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The best balance transfer credit cards of 2021

Find the best balance transfer credit cards in Canada to help you handle your debit.

Best balance transfer credit cards in Canada

CIBC Select Visa

13.99%
Purchase Interest Rate
$29
Annual Fee
Unknown
Min. Recommended Credit Score
The CIBC Select Visa offers a low 13.99% interest rate for purchases and cash advances. It also comes with a 0% balance transfer rate so you can save money by moving your outstanding balance over from a high-interest card. The downside of this card is that it comes with relatively few benefits and you won’t earn points or cashback when you spend money.
Annual Fee $29
Additional Cardholder Fee $0
Min. Credit Score Unknown
Purchase Interest Rate 13.99%
Cash Advance Rate 13.99%
Pros
  • Your first year's annual fee is $0.
  • This card comes with a balance transfer rate of 0% for 10 months.
  • Save up to 25% at participating Avis and Budget locations in Canada and the US when you pay for your rental with your CIBC Select Visa.
  • Pay an additional fee to get travel medical insurance or payment protection added to your plan.
  • The minimum annual income requirement for this card is only $15,000.
What to watch out for
  • You'll have to pay $29 per year after your first year to maintain your card.
  • You can only transfer a balance up to 50% of your credit limit.

Scotiabank Value Visa Card

12.99%
Purchase Interest Rate
$29
Annual Fee
660
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 660
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
660
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 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 660
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 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%.

President’s Choice Financial Mastercard

20.97%
Purchase Interest Rate
$0
Annual Fee
Unknown
Min. Recommended Credit Score
The President’s Choice Financial Mastercard gives you a low balance transfer rate and a decent return on PC Optimum points for no annual fee. You’ll earn 10 points per dollar at select PC brand-name stores along with 25 points at Shoppers Drug Mart and 20 points on PC Travel. You can also earn another 30 points per litre when you fuel up at Esso and Mobil gas stations. Plus, get a low balance transfer rate of 0.97% for the first 6 months.
Annual Fee $0
Min. Credit Score Unknown
Purchase Interest Rate 20.97%
Cash Advance Rate 22.97%
Interest Free Period 21 days
Balance Transfer Rate 22.97%
Pros
  • The annual fee for this card is $0
  • You’ll earn 10 points per dollar at select PC brand-name stores along with 25 points at Shoppers Drug Mart and 20 points on PC Travel. You can also earn another 30 points per litre when you fuel up at Esso and Mobil gas stations.
  • This card comes with a low balance transfer rate of 0.97% for the first 6 months.
  • Get an emergency cash advance or a replacement card if you lose or misplace your card while travelling.
  • You won’t have to meet any minimum income requirements to qualify for this card.
What to watch out for
  • You'll pay a relatively high purchase interest rate of 20.97% with this card.
  • There are no additional benefits like travel medical or roadside assistance on offer with this card.

How does a balance transfer work?

Balance transfer cred cards allow you to transfer existing debt to a different credit card which charges a lower – or no – interest for a set period of time. Some lenders also allow you to transfer other types of debt, like loans. A balance transfer can help you save hundreds – or even thousands – of dollars in interest.

When you apply for a balance transfer card, you’ll need to find out what interest rate you’ll be charged and how long this intro APR lasts. Most lenders offer balance transfer rates of 0% to 3.99% for a promotional period of 6 to 10 months. The best balance transfer credit cards will offer the lowest interest rates for the longest intro period.

Once the promotional period ends, you’ll be charged interest on any unpaid balance at the revert rate, which is typically the purchase interest rate (usually around 19.99%). This is why it’s important to try and pay off your balance in full before the promotional period ends.

What is the best balance transfer card in Canada?

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 Canadian 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 to find the best balance transfer credit card

While you may find a couple of 0% balance transfer credit cards on the market, you’ll need to consider more than just the interest rate. You’ll also want to look at how long the promotional interest rate is offered for, and consider any balance transfer and annual fees.

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.

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.

What to consider before getting a 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.

Am I eligible for the best balance transfer cards?

Realistically, the longest intro period deals are reserved for those with excellent credit. Some card issuers even 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.

Make sure you at least meet the basic eligibility requirements for any card you’re interested in. That way you won’t waste the time applying, and lowering your credit score from a hard credit check. Some credit card issuers allow you to see your chances of approval for their cards by doing a soft credit pull, which won’t impact your credit score.

Compare more balance transfer credit cards in Canada

Use the table below to compare a range of balance transfer credit cards available in Canada. Once you’ve narrowed down your options, click the “Got to site” button to apply.

Name Product Balance Transfer Rate Balance Transfer Fee Purchase Interest Rate Annual Fee Min. Credit Score Description
Tangerine World Mastercard
1.95% for the first 6 months (then 19.95%)
3%
19.95%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 680
Get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first six months (valid within the first 30 days of account opening).
BMO CashBack Mastercard
1.99% for the first 9 months (then 22.99%)
1%
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get 5% cash back on all eligible purchases in the first three months of card membership (up to max. spend of $2,000). Plus, get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers with a 1% balance transfer fee for nine months.
BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard
3.99% for the first 9 months (then 12.99%)
1%
12.99%
$20
Min. recommended credit score: 660
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.
Scotiabank Value Visa Card
0.99% for the first 6 months (then 12.99%)
N/A
12.99%
$29
Min. recommended credit score: 660
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.
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
1.95% for the first 6 months (then 19.95%)
3%
19.95%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 680
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
1.99% for the first 9 months (then 22.99%)
1%
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 725
Get a bonus of 10,000 BMO Rewards points when you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months. Apply by October 31, 2021 . Plus, get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers for 9 months. A 1% fee applies to transferred balances.
BMO AIR MILES Mastercard
1.99% for the first 9 months (then 22.99%)
1%
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
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.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Calculate how much you could save

Here’s how to use the calculator:

  • Credit Card Info. Enter your current total debt and the rate offered on a balance transfer card to see how much you’d pay in interest alone.
  • Calculate Months to Payoff. Input the amount you pay monthly to see how long it’ll take you to pay off your debt.
  • Calculate Monthly Payment. Enter the number of months the promotional rate is offered for. This will show you how much your monthly payment will be and the total amount of interest you’ll pay.

Things to avoid with balance transfers

While a balance transfer credit card comes with many benefits, there are a few things you should look out for:

  • You may not be able to transfer debts between cards offered by the same bank or any of its partners. That’s because banks are not going to compete with themselves.
  • Don’t balance transfer too often as this can negatively affect your credit score. Remember, there are only so many banks you can apply for balance transfer cards with before you run out of options.
  • Avoid paying only the minimum repayment since this defeats the purpose of attempting to slash your debt quickly with a 0% or low interest rate.
  • Mark down on a calendar when the promotional interest rate ends and don’t forget the date. Your revert rate will kick in once this promotional period runs out and your debt will start to accrue interest at a much higher rate.
  • Avoid using your balance transfer credit card for purchases since you’ll be charged the revert rate on any new purchases that you make. Use the 0% or low interest period to focus on paying down your debt.

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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