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Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards of 2021

We compared over 200 cards to find the best options for paying off your debt in 2021

Our pick for a balance transfer card: Citi Simplicity® Card

18 months

Intro APR on transfers

  • Market-leading 18 months intro APR on transfers and purchases
  • No late fees or penalty APR
  • No annual fee
Apply now

Best balance transfer card for cash back
Citi® Double Cash Card

Citi® Double Cash Card logo
Finder Rating: 3.8 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-850)
Apply now
on Citi's secure site
670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
18 months
0% intro transfer APR
Up to 2%
Cash back
A lengthy balance transfer intro APR makes this card an easy pick for best in its category. On top of the intro APR period, it offers cashback on new purchases and a low balance transfer fee.
  • Intro balance transfer APR. 0% intro APR for the first 18 months — then 13.99% to 23.99% variable.
  • Unlimited cash back. Earn 1% cash back when you make purchases, and an additional % back when you pay your balance.
  • No annual fee. Keep this card in your wallet without worrying about an annual fee.
  • Potentially high fees. You'll incur up to $40 in fees for each late payment. Citi may also impose a penalty APR of up to 29.99% for repeat offenses.
Annual fee $0
Purchase APR 13.99% to 23.99% variable
Balance transfer APR 0% intro for the first 18 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
Balance transfer fee $5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater
Rewards Up to 2% cash back on purchases (1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay)

Best for small purchases
Citi Rewards+® Card

Citi Rewards+® Card logo
Finder Rating: 4.1 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-850)
Apply now
on Citi's secure site
670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
15 months
0% intro transfer APR
Up to 2x
Points
The Citi Rewards+® Card is a standard rewards card elevated by a unique feature: this card will round any and all points you earn to the next nearest ten. This makes it an excellent card for everyday small purchases after you've paid off your balance transfer.
  • Intro APR. 0% intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for the first 15 months, then 13.49% to 23.49% variable.
  • Rewards. Earn 2x points at supermarkets and gas stations for the first $6,000 per year. Earn 1x points after and on everything else. All points earned will be rounded to the next nearest 10.
  • Signup bonus. Earn 15,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in your first 3 months.
  • Foreign transaction fees. You'll pay a 3% fee on purchases made abroad.
  • Balance transfer limit. To take advantage of the intro offer, you'll need to perform your balance transfer within 4 months of account opening.
Annual fee $0
Purchase APR 0% intro for the first 15 months (then 13.49% to 23.49% variable)
Balance transfer APR 0% intro for the first 15 months (then 13.49% to 23.49% variable)
Balance transfer fee $5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater
Rewards Earn 2x points at supermarkets and gas stations on up to $6,000 annually, then 1x points after that and on all other purchases

Best balance transfer card for a long 0% intro APR
U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card logo
Finder Rating: 4.8 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (740-850)
Read review
Rates & fees

740
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
20 months
0% intro transfer APR
n/a
Rewards
With Citi reducing the balance transfer period on their balance transfer cards, the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card now stands as the the longest balance transfer intro APR offer on the market. This card provides plenty of time to pay down your debt without garnering interest. This card also sports a potentially low revert APR should you need to carry a balance in the future.
  • Intro balance transfer APR. 0% intro APR for the first 20 months — then 14.49% to 24.49% variable.
  • Intro purchase APR. 0% intro APR for the first 20 months — then 14.49% to 24.49% variable.
  • Foreign transaction fees. You'll pay a 3% fee on purchases made abroad.
  • Few perks. As a balance transfer-focused card, you won't find many perks such as rewards or travel protection on this card.
Annual fee $0
Purchase APR 0% intro for the first 20 months (then 14.49% to 24.49% variable)
Balance transfer APR 0% intro for the first 20 months (then 14.49% to 24.49% variable)
Balance transfer fee $5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater
Rewards N/A

Best for cash back flexibility
U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card logo
Finder Rating: 4.4 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-850)
Read review
Rates & fees

670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
12 months
0% intro transfer APR
Up to 5%
Cash back
With the ability to choose which two categories you earn the most cash back on, the U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card offers terrific rewards flexibility on top of its balance transfer capabilities.
  • Intro APR. Enjoy a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for the first 12 months, then 13.99% to 23.99% variable.
  • Rewards. Earn 5% back on the first $2,000 in combined spending each quarter in two categories of your choosing from a list. After that and on everything else earn 1% back. Signup bonus. Earn a $150 statement credit after you spend $500 in your first 90 days.
  • Enrollment required. You'll need to manually select your earning categories each quarter to earn cash back.
Annual fee $0
Purchase APR 13.99% to 23.99% variable
Balance transfer APR 0% intro for the first 12 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
Balance transfer fee $5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater
Rewards 5% on up to $2,000 each activated quarter on two categories combined (1% after), 2% on one everyday category and 1% on all other purchases

