Transferring high-interest credit card debt to a new credit card with a lower interest rate can help you pay off your debt faster and save hundreds or thousands in interest charges.
There are two main types of balance transfer cards: those with a 0% introductory APR for a certain amount of time and those that offer an ongoing low interest rate. With the former, you will pay no interest charges while you pay off your balance for up to 21 months.
Before choosing a balance transfer credit card, it’s important to keep a few things in mind. Always check if the card has a balance transfer fee, which is a percentage of your transferred balance that is added to your new balance. Most cards card a balance transfer fee of 3-5%, but some cards waive this fee to save you even more. Make sure you calculate your savings as well to make sure the fee is worth it and you will pay less in interest if you don’t have the balance paid off before the promotion ends.
To give you an idea of how much a balance transfer can save you, assume you have a $10,000 balance on a credit card with a 22% interest rate and a $281 minimum payment. If you only make minimum payments, it would take 27 years to pay off that balance and cost $9,000 in fees!
If you transfer the balance to a card with a 15-month 0% offer and no balance transfer fee, however, you can pay it off in 39 months with only $810 in interest charges.
Here are five of the best balance transfer credit cards available to help you improve your credit and pay off your credit card debt for good.
Chase Slate Card
The Chase Slate offers one of the best balance transfer offers available if you qualify. While most credit cards require paying a balance transfer fee of 3-4% — even with a 0% introductory offer — the Chase Slate waives the balance transfer fee for any transfers during the first 60 days. The 0% introductory APR applies for the first 15 months, followed by an ongoing low interest rate of 13.24% to 23.24%.
While the Slate card doesn’t have the longest 0% interest offer, it makes up for this by waiving the balance transfer fee. The larger the balance you transfer, the more this can save you. Even better, the card has no penalty APR if you miss a payment and there is no annual fee. Keep in mind you are limited to transferring $15,000, no matter your credit limit. Any balances transferred after the first 60 days will be subject to a 5% balance transfer fee so be sure you transfer your balances as soon as possible. Unlike most balance transfer credit cards, the Chase Slate only requires average credit.
Discover it Card
The Discover it is best known for its amazing rewards program with 5% cash back on up to $1,500 per quarter in rotating bonus categories and 1% cash back on everything else. The card also has another nice perk: one of the longest 0% APR balance transfer deals in the industry.
With the Discover it card, you a 0% introductory APR on all balance transfers for 18 months and 0% APR on purchases for 6 months. The card also has a low interest rate afterward starting at 11.24%. With no annual fee, you can transfer a balance and potentially save hundreds or thousands in interest charges. One major drawback is this card has a balance transfer fee of 3%, or $30 for every $1,000 you transfer. Make sure you take this into consideration before transferring a balance. You will also need a good FICO score to qualify for the Discover it card.
Citi Simplicity Card
The Citi Simplicity wins for the longest 0% APR offer available. With the Citi Simplicity, you will enjoy a 0% intro APR for a full 21 months on balance transfers. If you have a large balance and need extra time to pay off debt, this card is a good choice. You will still need to pay a balance transfer fee of 3% of the transferred balance, or $30 for every $1,000.
The Citi Simplicity card has more to offer than its balance transfer deal, however. This card is designed to be straightforward with no rewards program. The Simplicity has no annual fee, no late fees, and no penalty APR if you make a late payment. You will need a good credit score to qualify.
Barclaycard Ring Mastercard
Not all balance transfer cards come with a 0% interest promotion, but that doesn’t mean you should write them off. The Barclaycard Ring Mastercard is one of the most unique credit cards available as the only crowdsourced credit card. Cardmembers vote on the features and fees for this card and enjoy the benefits.
The Ring has a variable APR of just 8.25% that applies to purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances. This is one of the lowest interest rates you can get and it even applies to cash advances, a true rarity. With a low APR, you can save hundreds on interest charges as you pay down your debt. The card also has no balance transfer fees to save even more.
Additional features you may appreciate include no foreign transaction fees, no annual fee, and free access to your FICO score to help you fix your credit. You will also have a say in which features make its way into the credit card to shape the product you are using.
Citi Double Cash Card
Want to pay off your debt while still enjoying a credit card with a solid rewards program? The Citi Double Cash card is unique in that it doesn’t just reward you for spending — it also rewards you for paying off debt. This card gives you 1% cash back on all purchases and another 1% back as you pay off your balance. It also offers a great balance transfer offer: get an introductory 0% APR for 18 months on balance transfers with an ongoing low APR of 13.24% to 23.24% afterward.
While the Double Cash card combines rewards for responsible credit use with a very long 0% interest offer, keep in mind you still need to pay a 3% balance transfer fee on transferred balances. You will also need good credit. This card is a good choice if you want a card you will keep using after you pay off your balance and like the idea of being rewarded for paying your bills.