Balance transfer credit cards from our partners

By updated on October 22, 2014

Should you apply for a balance transfer credit card?  If you're like many Americans, you may have struggled with credit card debt for years or perhaps you've found yourself on an endless treadmill of making a minimum payment each month and never reducing the balance on your credit card. If your goal is to reduce your credit card debt, a balance transfer credit card may be one way to increase the speed of your debt reduction plan.

The primary reason to choose a balance transfer offer is to give yourself time to pay off the debt while getting relief from ongoing interest charges that add to that debt. Balance transfer credit cards frequently offer side benefits such as cash back rewards, airline miles or low interest rates on new purchases.

What are balance transfer credit cards?

A balance transfer card is very much like any other credit card: You make monthly payments on the debt, but the credit card company charges you a reduced (often zero) rate of interest for a set period of time. Once that time is up, you'll start paying interest on any remaining debt until the debt is fully paid.

The main feature of balance transfer cards is that the initial low interest rate is applied only to debt that is transferred from another credit card. You can use the balance transfer cards for future purchases; some cards offer reduced or zero introductory APR for a limited time for new purchases as well. While most cards charge a fee for a transfer, typically 3 to 5 percent of the balance transferred, a rare few cards either do not charge this fee or have introductory offers with no balance transfer fee or a reduced balance transfer fee for a specified period of time.

What should I look for in balance transfer offers?

The most important part of choosing a balance transfer offer is figuring out how long it will take you to pay off your balance. A credit card payoff calculator can be a big help when you are comparing balance transfer offers.

Here's what you need to compare:

  • Introductory APR
  • How long the introductory period lasts
  • The fee to make the transfer, if any
  • Interest rate for new purchases and for the remaining balance after the introductory period ends

The longer you can keep a low or zero introductory APR, the better the card offer. First, you need to decide how much you can afford to pay toward your credit card each month. For example, if you know you can pay off your balance within 12 months, then you can want to make sure you are comparing balance transfer offers that have a promotional period of at least 12 months.

Do I need good credit to transfer my balance?

Check your free credit report before applying for a balance transfer credit card. Even though balance transfer offers seem like a great idea if you're struggling with debt, credit card issuers typically require you to have excellent to good credit when you apply.

If your credit history has a few spots on it, you may need to spend a few months improving your credit score by making on-time payments and reducing your credit card debt before you can qualify for a balance transfer card.

Tips on balance transfer offers

When you apply for a balance transfer, you should carefully calculate how much you will need to pay each month in order to eliminate the balance entirely before the promotional period ends.

For example, if you transfer $2,000 to a credit card with zero percent APR for 12 months and a balance transfer fee of 3 percent, you will need to pay $172 per month to pay off the balance (plus the $60 transfer fee) within 12 payments.

Be careful not to rack up more credit card debt on your old card after you transfer your balance. It can be tempting to spend more if you have a credit card with a few thousand dollars of available credit, but this will put you in a worse position because you will now have two credit cards to pay off instead of one.

To truly benefit from a low introductory rate balance transfer, you need to be disciplined enough to continue making regular payments that are large enough to pay off your credit card debt in full before the promotional period expires. You may be tempted to pay less when you see the minimum payment drop along with your balance, but don't let that temptation sway you from your goal of reducing or eliminating your credit card debt.

 

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Savings calculations are our estimates based on the applicable annual fees, balance transfer fees, and interest during the time to payoff.

Chase Slate®

Editor's Rating

  • Pay less interest. Save on balances and new purchases
  • $0 introductory balance transfer fee for transfers made during the first 60 days. After that, the fee for future balance transfers is 3% of the amount transferred with a minimum of $5.
  • 0% Introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After the introductory period ends, a variable APR of 12.99%, 17.99%, or 22.99%.
Apply Now Credit Needed Good
X

Balance Transfer Intro APR

0% Intro APR on balance transfers

Balance Transfer Intro Period

15 months on balance transfers

Balance Transfer Fee

$0 balance transfer fee -- introductory offer! 

Purchase APR

12.99%, 17.99%, or 22.99% Variable

Annual Fee

$0 

Capital One® Platinum Prestige Credit Card

Editor's Rating

  • Get 0% intro APR on all purchases until February 2016; 10.9%-18.9% variable APR after that
  • Balance transfers also have a 0% intro APR until February 2016, a 3% fee applies to each balance transferred
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees
Apply Now Credit Needed Good
X

Balance Transfer Intro APR

0% intro on balance transfers

Balance Transfer Intro Period

until February 2016

Balance Transfer Fee

3% fee 

Purchase APR

10.9% - 18.9% (V) 

Annual Fee

$0 

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Editor's Rating

  • One-time $100 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories and no sign ups needed to earn cash rewards
Apply Now Credit Needed Good
X

Balance Transfer Intro APR

0% intro on balance transfers

Balance Transfer Intro Period

until August 2015

Balance Transfer Fee

3% fee 

Purchase APR

12.9% - 22.9% (V) 