Best for foodies
U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card

U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card logo
Credit recommended (740-)
Read review
Rates & fees

740
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
12 months
0% intro transfer APR
Up to 4x
Points
The U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card is a new offering from U.S. Bank designed for new spending habits brought on by the pandemic. You'll find excellent rewards on food and dining, as well as solid rewards on other kinds of everyday spending like groceries, streaming services and gas.
  • Intro APR. Enjoy a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months, then 14.99% to 23.99% variable.
  • Rewards. Earn 4x points on dining, takeout and food delivery, 2x points at supermarkets, grocery delivery, gas stations and select streaming services, and 1x points on everything else.
  • Signup bonus. Earn a 20,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in your first 90 days.
  • Balance transfer offer is for a limited time. You'll only have until September 30, 2020 to use the intro balance transfer offer on this card.
  • No intro APR for purchases. This card only offers an intro APR on balance transfers.
Annual fee $0
Purchase APR 0% intro for the first 12 months (then 14.99% to 23.99% variable)
Balance transfer APR 0% intro for the first 12 months (then 14.99% to 23.99% variable)
Balance transfer fee $5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater
Rewards 4x points on takeout, food delivery and dining, 2x points at grocery stores, grocery delivery, select streaming services and gas stations, 1x points on all other purchases

Best balance transfer card with no balance transfer fee
Navy Federal Platinum Credit Card

Navy Federal Platinum Credit Card logo
Credit recommended (580-850)
Read review
580
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
12 months
0% intro transfer APR
n/a
Rewards
The Navy Federal Platinum Credit Card offers a 0% intro APR on balance transfers, with a terrific low revert rate of 5.99% to 18% variable, all with no balance transfer fee. The main catch? You'll need to be a member of the NFCU to use this card.
  • No balance transfer fee. This card is low on fees, including balance transfer fees.
  • Intro APR. Get a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers made within the first 30 days of account opening for 12 months. After that, your purchase and balance transfer APR will be 5.99% to 18% variable.
  • Travel protections. You'll enjoy a few travel protections with this card, including emergency assistance, cell phone protection and auto collision damage waivers.
  • Penalty APR. Your APRs on all balances may increase to 18% variable if you make a late or returned payment. This is a sky-high rate — the average credit card APR is 17%.
Annual fee $0
Purchase APR 0% intro for the first 12 months (then 5.99% to 18% variable)
Balance transfer APR 0% intro for the first 12 months (then 5.99% to 18% variable)
Balance transfer fee None
Rewards N/A

Summary of the best balance transfer cards

Card nameBest for…Finder ratingBalance transfer offer
Citi® Double Cash CardBest balance transfer card for cash back
★★★★★
Finder rating: 3.8/5
Balance transfer offer 0% intro APR for 18 months months, then reverts to 13.99% – 23.99% variable
Citi Rewards+® CardBest for small purchases
★★★★★
Finder rating: 4.1/5
Balance transfer offer 0% intro APR for 15 months months, then reverts to 13.49% – 23.49% variable
U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum CardBest balance transfer card for a long 0% intro APR
★★★★★
Finder rating: 4.8/5
Balance transfer offer 0% intro APR for 20 months months, then reverts to 14.49% – 24.49% variable
U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® CardBest balance transfer card for cash back
★★★★★
Finder rating: 4.4/5
Balance transfer offer 0% intro APR for 12 months months, then reverts to 13.99% – 23.99% variable
U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® CardBest for foodies
Not yet rated
Balance transfer offer 0% intro APR for 12 months months, then reverts to 14.99% – 23.99% variable
Navy Federal Platinum Credit CardBest balance transfer card with no balance transfer fee
Not yet rated
Balance transfer offer 0% intro APR for 12 months months, then reverts to 5.99% – 18% variable
  • 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.
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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
$
%

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.

How do I compare balance transfer offers?

Consider these questions as you decide on a balance transfer card:

  • 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.

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
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® 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® 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.
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Compare up to 4 providers

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.

      qualify for a balance transfer card.
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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:

    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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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