Best balance transfer credit cards – Get 0% interest up to 24 months

Looking for a balance transfer card? Take a look at the top balance transfer cards on the market and pick the one that’s best for you.

The term “balance transfer card” might sound complicated, but its idea is simple. A balance transfer means that, for a one-time fee, you take the debt you owe on one credit card and move that amount to another card (a balance transfer credit card).

A balance transfer can be a great option if you’re paying heavy interest on your current credit card — you can move your existing balance to another card that offers low or no interest for a long period of time. This can help you pay off your debt faster and with less interest.

Barclaycard Ring™ Mastercard®

Our Pick: Barclaycard Ring™ MasterCard

Low interest rate on purchases, balance transfer and cash advances.

  • $0
  • 13.99% APR on purchases
  • Cash Advance Rate of 13.99% APR
  • Up to 23 days interest free

Rates last updated August 18th, 2017
Name Product Product Description Intro APR for Balance Transfer APR for Purchases ( Purchase Rate ) Annual fee
Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard
Earn 50,000 bonus miles and enjoy the current 0% intro APR for 12 months.
0% Intro APR for 12 months (with whichever is greater: $5 or 3%% balance transfer fee)
16.99%–23.99% variable
$0 annual fee for the first year ($89 thereafter)
Barclaycard Ring™ Mastercard®
Low interest rate on purchases, balance transfer and cash advances.
0% Intro APR for 15 months
13.99% variable
$0
Barclaycard CashForward™ World Mastercard®
Receive $200 cash rewards bonus when you spend $1,000 on your card within the first 90 days. A no annual fee card with 0% introductory APR on balance transfers.
0% Intro APR for 15 months (on balance transfers made within first 45 days) (with 3%, (Minimum $5)% balance transfer fee)
15.99%, 20.99% or 25.99% Variable
$0
USAA Cash Rewards® American Express®
You can receive up to 2.25% cash back on groceries and gas, as well as up to 1.25% cash back on most purchases.
10.65% - 26.65% variable
$0
USAA Cash Rewards® Visa Signature® Card
You can get price protection and extended warranties for your purchases and rewards for your day-to-day purchases.
10.40% - 26.40% Variable
$0

Compare up to 4 providers

What to look for in a balance transfer card

As with any credit card, choosing the right balance transfer card will depend on your individual needs. However, you’ll typically want to weigh these factors while considering balance transfer cards:

  • 0% APR promotions. Since the purpose of a balance transfer card is to shield you from interest payments, you want a card that offers 0% APR on balance transfers for a long time. You can find 0% APR promotions that last a year or more (potentially upwards of 20 months).
  • Annual fees. Balance transfer cards are all about savings, but annual fees can eat into those savings. Keep in mind that many good balance transfer cards come with no annual fees.
  • Balance transfer fees. Unfortunately, transferring balances is usually not free. Read each card’s fine print to see what the applicable balance transfer fees are.
  • Perks. Many good balance transfer cards are designed solely for cardholders to pay down debt — which means they don’t offer much in terms of rewards or perks. However, it’s definitely possible to find cards with solid balance transfer promotions and attractive rewards.

Now that you know what you’re looking for with balance transfer cards, take a look at our list of the best balance transfer cards on the market.

The best balance transfer cards comparison

What makes these balance transfer cards effective?

Chase SlateChase Slate Credit Card
The Chase Slate’s 0% APR promotion for 15 billing cycles on balance transfers is quite good. But what really makes the Chase Slate stand out is its unique no-fee promotion: On balance transfers you make within 60 days of opening your account, you won’t pay any fees whatsoever. The 0% intro APR includes purchases too, and afterward revers to 13.24% to 23.24%. Plus, no annual fee.

Citi SimplicityCiti Simplicity Card

The Citi Simplicity Card is a heavy hitter when it comes to APR promotions. Many balance transfer cards offer 0% APR on transfers for up to year, but the Citi Simplicity offers 0% APR on transfers for a generous 21 months. You have a lengthy four months to transfer your balances to get the intro rate, and after the promo period you’ll qualify for 13.24% to 23.24% APR. This card also has no annual fee.

Santander SphereSantander Sphere Credit Card

Out of all the credit cards on our list, the Santander Sphere Credit Card takes the prize for longest 0%-APR promotion. You’ll receive 0% APR for 24 billing cycles (and 12.74% to 22.74% after that) on balance transfers you make within the first 90 days. There is a similar intro rate on purchases but it is limited to 12 months. Transfer your debt within 90 days to get the intro rate.
Barclaycard Arrival PlusBarclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard
Though the Barclaycard Arrival Plus offers a decent 12-month 0%-APR promotion (Afterwards, 16.24%, 20.24%, or 23.24%), that’s not the primary reason it’s a great balance transfer card. It’s because the Arrival Plus is hands-down one of the best travel cards you can find anywhere with 50,000 bonus miles awarded after $3,000 in purchases made, then 2x miles on all purchases and 5% miles back each time you redeem. Not only will you get a solid balance transfer promotion, but you’ll also receive travel miles through regular spending that you can use as statement credit (just be sure to factor in the card’s $89 annual fee starting the second year).

