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The best balance transfer credit cards of 2021

Find the best deal on a balance transfer credit card to help you handle your debit.

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Best balance transfer credit cards

BMO Rewards Mastercard

19.99%
Purchase Interest Rate
$0
Annual Fee
Very Good
Min. Recommended Credit Score
The BMO Rewards Mastercard comes with a $0 annual fee, an appealing balance transfer offer, signup bonus, car rental perks and insurance protection on many of your purchases. Get 1 BMO Reward point for every $1 spent on eligible purchases.
Annual Fee $0
Additional Cardholder Fee $0
Min. Credit Score Very Good
Purchase Interest Rate 19.99%
Cash Advance Rate 22.99%
Interest Free Period Up to 21 days
Balance Transfer Rate 22.99%
Foreign Transaction Fee 2.5%
Pros
  • No annual fee. Enjoy a $0 annual fee with this card.
  • Optional balance transfer offer. Get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers for 9 months. A 1% fee applies to transferred balances. After the offer period ends, a standard interest rate of 22.99% will apply to unpaid balance transfer amounts.
  • Earn BMO Reward points. Get 1 BMO Reward point for every $1 spent on eligible purchases, and get 2 BMO Rewards points for every $1 spent at participating National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car locations. Points can be redeemed for gift cards, merchandise, flight credit or to pay down your balance so you can save money or treat yourself to something special.
  • Signup bonus. Get a bonus of 15,000 BMO Rewards points.
  • Free additional cardholder. Add another cardholder to the account, and enjoy a $0 annual fee on the added card.
  • Purchase Protection and Extended Warranty coverage. Eligible items charged to your card are automatically insured against theft and damage. Plus, the original manufacturer's warranty on eligible items can be doubled by up to 1 additional year.
  • Discounted shows. Get 15% off admission to Cirque du Soleil shows touring Canada, and 20% off resident shows in Las Vegas.
  • Car rental perks. Get a discount of up to 25% off at National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car locations. Plus, earn 2 BMO Rewards points for every $1 spent at participating locations.
What to watch out for
  • Foreign transaction fee. Every time you make a purchase in a foreign currency, you’ll pay a 2.5% fee.
  • Limited perks. Though this card comes with some good benefits, you won’t get many of the perks offered with more premium credit cards such as complimentary travel insurance, travel upgrades and 24/7 concierge services.
  • Minimum income requirement. You need a minimum personal income of $15,000 annually to apply.
  • Low rewards points earning rate. The amount of points you can earn on your purchases is low compared to other rewards credit cards on the market.

Scotiabank Value Visa Card

12.99%
Purchase Interest Rate
$29
Annual Fee
650+
Min. Recommended Credit Score
With no cash back or rewards points, the Scotiabank Value Visa Card doesn't come with a lot of extra perks – but it can be a great tool for saving money. Save on interest for 6 months by consolidating your higher-rate balances with the balance transfer offer, and get an on-going 12.99% interest rate on purchases, cash advances and balance transfers.
Annual Fee $29
Additional Cardholder Fee $0
Min. Credit Score 650+
Purchase Interest Rate 12.99%
Cash Advance Rate 12.99%
Interest Free Period Up to 21 days
Balance Transfer Rate 12.99%
Foreign Transaction Fee 2.5%
Pros
  • Low purchase and cash advance interest rates of 12.99%.
  • Get a 0.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers with a 0% transfer fee for the first 6 months. Apply by July 1, 2021.
  • Once the promotional balance transfer period ends, any unpaid balance will incur the low rate of 12.99%.
What to watch out for
  • This card has an annual fee of $29.
  • No cash back or rewards.
  • This card has a foreign transaction fee of 2.5%.

Tangerine World Mastercard

19.95%
Purchase Interest Rate
$0
Annual Fee
680+
Min. Recommended Credit Score
If you’re looking for a $0 annual fee credit card with unlimited cash back rewards and a competitive balance transfer offer, then the Tangerine World Mastercard could be right for you. Earn unlimited 2% cash back in two categories of your choice (or three categories if you open a Tangerine Savings Account and directly deposit your cash back into the account), and unlimited 0.5% cash back on everything else. Conditions apply.
Annual Fee $0
Additional Cardholder Fee $0
Min. Credit Score 680+
Purchase Interest Rate 19.95%
Cash Advance Rate 19.95%
Interest Free Period Up to 21 days
Balance Transfer Rate 19.95%
Foreign Transaction Fee 2.5%
Pros
  • Get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first six months (valid within the first 30 days of account opening).
  • This card has a $0 annual fee.
  • Free additional cardholders.
  • Earn unlimited 2% cash back in two categories of your choice (or three categories if you open a Tangerine Savings Account and directly deposit your cash back into the account), and unlimited 0.5% cash back on everything else. Conditions apply.
  • Charge the full cost of a rental vehicle to your card, and get complimentary damage and theft protection for up to 31 consecutive days.
  • Get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first six months. To take advantage of this offer, you must complete the Balance Transfer request within 30 days of account approval and activate your card within 45 days of approval. A 1% balance transfer fee will be charged on each transferred amount (Fee is waived by Tangerine if you're a resident of Quebec).
What to watch out for
  • Minimum income requirement. You need a minimum personal income of $60,000 or a combined household income of at least $100,000 to apply for this card.
  • Foreign transaction fee.
  • You'll face a foreign transaction fee of 2.5% every time you use your card overseas or online with international retailers.
  • Limited travel benefits. Though this card offers some travel perks, it doesn’t come with many of the travel benefits offered by more premium credit cards such as complimentary travel insurance, free flight and hotel upgrades and discounted car rentals.

