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Compare balance transfer cards

The right card can help you pay down your debt faster.

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Our pick for a balance transfer card: Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card logo

18 months

Intro APR on transfers

  • Market-leading 18 months intro APR on transfers and purchases
  • Potentially low revert rate of 14.74%-24.74% variable
  • No annual fee
Apply now

Compare balance transfer cards

Select your credit score from the options below. Then, input your credit card with the largest balance and its APR into the transfer amount and current APR filters. Hit calculate and you'll see just how much each card can save you.

%
Name Product Amount saved Balance transfer APR Balance transfer fee Recommended minimum credit score Filter values
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
0% intro for the first 18 months (then 14.74% to 24.74% variable)
$5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater
670
An impressive 18 months intro APR on balance transfers and purchases, as well as no annual fee make this one of the top 0% APR cards available.
Citi® Double Cash Card
0% intro for the first 18 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
$5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater
670
Get a strong 18 month 0% intro APR on balance transfers AND up to 2% back. This is a rare card that offers both rewards and balance transfers.
TD Cash Credit Card
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 12.99%, 17.99% or 22.99% variable)
$5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater
680
3% on dining and 2% on groceries make this a valuable card for food purchases. Available in: CT, DC, DE, FL, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, SC, VA, VT
Citi Rewards+® Card
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 13.49% to 23.49% variable)
$5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater
670
Get a strong 15 month 0% intro APR on balance transfers AND up to 2x points. This is a rare card that offers both rewards and balance transfers.
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Balance transfer calculator

To help you through this process, use our balance transfer calculator to find out how much you could save by making a transfer.

To use the calculator:

  1. Fill out your current credit card information by inputting the balance and APR on each line below. If you know the details about the card you’re transferring to, fill those out to see how much you’ll save.
  2. We’ll input some default values for you if you don’t have a specific card in mind.
  3. Hit “calculate” to see your savings.
Card #1
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Card that you are transferring to:

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this calculator, the results should be used as indication only. Certain assumptions have been made around the repayments made. This calculator is neither a quote nor a prequalification for a credit card.

How do I compare balance transfer offers?

Consider these questions as you decide on a the best balance transfer credit card for you:

  • How long of an intro APR period do you want?
    Intro periods for 0% APR typically reach as high as 18 to 21 months — for example, with the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card. Some cards, such as the SunTrust Prime Rewards, have intro APRs higher than 0% but offer their promotional rates for very long periods.
  • Do you want rewards?
    If you want rewards, you may need to sacrifice the length of your card’s intro APR. Many balance transfer cards with rewards have intro periods only around 15 months.
  • Are you OK with paying balance transfer fees?
    Some cards offer no balance transfer fees for either a promotional period or at all times. Keep in mind that some cards that never charge transfer fees come with less-attractive intro APRs or interest rates.
  • What annual fee are you willing to pay?
    Many balance transfer cards have no annual fees. If your card has an annual fee, consider how this will cut into your potential savings from a balance transfer.
  • What is the card’s revert APR?
    If you can’t pay off your card in full by the end of the intro period, it reverts to an APR rate that immediately applies to the balance you owe. APRs for these cards skew high, so consider whether you can pay down the full transferred balance before the intro expires.
  • Can you pay off your balance on time every month?
    A balance transfer credit cards may hit you with hefty penalties if you miss a payment – including the loss of your intro APR period.

How to apply for a balance transfer card

Applying for a balance transfer card is much like applying for a standard credit card:

  1. Choose the balance transfer credit card that fits your needs and click “Apply.”
  2. Submit the required documentation and information requested. This typically includes:
    • Your personal contact information.
    • Your Social Security number and date of birth.
    • Your residential status.
    • Financial details, such as your annual salary and other income.
  3. In many cases, you’ll also request your balance transfer on the application itself. You’ll need to provide:
    • Account details for the debt you’re hoping to transfer.
    • The amount to transfer to your new card.
  4. Submit your application and wait for approval.

For more information about the application process and picking the best balance transfer card for you, check out our full balance transfer explainer.

What are the benefits of a balance transfer credit card?

  • Saves you money. A low-interest rate keeps more cash in your pocket and slashes unnecessary interest on purchases made long ago.
  • Gets you out of debt faster. Low interest allows you to pay down your debt more quickly by applying more of your monthly payment toward your principal balance.
  • Simplifies your finances. Transferring the balances of multiple debts can consolidate many monthly payments into just one bill.

What to avoid with balance transfer credit cards

While a balance transfer credit card comes with many benefits, be on the lookout for potential pitfalls when paying down your debt.

  • Applying too often. Each card application requires a hard pull of your credit report, which can shave several points off your score.
  • Paying less than the minimum. To pay down as much of your balance before your 0% promo APR ends, divide the amount you’re transferring by the number of months you have to pay it down.
  • Forgetting the offer end date. After your intro period ends, you’ll pay your approved revert rate on any remaining balances. Consider setting a reminder for a few months before your promo expires.
  • Racking up additional debt. A 0% intro APR balance transfer card is most effective if you use it to concentrate on paying down your existing debt. Because repayments are applied to new purchases first, you threaten your ability to pay off your transferred debt in time.

Compare balance transfer cards by issuer

Click any company logo below to see all the balance transfer cards offered by that brand.