BankamericardBankAmericard Credit Card

The BankAmericard offers an attractive 0% APR for 18 billing cycles on balance transfers made within the first 60 days. You’ll also potentially receive a balance transfer revert rate of as low as 11.24% (or as high as 21.24%). Take note there is no introductory promotion rate on purchases, and there’s also no annual fee for this card.
US Bank PlatinumU.S. Bank Visa Platinum Credit Card
The U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Credit Card offers 0% APR for a respectable 12 months. It’s the potential for a 10.24% revert rate, however, that makes this card far more attractive. To get that rate, you’ll need stellar credit when applying for the card.
Blue Cash Everyday American ExpressBlue Cash Everyday Card
The Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express offers a solid 0% APR for 12 months on balance transfers and purchases (afterwards, 13.24% to 23.24%). Perhaps more enticingly, it offers these perks:

  • Earn $100 back when you spend $1,000 within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 10% back on Amazon.com purchases you make within the first 6 months (earn up to $200).
  • 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 a year; afterwards, 1% cash back).
  • 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations.
  • 1% cash back on everything else.

That’s a great suite of features, especially considering the decent balance transfer intro APR and $0 annual fee.

Pros and Cons of Best Balance Transfer Cards
Before applying for a balance transfer card, take a look at the positives and negatives of owning one:

Pros

  • Generous 0% APR promotions. A good balance transfer card will give you a 0% interest rate on transfers for a long period of time. This will give you ample time to pay off your balance.
  • Potentially rewarding collection of balance transfer promotions and card perks. Depending on your needs, you might be able to find a card that hits the sweet spot of a long 0%-APR promotion and perks like travel rewards or cash back.

Cons

  • Potential lack of perks. Balance transfer cards that offer attractive 0% promotional APRs sometimes do so to the exclusion of perks and rewards.
  • Potentially high revert rates. It’s a good idea to pay off your balance before your 0% APR expires. That’s because any balance you still have after your APR promotion may be charged a high interest rate.

What you need to apply for a balance transfer card

To apply for a balance transfer card, you’ll need to provide different information depending on which provider you’re applying with. Generally, however, you should have the following information ready:

  • Driver’s license and Social Security number.
  • Personal details. Have personal details ready (your residential address, phone number, email address, etc.) for your application.
  • Financial details. You will also need to provide details like employment information and total annual income.

What credit score do you need?

Usually, credit card providers only want to take on your debt via balance transfers if they’re reasonably certain you’ll pay off that debt. That said, they’ll typically require strong credit for balance transfer cards. Consider applying for a balance transfer card only with a credit score that’s good or better (700+).

Balance transfer chalculator

Your current credit cards:

Amount Owing

APR

Card 1

Card 2

Card 3

Card 4

Card 5

Card that you are transferring to:

Intro APR

Intro Term (months)

Ongoing APR

Balance Transfer Fee

Annual Fee

Your monthly repayment
$500

 
 
Critical
At this rate, you will not pay off your debt.
 
Recommended
At this rate you will pay off your debt during the card's intro period

At that rate you will not pay off your debt. You will need to make higher repayments.

Months that it will take you to pay off your debt:

With a balance transfer
12 months

Without a balance transfer
15 months

Money saved transferring debt to a balance transfer card:

Savings = $1,000

By moving forward with a balance transfer credit card and transferring the maximum amount, you could be saving $1,000 on fees and interest charges.
You will save an infinite amount of money as you will not pay off your debt on your current cards at that rate.
In this case, a balance transfer card is not the best option. You might want to consider a personal loan to help consolidate your debt. You can find out more here.
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this calculator, the results should be used as indication only. Certain assumptions have been made around the repayments made. This calculator is neither a quote nor a pre-qualification for a credit card

Frequently asked questions

Most likely, yes. You’ll typically pay around 3% of the transferred amount in fees.

Balance transfer speeds can vary from provider to provider, but a good rule of thumb is to expect your balance transfer to be completed within 7 to 10 days.

Not always. Some providers will allow transfers of debt like auto loans, mortgages, and student loans. Contact a representative of your credit card company to see what’s allowed.

Credit card companies offer generous 0%-APR promotions because doing so can be an effective way to acquire a customer. Furthermore, card companies may start making money from you if continue to hold balances on your credit cards after your balance transfer promotions end.

Maximums will vary from provider to provider; check with a representative of your credit card company to confirm what’s allowed.

Getting any new credit card typically lowers your credit score slightly in the short-term. That’s because acquiring a new card lowers your average account age, which is a metric used to calculate your credit score. The good news, however, is the drop generally amounts to just 5 to 20 points, which you can recover from quickly by making timely credit card payments.

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