Pay no interest for 15 months or more on debt you transfer to a new card.
A balance transfer credit card can help you consolidate multiple debts into one convenient monthly payment, typically at a lower APR than you’re paying on your debt overall. But what if you had more than a year to pay off those same debts at no interest?
Among your balance transfer card choices are those offering 12, 18 and, in a few rare cases, up to 24 interest-free months to get your debt sorted. That’s more time to apply your full monthly payment to paying down your total debt. And more of your money in your own pocket, and not your provider’s.
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 accomplish in the average promo period.
Our pick for a long intro balance transfer period: HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card
Compare 15+ month intro APR balance transfer cards
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% balance transfer credit card offers below.
|Credit card||0% intro period||Revert APR|
|Chase Slate® credit card||First 15 months your account is open||17.24% to 25.99% variable|
|Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card||12 statement closing dates||15.49% to 25.49% variable|
|HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card||First 15 months your account is open||15.24% to 25.24% variable|
|Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express||First 15 months your account is open||15.24% to 26.24% variable|
How does an interest-free balance transfer work?
A 0% balance transfer card can offer the opportunity for you to transfer most existing debts to a new card offering no interest for a set introductory period — anywhere from 6 to 24 months or more. They can allow breathing room to budget your finances more wisely while also saving overall interest on your debt. 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. And 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% card can outweigh these fees.
You typically indicate the balances you’d like to transfer with your online application, though you can request balance transfers after approval. After you activate your card, your new credit card company begins the process of initiating your balance transfers. They request the outstanding amounts from your old banks in the order you listed them for payoff on your application, transferring the balances to your new card’s account. The process generally requires one to two weeks.
Note that the 0% promotional period counts down from your card’s activation date, so build that time into your overall debt repayment plan.
How to find the best rates on a new balance transfer card
Narrow down your offers by weighing the overall benefits of no-balance transfer credit cards:
- The introductory APR.
The best offers extend 0% APR on balance transfers for 12 months or more.
- The introductory period.
The time you’re allowed to transfer balances can vary, with cards offering 0% interest from 6 months to 24 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.
- Annual fees.
While many cards require an annual fee, you can find balance transfer cards with no annual fee.
- Transfer limits.
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 5 to 20 points off your score. If you don’t think you can meet the card’s eligibility requirements, look elsewhere. And leave at least six months between applications to maintain a healthy credit score.
- Pay less than the minimum.
To pay down as much of your balance before your 0% promo ends, divide the amount you’re transferring by the number of months you have to pay it down. That way, you’ll 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% 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.
Strong rates make a difference
When 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 much can I save with a balance transfer card offering 0% for up to 12 months?
Exactly how much you’ll save in interest depends on your existing debt and your ability to repay it. But let’s look at an example to see some of the potential savings.
Let’s say you carry $3,500 in debt on a card that currently charges 20.99% variable APR. If you transfer your debt to a card offering no annual fee and 0% interest on balance transfers for a year, you could save $684.21 if you repay your balance in full before the card reverts to your approved APR.
Finding the right balance transfer card can be your ticket to getting out of debt more quickly. When narrowing down the right card for you, look for those offering 0% 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.