BMO AIR MILES Mastercard

19.99%
Purchase Interest Rate
$0
Annual Fee
Good
Min. Recommended Credit Score
With the BMO AIR MILES Mastercard, you'll earn Air Miles while enjoying a $0 annual fee. Get 3x the AIR MILES for every $25 spent at eligible AIR MILES partners, and get 1 AIR MILE for every $25 spent elsewhere. Plus, this card comes with an appealing balance transfer offer. Get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers for 9 months. A 1% transfer fee will be charged for each transferred balance.
Annual Fee $0
Additional Cardholder Fee $0
Min. Credit Score Good
Purchase Interest Rate 19.99%
Cash Advance Rate 22.99%
Interest Free Period Up to 21 days
Balance Transfer Rate 22.99%
Foreign Transaction Fee 2.5%
Pros
  • Get 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles (enough for $80 towards purchases with AIR MILES Cash).
  • This card has a $0 annual fee.
  • Free additional cardholders.
  • Get 3x the AIR MILES for every $25 spent at eligible AIR MILES partners, and get 1 AIR MILE for every $25 spent elsewhere.
  • Get 2X the points by presenting your BMO Air Miles Mastercard and your Air Miles Card at participating Air Miles Partners.
  • Get a discount of up to 25% off the base rate of rental vehicles at participating National Car Rental® and Alamo Rent A Car® locations.
  • Get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers for 9 months. A 1% transfer fee will be charged for each transferred balance.
What to watch out for
  • You'll face a foreign transaction fee of 2.5% every time you use your card overseas or online with international retailers.
  • Should you take advantage of the balance transfer offer, you'll face a balance transfer fee of 1.99%.

How we picked our best cards

We’ve chosen the cards on this page by considering the most important factors people consider when looking for a balance transfer credit card. We considered things like the length of the balance transfer intro period, annual fees, promotional and ongoing interest rates, and additional card benefits.

No single credit card will be the best choice for everyone, so compare your options before picking your new card.

Compare more balance transfer credit cards

Name Product Purchase Interest Rate Balance Transfer Rate Balance Transfer Fee Annual Fee Minimum Income Reward Description
BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard
12.99%
3.99% for the first 9 months (then 12.99%)
1%
$20
$15,000
Take advantage of an introductory balance transfer offer, annual fee waiver in the first year, and low purchase and cash advance interest rates.
Get a rate of 3.99% on balance transfers for 9 months with a 1% transfer fee. Plus, get the $20 annual fee waived in the first year.
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
19.95%
1.95% for the first 6 months (then 19.95%)
3%
$0
$12,000
Earn 2% cash back in two categories of your choice (or three categories if you open a Tangerine Savings Account and directly deposit your cash back into the account), and 0.5% cash back on everything else.
Get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first six months (valid within the first 30 days of account opening).
Tangerine World Mastercard
19.95%
1.95% for the first 6 months (then 19.95%)
3%
$0
$60,000
Earn 2% cash back in two categories of your choice (or three categories if you open a Tangerine Savings Account and directly deposit your cash back into the account), and 0.5% cash back on everything else.
Get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first six months (valid within the first 30 days of account opening).
BMO Rewards Mastercard
19.99%
1.99% for the first 9 months (then 22.99%)
1%
$0
$15,000
Get 1 BMO Reward point for every $1 spent on eligible purchases, and get 2 BMO Rewards points for every $1 spent at participating National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car locations.
Get a bonus of 15,000 BMO Rewards points. Plus, get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers for 9 months. A 1% fee applies to transferred balances.
BMO AIR MILES Mastercard
19.99%
1.99% for the first 9 months (then 22.99%)
1%
$0
$15,000
Get 3x the AIR MILES for every $25 spent at eligible AIR MILES partners, and get 1 AIR MILE for every $25 spent elsewhere.
Get 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles (enough for $80 towards purchases with AIR MILES Cash). Get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers for 9 months. A 1% fee applies to transferred balances.
BMO CashBack Mastercard
19.99%
1.99% for the first 9 months (then 22.99%)
1%
$0
$15,000
Earn 3% cash back on groceries, 1% on recurring bill payments and 0.5% on all other eligible purchases.
Get 5% cash back on all eligible purchases in the first three months of card membership (up to a maximum spend of $2,000, and earn 3% cash back on groceries, 1% on recurring bill payments and 0.5% on all other eligible purchases thereafter). Plus, get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers with a 1% balance transfer fee for nine months.
BMO AIR MILES Mastercard For Students
19.99%
1.99% for the first 9 months (then 22.99%)
1%
$0
$15,000
Get 3x the AIR MILES for every $25 spent at eligible AIR MILES partners, and get 1 AIR MILE for every $25 spent elsewhere.
Get 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles (enough for $80 towards purchases with AIR MILES Cash). Get a 1.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for 9 months. A 1% fee applies to balance amounts transferred.
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What is the best balance transfer card?

