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Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards with 0% APR of 2024

  • Our picks for the best balance transfer credit card of 2024 are the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express and the Wells Fargo Reflect Card.
  • You may want a balance transfer card if you have a large credit card debt and are paying high interest rates on it.
  • Transferring your existing debt to a balance transfer card allows you to pay off your debt at a reduced interest rate by taking advantage of the 0% introductory APR on the new credit card.
  • Before you sign up for a balance transfer credit card, consider making habits to avoid getting into further debt, calculate how long it will take you to pay off the debt with the new card, and compare the annual APR rate to the one on your existing credit card to ensure it’s a good long-term offer.

Our picks for the best balance transfer credit cards

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Best for Cash Back with No Annual Fee

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

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Up to 3% Reward Rate

Earn 3% cash back on up to $6,000/year spent at U.S. supermarkets (then 1%), 3% back on up to $6,000/year at U.S. gas stations (then 1%), 3% back on up to $6,000/year on online retail purchases (then 1%), and 1% back on all other eligible purchases.

Annual Fee
$0
Welcome Offer
$200
Regular APR
19.24% to 29.99% variable
Recommended Credit
Good/Excellent (670 - 850)
Why we like it
The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express has an introductory rate of 0% APR for 15 months making this a great balance transfer card option. Even after you’ve finished paying off your balance, it doesn’t hurt to keep this card in your wallet since it’s got a nice reward rate and no annual fee.
Card Details

Balance Transfer Info & More

  • INTRO APR OFFER: 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months after account opening, then 19.24% to 29.99% variable APR.
  • Balance transfer fee: 3% or $5, whichever is greater
  • Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit or at Amazon.com checkout.
  • Thinking about getting the Disney Bundle which can include Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+? Your decision made easy with $7/month back in the form of a statement credit after you spend $9.99 or more each month on an eligible subscription (subject to auto renewal) with your Blue Cash Everyday® Card. Enrollment required.
  • Enjoy up to $15 back per month when you purchase a Home Chef meal kit subscription (subject to auto renewal) with your enrolled Blue Cash Everyday® Card.
  • Terms Apply.
Pros
  • No annual fee
  • Welcome offer
  • Respectable 3% cash back at supermarkets, gas stations, and online retail purchases
Cons
  • Rewards cap on spending at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations, and online retail purchases
  • 2.7% foreign transaction fee
  • Low rewards rate outside of bonus categories
Bottom Line

For a no-annual-fee option, the reward rate on this card is pretty solid, but for heavy spenders, other cards may offer more value.

Best for Grocery & Gas Rewards

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

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Up to 6% Reward Rate

Earn 6% back on up to $6,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets each year (then 1% back), 6% back on select U.S. streaming services, 3% back at U.S. gas stations and on transit, and 1% back on other purchases.

Annual Fee
$0 the first year, then $95
Welcome Offer
$250
Regular APR
19.24% to 29.99% variable
Recommended Credit
Good/Excellent (670 - 850)
Why we like it
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is an excellent card for grocery spending considering you earn 6% in dollar-for-dollar rewards on up to $6,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets each year (then 1% back). It also offers excellent rewards on select streaming services, purchases at U.S. gas stations, and transit spending.
Card Details

Balance Transfer Info & More

  • INTRO APR OFFER: 0% APR for purchases and balance transfers during the first 12 months (then 19.24% to 29.99% variable)
  • Balance transfer fee: 3% or $5, whichever is greater
  • Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit or at Amazon.com checkout.
  • Get up to $120 in statement credits annually when you pay for an auto-renewing subscription to Equinox+ at equinoxplus.com with your Blue Cash Preferred® Card. That’s $10 in statement credits each month. Enrollment required.
  • Thinking about getting the Disney Bundle which can include Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+? Your decision made easy with $7/month back in the form of a statement credit after you spend $9.99 or more each month on an eligible subscription (subject to auto renewal) with your Blue Cash Preferred® Card. Enrollment required.
  • Terms Apply.
Pros
  • Excellent rewards on spending at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations, transit and more
  • 0% APR on purchases for a limited time
  • Don’t need to activate categories
Cons
  • Rewards can only be redeemed for a statement credit or at Amazon.com
  • Charges foreign transaction fees
  • Has an annual fee
Bottom Line

Although this card has an annual fee, most families will be able to easily get enough value out of the everyday categories to make it worth it.

