debt.
  • Rewards. Most balance transfer cards also come with a rewards program. This gives your card value after the intro APR period ends.
  • No annual fee. Balance transfer cards typically come with a $0 annual fee, which helps you save even more money on fees.

Cons

  • Balance transfer fees. You have to pay a balance transfer fee of either 3% or 5% of the amount. There are some cards that charge $0 fees, but these are incredibly rare.
  • Poor travel rewards. Balance transfer cards that offer rewards are typically cashback cards. These are excellent for everyday purchases like gas, groceries and dining. But cards that offer travel rewards, rarely come with a 0% intro APR period on balance transfers.
  • May not be able to transfer your entire debt. You can make balance transfers up to the amount of your available credit limit. If your credit limit is lower than your debt, you won’t be able to transfer all of it.

When is a balance transfer card worth it?

A balance transfer is worth it when the money saved on interest outweighs any balance transfer fees.

Let’s say you owe $4,000 on a credit card with an interest rate of 19% and you intend to pay $300 each month. Instead, you move the debt to a balance transfer card with a 0% intro APR for 15 months and a 3% transfer fee. Although you would pay $120 in balance transfer fees, you would pay off the debt in just under 14 months and avoid paying any interest during this time.

If you kept the debt on the original card, you would pay $529 in interest. By moving the debt to the balance transfer card, you end up saving $405 dollars. In this case, the balance transfer card is clearly worth it.

Below we look at four common options for tackling this kind of debt. See how they stack up.

Four options for repaying credit card debt

Details of the original card
  • Credit card balance: $4,000
  • Original card int. rate: 19%
  • Monthly payment: $300
  • Cost in interest: $529
Balance transfer to card with 0% APRPay off card faster: $515 monthly paymentDebt consolidation loan at 5% APRPaying the minimum
Cost in interest$0$303$124$5,740
Cost in transfer fees$120$0$120$0
Total cost$120$303$244$5,740
Time to pay off debt14 months9 months14 months10+ years
Savings$405$226$285-$5,211

In this case, a balance transfer card is the best option. Although you’ll pay a transfer fee, you’ll save the most in interest over time.

You asked, we listened: Top 5 common questions

There can be a lot of fine print when it comes to balance transfers. Here are the five most common questions we receive on the subject.

  1. How much can I transfer? The minimum and maximum amount you can transfer during a balance transfer is typically determined by your card’s credit limit.
  2. What credit score do I need? Generally, you need a good credit score or better to qualify for a balance transfer card.
  3. What kinds of debt can I transfer? Aside from credit card debt, you can transfer nearly any type of monthly payment owed, such as student loans, auto loans and personal loans.
  4. What mistakes should I avoid in my application? Applying for a balance transfer card with your existing credit card issuer is one of the biggest mistakes you can make.
  5. What happens if I can’t pay off my balance in time? If you can’t pay your full balance in time, the revert APR will kick in and you’ll need to start paying that interest on future payments.

Bottom line

The best balance transfer card for you depends on your finances, debt repayment plan and how you spend. If none of the cards on our list of best picks feel like the right fit, compare more cards to find one that’s right for you.

Credit card ratings

★★★★★ — Excellent

★★★★★ — Good

★★★★★ — Average

★★★★★ — Subpar

★★★★★ — Poor

Our team evaluates credit cards to determine their value against similar cards on the market.

We rank card types — travel, cash back, business — on a set of factors that are most relevant to that type of card. We create these rankings to help you narrow down a credit card that best suits your spending and budget.

Learn the details of our methodology and scoring.

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and finder.com Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site