The Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards with 0% Intro APR

Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards

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No one wants to see interest charges on their credit card bills, but they can add up on balances.

A 0% balance transfer offer from a new credit card could be the perfect solution if you’re carrying a balance on your credit cards, or foresee the need to carry a balance soon.

Promotional balance transfer offers allow you to transfer your high-interest debt to a new credit card with an introductory 0% interest rate for a specific amount of time.

These offers could save you a ton of money by avoiding paying high interest on your current credit cards.

If you’ve been struggling to pay off your credit card balances or need to make a large purchase soon, a 0% balance transfer credit card could be the perfect solution to save you money.

This shares the best overall 0% balance transfer credit card offers with all the information you need to make the best decision on a balance transfer credit card.

The Best 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards

credit cards

We’ve narrowed down the best of the best with our top picks for overall 0% balance transfer credit cards. We’ve also gotten more specific with our best long term, best low fee, and best small business 0% balance transfer credit cards.

Best 0% Balance Transfer Rewards Earning Credit Cards

Both of these rewards-earning credit cards offer incredible flexible travel rewards programs: American Express Membership Rewards® and Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® card offers a 0% introductory APR on balance transfers AND purchases for the first 15 months of account opening. This card also has a $0 annual fee. There is a balance transfer fee of 5% of the amount transferred with a minimum of $5.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® comes with a fantastic rewards program and lots of benefits. It earns an unlimited 1.5% cash-back on all purchases. There is no minimum amount to redeem your cash-back, and your rewards will never expire as long as you have the card.

Chase Freedom Unlimited Cash Back

This rewards program is somewhat unique because you are actually earning Chase Ultimate Rewards® points calculated for earning cash-back. You earn 1.5X points per $1 spent, which equates to 1.5 cents cash-back.

If you have other credit cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards® points and that participate in the travel rewards program, you can take advantage of those exclusive benefits with these points.

You can transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards® points earned from your Chase Freedom Unlimited® to a travel rewards card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® credit card to unlock more rewards.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® offers 25% more value for your points when you use them for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal, and those points can be transferred directly to a number of airline and hotel loyalty programs.

Hot Tip: It’s important to remember that this card and all of Chase’s Ultimate Rewards® credit cards fall under the 5/24 rule

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® regularly comes with a sign-up bonus after meeting an easy minimum spending requirement. This bonus could be used to help offset the balance transfer fee.

The card also comes with excellent purchase protection to cover your new purchases at 0% interest (and even beyond that). It covers up to 120 days against theft and accidental damage of up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account.

It also extends the U.S. manufacturer’s warranty on all purchases by an additional year on eligible warranties of 3 years or less.

These protections do not apply to purchases made on another account involved in the balance transfer offer.

Let’s wrap up the highlights from the Chase Freedom Unlimited®:

  • 0% promotional APR for 15 months on balance transfers AND purchases.
  • No annual fee
  • 5% balance transfer fee ($5 minimum)
  • Unlimited 1.5X cash-back on all purchases
  • Can add additional value by transferring to additional Chase Ultimate Rewards® cards
  • Excellent purchase and extended warranty protection

The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express

The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express offers a 0% introductory APR offer for all balance transfers AND purchases for the first 12 months.

And look at the rewards you’ll earn!

  • Earn a welcome bonus after making minimum spending levels in the first 3 months after card approval.
  • Earn 3x points at U.S. Supermarkets for the first $6,000 per year, then earn 1x points.
  • Earn 2x points at U.S. Gas Stations, and 1x points.
  • If 30 transactions are made on the card within the billing month, you will earn a 50% bonus on your points earned for the month!

 

These points are a part of the flexible and valuable American Express Membership Rewards® program.

Membership Rewards® points can be used for all sorts of travel rewards, including transferring directly to a number of airline and hotel loyalty programs. You can also use points for retail, dining, and entertainment purchases online.

There’s also a bonus for using your card regularly. When you use your card 30 times for purchases in a billing period, you will earn 50% more points which will be credited on a subsequent statement.

If you use your Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card at least 30 times in a billing period, you will earn up to 4.5 X points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6000 in purchases/year), 3 X points at U.S. gas stations and 1.5 X points on all other purchases.

This card comes with a wide variety of additional benefits that add extra protection for your purchases. These include extended warranty protection, additional purchase protection, and car rental insurance.