Best for a Long Intro APR Offer

Wells Fargo Reflect Card

Wells Fargo Reflect Card
No Rewards

This card doesn’t earn any rewards.

Annual Fee
$0
Welcome Offer
N/A
Regular APR
18.24%, 24.74%, or 29.99% variable
Recommended Credit
Good/Excellent (670 - 850)
Why we like it
The Wells Fargo Reflect® Card has one of the longest 0% intro APR periods we’ve ever seen. With 0% APR for 21 months on purchases and qualifying balance transfers, it gives you almost 2 years to pay off your large purchase or balance transfer.
Card Details

Balance Transfer Info & More

  • INTRO APR OFFER: 0% intro APR for 21 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers, then a variable APR of 18.24%, 24.74%, or 29.99%.
  • Balance transfer fee: 3% for balance transfers made within 120 days, then 5% or $5, whichever is greater
  • Up to $600 of cell phone protection against damage or theft. Subject to a $25 deductible.
  • 24/7 on-demand referral dispatch network that provides emergency roadside assistance, towing, or locksmith service when you need them.
  • Through My Wells Fargo Deals, you can get access to personalized deals from a variety of merchants. It’s an easy way to earn cash back as an account credit when you shop, dine, or enjoy an experience simply by using an eligible Wells Fargo credit card.
Pros
  • Lengthy 0% APR offer
  • No annual fee
  • Cell phone protection
Cons
  • Doesn’t earn rewards
  • No welcome offer
  • Requires good to excellent credit
Bottom Line

This card’s main appeal is its long 0% APR offer, but it doesn’t give much past that point.

Best for Dining and Entertainment

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

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Up to 3% Reward Rate

Earn 3% cash back on dining purchases, entertainment, and popular streaming services. Earn 3% cash back at grocery stores, and earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Annual Fee
$0
Welcome Offer
$200
Regular APR
19.99% to 29.99% variable
Recommended Credit
Good/Excellent (670 - 850)
Why we like it
For the avid foodie or entertainment connoisseur, we love the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card. This card offers up to 8% cash back on eligible purchases, a nice welcome bonus, and 15 months of 0% interest (then 19.99% - 29.99% variable APR), all for no annual fee, which is quite honestly a spectacular set of benefits, in our opinion.
Card Details

Balance Transfer Info & More

  • INTRO APR OFFER: 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (then 19.99% - 29.99% variable APR).
  • Balance transfer fee: 3% for the first 15 months; 4% at a promotional APR that Capital One may offer you at any other time
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back won’t expire for the life of the account and there’s no limit to how much you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
Pros
  • No rotating categories that you need to sign up for
  • No spending cap
  • No annual fee
Cons
  • High APR
  • Good or excellent credit recommended
  • Rewards are sub-par outside of eligible categories
Bottom Line

The cash-back categories and welcome bonus are pretty solid, especially for a card without an annual fee.

Best for Flat-Rate Cash Back (2%)

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card
2% Reward Rate

Earn unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases

Annual Fee
$0
Welcome Offer
$200
Regular APR
20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% variable
Recommended Credit
Good/Excellent (670 - 850)
Why we like it
For a balance transfer card, The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card shines on multiple fronts. It has a 15-month 0% intro APR offer, and offers unlimited, flat-rate cash-back rewards on all purchases, meaning there are no confusing categories to keep track of.
Card Details

Balance Transfer Info & More

  • INTRO APR OFFER: 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months from account opening, then a variable APR of 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99%.
  • Balance transfer fee: 3% for balance transfers made within 120 days, then 5% or $5, whichever is greater
  • No categories to track, activate, or remember
  • Cash rewards don’t expire as long as your account remains open
  • Find tickets to top sports and entertainment events, book travel, make dinner reservations and more with your complimentary 24/7 Visa Signature® Concierge.
  • Up to $600 of cell phone protection against damage or theft. Subject to a $25 deductible.
Pros
  • Unlimited 2% back on all purchases
  • Intro APR offer
  • No annual fee
Cons
  • No bonus categories
  • Smaller welcome offer than some cards
  • Charges 3% in foreign transaction fees
Bottom Line

The lack of an annual fee coupled with high flat-rate rewards makes this card a valuable asset to any wallet.

