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Best balance transfer credit cards of 2015

Chase Slate Tops The List Of This Year's Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards.

By , Editor-in-chief

American Express and Citi are CardRatings.com advertisers.

Balance Transfer

When considering balance transfer credit card offers, consumers need to match their needs to available features. While some cardholders might be drawn to a long, low introductory APR, others might be thinking of ways to get perks out of a card once his or her balance is paid off. Ready to get serious about debt reduction? Here’s a list of what we think are the best balance-transfer offers on the market:

Chase Slate®

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Our editor's take:
Chase Slate stands out in a crowd because of the rare combination of no balance transfer fee for transfers made during the first 60 days and zero-percent intro APR, for 15 months, on both balance transfers and purchases. 

Card Details
Credit Required Excellent / Good
Balance Transfer Intro APR 0%
Balance Transfer Intro Period 15 months
Balance Transfer Fee $0 Intro fee on transfers made within 60 days of account opening. After that: Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Purchase APR12.99%, 17.99%, 22.99% Variable

Billing Slate as a source for "simple and convenient" money management, Chase has developed one of the country's highest-profile balance-transfer credit cards. Slate's current offer includes a zero-percent introductory APR for 15 months on both balance transfers and purchases (after that introductory period ends, a variable APR of 12.99, 17.99 or 22.99 percent -- depending on creditworthiness -- applies on balance transfers and purchases).

Chase Slate also offers an introductory $0 balance-transfer fee for transfers made during the first 60 days with the card. After that, you'll pay 3 percent of the amount transferred on future balance transfers with a minimum charge of $5.

Slate also includes access to Blueprint, an online tool that allows Chase cardholders to plan how to pay down debt over time. One of Blueprint's features, "Finish It," lets customers set their own deadline for reaching a zero balance. The software then suggests a new monthly payment to hit that deadline. On the other hand, a consumer budgeting a specific amount toward their debt can use the tool to project how long it might take to reach a zero balance.

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Citi Simplicity® Card

Citi Simplicity® Card About Our Ratings
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Our editor's take:
This card, which tends to offer an 18-month zero-percent intro APR on balance transfers, stands out even more by extending that zero-percent intro APR to 21 months. 

Card Details
Credit Required Excellent
Balance Transfer Intro APR0%*
Balance Transfer Intro Period 21 months on Balance Transfers*
Balance Transfer Fee Balance transfer fee applies with this offer 3% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.
Purchase APR12.99 - 22.99% (variable)

Citi, a CardRatings.com advertiser, has a card you may want to consider if you need a longer timeframe to pay down debt is City Simplicity, which features a zero-percent introductory APR on both balance transfers and purchases for 21 months. After that, the variable APR for balance transfers and purchases will be 12.99-22.99 percent, based on creditworthiness. This card charges a 3 percent fee for each balance transferred, with a minimum charge of $5 per balance transferred, balance transfer fee applies with this offer. Other benefits include no late fees- ever, no penalty rate - ever and no annual fee - ever.

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Discover it®-New! Double Cash Back your first year

Discover it®-New! Double Cash Back your first year About Our Ratings
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Our editor's take:
With zero-percent intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months, one of the longest zero-APR offers currently available, this card is a solid option despite the 3 percent fee.  

Card Details
Credit Required Excellent
Balance Transfer Intro APR 0%
Balance Transfer Intro Period 18 Months
Balance Transfer Fee 3%
Purchase APR10.99% - 22.99% Variable*

While competing credit cards often highlight money-saving offers as a reason to switch lenders, Discover it marketing campaign suggests that consumers aren't always getting the customer service they deserve. Over the past few years, Discover has staffed up an entirely U.S.-based service and support team, empowering them to answer phones without forcing customers through complex, automated queuing tools.

Discover's recent balance-transfer offer features a zero-percent introductory APR on balance transfers for 18 months. An introductory zero-percent APR on purchases also applies, for six months. A variable APR of 10.99-22.99 percent, for both balance transfers and purchases, applies after the introductory period ends. A 3 percent fee applies to each balance transferred.

Unlike typical balance-transfer cards, Discover it offers access to cash-back rewards of up to 5 percent on qualifying purchases. A Discover Deals website, stocked with online shopping rebates of up to 10 percent at participating merchants, rounds out this card's strong feature set.