Hot Tip: Sign up bonuses add tremendous value to a 0% APR card so always check for the best offer and complete minimum spending requirements within the first 3 months after you’re approved for the card to earn your bonus.

Best Long-Term 0% Balance Transfer Credit Card

The Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

This card wins for the longest term 0% balance transfer promotional offer. You get a full 21 months of 0% on all balance transfers, starting from the first transfer.

You must take advantage of this balance transfer offer within the first 4 months of account opening. There is a 5% balance transfer fee ($5 minimum) and no annual fee.

This card also offers a promotional 0% APR on all purchases for the first 12 months of account opening.

The Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card (Learn More) does not have a rewards program but does offer the best long-term 0% balance transfer available.

Best Business 0% Balance Transfer Credit Card

The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express

This card is one of the best small business credit cards offering a 0% balance transfer. You get 15 months of 0% interest with this offer, which includes purchases at that same promotional rate.

Balance transfers should be made within the first 60 days of account opening to take advantage of this offer.

The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express has no annual fee, but there is a fee to transfer a balance. You’ll pay either $5 or 3%, whichever is greater.

One of our favorite perks of this card is travel rewards with Membership Rewards® points. You earn 2X points on all purchases up to $50,000 per year and 1X points on all purchases after that.

Earning 2X points on all purchases up to $50,000 makes it easy for your small business to earn extra points without worrying about special bonus categories like many other cards offer.

The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express is our top pick for the best small business 0% balance transfer credit card offer.

Hot Tip: Not familiar with how to apply for a small business credit card? Check out our guide on how to apply and qualify for a small business credit card.

How Does a Balance Transfer Work?

A balance transfer is a request to transfer a balance of debt from one creditor to another. You will initiate this request with the card where you will transfer your balance to.

It’s a simple process. Most of the time, all you need to provide is the name of the financial institution, account number, and the amount of debt you want to transfer.

If the balance transfer request is approved, the bank will assume the debt (and debit your account for that amount, sometimes immediately) and arrange the payment with the original creditor.

You are still responsible for making any payments on the existing debt during the balance transfer process. Most balance transfers take 7 to 10 days to complete.

Many credit cards offer promotional balance transfer offers when you sign up for a new account, and it’s not uncommon to get these offers on existing credit card accounts.

Banks share these special offers to either attract new customers or try and do more business with existing customers. With that being said, it’s important to note that you cannot transfer a balance from accounts held by the same financial institution.

When Should You Consider a Balance Transfer?

Carrying a balance on a high-interest rate credit card is not a good situation to be in. It can lead to a lot of stress for those who are looking to reduce the burden of debt.

Interest charges can add up quickly. Sometimes, your minimum payment will barely make a dent in your balance.

Consider a balance transfer offer to provide immediate relief from high-interest charges and help you take control of reducing your debt without adding to it.

Bottom Line: Taking advantage of a 0% balance transfer offer is a great solution to help save you lots of money on high-interest charges on your other credit cards.

Another good balance transfer situation: you also may be faced with a large upcoming expense that you know is beyond your immediate budget. You may want to consider a balance transfer offer as a financing option for that purchase.

You will just need to be able to put that purchase on an existing account and could then take advantage of a balance transfer offer to avoid paying any interest charges at all!

Even for new credit card accounts that offer a promotional balance transfer on approval, most balance transfer promotions give you at least 60 days to take advantage of the offer. The transfer does not need to take place immediately.

How Much Can I Save with a 0% Balance Transfer?

You can save significantly with a promotional balance transfer offer since credit cards often charge interest rates from 15 to 25% APR.

Let’s say you have a $5,000 balance on your credit card that you’re currently unable to pay off. You want to set a goal to pay off this debt with regular monthly payments.

The chart below shows how much a 0% balance transfer offer can save you on a $5,000 balance if you plan to pay off the entire balance before the promotional offer expires with fixed payments each month.

12 months15 months18 months21 months
0% APR Payment$416.67$333.33$277.78$238.10
Total Interest Charges$0$0$0$0
15% APR Payment$451.29$367.63$311.92$272.19
Total Interest Charges$415.50$514.48$614.63$715.94
20% APR Payment$463.17$379.49$323.82$284.14
Total Interest Charges$558.07$692.35$828.69$967.07
25 % APR Payment$475.22$391.56$335.96$296.40
Total Interest Charges$702.65$873.36$1047.26$1224.34

Bottom Line: These are significant savings. If you held a $5,000 balance on a 25% APR credit card with the goal of paying off the debt in 18 months, a 0% balance transfer offer will save you over $1,000!

