Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards of 2019

Deal with your credit card debt: Move existing debt to a new balance transfer card

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If you have debt across one or more credit cards, you could consolidate it to a single balance transfer credit card – and pay it off with 0% or low interest for a predetermined number of months. While you can save hundreds – or sometimes thousands – of dollars in interest payments, you’ll need to watch out for the one-time balance transfer fee.

Scotiabank Value Visa Card

Scotiabank Value Visa Card

12.99 % APR

Purchase interest rate

Eligibility criteria, terms and conditions, fees and charges apply

Scotiabank Value Visa Card

Apply today and enjoy a 0.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months when your new credit card account is opened by 1 March 2020.

  • Purchase interest rate: 12.99%
  • Cash advance rate: 12.99%
  • Intro balance transfer rate: 0.99% for the first 6 months
  • Standard balance transfer rate: 12.99%
  • Annual fee: $29
  • Minimum income: $12,000
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Compare balance transfer cards

Name Product Reward Purchase Interest Rate Balance Transfer Rate Annual Fee Minimum Income Credit Rating
Earn 4% Money-Back Rewards in up to 3 categories of your choice. Offer ends January 31, 2020.
19.95%
1.95% for the first 6 months (then 19.95%)
$0
$60,000
650+ recommended credit score
Get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first six months. Valid within the first 30 days of account opening.
Save on interest by consolidating your higher-rate balances and get a low 12.99% purchase interest rate.
12.99%
0.99% for the first 6 months (then 12.99%)
$29
$12,000
650+ recommended credit score
Offers a 0.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers with 0% transfer fee for the first 6 months. Ends March 1, 2020.
Get 2% cashback after the Welcome Rate on all purchases. No cap and no limit.
19.99%
1.99% for the first 6 months (then 22.99%)
$99
N/A
Good, Excellent
Receive 5% cash back (up to $300 cash back) and a 1.99% balance transfer rate in the first 6 months to new cardmembers. No balance transfer fee upon application.
1.25% cash back rate on all purchases when your welcome offer ends. No cap.
19.99%
1.99% for the first 6 months (then 22.99%)
$0
N/A
Good, Excellent
Earn 2.5% cash back (up to $150 cash back) in the first three months. Offers 1.99% balance transfer rate in the first 6 months and no balance transfer fee upon application.
Earn 4% Money-Back Rewards in three categories of your choice such as groceries, dining, petrol and more. Ends January 31, 2020.
19.95%
1.95% for the first 6 months (then 19.95%)
$0
$12,000
650+ recommended credit score
Get 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first six months. Valid within the first 30 days of account opening.
Low interest rates of 12.99% on purchases and cash advances.
12.99%
3.99% for the first 9 months (then 12.99%)
$20
$15,000
Good
Offers a 3.99% balance transfer intro rate for nine months to new cardmembers.
Save with a low interest rate and no annual fee
16.99%
3.99% for the first 6 months (then 16.99%)
$0
$12,000
650+ recommended credit score
Offers a 3.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers with 0% transfer fee for the first 6 months. Ends March 1, 2020.
Earn 1 AIR MILES® for every $5 you spend at eligible sponsors, stores, drugstores and gas stations (up to $30,000 annually) and 1 Mile for every $10 you spend anywhere else.
19.99%
1.99% for the first 6 months (then 22.99%)
$120
N/A
Good, Excellent
Receive up to 3,500 bonus AIR MILES®. Conditions apply (Ends January 20, 2020). Offers 1.99% balance transfer rate in the first 6 months. No balance transfer fee upon application.
Earn 2x AIR MILES reward miles per $20 spend at eligible AIR MILES partners and and 1 miles per $20 spend in credit card purchases.
19.99%
1.99% for the first 9 months (then 22.99%)
$0
$15,000
Good
Enjoy AIR MILES on your every dollar spent and build a healthy credit history. Earn up to 800 AIR MILES bonus miles with minimum spend of $1,000 in the first three months. Ends January 15, 2020.
Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases. No caps, no limit.
19.99%
1.99% for the first 9 months (then 22.99%)
$0
$15,000
Good
Enjoy cash back on your every dollar spent and build a healthy credit history. Get up to 5% cash back with minimum spend of $2,000 in the first three months of card membership (Ends March 31, 2020).

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What is a balance transfer?

A balance transfer is the result of moving all – or part – of your existing debt to a new credit card provider, typically to save money on the overall interest you’d pay on that debt. Balance transfer cards offer new customers the opportunity to transfer most types of debt to a new credit card with a low or 0% intro APR for a set period of time (usually up to 10 months). This provides some often much needed breathing room to help cardholders get their debt under control, and start paying

Let’s break down how balance transfers work.