Best for Flat-Rate Cash Back (1.5%)

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

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Up to 5% Reward Rate

Earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases and 5% back on travel booked through the Capital One Travel platform.

Annual Fee
$0
Welcome Offer
$200
Regular APR
19.99% to 29.99% variable
Recommended Credit
Good/Excellent (670 - 850)
Why we like it
Sometimes the reward structure on credit cards can get confusing, but not with the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card. This card’s uncomplicated (and unlimited) 1.5% cash back on all purchases, its upgraded rewards rate on eligible Capital One Travel purchases, and its 15-month 0% APR offer make it one of our top picks.If you’re looking for simplicity, your search ends here.
Card Details

Balance Transfer Info & More

  • INTRO APR OFFER: 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then 19.99%-29.99% variable APR
  • Balance transfer fee: 3% for the first 15 months; 4% at a promotional APR that Capital One may offer you at any other time
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back won’t expire for the life of the account and there’s no limit to how much you can earn
  • Enjoy up to 6 months of complimentary Uber One membership statement credits through 11/14/2024
  • No foreign transaction fees
Pros
  • No annual fee
  • No cap on cash back
  • Intro APR offer
Cons
  • Lower welcome bonus than some cards
  • Lower rewards rate than some cards with specific categories
  • Requires good or excellent credit
Bottom Line

This is a solid, straightforward cash-back card for people who don’t want to pay an annual fee or activate categories, but other cards may earn more.

Best for Travel Rewards

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

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Up to 5X Reward Rate

Earn unlimited 1.25X miles on all purchases and 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.

Annual Fee
$0
Welcome Offer
20,000 miles
Regular APR
19.99% to 29.99% variable
Recommended Credit
Good/Excellent (670 - 850)
Why we like it
Rarely do we see a travel rewards credit card with a 0% APR offer and no annual fee, but the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card delivers on all of these. It boasts a 15-month 0% APR offer (then 19.99%-29.99% variable APR), unlimited 1.25X miles on all purchases, upgraded rewards earning on eligible travel, and a generous welcome bonus, making it a spectacular option all around.
Card Details

Balance Transfer Info & More

  • INTRO APR OFFER: 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, then 19.99% - 29.99% variable APR.
  • Balance transfer fee: 3% for the first 15 months; 4% at a promotional APR that Capital One may offer you at any other time
  • Miles won’t expire for the life of the account and there’s no limit to how many you can earn
  • Use your miles to get reimbursed for any travel purchase—or redeem by booking a trip through Capital One Travel
  • Transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
Pros
  • No annual fee
  • Intro APR offer
  • Low spending requirement for welcome offer
Cons
  • High APR
  • Good or excellent credit recommended
  • Few travel perks
Bottom Line

If you don’t travel a lot, this may be a good option, but unless you’re 100% set on getting a travel card without an annual fee, you’ll likely find more value elsewhere.

Best for a Long Intro APR Offer, Runner Up

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card
No Rewards

This card doesn’t earn any rewards.

Annual Fee
$0
Welcome Offer
N/A
Regular APR
18.74%-29.74% variable
Recommended Credit
Good/Excellent (670 - 850)
Why we like it
The U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card is a relatively basic card, with no annual fee, an 18-month 0% APR offer (then 18.74%-29.74% variable), and a low balance transfer fee.
Card Details

Balance Transfer Info & More

  • INTRO APR OFFER: 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 21 months, then 18.74%-29.74% variable
  • Balance transfer fee: 3% fee, minimum $5
  • Get up to $600 reimbursement if your cell phone is stolen or damaged when you pay your monthly cell phone with your card.
    • Autopay: Pay on time and avoid late fees by selecting an automatic payment option that best suits your budget.
  • ID Navigator Powered by NortonLifeLock™: Get tools that help keep you informed of threats that may affect your identity
  • Choose your payment due date; Everyone’s schedule is different. So it’s handy to be able to pick when your payment is due.
Pros
  • Lengthy 0% APR offer
  • Competitive balance transfer fee
  • No annual fee
Cons
  • High regular APR after intro period ends
  • Doesn’t have a rewards program
  • Charges 3% in foreign transaction fees
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Best balance transfer credit cards of 2024: Editorial reviews

