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Balance transfer cards

Compare more than 200 balance transfer credit cards and save money on interest.

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 13.74%-23.74% variable
  • No annual fee
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Compare balance transfer cards

Use our table to compare your options to find the best balance transfer credit card for you. You can refine your search by selecting "Search filters" to see products in your credit score range with features you need.

%
Name Product Amount saved Balance transfer APR Balance transfer fee Minimum Credit Score Filter values
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
0% intro for the first 18 months (then 13.74% to 23.74% variable)
$5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater
670

Best of Finder 2021

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 Simplicity® 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
With an intro APR of 18 months, this card has one of the longest balance transfer offers on the market. Plus, no late fees and no annual fee.
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.
Citi Custom Cash℠ Card
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
$5 or 5% of the transaction, whichever is greater
670
A new cashback card that automatically awards 5% to your highest eligible spending category each billing cycle, on up to $500 (then 1%).
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
Earn rewards and enjoy a long intro APR period on purchases and balance transfers.
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The best balance transfer credit cards of 2021

If you’d like to narrow your search and browse the top balance transfer credit cards on the market, check out our picks for the best balance transfer cards of 2021.

5 features to compare when assessing balance transfer cards

When sizing up possible balance transfer cards, you’ll want to take a careful look at these five card features.

  • Length of intro APR period if you’re trying to pay down debt. The longest 0% intro APR period used to be 21 months, now it’s at 20 months.
  • Revert APR if you plan on carrying a balance. If you’re worried you won’t be able to pay off your debt in time, a lower revert APR can help keep your interest down after your period ends.
  • Balance transfer fees if you’re worried about extra payments. Most balance transfer credit cards charge either a 3% or 5% fee of the amount. This can add up if you’re transferring a larger sum. Some cards waive this fee. Make sure you read the fine print to know what you’re getting.
  • Rewards if you want to get value after you pay off your debt. A rewards card is the way to go. Most rewards cards that also offer a 0% intro APR period, do so for 12 to 18 months. This isn’t bad, considering you get to earn rewards and save money on interest.
  • Credit limit if you want to transfer larger amounts. Typically, you can transfer amounts, including fees, up to the card’s credit limit. If you want to transfer larger amount, look for balance transfer cards with high credit limits.

A balance transfer credit card helps you save on interest

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.

How to perform a balance transfer

Though the transfer process might differ slightly from provider to provider, you’ll generally perform the same three steps during your balance transfer.

  1. Compare and apply for a card. Look for balance transfer offers with a 0% intro APR period for as long as possible — often 12, 15, 18 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.

Here’s 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 choose 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.

2 costs associated with balance transfers

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

  • Balance 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.
  • 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 or minimal payments.
  • Note that you only need to worry about your revert APR if you don’t have an intro APR offer or you were unable to pay off your balance transfer before the end of your intro APR offer. Check out our balance transfer calculator to see how these two costs work together.

    Get a balance transfer card to avoid paying interest on debts

    A balance transfer credit card can be a great tool to save money on your debts, but it’s not always the optimal choice. Here’s a quick cheat sheet on whether a balance transfer card could work for you.

    Get a balance transfer card if:

    • You want to avoid paying interest on an existing debt.
    • You need between six and 18 months to pay off your debt in full.
    • The interest you save is outweighed by the fees you’ll pay. You’ll usually pay a balance transfer fee when transferring your debt. Make sure the interest you save will outpace this fee.

    Consider another option if:

    • You have a very large debt. The maximum debt you can transfer to a credit card is dictated by your maximum credit limit. If your debt is too large you won’t be able to fit it on a card.
    • You’re using a balance transfer to cover up bad financial habits. If you continue to spend beyond your means while paying off your balance transfer, you’re defeating the purpose of the balance transfer.
    • You need longer than 18 months to pay off your debt interest-free. If you don’t think you can pay off your transferred balance within the allotted time period, you might consider a longer debt consolidation loan instead.
    • You want a high-powered rewards card. While some balance transfer cards come with rewards, these cards are usually less powerful when it comes to earning rewards compared to a dedicated rewards credit card.

    Four 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. Mind 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.

    Read more on this topic

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