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Best balance transfer cards of November 2019

Last Updated, October 29, 2019

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Best balance transfer credit cards of 2019

If you find yourself drowning in interest charges each month and in need of a little extra time to pay off your balance,  you are potentially a prime candidate for a balance transfer credit card. The best balance transfer credit cards from our partners offer opportunities to pay lower or no interest over a period of time, which allows you to pay off your debt more quickly and for less.

We understand how frustrating it is when you're staring down a credit card bill that you can't pay off in one month. Yet alone how it feels when you factor in the interest charges you'll be accruing. Not all balance transfer credit card offers are alike. Our editors have reviewed current offers and selected the best balance transfer credit card options available. Review our choices below and select a card that best meets your needs:

BEST BALANCE TRANSFER CREDIT CARDS

BEST BALANCE TRANSFER CARDS WITH REWARDS | BEST BALANCE TRANSFER CARDS WITH A LONG INTRO PERIOD | BALANCE TRANSFER CREDIT CARDS WITH THE BEST ONGOING RATESBALANCE TRANSFER CARDS WITH NO FOREIGN TRANSACTION FEES | BEST BALANCE TRANSFER CARDS FOR FAIR CREDIT

BEST BALANCE TRANSFER CARDS WITH REWARDS

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Zero-interest details: Enjoy 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then 16.74% - 25.49% Variable. Plus enjoy no annual fees and a $150 cash back bonus once spending $500 within your first three months as a new cardholder.

Balance transfer fees: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

Rewards: Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.

Annual fee: $0

Credit needed: Excellent, Good

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Zero-interest details: With this card users will enjoy 15 long months of 0% APR on purchases as well as balance transfers thanks to an introductory offer, then 15.74% - 25.74% (Variable). New cardholders can also earn a $150 bonus after spending $500 within the first three months of opening an account.

Balance transfer fees: 3%

Rewards: Earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases made, with no spending caps or categories to worry about.

Annual fee: $0

Credit needed: Excellent, Good

Discover it® Balance Transfer

Zero-interest details: The length of the introductory 0% APR period is strong with this card, at 18 months, and there's an intro period of six months for 0% APR on purchases as well. After the introductory periods expire, a regular APR of 13.49% - 24.49% Variable will apply.

What's more, with this card, not only can you earn 5% cash back in rotating quarterly categories (up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate), but you can also earn a match on all of of the cash you earn your first year as a cardholder.

Balance transfer fees: 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*

The bonus: At the end of your first year as a new cardholder, Discover will match any rewards dollars you earned during that year. So if you earn, say, $300, you'll pocket $600.

The annual fee: $0

Rewards: Earn 5% cash back at different locations each quarter such as at gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, and Amazon.com, up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Plus earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases, and for every dollar spent over the quarterly maximum for bonus categories.

Credit needed: Excellent, Good

Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer

Zero-interest details: Take advantage of an intro period of 18 months with 0% APR on balance transfers. After the intro period, your rate goes to 15.49% – 25.49% (Variable). Plus, there's a nice cash-back rewards opportunity with this card – in fact, this card routinely lands on both our "Best cash-back credit cards" list in addition to this "Best balance transfer credit cards" list. (Citi is a CardRatings.com advertiser)

Balance transfer fees: 3% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.

Rewards: Earn 1% back on every purchase and then earn another 1% back when you pay at least the minimum amount due on your bill each month, on time. That effectively means that you can earn 2% cash back on every purchase and this rewards-earning format encourages responsible credit card use as well, which we definitely like. Read our full Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer review.

Annual fee: $0

Credit needed: Excellent, Good

Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Zero-interest details: Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, then 15.74% - 25.74% (Variable).

Balance transfer fees: A 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months.

Rewards: Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores, and 1% on all other purchases. Plus, new cardholders can earn a one-time $150 cash bonus after spending $500 on purchases within the first three months from account opening.

Annual fee: $0

Credit needed: Excellent, Good

Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card

Zero-interest details: At 15 months long the 0% intro APR period for purchases and qualifying balance transfers is a solid offer, especially considering the fact that this card offers a signup bonus plus extra cash back during your first 12 months as a cardholder as well. After the intro period, the APR rate increases to 15.49%-27.49% Variable.

Balance transfer fees: 3% for 120 days, then 5%

Rewards: For starters, new cardholders can earn an introductory cash-back bonus of $150 once spending $500 in the first three months of card membership. And this isn't the only bonus. New cardholders can also enjoy a rewards earning rate of 1.8% cash back for the first 12 months on qualified digital wallet purchases such as those with Google Pay™ or Apple Pay®. Otherwise, the earning rate is 1.5% on all purchases (as well as when the introductory period is over). And finally, when using the card to pay a cellular bill, users can get up to $600 in cell phone protection (subject to a $25 deductible) against covered damage and theft.