This really depends on whether you want the longest possible intro balance transfer period, or want to pay the least in fees in order to transfer your balance. As a general rule of thumb, the longer the balance transfer period, the more likely you are to have to pay a higher balance transfer fee.

The longest balance transfer periods on the market is around 9 months. Choosing the best balance transfer card is really a matter of balancing the intro period against the intro interest rate and any potential fees you’ll need to pay.

How do I find the best balance transfer credit card?

There are lots of balance transfer card deals available, so to help you pick the right one, we recommend asking yourself these important questions:

  1. How much can you afford to repay each month?
    Take a look at your income and outgoings and try to get a rough idea of how much you could comfortably repay each month.
  2. How long do you need in order to clear your debt?
    Next, divide your outstanding balance by the amount you can afford to repay each month to establish how many months at low interest you need. It’s a good idea to add a couple of months to act as a buffer.
  3. Could you get a deal with no transfer fee?
    Balance transfer fees typically come in at about 1-3% of the total sum being transferred, so they’re worth avoiding, if possible. No-fee deals don’t tend to have the very longest periods around, so sometimes the fee is worth shouldering.
  4. Do you need the new card to offer anything else?
    If you’ve found cards offering the length of period you need, and you can avoid a transfer fee, maybe a new card could offer you some perks. Just watch out for cards that encourage you to use them for further spending. If you only need the balance transfer deal for a brief period, then factors like the card’s standard rate and any perks on offer might have a greater importance to you.

Once you’ve answered these questions you should be well prepared to start comparing deals.

Identifying the best balance transfer card for your unique circumstance really boils down to 3 factors: how much card debt you have, what you can afford to repay each month and which deals you can get approved for.

How can I find the best card that I’m eligible for?

So, now you know how to spot a good balance transfer deal. But realistically, the longest intro period deals are reserved for those with excellent credit. Additionally, card issuers often tailor offers to the individual applicant, so if your credit history is limited or damaged, you may find you’re accepted for a card, but offered a shorter intro period deal or a higher interest rate.

Almost every card issuer now lets you use an eligibility checker to find out the likelihood that you’d get approved and the specific deal you might be offered. These facilities use a soft pull of your credit file (in other words a “light” check, which won’t affect your credit score and isn’t visible to other banks).

If you already know that you have excellent credit, then you might choose to head straight to the card issuer offering the deal that you’ve homed-in on, but if you have fair/bad credit or if you have no idea about your credit rating, you might prefer to narrow down your options to just those that you know you’re in with a good chance of getting approved for. To do this, you can use an eligibility checker which takes a few basic details that you provide, then looks at cards from a whole range of issuers and shows you your likelihood of getting approved for each.

More ways to choose the right balance transfer credit card for you

To choose the best balance transfer credit card, ask yourself:

What is the interest rate on offer for the transferred balance?

Some cards will offer 0.00% for 6-10 months, while others may offer rates between 0.99% and 1.99% for the same time period. You may have to settle for a low APR instead of 0.00% if you’re looking to earn better rewards.

How long is the introductory rate offered?

Balance transfer promotions typically last between 6-10 months, however sometimes offers will last longer. The idea is to pay off your debt in full during the low or 0.00% APR period so that you can completely avoid paying interest.

Once the intro period ends, any unpaid balance will accrue the standard purchase rate – which could be as high as 19.99%.

Will you have to pay a balance transfer fee?

With some cards, you won’t have to pay balance transfer fees if you apply for the balance transfer at the time of application. Other cards may charge a transfer fee of 1.00-3.00%.

While you might automatically think that paying no balance transfer fee will save you money, it’s important to compare the promotional balance transfer rate and the annual fee of the card to determine if it’s worth moving your balance over.

How much can you transfer?

Different providers will cap the maximum amount that you can balance transfer at different limits. With some cards, you may be able to transfer up to 100% of your credit limit.

With other cards, you may be able to transfer only up to 50% of your credit limit, or up to a dollar amount such as $7,500.00.

Will you have to pay an annual fee for the card?

Paying an annual fee for the card can offset any value you get from your balance transfer offer.

This is why it’s essential to consider all costs, including the balance transfer fee, the annual fee of the card and the promotional APR to determine the value of the offer.

Can you earn cash back, rewards points or miles?

Not all cards offer cash back, points or miles. For example, the Scotiabank Value Visa Card has a competitive balance transfer offer, but you won’t earn any rewards.

On the other hand, the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card offers cash back rewards on all purchases.

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Bottom line

Make sure you understand what makes a balance transfer offer a good deal before choosing a card to apply for. Consider the length of the intro period and the intro interest rate to make sure you find the right balance transfer credit card for you.

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