Looking for a balance transfer card? Take a look at the top balance transfer cards on the market and pick the one that’s best for you.
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American ExpressRead more
Compare 0% balance transfer credit cards
What’s in this guide?
What is a 0% balance transfer credit card?
Balance transfer credit cards with a 0% APR let you transfer your existing credit card debt to a new credit card without paying interest for a promotional period. The interest-free introductory period varies from card to card, but you can find cards with no interest on balance transfers for up to 30 months. Once the introductory offer is over, the balance you transferred reverts to a higher standard interest rate.
What are the hidden costs of a 0% balance transfer credit card?
While you don’t pay interest on the debt you move to a 0% balance transfer card, there other fees you to be aware of before you apply. Some of the most common costs include:
Balance transfer fee.
Banks may charge a 1% or 3% fee for your total balance transfer.
The annual fee.
While some 0% balance transfer credit cards have a no annual fee, others can range between $49 to $400 or more. Make sure that the annual fee won’t exceed your interest savings before you apply.
Even though the card charges 0% interest, you’ll still have to pay at least the minimum payment each month. Paying the minimum repayment might not be enough to clear your balance before the end of promotional period, so make an effort to pay as much as you can. Ideally, divide your balance by the number of months in the promotional period to determine what you should pay each month.
Interest charges for new purchases.
When you make a purchase on a 0% balance transfer card, the purchase rate is applied from the day the transaction is made. Payment hierarchy says that your payments are applied to debt with the lowest APR first. In this case, your payment will pay down your balance transfer before your purchase.
Late payment fee.
Some credit card issuers may charge a late payment fee if payments are made after the due date on your statement. You could even lose your introductory rate if you’re late or miss payments.
Depending on the 0% balance transfer card you choose, other fees and charges may also apply in some circumstances. Make sure you check the standard terms and conditions for individual cards before you apply.
What to look for in a balance transfer card
As with any credit card, choosing the right balance transfer card depends on your individual needs. However, you’ll typically want to weigh these factors while considering balance transfer cards:
0% APR promotions.
Since the purpose of a balance transfer card is to shield you from interest payments, you want a card that offers 0% APR on balance transfers for a long time. You can find 0% APR promotions that last a year or more.
Balance transfer cards are all about savings, but annual fees can eat into those savings. Keep in mind that many good balance transfer cards come with no annual fees.
Balance transfer fees.
Unfortunately, transferring balances is usually not free. Read each card’s fine print to see what the applicable balance transfer fees are.
Many balance transfer cards are designed solely for cardholders to pay down debt — which means they don’t offer much in terms of rewards or perks. However, it’s definitely possible to find cards with solid balance transfer promotions and attractive rewards.
Now that you know what you’re looking for with balance transfer cards, take a look at our list of the best balance transfer cards on the market.
The best balance transfer cards comparison
- Chase Slate® credit card
- Citi Simplicity® Card
- Sphere® Credit Card
- Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard®
- BankAmericard® Credit Card
- U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card
- Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
What makes these balance transfer cards effective?
The Chase Slate® credit card 0% APR promotion for 15 months on balance transfers is quite good. But what really makes the Chase Slate stand out is its unique no-fee promotion: On balance transfers you make within 60 days of opening your account, you won’t pay any fees. The 0% intro APR includes purchases too, and afterward reverts to between 17.24% to 25.99% variable. Plus, $0 annual fee.
Citi Simplicity® Card
The Citi Simplicity® Card is a heavy hitter when it comes to APR promotions. Many balance transfer cards offer 0% APR on transfers for up to year, but the Citi Simplicity offers 0% APR on transfers for a generous 12 months. You have a lengthy four months to transfer your balances to get the intro rate, and after the promo period you’ll qualify for between 15.99% to 25.99% variable APR. Plus, $0 annual fee.
Sphere® Credit Card
Out of all the credit cards on our list, the Sphere® Credit Card has one of the longest APR promotions. You’ll receive a APR for 18 billing cycles after that 14.74% to 24.74% variable — on balance transfers you make within the first 90 days. There’s a similar intro rate on purchases but it is limited to 12 months. Transfer your debt within 90 days to get the intro rate.