Annual fee: $0

Credit needed: Excellent, Good


BEST BALANCE TRANSFER CARDS WITH A LONG INTRO PERIOD

Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever

Zero-interest details: Spend 21 months – from date of first transfer – paying off your balance transfers interest-free. All transfers must be completed in the first four months. (After the intro period, 16.24% - 26.24% (variable), based on creditworthiness). That's close to two years to pay down a balance and do it without paying a dime in interest. This card also offers a 12 month 0% intro APR on new purchases from the date of account opening, (after the intro period, 16.24% - 26.24% (variable), based on creditworthiness). If you transfer a balance with this offer after your 0% intro purchase APR expires, both new purchases and unpaid purchase balances will automatically accrue interest until all balances, including your transferred balance, are paid in full.

Curious how much money you could save? Check out our "How much can I save?" calculator to find out. Read our full review of the Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever.

Balance transfer fees: 5% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.

Rewards: None

Annual fee: $0

Credit needed: Excellent, Good

BankAmericard® credit card

Zero-interest details: Enjoy 0% Introductory APR on purchases for your first 18 billing cycles and for any balance transfers made within the first 60 days of opening an account. After that, 14.74% - 24.74% Variable APR on purchases

Balance transfer fees: Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.

Rewards: No penalty APR. Paying late won't automatically raise your APR, like with so many other credit cards.

Annual fee: $0

Credit needed: Excellent/Good


BALANCE TRANSFER CARDS WITH THE BEST ONGOING RATES

Simmons Visa®

Low interest details: This card doesn't offer a 0% period for balance transfers, but it does offer a consistently low ongoing APR of 9.75% variable. With an APR like that, you would likely still be saving yourself a significant amount of money if you transferred a balance to this card. Plus, there are never balance transfer fees to worry about.

Balance transfer fees: None. Read our full Simmons Visa® review.

Rewards: None

Annual fee: None

Credit needed: Excellent

PenFed Promise Visa® Card

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)

Low interest details: This card doesn't offer a 0% balance transfer period, but you can take advantage of a 4.99% rate for 12 months with no balance transfer fee now through March 31, 2020 on balance transfers. After that, 11.74% to 17.99% Variable. That means, depending on your credit score and history, your APR may still settle in at an ongoing rate well below the average. You can also earn a $100 bonus after you spend $1,500 in the first 90 days of account opening. If you take advantage of this balance transfer, you will immediately be charged interest on all purchases made with your credit card unless you pay the entire account balance, including balance transfers, in full each month by the payment due date. Read our full PenFed Promise Visa® Card review.

Balance transfer fees: No balance transfer fee

Rewards: None

Annual fee: $0

Credit needed: Excellent


BEST BALANCE TRANSFER CARDS WITH NO FOREIGN TRANSACTION FEES

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Zero-interest details: This card offers 15 long months of 0% APR on purchases as well as balance transfers thanks to its introductory offer, then 15.74% - 25.74% (Variable). New cardholders can also earn a $150 bonus after spending $500 within the first three months of opening an account, and there's no extra cost to use this card outside of the U.S. thanks to no fees on foreign transactions.

Balance transfer fees: 3%

Rewards: Earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases made, with no spending caps or categories to worry about.

Annual fee: $0

Credit needed: Excellent, Good

Discover it® Balance Transfer

Zero-interest details: Not only is this a no annual/no foreign transaction fee card, but the length of the introductory 0% APR period is impressive, at 18 months, and there's an intro period of six months of 0% APR on purchases as well. After the introductory periods expire, a regular APR of 13.49% - 24.49% Variable will apply.

What's more, not only can you earn 5% cash back in rotating quarterly categories (up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate), but you can also earn a match on all of of the cash you earn your first year as a cardholder.

Balance transfer fees: 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*

The bonus: At the end of your first year as a new cardholder, Discover will match any rewards dollars you earned during that year. For example, earn $300 and you'll actually walk away with $600.

The annual fee: $0

Rewards: Earn 5% cash back at different locations each quarter such as at gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, and Amazon.com, up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Plus earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases, and for every dollar spent over the quarterly maximum for bonus categories.