Annual Fee

$0 

Discover it® card

Editor's Rating

  • 0% intro APR on purchases & balance transfers for 14 months--then a variable purchase APR applies, currently 10.99% - 22.99%. A 3% fee applies to each transferred balance.
  • Over 5,000 cardmembers rated 4.8 out of 5 stars* and now Discover "Ranked Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Credit Card Companies in a Tie" by J.D. Power*.
  • Free FICO® Credit Score online and on monthly statements*.
Apply Now Credit Needed Excellent
X

Balance Transfer Intro APR

0% Intro APR on balance transfers

Balance Transfer Intro Period

14 months

Balance Transfer Fee

3% fee 

Purchase APR

10.99% - 22.99% Variable*

Annual Fee

$0 

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

Editor's Rating

  • Get 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 18 months. After that, the APR will be 11.99%-21.99% based upon your creditworthiness.*
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer.
  • Citi® Easy DealsSM Get what you want for less. Earn Citi Easy Deals Points for the purchases you make with your card. Redeem your points for great online deals on name-brand merchandise, gift cards and even local deals.
Apply Now Credit Needed Excellent
X

Balance Transfer Intro APR

0%*

Balance Transfer Intro Period

18 months on Balance Transfers*

Balance Transfer Fee

3% of each balance transfer $5 minimum

Purchase APR

11.99% - 21.99%* Variable

Annual Fee

$0* 

The Amex EveryDaySM Preferred Credit Card from American Express

Editor's Rating

  • Earn 15,000 points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, then a variable rate, currently 12.99% to 21.99%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors.
  • Earn 50% more points: Make 30 or more purchases with your Card in a billing period and earn 50% more points on those purchases less returns and credits. Terms and limitations apply.
Apply Now Credit Needed Excellent
X

Balance Transfer Intro APR

0% on Balance Transfers

Balance Transfer Intro Period

for 15 months

Balance Transfer Fee

See terms 

Purchase APR

12.99% - 21.99% Variable

Annual Fee

$95 

Discover it®

Editor's Rating

  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months--then a variable purchase APR applies, currently 10.99% - 22.99%. A 3% fee applies to each transferred balance.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months. Then the variable purchase APR applies, currently 10.99% - 22.99%.
  • Free FICO® Credit Score online and on monthly statements*.
Apply Now Credit Needed Excellent
X

Balance Transfer Intro APR

0% Intro APR on balance transfers

Balance Transfer Intro Period

18 months

Balance Transfer Fee

3% fee 

Purchase APR

10.99% - 22.99% Variable*

Annual Fee

$0 

Chase Freedom®

Editor's Rating

  • This offer is for people with a good to excellent credit history which means, among other things, that your credit history is clear of bankruptcy and seriously delinquent accounts
  • Earn a $100 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn a $25 Bonus after you add your first authorized user and make a purchase within this same 3-month period
Apply Now Credit Needed Good
X

Balance Transfer Intro APR

0% Intro APR on balance transfers

Balance Transfer Intro Period

for 15 months

Balance Transfer Fee

3% fee $5 min

Purchase APR

13.99% - 22.99% Variable

Annual Fee

$0 

Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard®

Editor's Rating

  • Earn 20,000 bonus miles when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days - that's enough to redeem for a $200 travel statement credit
  • Earn 2X miles on travel and dining and 1X miles on all other purchases
  • Miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
Apply Now Credit Needed Excellent
X

Balance Transfer Intro APR

0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers

Balance Transfer Intro Period

12 Months

Balance Transfer Fee

3% fee $5 minimum

Purchase APR

14.99% or 18.99%* Variable

Annual Fee

$0 

The Amex EveryDaySM Credit Card from American Express

Editor's Rating

  • Earn 10,000 points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • No annual fee. Plus, 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, then a variable rate, currently 12.99% to 21.99%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors.
  • Earn 20% more points: Make 20 or more purchases with your Card in a billing period and earn 20% more points on those purchases less returns and credits. Terms and limitations apply.
Apply Now Credit Needed Excellent
X

Balance Transfer Intro APR

0% on Balance Transfers

Balance Transfer Intro Period

for 15 months

Balance Transfer Fee

See terms 

Purchase APR

12.99% - 21.99% Variable

Annual Fee

$0 

Citi Simplicity® Card

Editor's Rating

  • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 12.99% - 22.99% based on your creditworthiness.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • No late fees - EVER
Apply Now Credit Needed Excellent
X

Balance Transfer Intro APR

0%*

Balance Transfer Intro Period

18 months on Balance Transfers*

Balance Transfer Fee

3% of each balance transfer $5 minimum

Purchase APR

12.99 - 22.99% Variable

Annual Fee

$0* 

Barclaycard® Rewards MasterCard® - Average Credit

Editor's Rating

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 2 points per $1 on gas, grocery, and utility purchases and 1 point per $1 everywhere else
  • Use the points you earn like cash to pay for almost any purchases you've made.
Apply Now Credit Needed Average/Fair
X

Balance Transfer Intro APR

N/A

Balance Transfer Intro Period

N/A

Balance Transfer Fee

3% fee $5 minimum

Purchase APR

24.99%* Variable

Annual Fee

$0