A balance transfer credit card allows you to move your existing debt to a new credit card with a lower interest rate, usually between 0% and 3.99%, for a set time period (typically between six to 10 months). A lower APR can result in significant savings.

Here’s the steps to complete a balance transfer:

  1. Find a balance transfer credit card that meets your needs.
  2. Confirm how much you’re eligible to transfer.
  3. Submit your application and transfer amount.
  4. Wait five to seven days for application approval.
  5. Confirm your transfer — and start saving.

What will it cost me?

There are three main fees to keep in mind when it comes to a balance transfer: APR, balance transfer fees and annual fees.

APR

Your purchase APR affects how much interest your balance accrues each month. If you have an APR of 19% and a balance of $4,000, you can expect to rack up an additional $63.60 a month in interest charges, assuming you make no payments. When you’re offered a 0% or low APR, you can put these savings towards paying down the actual debt.

Balance transfer fee

A balance transfer fee is a one-time fee that’s charged to transfer your debt to the new credit card. This fee is usually between 1% and 3% of the total amount transferred, though some balance transfer cards charge no fee as part of their welcome offer. Watch out for this fee – the cost can take away from savings you might get with a low or 0% APR.

Annual fee

You’ll need to take the annual fees of the credit card into consideration, as a high annual fee can add to the debt you already have. Some balance transfer cards come with no annual fees, while others might have annual fees into the hundreds of dollars.

When is a balance transfer worth it?

A balance transfer is worth it when the money saved on interest outweighs any balance transfer and annual fees.

Let’s say you owe $4,000 with an interest rate of 19% and you intend to pay $300 each month. Here are four common options for tackling this kind of debt:

Options for repaying credit card debt

Specs of original card
Credit card balance: $4,000
Original card interest rate: 19%
Annual fee: $0
Monthly payment: $500
Cost in interest: $329.45

Balance transfer to card with 0% APR, 3% balance transfer fee Balance transfer to card with 1% APR, 1% balance transfer fee Debt consolidation loan at 5% APR Paying the minimum: $10 or 3% (whichever is greater) monthly payment
Cost in interest $0 $15.07 $212 $2,481
Cost in transfer fees $120 $40 $120 $0
Total cost $120 $55.07 $332 $4,735.32
Time to pay off debt 8 months 8 months 24 months 19+ years
Savings $209.45 $274.38 -$2.55 -$4,405.87

In this case, a balance transfer card with an APR of 1% and a lower balance transfer fee of 1% is the best option. Although the APR is higher than the 0% APR, the balance transfer fee savings make the card a slightly cheaper choice.

How do I compare balance transfer cards?

In addition to the APR and balance transfer fee, here are a few more factors to weigh when choosing a balance transfer card:

Revert APR

Revert APR

If you can’t pay your debt in full by the end of the intro period, any unpaid balance will begin to accrue interest at the revert rate. Depending on the card, you could face interest of 19.99% or higher – so budget wisely.

Penalties

Penalties

Some credit cards may enforce harsh penalties if you miss a payment, including eliminating your intro APR period altogether.

Rewards

Rewards

Most balance transfer cards are designed specifically to help you pay off your debt, though some may offer rewards, making them a decent ongoing choice after you’ve paid off your balance.

Annual fee

Annual fee

Some balance transfer cards come with annual fees. These can reduce your overall savings and prove a needless burden after you’ve paid your balance.

Five common questions

There can be a lot of fine print when it comes to balance transfers. Here are 5 common questions answered:

  1. How much can I transfer? The minimum and maximum amount you can transfer during a balance transfer is typically determined by your card’s credit limit. Some providers will allow you to transfer up to 100% of your credit limit, while others will allow up to 70% or a specified dollar amount (such as $7,500).
  2. What credit score do I need? Generally, you need a good credit score of 650 or higher to qualify for a balance transfer credit card, however some providers may accept customers with fair credit ratings.
  3. What kinds of debt can I transfer? Aside from credit card debt, you can transfer nearly any type of monthly payment owed, such as personal loans and lines of credit.
  4. What mistakes should I avoid in my application? Applying for a balance transfer card with your existing credit card provider is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. This is because providers (or their affiliates) don’t typically allow existing customers to qualify for a balance transfer promotion, after all, they’re not going to compete for their own business.
  5. What happens if I can’t pay off my balance in time? If you can’t pay your full balance before the promotion ends, the revert APR will kick in and you’ll need to start paying that interest on future payments.

Bottom line

Balance transfers can be a good way to make a dent in your debt when high interest charges are eating away at your payments. Before you apply, make sure the switch will save you time and money by taking a look at the APR, balance transfer fee and annual fee.

Find the right balance transfer card for your financial situation by thoroughly comparing your options.

Frequently asked questions

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