Credit needed: Excellent, Good


BEST BALANCE TRANSFER CREDIT CARD FOR FAIR CREDIT

You've probably noticed that most of the best balance transfer offers are available to people with good or excellent credit. Before you get too discouraged, know that there are options out there for people with less than perfect credit. You may just need to look a bit harder or check with your local bank or credit union for some options. To get you started, take a look at our pick:

ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard® Credit Card

Zero interest details: Take advantage of an introductory 12 months 0% APR on balance transfers and on purchases (then, 14.65% - 24.65% Variable).

Balance transfer fees: 3% of each balance transfer (minimum $5)

Rewards: Earn five points per $1 spent on up to $1,500 spent in categories that rotate quarterly. Categories include everything from home improvement purchases to dining to travel and more. Earn one point per $1 spent on your other purchases and in the bonus categories after reaching the spending cap.

Annual fee: $0

Credit needed: Excellent, Good, Average/Fair


WHAT IS A BALANCE TRANSFER?

So, exactly what does balance transfer mean for credit cards?

In short, a balance transfer is when you transfer your debt (or balance) from one credit card to another.

Usually, people transfer balances from a credit card with a higher APR to one with a lower APR and/or to a card with a 0% introductory APR offer. By making a balance transfer, you’re giving yourself more time to pay off the debt interest-free (if there’s an introductory 0% APR offer), or at a lower interest rate.


WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU TRANSFER A BALANCE ON CREDIT CARDS?

Balance transfer credit cards can be a great tool for someone who is burdened by high-interest credit card debt and is having difficulty getting ahead on payments so that the balance is paid off.

While it may be difficult to qualify for a balance transfer credit card that features a $0 transfer fee, depending on how high your current balance is, it might be worth paying a transfer fee to get a zero or low introductory APR for a long period of time.

For example, if your current APR is 17%, you pay more than $1,800 in interest on a $10,000 balance over the course of one year. It may be worth paying between $100 and $300 as a balance transfer fee if you can be disciplined and apply as much as possible to reducing your $10,000 balance during a 15-month or longer zero-interest period.

Before you make any of those decisions though, you need to be sure you understand the ins and outs of balance transfer credit cards and the deals they offer. For a full description (which we recommend you peruse before applying), check out our Balance Transfer Credit Cards 101 page. If you want just the basics, read below.


HOW DO BALANCE TRANSFERS WORK?

When you successfully obtain a balance transfer credit card, you are approved to pay off existing credit card debt using your new card, up to an approved limit.

There may or may not be a balance transfer fee (commonly between 3-5% of the balance transferred), and there is often an introductory period where low- or 0% interest is charged on the balance you have transferred.

After the introductory period expires, a higher interest rate applies to your balance. Using a balance transfer credit card successfully requires paying off as much debt as possible during the low introductory APR period.

WHAT IS A BALANCE TRANSFER FEE?

In addition to interest, balance transfer credit cards often include balance transfer fees. These fees are generally a percentage of the balance being transferred and commonly range from 3-5% of the amount transferred, although there are some zero-fee balance transfer cards available for people with excellent credit.

Review each balance transfer credit card offer carefully to determine what, if any, balance transfer fee applies and whether paying that fee will save you money in the long run.

CardRatings.com has developed several calculators so you can see what your monthly payment would be if you want to pay off your existing credit card debt within a specified time frame or how much you could save in interest by taking advantage of a balance transfer credit card offer.

Enter your existing credit card balance (the amount you want to pay off in full), you current interest rate, the interest rate on the card to which you want to transfer the balance and then take a look at how much you could save. There are a number of variables you can play with available within the calculators, so take some time to crunch the numbers and determine the best debt-payoff option for you.


HOW TO COMPLETE A BALANCE TRANSFER ONLINE

Card issuers provide options for completing balance transfers. In some cases, you may be able to complete a transfer over the phone or online, following your bank’s instructions. In many cases you can start the process of a balance transfer as soon as you are approved for the card online and before you even receive your physical card in the mail. Alternatively, your balance transfer credit card may also come with "checks" that you can use to pay off your existing credit card debt.

It is crucial to continue making the minimum payments on your original credit card(s) until your bank(s) report that your account(s) are paid off.


TIPS FOR CHOOSING THE BEST BALANCE TRANSFER CREDIT CARD

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

- Low introductory rates. Many cards offer a 0% intro APR on balance transfers, sometimes for a year or more, enabling the cardholder to make a serious dent in his/her 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 3-5%, 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.


MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR BALANCE TRANSFER CREDIT CARD

When credit card debt has built up, it can be difficult to dig out from under it, but it is definitely possible. In this section, we have prepared advice on how to successfully manage paying down debt by taking advantage of a balance transfer credit card.

