Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards of 2020

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 July 1, 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 Purchase Interest Rate Balance Transfer Rate Annual Fee Minimum Income Reward Description
BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard
12.99%
3.99% for the first 9 months (then 12.99%)
$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.
Scotiabank Value Visa Card
12.99%
0.99% for the first 6 months (then 12.99%)
$29
$12,000
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.
Get a 0.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers with a 0% transfer fee for the first 6 months. Apply by July 1, 2020.
No-Fee Scotiabank Value Visa Card
16.99%
3.99% for the first 6 months (then 16.99%)
$0
$12,000
Save with a low interest rate, no annual fee and a balance transfer offer.
Get a 3.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers with a 0% balance transfer fee for the first 6 months. Apply by July 1, 2020.
Tangerine World Mastercard
19.95%
1.95% for the first 6 months (then 19.95%)
$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.
Earn a $250 Bonus when you spend at least $5,000 on eligible everyday purchases in your first three months as a new cardholder. Apply online by March 31, 2020. Plus, get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first six months (valid within the first 30 days of account opening).
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
19.95%
1.95% for the first 6 months (then 19.95%)
$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.
Earn a $250 Bonus when you spend at least $5,000 on eligible everyday purchases in your first three months as a new cardholder. Apply online by March 31, 2020. Plus, get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first six months (valid within the first 30 days of account opening).
BMO AIR MILES Mastercard For Students
19.99%
1.99% for the first 9 months (then 22.99%)
$0
$15,000
Earn 2 AIR MILES for every $20 spent at eligible AIR MILES partners, and earn 1 AIR MILE for every $20 spent elsewhere.
Receive up to 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles. Plus, get a 1.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for 9 months. A 1% fee applies to balance amounts transferred.
BMO CashBack Mastercard For Students
19.99%
1.99% for the first 9 months (then 22.99%)
$0
$15,000
Get 1% cash back on all eligible purchases.
Get up to 5% cash back in the first three months (up to a maximum spend of $2,000). Plus, get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers for 9 months, with a 1% fee for every transferred balance.
BMO AIR MILES Mastercard
19.99%
1.99% for the first 9 months (then 22.99%)
$0
$15,000
Get 2 AIR MILES for every $20 spent at eligible AIR MILES partners, and get 1 AIR MILE for every $20 spent elsewhere.
Earn up to 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles. Plus, 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%)
$0
$15,000
Get 1% cash back on all eligible purchases.
Get up to 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 1% cash back thereafter). Plus, get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers with a 1% balance transfer fee for nine months.
Scotia Momentum Visa Card
19.99%
2.99% for the first 6 months (then 22.99%)
$39
$12,000
Earn 2% cash back on all eligible gas station, grocery store and drug store purchases and on recurring bill payments (up to a $25,000 annual spend), and earn 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases (and on all eligible purchases once the $25,000 annual spend is reached).
Get a 2.99% introductory rate on balance transfers and a 0% balance transfer fee for the first 6 months. Apply by July 1, 2020.

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*The products compared on this page are chosen from a range of offers available to us and are not representative of all the products available in the market. There is no perfect order or perfect ranking system for the products we list on our Site, so we provide you with the functionality to self-select, re-order and compare products. The initial display order is influenced by a range of factors including conversion rates, product costs and commercial arrangements, so please don't interpret the listing order as an endorsement or recommendation from us. We're happy to provide you with the tools you need to make better decisions, but we'd like you to make your own decisions and compare and assess products based on your own preferences, circumstances and needs.

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

Credit card: 0% apr, 3% transfer feeCredit card: 1% apr, 1% transfer feeLoan: 5% aprMinimum payment of 3%
Interest$0.00$15.07$212.00$2,481.00
Transfer fees$120.00$40.00$120.00$0.00
Total cost$120.00$55.07$332.00$4,735.32
Time to pay off debt8 months8 months24 months19+ 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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