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

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Best for Cash Back with No Annual Fee
The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, although not specifically designed for balance transfers, has a solid intro APR offer. With this card, you can enjoy 0% intro APR on balance transfers for the first 15 months after account opening (then 19.24% to 29.99% variable APR). It also has no annual fee and earns cash back on purchases so it holds good long-term value, even post-intro-offer.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

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Best for Grocery & Gas Rewards
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is great all around, with the added benefit of a 12-month 0% intro APR offer (then a variable APR of 19.24% to 29.99%), something most rewards credit cards can’t claim. The long-term value of this card is superb, with generous rewards on spending in everyday categories, and its $95 annual fee ($0 the first year) won’t break the bank.

Wells Fargo Reflect Card

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Best for a Long Intro APR Offer
If you need a balance transfer card with a really long intro APR offer, the Wells Fargo Reflect Card can deliver. It has 0% APR on balance transfers for 21 months, has a low balance transfer fee for the first 4 months, and doesn’t charge an annual fee. You won’t earn any rewards on this card but it does come with cellphone protection, roadside dispatch, and zero liability protection, so that’s pretty nice.

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

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Best for Dining and Entertainment
The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card is hard to beat if you spend a lot of money on dining, entertainment, streaming services, and even grocery stores, with a higher-than-average rewards earning rate in those categories. It also has no annual fee so it doesn’t hurt to keep it even after the 15-month 0% intro APR period on purchases and balance transfers is over (a balance transfer fee of 3% for the first 15 months applies; then 4% at a promotional APR that Capital One may offer you at any other time).

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

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Best for Flat-Rate Cash Back (2%)
As the sibling of the WF Reflect Card, the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card also provides a nice intro APR on balance transfers, with 0% APR for 15 months. This card, however, has the added benefit of earning unlimited 2% cash back on purchases and it has no annual fee, so it’s a nice, simple, no-frills cash-back card to keep in your pocket even after the intro APR offer is over.

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

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Best for Flat-Rate Cash Back (1.5%)
The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card is one of those cards that are perfect for the spender who doesn’t want to keep track of categories. It’s simple, with 1.5% cash back on everything, an intro APR period, and no annual fee. It also has a longer promotional balance transfer fee than most cards in this list, with 3% for the first 15 months; then 4% at a promotional APR that Capital One may offer you at any other time.

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

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Best for Travel Rewards
Rarely are you going to find a travel rewards card with an intro APR offer, but the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card does just that. With unlimited 1.25X miles per dollar, no annual fee, and a 15-month 0% APR period on purchases and balance transfers, this card stands strong in a league of its own. It also has a lower balance transfer fee than some, with 3% for the first 15 months; then 4% at a promotional APR that Capital One may offer you at any other time.

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

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Best for a Long Intro APR Offer, Runner Up
This U.S. Bank credit card offers a nice, long intro APR offer and a comparatively low balance transfer fee, but not much else. It doesn’t earn rewards and charges foreign transaction fees so once you’re done paying off your balance, its value is pretty low. It doesn’t have an annual fee, though, and offers cell phone coverage, so it’s not necessarily a bad card to keep around.

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What is a balance transfer?

Simply put, a balance transfer is where you move the balance remaining on one credit card to another. People often do this when their current credit card’s interest rate is hindering their ability to pay off their debt, so they transfer their balance to a card with a 0% balance transfer offer. Doing so gives them more time to pay off their debt before the new card’s interest sets in.

How much can you save with a 0% balance transfer card?

Consider this example:

John has a balance of $4,000 on a credit card with a 19% APR and wants to pay it off in 18 months. 

Cost estimate without a balance transfer

If he keeps his debt on the 19% interest card, he’ll have to pay roughly $258 per month and will accrue an additional $628 in interest, for a total of $4,628 paid ($4,000 + $628 = $4,628).

