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No-fee balance transfer credit cards

Avoid the one-time balance transfer fee when you move your credit card debt to a low interest card.

A balance transfer can be a helpful tool for you to pay off your debt faster. A balance transfer means moving debt from one or more credit cards onto one single new credit card to take advantage of a temporarily low interest rate.

What’s the catch? Balance transfers usually come with a one-time transfer fee that can add a large chunk of money to your debt before you even get a chance to take advantage of your new card. To avoid the balance transfer fee, consider applying for a no-fee balance transfer card.

Compare no-fee balance transfer credit cards

Name Product Balance Transfer Rate Balance Transfer Fee Purchase Interest Rate Annual Fee Min. Credit Score Description
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 February 28, 2022.
Scotia Momentum Visa Card
2.99% for the first 6 months (then 22.99%)
N/A
19.99%
$39
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get a 2.99% introductory rate on balance transfers and a 0% balance transfer fee for the first 6 months. Apply by February 28, 2022.
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What is a no-fee balance transfer credit card?

Transferring balances to a lower interest card can be convenient, but there’s one thing that isn’t so great: the balance transfer fee. This is either a flat fee or a percentage of the amount you’re transferring. For example, your credit card company might write the terms of your balance transfer fee as:

“Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.”

A no-fee balance transfer credit card lets you transfer balances from other credit cards without charging you a one-time balance transfer fee. Percentage-based balance transfer fees are usually between 1% and 5% of the amount you want to transfer.

Let’s say you’re transferring $1,000

Using the balance transfer terms above, you’d pay the greater of $5 or 5% of your transfer amount. 5% of $1,000 is $50 so you’ll be charged a $50 fee for the transfer since it’s more than the flat $5 fee.

Percentage Flat Fee 2

If you transfer $1,000 on a no-fee balance transfer credit card, you’ll pay $0 in fees. This could lead to big savings, especially if you’re transferring larger balances or making multiple balance transfers. When it comes to balance transfers, the math can add up quickly. Check out the fees you’ll pay for typical balance transfer cards compared to a no-fee balance transfer card.

Balance transfer amount$5,000$15,000$30,000
3%$150$450$900
5%$250$750$1,500
No-fee$0$0$0

What are the perks of no-fee balance transfer credit cards?

  • You can save cash. You’ll pay nothing to transfer your balance to this credit card – even if you’re transferring a large sum of money.
  • Possible low intro APR on transferred balances. You can sometimes get a 0% or low introductory annual percentage rate (APR) on the debt you move to a no-fee balance transfer card.

What about balance transfer cards with no annual fee?

Getting a balance transfer credit card with no annual fee is another way to save money and help you put more towards your debt. Compare balance transfer credit cards with no annual fee in the table below.

Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Purchase Interest Rate Annual Fee Min. Credit Score Description
BMO CashBack Mastercard
5% cash back
Up to 3% cash back
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.
Tangerine World Mastercard
15% cash back
Up to 2% cash back
19.95%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 600
Earn an extra 15% cash back (up to $150) on up to $1,000 of everyday purchases in the first 2 months Until January 31, 2022. Plus, get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months (valid within the first 30 days of account opening, 1% transfer fee applies).
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
15% cash back
Up to 2% cash back
19.95%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 600
Earn an extra 15% cash back (up to $150) on up to $1,000 of everyday purchases in the first 2 months Until January 31, 2022. Plus, get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months (valid within the first 30 days of account opening, 1% transfer fee applies).
BMO Rewards Mastercard
10,000 points
Up to 2 points per $1 spent
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. Plus, get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers for 9 months. A 1% fee applies to transferred balances.
BMO AIR MILES Mastercard
800 Miles
Up to 3x Air Miles for every $25 spent
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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Important consideration: Is the annual fee the right focus?

While it’s nice to find a balance transfer credit card that offers both a $0 annual fee and low intro APR on balance transfers, the annual fee might not be as big of a deal as you think.

In some cases, having to pay an annual fee can be offset by a longer low intro APR on balance transfers. Keep this in mind before placing too much emphasis on whether a balance transfer credit card has an annual fee or not.

What about 0% balance transfer offers in Canada?

Credit card promotions offering a 0% balance transfer rate are extremely rare in Canada. A good balance transfer offer is usually between 0.99% to 1.99% for a period of 6 – 9 months, although some cards may offer a longer promotional period or lower interest rate. One well-known low APR balance transfer credit card in Canada is the CIBC Select Visa, which offers a 0% introductory interest rate for 10 months.

As with other low interest rate balance transfer credit cards, after the 0% APR period ends, the standard interest rate of your card starts to apply. If you have any unpaid balance that you made during the 0% APR period, it will now start to accrue interest based on that rate. Make sure you understand a card’s offer before applying.

Compare the best balance transfer credit cards here

Can you get 0% purchase interest rate credit card in Canada?

While it may be possible to get a credit card with 0% interest rate on balance transfers, finding one in Canada that offers 0% interest rate on purchases is basically impossible. Instead, Canadian financial institutions offer low interest credit cards, with purchase interest rates starting at around 9%. Read our full guide to low interest rate credit cards to learn more and see the 6 best low interest credit cards in Canada.

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

How to apply for a balance transfer card

Most balance transfer card providers offer cards to applicants who are at least 18 years old and reside in Canada. While the exact information you’ll need to complete your application can vary by provider, you’ll likely submit:

  • Your personal contact information.
  • Your Social Insurance Number (SIN) and date of birth.
  • Your residential status.
  • Financial details, such as your annual salary and other income.

Some balance transfer credit cards allow you to request your balance transfers on the application itself with:

  • Account details for the debt you want to transfer.
  • The amount to transfer to your new card.

Bottom line

Research is key when it comes to getting a no-fee balance transfer credit card. Your individual situation will dictate what card is right for you, so take the time to evaluate your current financial situation and compare your balance transfer credit cards options to find that card that makes the most sense for you.

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