Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards of 2019

Compare cards to help you deal with nagging credit card debt.

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If you’re looking to get rid of your credit card debt for good, we can help. Our credit card experts have spent hundreds of hours researching balance transfer credit cards to find the best ones on the market. We judge each card primarily based on the length of balance transfer intro APR and balance transfer fees involved. Other factors we consider are purchase APR intro offer, the standard APR, if it has an annual fee and how much, perks and rewards programs.

Best balance transfer credit cards

Here are our choices for some of the top balance transfer credit cards of 2019. If you want to compare these cards side-by-side, check out our comparison table below to size up the competition.

Best balance transfer card for everyday: Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Most balance transfer credit cards aren’t geared for much more than balance transfers. With this card, you may be able to get everyday value with responsible use, even after you pay off your balance transfer.

Pros
  • Intro balance transfer APR. 0% intro APR for the first 15 months — then 14.49% to 25.49% variable (see rates & fees).
  • Intro purchase APR. 0% intro APR for the first 15 months — then 14.49% to 25.49% variable.
  • Rewards. Earn 3% cash back at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 in purchases per year, then 1%. Purchases at US gas stations and some US department stores earn 2% back, and all other purchases earn 1%.
Cons
  • Balance transfer deadline. You’ll need to perform your balance transfer within 60 days of opening your account.

Compare all cashback cards

Best balance transfer card for low ongoing interest: HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card

The information about the HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card has been collected independently by Finder. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

While there are a few cards with potentially lower ongoing APR, those cards don’t pack the fee-free value and simplicity of the HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card. Plus, the 0% APR period on this credit card is quite lengthy at 18 months.

Pros
  • Intro purchase and balance transfer APR. 0% intro APR on purchase and balance transfers for the first 18 months — then 12.49% to 20.49% variable.
  • Low ongoing purchase APR. Your standard rate starts at 12.49% to 20.49% variable. Plus, you won’t have to worry about a penalty APR.
  • Few fees. If you plan on using the card after paying off your balance, you won’t need to worry about paying an annual fee. You’ll also enjoy no foreign transaction fees, no penalty APR and a late fee waiver.
Cons
  • No rewards. As a card focused on balance transfers, this card forgoes rewards.

Compare all low interest credit cards

Best balance transfer card for an intro balance transfer fee: Chase Slate® credit card

Pay a balance transfer fee of $0 when you complete the transfer within 60 days of your account opening. On top of no balance transfer fee, you can also enjoy intro APRs for both balance transfers and purchases.

Pros
  • Intro balance transfer APR. 0% intro APR for the first 15 months — then 16.49% to 25.24% variable.
  • Intro purchase APR. 0% intro APR for the first 15 months — then 16.49% to 25.24% variable.
  • No annual fee. Pay a $0 annual fee on top of no balance transfer fee.
Cons
  • Few perks. As a balance transfer-focused card, you won’t find many perks such as travel protection on this card.

Compare all 0% balance transfer credit cards

Best balance transfer card for a long 0% intro APR: Citi Simplicity® Card

With the longest balance transfer intro APR offer on the market, this card provides plenty of time to pay down your debt without garnering interest. You’ll also benefit from not having to shell out for an annual fee.

Pros
  • Intro balance transfer APR. 0% intro APR for the first 21 months — then 16.24% to 26.24% variable.
  • Intro purchase APR. 0% intro APR for the first 12 months — then 16.24% to 26.24% variable.
Cons
  • No penalty APR. Late fees and penalty APRs are waived.
  • Few perks. As a balance transfer-focused card, you won’t find many perks such as rewards or travel protection on this card.

Compare all long-term balance transfer credit cards

Best balance transfer card for 0% intro balance transfer and unlimited cash back: Citi® Double Cash Card

A lengthy balance transfer intro APR makes this card an easy pick for best in its category. On top of the interest-free period, it offers cashback on new purchases and a low balance transfer fee.

Pros
  • Intro balance transfer APR. 0% intro APR for the first 18 months — then 15.49% to 25.49% variable.
  • Unlimited cash back. Earn 1% cash back when you make purchases, and an additional 1% back when you pay your balance.
Cons
  • No annual fee. Keep this card in your wallet without worrying about an annual fee.
  • Potentially high fees. After your first late payment, you’ll incur up to $39 in fees for each late payment. Citi may also impose a penalty APR of 29.99% for repeat offenses.
  • Why trust us? Finder’s credit card experts spend nearly 400 hours each week researching, comparing and writing about credit cards. Because of our extensive experience, we know the lay of the land when it comes to balance transfer cards. We want to share our knowledge with readers, helping them to pick the best card. We also follow strict editorial guidelines that keep our content unbiased and accurate.

Just some of the brands we’ve reviewed

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

AMEX logo Bank-of-America-Logo Barclaycard-Logo
Capital-One-Logo Chase-Logo Citi credit cards logo
Discover provider logo Penfed Card provider logo TD Bank provider logo
US Bank provider logo USAA provider logo Wells Fargo Card provider logo

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. When you’re ready to select a card, click the green button to start your application.

%
Name Product Amount saved Balance transfer APR Balance transfer fee Recommended minimum credit score Filter values
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 14.49% to 25.49% variable)
$5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater
680
Earn a $150 bonus statement credit after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Rates & fees
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 15.74%, 21.74% or 25.74% variable)
3%
670
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day.
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 16.49% to 25.24% variable)
$5 or 5% of the transaction, whichever is greater
670
Earn a $150 signup bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months from account opening.
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 14.49% to 25.49% variable)
$5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater
680
Unlimited 1.5% cash back. Rates & fees
See issuer's website
300
Can't decide on a card? Get personalized credit card offers with CardMatch™.

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Let’s break down how balance transfers work

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

Here are the steps to complete a balance transfer:

  • 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).

  • Transfer the balance

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

  • 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 $63.6 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.

    Need an example of how these figures work together? Check out our balance transfer calculator.

    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% APR Pay off card faster: $515 monthly payment Debt consolidation loan at 5% APR Paying 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 debt 14 months 9 months 14 months 10+ 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.

    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

    If you can’t pay your balance in full by the end of the intro period, your card will revert to this APR rate. Depending on the card, these can skew high, so take care if you don’t think you can pay within the intro period.


  • Penalties

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


  • Rewards

    Most balance transfer cards are designed specifically for balance transfers, though you may be able to find some that offer rewards, making them a decent ongoing choice after you’ve paid off your balance, especially if there are no ongoing rewards to incentivize you to use it over the long term.


  • 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.

    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 5 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 credit 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.

    Compare balance transfer cards by credit score

    How much debt can I transfer?

    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
    $
    %

    Card that you are transferring to:

    %
    months
    %
    %
    $
    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.
    
    

    Ask the experts

    Craig Israelsen
    • Craig Israelsen
    • Executive in Residence
    • Utah Valley University

    Michele Langbein
    • Michele Langbein
    • Ph.D., Professor of Business Management
    • Point Park University

    John Ulzheimer
    • John Ulzheimer
    • johnulzheimer.com
    • Credit Expert

    Eric Rosenberg
    • Eric Rosenberg
    • personalprofitability.com
    • Personal Finance Expert

    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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