Cost estimate with a balance transfer card

If John transferred the balance to a balance transfer card with 0% interest for 18 months and a 5% balance transfer fee, he’ll pay $200 upfront for making the transfer (5% of $4,000 = $200), making his new debt $4,200 ($4,000 + $200 = $4,200). John won’t need to pay any interest so all of his payments will go toward that $4,200 debt.

If he pays the same $258 per month he was paying before, he’ll finish paying off his debt in 17 months with no interest charges, saving $428 overall ($4,200 vs. $4,628).

Compare balance transfer cards

Balance transfer fees

Most balance transfer credit cards, although they have a long 0% APR period, also charge upfront balance transfer fees, usually between 3% and 5% of the balance transferred. 

Although the example above shows the potential savings with a balance transfer card, it’s not always the right solution for paying off debt. If you plan on paying off your debt in a short time, a balance transfer fee could end up costing you more than your initial interest rate would have. 

For example, in the scenario above, if John was planning on paying off his $4,000 debt in 5 months on a card with 19% APR, he’d pay roughly $850 per month and would accrue $190 in interest, for $4,190 paid overall.

Transferring the balance to a balance transfer card with a 5% fee would still charge him $200 upfront, for $4,200 paid overall, costing him an additional $10 over what he would have paid on his initial card.

How to do a balance transfer: Step-by-step

As we have now established, if you have debt on a credit card with a high interest rate, it may make sense to move that balance to a credit card with a low balance transfer interest rate.

Here are the steps to follow to do a balance transfer:

1

Check your current credit card for the balance, interest rate, and fees

Before deciding to transfer your credit card balance to another card, find out what your current interest rate is and calculate what your interest payments will be if you were to keep paying off your balance with your current credit card. This will help you to decide if a balance transfer card is worth it.

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2

Find a new card with a balance transfer offer

Compare credit cards to find a card that offers a balance transfer promotional period, ideally one with 0% APR on balance transfers for several months. Check the terms and conditions to see if there are minimum requirements or hidden fees associated. Some cards require you to make the balance transfer within the first few weeks of having the card. Some cards also prohibit balance transfers between two of their cards, so it’s often best to find a card from a different issuer.

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3

Ask your new card company to complete the balance transfer

Once you have been approved for the balance transfer credit card, you can request the balance transfer. You’ll be asked to give the account number and the balance amount on the card that you want to transfer the debt from. Sometimes this can be initiated from your account online or through the mobile app, but you may need to call the issuer’s customer service number.

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4

Keep paying the debt on your old card until the transfer is complete

Balance transfers can take several weeks or even a month to be fully transferred. Therefore, it’s important to keep making payments to your old card until the transfer is complete. This way you can avoid any late fees or a negative impact on your credit score while you wait.

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5

Finish paying off your balance on your new credit card

Now that the balance transfer is complete, calculate how much you need to pay each month to be able to pay off your balance before the end of your promotional APR period. Make sure to keep up with payments. If you make a late payment, this can be grounds for the card issuer to end your promotional APR early.

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6

Don’t close your old card

If your old card doesn’t charge an annual fee, it’s usually best to keep the account open. Closing a credit card account could damage your credit score. Read more about why closing a credit card may hurt your credit.

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Pros and cons of balance transfer cards

There are many reasons to consider a balance transfer card, but there are also some drawbacks. Be sure to carefully consider both sides before selecting a balance transfer card.

Pros:
  • Save money on interest with 0% APR card for a limited time
  • Most balance transfer cards come with no annual fee
  • Some balance transfer cards let you earn rewards
  • Qualify for perks like extended warranties, purchase protection, and cell phone insurance
  • Consolidating your debts makes it easier to keep track of your payments.
Cons
  • Balance transfer offers only last for 12 to 21 months
  • Balance transfer fees (usually 3% to 5%) are required
  • Using a balance transfer card for spending can trap you in a cycle of debt
  • Balance transfer cards are only available to consumers with good or excellent FICO scores
  • Possible limits on how much you can transfer.

Reasons to get a balance transfer card

There are many reasons to pick up a balance transfer credit card, and these factors can vary from person to person. Consider the following reasons you may want to pick a card with an intro APR for balance transfers over other options.