Depending upon your credit score and the balance you are currently carrying, eliminating your existing credit card debt may vary in difficulty from "That barely stung!" to "That really hurt!" No matter where you begin, you should be able to achieve your objective with hard work and perseverance.

Research balance transfer credit card offers and locate one that appears to best fit your needs. We've summarized some of the best cards by category, but if you don't see what you're looking for, keep looking.

Set a time frame for eliminating your balance, determine the monthly payment required to achieve your goal and get started.

BALANCE TRANSFER PITFALLS TO AVOID

When you are working to pay off existing credit card debt, be careful to avoid making the following three mistakes:

- Taking on more credit card debt. Except for dire emergencies, try not to make any new charges to your credit card.
- Letting the low introductory APR period slide. During the low or zero-introductory APR period, pay down as much debt as you possibly can so your balance is as low as possible when the higher interest rate period begins.
- Missing a payment. Do not add to your credit difficulties by missing a payment, as you may become ineligible to continue your low introductory APR and your credit rating may suffer, making it increasingly difficult to obtain reasonable credit terms.


BALANCE TRANSFER VS. PERSONAL LOAN

When people are serious about eliminating debt, they may consider a balance transfer credit card or may apply for a personal loan. Which is better?

As with all other personal finance questions, it depends upon individual circumstances. Talk with a trusted financial adviser if you have questions about which option is better for you.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is believed to be accurate as of the date it was written. Please keep in mind that credit card offers change frequently. Therefore, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information in this article. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. See the online credit card application for full terms and conditions on offers and rewards. Please verify all terms and conditions of any credit card prior to applying.

This content is not provided by any company mentioned in this article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed here are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any such company. CardRatings.com does not review every company or every offer available on the market.

Comments
7 Comments

  1. John
    August 23, 2019 - 2:04 pm
    What is the best balance transfer method of all?
      Reply »  
    1. Brooklyn Lowery
      August 26, 2019 - 6:55 pm
      Thanks for your question! The bottom line with any balance transfer card is to find the one that offers you a 0% period for as long as or longer than you need to pay your balance off in full.The best method is to research and find a card that aligns with your credit score, then transfer your balance as soon as possible upon applying or being approved (some cards require the transfer be made within a certain number of days from account opening in order to take advantage of the 0% intro period).Determine a payment schedule -- I usually recommend that you just set up automatic payments so you never miss a payment and aren't tempted to pay less in a given month. Your schedule should be strict and you should ensure you pay at least enough each month to pay off the balance in full before the intro period ends.Lastly, avoid putting new debt on the card while paying off the debt. Focus on getting the debt paid off, then put the card to use earning rewards, etc. You goal has to be the debt first and foremost.
        Reply »  
  2. Dave
    June 10, 2019 - 5:22 pm
    After the low interest introductory period, can you re-transfer the balance?
      Reply »  
    1. Brooklyn Lowery
      June 14, 2019 - 9:02 pm
      Technically, yes, you can, but I strongly recommend against counting on this strategy. Your goal with a 0% balance transfer offer is to pay off your existing balance interest-free and to get it completely taken care of during that intro period. If you transfer the balance again, you will more than likely pay another balance transfer fee (unless you find the rare card that doesn't charge a balance transfer fee), which obviously isn't ideal.Furthermore, keep in mind that you won't be able to transfer a balance to another card with the same issuer, so you'll need to look at another bank.Lastly, transferring a balance multiple times to multiple different cards will eventually impact your credit score -- if for no other reason than you've had to open multiple credit cards.
        Reply »  
  3. Tim Dinsmore
    November 30, 2015 - 6:47 am
    Paying off each credit card totally each month. Use them ONLY for record keeping purposes. NEVER put anything on a credit card you are not positive you will be able to pay off when the bill comes. Setting up automatic credit card payments the day they are due to be sure I never have a missed, or late payment. Resisting "instant gradification" and SAVING AND WAITING until I can afford something, rather than buying what I cannot pay for. Started saving 10% of gross take home pay when I was 16. NEVER missed paying myself and my 10% to the Lord FIRST. Learn to live on 60% of your take home pay, and you will always have plenty for yourself and helping others. Spend all your take home pay and you will never have anything! Anyone with a credit score of less than 800 needs to change their spending habits.
      Reply »  
  4. Patsy
    November 06, 2015 - 6:40 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 »  
    1. Amber Stubbs
      December 07, 2015 - 7:26 pm
      Have you tried peer to peer lending?
        Reply »