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Barclaycard® Ring MasterCard®

Barclaycard® Ring MasterCard® About Our Ratings
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Our editor's take:
This card is best for someone looking for a long-term solution to tackling his or her debt. No balance-transfer fee is a nice bonus.

Card Details
Credit Required Excellent
Purchase APR 8% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee None

The country's first "crowdsourced credit card" has evolved since its launch a few years ago. Since then, cardholders have used Barclaycard's online forums to vote for new features and to brainstorm new experiments. Late last year, customers and brand managers agreed to start testing some new balance-transfer deals as a way to bring more cardholders into their community.

The card's current offerings include a low variable APR for both balance transfers and purchases, no balance-transfer fees and no annual fee.

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The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express About Our Ratings
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Our editor's take:
If you’re looking for a card worth using after you’ve paid down your debt, take a look at the rewards potential of this American Express card. Yes, there’s a balance-transfer fee, but don’t let that deter you. Terms and limitations apply.

Card Details
Credit Required Excellent
Balance Transfer Intro APR0%
Balance Transfer Intro Period for 15 months
Balance Transfer Fee See terms
Purchase APR12.99% - 21.99% Variable

If you want a card that you can continue to use after your balance transfer is paid off, then this is definitely one to consider. In addition to a great 15-month, zero-percent introductory offer on purchases and balance transfers (then a variable rate applies, currently 12.99-21.99 percent, based on your creditworthiness and other factors), The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express allows cardholders to earn 2x points per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1x point per dollar), and 1x point per dollar on other purchases. Those who make 20 or more purchases with the Card in a billing period also have an opportunity to get 20 percent extra points on those purchases less returns and credits. Terms and limitations apply.

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NASA Federal Credit Union Platinum Advantage Rewards

NASAFederalCreditUnionPlatinumAdvantageRewardsAbout Our Ratings

Our editor's take:
Playing the long balance-transfer game? With this card you can secure a fixed APR for the life of balances transferred within the first 90 days of opening a new account.

This card currently offers 7.9 percent APR for balance transfers made within 90 days of account opening, based on creditworthiness. That 7.9 percent APR will remain in effect for the life of balances transferred within the first 90 days of account opening. The variable APR for purchases and any amounts transferred after the first 90 days falls is 9.9-17.99 percent, based on creditworthiness. With no annual fee and no balance-transfer fee, this deal can help you save an extraordinary amount of cash if you've got a strong credit history, but you've already cycled through the big banks' zero-percent APR transfer deals.

PenFed Promise Visa® Card

PenFed Promise Visa® Card About Our Ratings
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Our editor's take:
No balance-transfer fee, and low intro balance-transfer and variable ongoing APRs.

Card Details
Credit Required Excellent
Balance Transfer Intro APR4.99% APR promotional balance transfer rate
Balance Transfer Intro Period Promotional balance transfer rate for 12 Months on transfers made between July 15, 2015 - August 31, 2015. After that, the APR for the unpaid balance and any new balance transfers will be 7.99% to 16.99% based on your creditworthiness and will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate. This transaction is subject to credit approval.
Balance Transfer Fee None
Purchase APR7.99% - 16.99% Variable

Although PenFed still has "Credit Union" in its full name, this nonprofit has grown into one of the country's largest financial institutions. It's using that clout, and its deposit base, to offer some consistently low interest rates for families with strong credit. This no-frills Visa card offers straightforward terms, no annual fee, no balance-transfer fee, and no penalty rate if you accidentally miss a payment.

The current offer includes a 4.99 percent promotional APR for 12 months on balance transfers made between July 15, 2015 through August 31, 2015. After that, the variable APR for the unpaid balance and any new transfers will be 7.99-16.99 percent, based on creditworthiness. This transaction is subject to credit approval. It's worth noting that credit union membership is a requirement but not a guarantee than an applicant will be approved for this credit card.