Though the Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard® offers a decent 12 billing cycles $0 APR promotion, that’s not the primary reason it’s a great balance transfer card. It’s because the Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard® is hands-down one of the best travel cards you can find anywhere with 70,000 bonus miles awarded after $3,000 in purchases made, then 2x miles on all purchases and 5% miles back each time you redeem. Not only will you get a solid balance transfer promotion, but you’ll also receive travel miles through regular spending that you can use as statement credit. Be sure to factor in the card’s $89 annual fee starting the second year.
BankAmericard® Credit Card
The BankAmericard® Credit Card offers an attractive 0% APR for 15 statement closing dates on balance transfers made within the first 60 days. You’ll also potentially receive a balance transfer revert between 14.99% to 24.99% variable. Take note there is no introductory promotional rate on purchases, and there’s also $0 annual fee for this card.
The U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card offers 0% APR for a respectable 20 billing cycles. It has the potential for a 14.74% to 25.74% variable revert rate; however, that makes this card far more attractive. To get that rate, you’ll need stellar credit when applying for the card.
The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express offers a solid 0% APR for 15 months on balance transfers and purchases — afterward between 15.24% to 26.24% variable. Perhaps more enticing, it offers these perks:
- Earn $150 back when you spend $1,000 within the first 3 months.
- Earn 10% back on Amazon.com purchases you make within the first six months of up to $200.
- 3% cash back at US supermarkets up to $6,000 a year; afterward, 1% cash back.
- 2% cash back at US gas stations.
- 1% cash back on everything else.
That’s a great suite of features, especially considering the decent balance transfer intro APR and $0 annual fee.
Pros and Cons of Best Balance Transfer Cards
Before applying for a balance transfer card, take a look at the positives and negatives of owning one:
Generous 0% APR promotions.
A good balance transfer card will give you a 0% interest rate on transfers for a long time. This gives you time to pay off your balance.
Potential rewards and card perks.
Depending on your needs, you might be able to find a card that offers perks like travel rewards or cash back in addition to a 0% APR promotion.
Potential lack of perks.
Balance transfer cards that offer attractive 0% promotional APRs sometimes do so to the exclusion of perks and rewards.
Potentially high revert rates.
It’s a good idea to pay off your balance before your 0% APR expires. That’s because any balance you still have after your APR promotion ends may be charged a high interest rate.
What you need to apply for a balance transfer card
Before you apply for a balance transfer card, follow these steps to find the one that’s right for you:
- Check your total amount of debt. Consider how much debt you want to transfer, and how long you think it will take you to pay it off so that you know what kind of offers will help you achieve your goal.
- Compare 0% balance transfer offers. Look at all the features and types of balance transfer cards, considering the length of 0% term, the amount to repay and the fees and features that come with the card.
- Apply. Once you find a card, you can usually apply online. Check the card’s eligibility requirements before you apply, such as:
- Driver’s license and Social Security number.
- Personal details. Have personal details ready like your residential address, phone number and email address.
- Financial details. You will also need to provide details like employment information and total annual income.
What credit score do I need?Usually, credit card providers only want to take on your debt via balance transfers if they’re reasonably certain you’ll pay off that debt. That said, they’ll typically require strong credit for balance transfer cards. Consider applying for a balance transfer card only with a credit score that’s good or better (700+).
How much interest will I save with a 0% balance transfer credit card?
If you have a credit card debt of $1,000 and you make $100 repayments per month, a balance transfer offer can help you regain control of your finances and save.
|Normal credit card without balance transfer offer||0% balance transfer credit card|
|Months required to repay||12 months||10 months|
|Interest paid over this period||$200||$0|
In the example above, not only can you save $200, but you’ll also repay your debt faster — as long as you pay your debt before the 0% offer ends. Any debt not paid off is subject to the revert APR.
You can calculate how much interest you’ll save with your balance transfer credit card using our balance transfer calculator. By considering the interest you can save helps you compare your options and determine which 0% balance transfer credit card is right for you.
Balance transfer calculator
Your current credit cards:
Card that you are transferring to:
Intro Term (months)
Balance Transfer Fee
Your monthly repayment
At this rate, you will not pay off your debt.
At this rate you will pay off your debt during the card's intro period
At that rate you will not pay off your debt. You will need to make higher repayments.
Months that it will take you to pay off your debt:
With a balance transfer
Without a balance transfer
Money saved transferring debt to a balance transfer card:
Savings = $1,000