Let’s break down how balance transfers work

A balance transfer credit card allows you to move debts, like loans and credit card balances, to a new card with a lower interest rate. This allows you to pay off your balances faster and save money on interest.

Here are the steps to complete a balance transfer:

1. Compare and apply for a card

Look for balance transfer offers with the lowest rate possible (ideally 0%) for as long as possible (often 6, 12, or even 21 months if you have great credit).

2. Transfer the balance

Follow the instructions provided by the card issuer to transfer your existing balances to your new card.

3. Pay off the debt

Be sure to pay down the balance within the intro offer period, so you can save the most money on interest, get out of debt, and avoid any repercussions of the revert rate.

What will it cost me?

There are two main costs to keep in mind when it comes to the costs of a balance transfer: APR and transfer 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.

Because the main purpose of a balance transfer card is to help you pay off debts with higher interest, it’s a good idea to make sure you understand how the purchase APR, balance transfer APR, and revert rates work on your new card. It might be a good idea to avoid making purchases on your new card until you’re sure you’ve got a handle on paying off your transferred balance within the promotional period.

Transfer fee

A transfer fee is the price of transferring a balance to a balance transfer card. This is usually between 3% and 5% of the amount you’re transferring, though some balance transfer cards charge no fee as part of their welcome offer.

Check out our balance transfer calculator to see how these figures work together.

When is a balance transfer worth it?

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

Let’s say you owe $4,000 on a credit card with an interest rate of 19% and you intend to pay $300 each month. Instead, you move the debt to a balance transfer card with a 0% intro APR for 15 months and a 3% transfer fee. Although you would pay $120 in balance transfer fees, you would pay off the debt in just under 14 months and avoid paying any interest during this time.

If you kept the debt on the original card, you would pay $529 in interest. By moving the debt to the balance transfer card, you end up saving $405 dollars. In this case, the balance transfer card is clearly worth it.

Below we look at four common options for tackling this kind of debt. See how they stack up.

Four options for repaying credit card debt

Details of the original card
  • Credit card balance: $4,000
  • Original card int. rate: 19%
  • Monthly payment: $300
  • Cost in interest: $529
Balance transfer to card with 0% APRPay off card faster: $515 monthly paymentDebt consolidation loan at 5% APRPaying the minimum
Cost in interest$0$303$124$5,740
Cost in transfer fees$120$0$120$0
Total cost$120$303$244$5,740
Time to pay off debt14 months9 months14 months10+ years
Savings$405$226$285-$5,211

In this case, a balance transfer card is the best option. Although you’ll pay a transfer fee, you’ll save the most in interest over time.c

Do I really need a balance transfer credit card?

A balance transfer credit card can be a nifty tool to save money, but it’s not always the optimal choice. Consider passing on this card type if:

  • The interest you save is outweighed by the fees you’ll pay.
    Most cards charge fees when you transfer a balance. If you pay these costs, you might end up paying more than you would if you had just continued paying off your existing balance.
  • You’re using a balance transfer to cover up bad financial habits.
    Even after you transfer a balance, you still have to pay it off. Consider whether a balance transfer is a one-off action while you pay off your debt for good — or whether you’re just shifting debt around.
  • Will my credit card be useful after I make my balance transfer?
    Some balance transfer cards don’t have much to offer besides 0% intro APRs. Consider whether you want to add another card to your wallet — especially one that doesn’t offer many other impressive features.

You asked, we listened: Top 5 common questions

There can be a lot of fine print when it comes to balance transfers. Here are the five most common questions we receive on the subject.

  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.
  2. What credit score do I need? Generally, you need a good credit score or better to qualify for a balance transfer card.
  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 student loans, auto loans and personal loans.
  4. What mistakes should I avoid in my application? Applying for a balance transfer card with your existing credit card issuer is one of the biggest mistakes you can make.
  5. What happens if I can’t pay off my balance in time? If you can’t pay your full balance in time, the revert APR will kick in and you’ll need to start paying that interest on future payments.

4 tips to making the most out of your balance transfer card

The best way to leverage the benefits of a balance transfer card is to focus on doing away with your debt, rather than the perks banks and providers use to lure you in:

  1. Make sure you’ll save money. A balance transfer card with an annual fee and high transfer fees can eat into your savings. The interest you’ll save on your debt should outweigh the card’s costs.
  2. Pay more than the minimum. Knock out your balance quicker by paying as much as you can beyond your statement’s minimum. Find the magic number by dividing your remaining balance by the months left in your intro period.
  3. Avoid additional purchases. Many cards prioritize your payment toward new purchases, which could threaten your ability to repay your transfers before the end of your intro. Hold off on swiping your card until your balance is down to $0.
  4. Heed the revert rate. If you don’t pay off your balance by the end of your intro period, your rate reverts to the everyday APR. Adopt your revert date as your payoff deadline if you can to avoid paying more than you need to.

Ask the experts

Michele Langbein
  • Michele Langbein, Ph.D.
  • Professor of Business Management
  • Point Park University
Eric Rosenberg
  • Eric Rosenberg
  • Personal Finance Expert
  • personalprofitability.com
Kashif A. Ahmed
  • Kashif A. Ahmed
  • Adjunct Professor of Finance
  • Suffolk University
Andrew Burnstine
  • Andrew Burnstine
  • Associate Professor
  • Lynn University

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.

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

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