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In our opinion, the best credit cards for balance transfers often include:

  • Low introductory rates. Many cards offer a zero-percent intro APR on balance transfers, sometimes for a year or more, enabling the cardholder to make a serious dent in their balance without accruing additional interest.
  • Fixed interest rates or discounted APR ranges. Although fixed APRs are almost impossible to find on general purpose credit cards these days, a few credit unions and regional banks promise to lock an interest rate for the life of your balance transfer. Most other lenders offer no-frills cards that trade bonus features and perks for variable APRs a few percentage points lower than the market average.
  • Introductory or lowered balance transfer fees. While many banks charge processing fees that often range between 3 and 5 percent, certain offers can reduce or eliminate those fees, also cutting down the finance charges you'd pay over the life of your balance.

The cards on our list of the market's best balance-transfer deals possess some, if not all, of the aforementioned attributes. Let us know what you think about these selections by leaving a comment below.

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6 Comments

  1. Patsy May 07, 2015 at 1:51 am
    How about giving us some credit cards that accept bad or so, so credit with a good payment record over the past 2 or 3 or 5 years. Or make some practicle suggestions that may help us pay off our debts. Most people in heavy debt with excellen credit only have good credit (assets) on paper. But people trying to pay off their debts, have lost all their assets, and live off of little to nothing to make their payments every month can't get a credit card with no interest. Instead interest is added to their debt each day, week or month so that it takes them longer and longer to to pay it off. If I could get one of these
    "excellent credit rating" cards, I could have the debt I'm workng on now paid off in less than 2 years instead of the 3 to 4 years it's going to take me. In the mean time, I'm not sure how I'm going to put gas in my car because my outlay takes my complete income. How about trying to find ways to help people that are working at paying off their debts other than going to debt resolving agencies. I've got a better record paying on my own than I'd have if I had used one of the reputable services. Those services are needed by some people, but others are capable of setting up a tight budget and appling all available cash to payments.
      Reply »  
  2. DELORES BARNES May 04, 2015 at 10:26 am
    I HAVE NOT SO GOOD CREDIT...I AM SEEKING A CREDIT CARD THAT I DO NOT HAVE TO PUT UP MONEY...IN OTHER WORDS I AM NOT SEEKING A DEBIT CARD BUT A CREDIT CARD...DOES THIS PROBLEM OF MY MINE HAS A SOLUTION...PLEASE HELP
      Reply »  
  3. Don March 22, 2015 at 6:34 pm
    Think about joining a large, prosperous church. Some churches will pay off your total credit card debt and give you a generous amount of time to pay it off. I have seen them ask rates far below credit card rates. You might get a loan at 5% or less. Some, following the advice Moses gives in the Bible, might charge zero percent on the loan as long as you kept to a reasonable payoff schedule. I have heard about this, but have not seen it. I have seen churches charge as little as 2%. You just have to shop around among churches with large endowment funds. If you convince them of your reliability, getting 5% from you on a loan may well be a higher return than they can get on their invested funds with a financial adviser. It will certainly be more than they can get on bank CDs. Ask what their income on their endowment fund is, and offer to beat it by 1%.
      Reply »  
  4. Ramona Schmid March 13, 2015 at 10:41 am
    All these credit card companies asking for excellent credit. If I had excellent credit I would have a low interest credit card and I wouldn't need a credit card transfer. These blood sucking credit card companies need to give the average citizen with a fair/good rating a break so they would be able to pay up and no caught up paying 20%-29% interest rate. I could never understand that, you can't make your payment at one time or another, but are 98% on time with your payments, and what happens, the interest rate goes up setting you back. I don't blame people if they say I am not paying, let it go to collection.

    No credit card company will give someone a break. These cards mentioned above are not for people who fell behind on payment for good reasons, because you are screwed already.
      Reply »  
  5. Tom Adams March 13, 2015 at 1:57 am
    Thanks for the info. It's a serious consideration - last year used DISCOVER for BT altho it cost $130,have only one payment left. Have about $8000 in 3 other accounts and further transfers are tempting, but due to payments going out for various things from 2 of accounts - staying put should be best procedure.
    Best advice I've heard - "Get out of Debt, and STAY OUT OF DEBT!!!" Not easy, but I'm working on it!
      Reply »  
  6. mann,bonnie sue March 01, 2015 at 9:00 am
    which is best for rebuilding your credit after a divorce. I have a new ford for a low interest and it has been 10 years discharged. thanks, bonnie mann
      Reply »  

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