You have significant credit card debt

If you have thousands of dollars in credit card debt that you can’t seem to pay off, a balance transfer card can help by consolidating the balance of all your debts on one new credit card and allowing you to save money on interest.

You’re currently paying high interest rates

The average credit card interest rate is currently over 21%, but many of the best credit cards charge significantly higher rates than that. If you’re carrying a balance on a card with a high APR, qualifying for a 0% APR offer will inevitably save you money.

You want to simplify your financial life

Not only do balance transfer credit cards help you save money on interest, but they let you go from multiple payments down to one each month. After you consolidate the balance of your debts, keeping track of your progress becomes much easier.

You hope to pay off credit card debt faster

Balance transfer credit cards can help you pay down debt faster because 0% APR offers let you pay more toward the principal of your balance each month. No interest is being charged for a limited time, so every cent you pay goes toward your debt.

How to choose a balance transfer card

There are many factors to think about when deciding on a balance transfer credit card. Consider the following elements when making your choice:

1

Find out your credit score

Depending on your credit score, you may or may not qualify for some of the best balance transfer credit cards. earn how to check your credit score if you don’t already know it offhand.

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2

Think about your goals

How much time do you need, realistically, to pay off your debt? Does a balance transfer card make sense to meet your goals?

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3

Look at rates and fees

Look at the intro APR offer, minimum and maximum transfer limits, balance transfer fees, regular APR, annual fees, and other costs you may potentially incur.

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4

Decide on an issuer

Most of the time, you cannot transfer a balance from one card to another from the same issuing bank, so it’s usually best to get one from a different issuer. Applying for credit cards can temporarily ding your credit score, so avoid applying for more than you need.

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5

Consider long-term value

Sometimes, the only real value a balance transfer credit card can offer is a long intro APR period, especially on cards designed specifically for balance transfers, such as the Wells Fargo Reflect. Other times, cards like the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express offer value past when the introductory period ends. Although the latter has a shorter 0% APR period, it also holds greater long-term value, with generous rewards on everyday purchases. Consider whether you want a card with long-term value or if you’re only looking for one to pay off your debt.

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6

Be smart about it

Although a card with a 0% APR on balance transfers that also offers rewards may seem like a no-brainer, it’s not the best idea for everyone. Rewards credit cards also tend to have valuable sign-up bonuses that require you to spend a certain amount in a set time to earn a reward. Even though that sounds like a great thing, it can easily lead you further and further into debt, especially if you’re already having a hard time paying off your existing balance. In this case, it may be smarter to either get a card without an alluring sign-up offer or to pass on earning the bonus if the card you choose has one.

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Alternatives to balance transfer credit cards

Pay more than the minimum

Paying the minimum monthly payment due may keep you from incurring a penalty on your account, but it can also make it nearly impossible to pay off your debt promptly. You’ll keep accruing interest until you’ve finished paying off your balance, so it’s always better to pay more than the minimum due. This will help eliminate your debt more quickly and will mean paying less in interest overall. 

Utilize a credit card payoff calculator

A credit card payoff calculator can help you make a debt repayment plan by calculating various scenarios and showing you how much money you can save. This can help you feel more in control of your finances as you’re working towards becoming debt-free.

Ask your credit card issuer to lower your interest rate

It’s possible that if your credit score has improved since you first got your credit card, you may be able to get your interest rate lowered.

Raise your credit score

If your credit score is too low for a balance transfer card or your interest rate is too high because of having a low score, credit cards for bad credit can help you rebuild. Additionally, there are a few easy steps you can take to raise your credit score quickly.

Get a personal loan

You may be able to get a personal loan with a lower interest rate than your credit card currently charges. Some personal loans are even designed specifically for debt consolidation. Note, however, that if your credit score or credit history is less than ideal, you may need a co-signer to get approved for a loan.

How we selected our top balance transfer credit cards

To find the best balance transfer cards, we looked at factors such as introductory interest rates, the length of intro APR offers, balance transfer fees, transaction fees, and rewards (cards with gas rewards, grocery rewards, etc.) We also looked at credit limit minimums, creditor rules, fine print, third-party cardholder perks like travel insurance, credit card balance requirements, and other factors.  Ultimately, we chose cards that can offer you the most value.

