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Balance transfer credit cards

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

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.

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1 - 5 of 9
Name Product Amount saved Balance transfer APR Balance transfer fee Minimum Credit Score Filter values
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 17.24% to 25.99% variable) $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater in the first 60 days
For each transfer: 3% intro fee ($5 min) in first 60 days, after that 5% ($5 min)
670
This solid 1.5% cashback card gets even better with the addition of up to 6.5% back in categories like travel, drug stores and dining.
Chase Freedom Flex℠
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 17.24% to 25.99% variable) $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater in the first 60 days
For each transfer: 3% intro fee ($5 min) in first 60 days, after that 5% ($5 min)
670
Get up to 5% cashback in rotating and newly added everyday categories. The refreshed Freedom Flex card has lots of earning potential.
CardMatch™ from creditcards.com
See issuer's website
300
Use the CardMatch tool to find cards you're likely to qualify for with your credit score, without a hard pull on your credit.
PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card
0% intro for the first 12 months (then 17.99% fixed)
3%
670
2% cash back for all PenFed Honors Advantage members and 1.5% cash back on all purchases made with your card.
PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card
0% intro for the first 12 months (then 17.99% fixed)
3%
670
Earn 5x points on gas at the pump and 3x points on groceries. Earn 1x points on all other purchases.
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The best balance transfer credit cards of 2022

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 2022.

5 features to compare when choosing a balance transfer card

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

A balance transfer credit card may help your credit score

There are two ways a balance transfer credit card could improve your credit score:

Utilization rate. Adding another card to your wallet comes with an additional line of credit. If your debt levels stay the same, adding another line of credit will lower your utilization rate, which positively affects your credit score.

Paying off your balance. It’s best to use an interest-free period to pay off your debt. Once you pay off your balance, the lower debt levels will positively affect your credit score.

Keep in mind, moving your balance won’t erase your debt or your bad habits. Even if you close your account, anything that happened with the old account will remain on your credit report.

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.

Can I transfer debt with the same issuer?

Transferring debt between cards with the same issuer is typically not allowed. Most credit card companies have restrictions on transferring balances on other credit cards or loans from the same issuer.

For example, if you have debts on a Citi® Double Cash Card and Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card, your transfer application will likely be denied because they’re both Citi credit cards.

Check with the issuer before you apply for your balance transfer card to learn if you can transfer balances from particular cards.

While it’s very rare an issuer will approve a balance transfer within the same bank or provider, there are sometimes exceptions. For example, Barclays will consider a transfer between some of its issued cards at its discretion.

Why don’t banks allow balance transfers from the same bank?

It comes down to profit. Lenders make their money from cardholders through fees and interest. There’s not much benefit for the lender to let their customers freely save on interest.

Plus when you’re sent balance transfer offers in the mail, the issuer is often looking for new customers. A balance transfers serves as an incentive to open up that account with a new bank.

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.
    • Social Security number and date of birth.
    • 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.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  • Are 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Can you earn points on a balance transfer?

Very rarely, yes. Barclays has been known to offer rewards with balance transfers on occasion.

At the time of writing, you can earn rewards on balance transfers made with the Wyndham Rewards® Earner℠ Card. The first use of the card for a purchase or balance transfer will earn 30,000 points. A similar offer is available for the Carnival® World Mastercard® and other Barclaycard cruise line credit cards.

Does a balance transfer count as a payment?

Yes, a balance transfer does count as a payment. As soon as your balance transfer request is approved, you authorize your new card provider to pay for your old debt. You can see it in your credit card statement or payment history as paid.

But because your card provider makes the payment and not you, you rarely earn rewards on balance transfers.

Is it worth earning points on a balance transfer?

If you don’t care much about what kind of credit card you get, or if the card that rewards you on balance transfer aligns with your financial situation — earning points on a balance transfer may be worth it. If nothing more it’ll offset a small portion of your balance transfer fee.

But if you want a credit card with even greater value after the intro APR period expires, then a balance transfer card with a rewards program you will actually use may be the more prudent choice.

Can you get a balance transfer card with rewards?

Yes, you can. Though you’ll usually need a strong credit score of 670 or higher to qualify. Also, your rewards or your balance transfer intro APR period may not be as strong as a card that specializes in one or the other.

That said, there are plenty of solid rewards cards that have balance transfer offers including 0% intro APRs and no balance transfer fees. You can earn points, miles or cash back with these cards — some with rewards rates of up to 3%.

How to choose the right credit card for balance transfers and rewards

You’ll have to weigh what’s most important when choosing a credit card for balance transfers and rewards. Consider the following:

  • Balance transfers don’t earn rewards.
    At the time of writing, only a few credit cards offer rewards for making a balance transfer.
  • Introductory rate and fees.
    Compare how long the introductory rate is, if it’s a 0% intro offer and what the balance transfer fees are. Also, factor in an annual fee if there is one.
  • Earn rate.
    How much you can earn in points, miles or cash can vary from one rewards card to the next — as do the types of purchases that may give you an accelerated rate.
  • The revert APR.
    At the end of the promotional period, any outstanding balance from transfers starts attracting the balance transfer APR.

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. 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.

How do I tell what my revert rate is?

A balance transfer credit card with a promotional offer can be a great way to repay your debt without interest. But once your promotional period ends, the revert rate — usually the purchase or cash advance rate — kicks in on any remaining balance, ranging from around 14% to 26%.

Find your card’s revert rate in your credit card terms and conditions. This rate is located in the section detailing your intro balance transfer APR details.

When will I have to pay the revert rate?

If your balance transfer credit card comes with a promotional offer, the 0% or low interest intro on balance transfers will only be available for a set period of time — usually between six to 21 months, depending on the card and offer.

Once this promotional offer ends, you’re required to pay the revert rate on any remaining balances. This is the standard purchase rate or cash advance rate, and it’s usually much higher than the promotional rate.

Before applying for a balance transfer credit card, check the terms and service statement for what the revert rate range is and when it kicks in. Consider the amount of debt you have, the length of the promotional offer and how much you’ll have to pay each month to cover the entire debt before the revert rate rolls in.

How can I extend the promotional interest rate?

If you negotiate with the credit card company before you open a new account with a promotional period, you could try to get it extended — for example negotiate a 0% intro APR from 12 to 21 months. It never hurts to ask.

However, if you’ve already made the transfer and your promotional time is almost up, it’s harder to negotiate a longer 0% promotional period. Credit card companies offer 0% promotional periods to hook you into getting the card. They aren’t motivated to keep you at a 0% intro APR when the revert rate is right around the corner.

So, what can you do if you’re at the end of your promotional period and still have a balance? If you’ve been a loyal customer who consistently makes on-time payments, you could try to negotiate a lower revert rate by expressing interest in transferring your balance to another provider. Credit card companies can’t make money if they lose customers.

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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