Pay no interest for 12 months or more on transferred debt.
A balance transfer credit card can help you consolidate multiple debts into one convenient monthly payment, typically at a lower APR. Even better, you can do so while paying no interest during an intro APR period which can last up to 15, 18 and — in a few rare cases — up to 21 months.
To find the best no-interest balance transfer deal you’re eligible for, you’ll want to weigh the debts you owe against what you can pay off in the average promo period.
Our pick for a long intro balance transfer term
HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card
Compare balance transfer cards with 15+ month intro APRs
What’s in this guide?
Compare the best balance transfer credit card rates
Want to save on unnecessary interest when consolidating your credit card debts? Compare the latest 0% intro APR balance transfer credit card offers below.
|Credit card||Best balance transfer card for||0% intro period||Revert APR|
|Citi Simplicity® Card||Long intro APR||First 21 months||16.24%–26.24% variable|
|HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card||Low ongoing rate||First 15 months||14.24%–25.24% variable|
|Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express||Cashback rewards||First 15 months||15.24%–26.24% variable (see Rates & Fees)|
|Chase Slate® credit card||Intro balance transfer fee offer||First 15 months||17.24%–25.99% variable|
How we selected our top cards
We looked at a few factors when comparing balance transfer credit card rates, including intro period length, the revert APR, welcome offers and any additional rewards or perks offered. We highlighted cards that stood out in one or more of these categories.
What’s changed in 2019
The HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card fell from its position as longest APR intro period, a spot now claimed by the Citi Simplicity® Card. Instead, the HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card now offers one of the lowest ongoing revert APRs, remaining a strong choice.
How does an interest-free balance transfer work?
When you transfer existing debts to a 0% intro APR balance transfer card, you’ll pay no interest for a set introductory period — anywhere from six to 18 months, sometimes more. After the intro period, the APR reverts to the rate extended with your application approval.
With these cards, you can transfer existing debt up to the limit you’re allowed, with the benefit of consolidating multiple payments into one. Because your debt accrues no interest, the total you pay to your provider each month is applied directly to your principal.
You may, however, be on the hook for a fee for each transfer. But depending on the total debt you carry, the interest you save by moving your debt to a 0% intro APR card can outweigh these fees.
Strong rates make a differenceWhen you’re looking to consolidate debt, a strong rate can get you to financial freedom faster. And there’s no better interest rate than no interest.
Use our balance transfer calculator to learn how much you can save by transferring existing debt to a no-fee balance transfer credit card. Enter details for up to five credit card balances to see how many months you can shave off your payments and the fees and interest you’ll avoid by transferring what you owe.
How to find the lowest balance transfer rate
Narrow down your offers by weighing the overall benefits of no-balance transfer credit cards:
The introductory APR.
The best offers extend a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 12 months or more.
The introductory period.
The time you’re allowed to transfer balances can vary. Card providers offer 0% intro APRs from six months to 18 months or more. Look for the longest promo you’re eligible for to take advantage of stronger interest savings.
Banks you can transfer from.
Generally, you can’t transfer balances among cards issued by the same provider. It’s not always so clear: Cards can be issued by separate banks but owned by the same institution, which might limit your options.
Balance transfer fees.
You’ll save on interest, but watch for fees. Some cards charge transfer fees equal to 3% to 5% of the balance you’re transferring. Still, with the right card, the interest you’ll save on your debt can outweigh these fees. Some will even waive the fee for a certain period, too.
While many cards require an annual fee, you can find balance transfer cards with no annual fee.
Some cards allow you to transfer balances up to your full approved credit limit, while others only transfer up to a percentage of that limit — say, 70% to 95%. Consider the card’s balance transfer limit to find one that supports your existing debt.
What to avoid with balance transfer credit cards
While a balance transfer credit card comes with many benefits, be on the lookout for potential pitfalls when paying down your debt.
Applying too often.
Each card application requires a hard pull of your credit report, which can shave several points off your score. If you don’t think you can meet the card’s eligibility requirements, look elsewhere. You may also want to leave at least six months between applications to maintain a healthy credit score.
Paying less than the minimum.
To pay down as much of your balance before your 0% promo APR ends, divide the amount you’re transferring by the number of months you have to pay it down. That way, you know exactly how much you need to repay before the revert rate kicks in.
Forgetting the offer end date.
After your intro period ends, you’ll pay your approved revert rate on any remaining balances. Consider setting a reminder for a few months before your promo expires so that you’re not caught off guard.
Racking up additional debt.
A 0% intro APR balance transfer card is most effective if you use it to concentrate on paying down your existing debt. For most cards, new purchases not only accrue higher interest but also get priority for monthly payments.
Because repayments are applied to new purchases first, you threaten your ability to pay off your transferred debt in time.
How to apply for a balance transfer card
For a more in-depth look at the process, you can read our complete guide to making a balance transfer. The top-level view of it can be condensed into a few steps:
- Find the right card. Figure out your budget, compare balance transfer credit cards and select the one that’s going to give you the transfer options you need to make the biggest dent in your debt.
- Apply for the card. Follow the steps on the provider’s website and apply for the card of your choice.
- Give your balance information. When you’re applying for the credit card, you’ll likely be able to apply for the transfer. Provide the account numbers and amounts for each balance you want to move to your new card.
- Wait for approval. Depending on the provider, you could get a decision within minutes.
- Activate your card. Once approved, you’ll have to wait for the provider to send out your card and welcome materials. Read through the agreement, and if you’re satisfied, you can activate your card.
- Keep paying down your old cards. It may take up to a few weeks for your balance transfer to go through. Until you receive confirmation that it has, continue making payments to your old accounts to avoid late and missed payment fees.
Finding the right balance transfer card can be your ticket to getting out of debt faster. When narrowing down the right card for you, look for those offering 0% intro APR on transfers for as long as you’re eligible.
Your best offers will extend a no-interest promo for 12 months or more, giving you plenty of time to pay down your debt, save on unnecessary interest and address your overall financial health.