Compare Balance Transfer Credit Cards Find a card that can help you consolidate your debt and save money. Credit Cards with Mouse Cursor COMPARE CARDS
Credit Cards with Mouse Cursor Consolidate your debt and save on interest with a balance transfer card. COMPARE CARDS

Best balance transfer credit cards FAQ

Which credit card has the longest balance transfer offer?

Currently, the Wells Fargo Reflect card has one of the longest intro APR offers in the industry.

What is a balance transfer?

A balance transfer takes place when you move debt from one creditor to a new balance transfer credit card, usually with the goal of saving money on interest and fees. Make sure to check credit card issuer rules and stipulations on balance transfers before you apply.

Do balance transfers hurt credit score?

No, balance transfers will not affect your credit score. Applying for a new credit card can result in a hard inquiry that temporarily dings your credit score. However, the impact should be negligible over time. Performing a balance transfer with an existing credit card will have no impact.

Further, applying for a new card with a new credit limit can increase your available credit, thus lowering your credit utilization. Separately, this can actually increase your credit score.

Is balance transfer a good idea for credit card?

Balance transfers can be a good idea if you have a goal in mind and you are disciplined enough to focus on becoming debt-free. To get the most out of a balance transfer, you should strive to pay off as much of your credit card balance as you can as quickly as you can. In the meantime, stop using credit cards so you don’t rack up any more credit card debt.

Can you get a balance transfer card with bad credit?

It is possible to get a balance transfer credit card with bad credit, but it isn’t always recommended. Balance transfer cards can help you to save money and stop the cycle of debt with their 0% introductory APR and potentially lower interest rates.

If you have a plan on how to pay off your balance, a balance transfer card may be helpful. However, if you aren’t serious about repayment, you’re simply moving your debt from one place to another.

How long does a balance transfer take?

Typically, balance transfers take about 2 weeks to fully complete. Here’s the average time you can expect to wait, based on the credit card issuer:

  • American Express: 5 to 7 days
  • Capital One: Up to 14 days
  • Chase: Up to 21 days
  • Discover: 7 to 10 days
  • Wells Fargo: Up to 14 days

If you’ve been waiting for longer than a few weeks, your transfer is likely delayed for some reason. In that case, it’s best to contact the credit card company to find out what’s keeping the transfer from going through.

Do you have to transfer your full balance when doing a balance transfer?

No, you can choose how much of your balance you would like to transfer, whether all of it or only part of it.

What does “request held” mean on a balance transfer?

“Request held” means that the issuer will hold your transfer request until they can confirm that you have enough credit available to you on your new card. If you try to transfer more than your credit limit allows, the issuer will deny your request.

How much will it cost in fees to transfer a $1000 balance to a credit card?

Balance transfer fees are typically 3% to 5% of the amount transferred, which works out to between $30 and $50 on a $1,000 balance.

Holly D. Johnson
Holly D. Johnson Finance Expert

Holly D. Johnson is an award-winning personal finance writer who covers topics like insurance, investing, credit and family finance. As a leading voice in the travel and loyalty space, Johnson has traveled with her family to more than 50 countries over the last decade.

The author has also written extensively on the power of household budgeting, and she even co-authored a book on the topic. Zero Down Your Debt: Reclaim Your Income and Build a Life You’ll Love was originally published in 2017, and it teaches families how to use zero-sum budgeting to reach their financial goals. She is also the co-owner and founder of the family finance and travel website, ClubThrifty.com.

Johnson’s 10+ years of writing have focused on helping families make important financial decisions at each stage of their lives. The author also applies the financial principles she teaches to her own life, and she is currently on track to retire in her late 40’s with her partner. She currently lives in Central Indiana with her husband and children, and she is a regular contributor for Bankrate, CNN, Forbes, U.S. News and World Report Travel and many other notable publications.

* Opinions expressed here are those of the LA Times Compare Cards Team and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser or entities included within this content. See our editorial policy for more details.

All products or services are presented in this content without warranty. The information, including card details such as rates and fees, is accurate at the time of publish. Please visit each bank's website directly for the most current information.

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