A balance transfer can also help you manage your monthly payments. Using the same example, if the goal is to pay the debt in 18 months with or without the balance transfer, you will save close to $60 a month on your monthly payment.

Therefore, not only does a 0% balance transfer save you on high-interest charges, but it can also save you by reducing your monthly payment if you have a specific timeline to pay off your debt.

You always want to be sure you’re meeting the minimum payment set by your credit card. Making payments below that minimum could trigger late fees and penalties for not making an on-time payment.

What Are Balance Transfer Fees?

When considering balance transfer offers, it’s important to read over all the fine print in the offer’s terms. Most promotional balance transfer offers come with balance transfer fees.

Fees are charged by the bank you will use to transfer the balance. These commonly range from 3 to 5% of the total amount transferred and are a one-time fee.

If you were to transfer a $5,000 balance with a 3% balance transfer fee, you would pay $150.

While $150 sounds like a lot of money to transfer a balance, if you were to keep that balance at a 25% APR, you would be paying more than that in interest within just 2 months!

It’s important to understand all the terms and conditions of any balance transfer offer, especially any upfront costs like balance transfer fees.

Bottom Line: There are some offers for credit cards with no balance transfer fees. While they can be a good choice, there are other things to consider when making the final decision on which 0% balance transfer offer is best for you.

Other Things to Consider When Thinking of a Balance Transfer

When considering any new line of credit, it is always important to fully understand all the terms and conditions of opening up a new account.

Balance transfer offers are enticing promotions, but you want to make sure there aren’t any surprises with additional fees or short-lived promotions.

Let’s highlight some of the other most important things to consider when thinking of a balance transfer.

Annual Fee

The best 0% balance transfer offers will not have an annual fee, but it’s always important to check. The last thing you want to see after striving to reduce the cost of carrying debt is a fee for having an open account.

If you find a balance transfer offer on a new or existing account with an annual fee, it is important to factor that into your cost-savings analysis.

On an account with a balance transfer for 18 months and a $95 annual fee, you will pay at least $190 in annual fees if you keep your account open for the full promotional period.

Length of Promotional Offer

The length of the promotional 0% balance transfer offer could be the most important determining factor when deciding what offer works best for you.

Looking at the savings chart, the length of the balance transfer offer will determine how much your monthly payment will be if your goal is to pay the balance in full under the promotions terms.

The longer the 0% promotional offer lasts, the lower your monthly payments will be. A longer promotional offer might sound like the best deal, but the sooner you get out of debt, the better!

It’s important to make the best decision for your budget and the length of the promotional offer is just one of many things to consider.

Ongoing Interest Rates After the Promotional Offer Expires

We all make plans that we can’t always keep. That’s why it’s important to know what to expect if you have to carry the balance of your debt after the promotional balance transfer offer is over.

If you transfer a balance with a 0% APR offer for 18 months but do not pay off the entire balance during the promotional period, you will start paying interest on any remaining balance on that account.

You should prepare for the ongoing interest rate by referring to the terms of the original credit card offer.

Hot Tip: Didn’t pay off that balance fast enough? Consider looking for another balance transfer offer to continue the savings with a 0% interest rate!

Does the Balance Transfer Offer Extend to Purchases?

It’s not uncommon to see new credit cards that offer great balance transfer offers to also extend promotional rates to purchases.

For example, a 0% promotional APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months means all balance transfers and purchases made on that account get 0% interest during the first 15 months of account opening.

A 0% promotional purchase APR could be a huge incentive for those expecting a large purchase soon and considering a balance transfer offer to help finance that expense.

A promotional purchase rate would eliminate the need for a balance transfer since all purchases also get the same promotional rate, almost like a 0% APR credit card. This could even save you more by avoiding balance transfer fees!

Bottom Line: You should consider any balance transfer fees, annual fee, length and terms of the promotional offer, and what to expect once the offer ends before initiating a balance transfer. 

Do I Earn Rewards or Points on Balance Transfers?

Booking Trips with a Travel Rewards Credit Card

The best 0% balance transfer credit cards are already rewarding by offering an incredible promotional rate. While some of the best balance transfer credit cards offer a rewards program, you normally do not earn any rewards by completing a balance transfer.

For example, if you were considering a rewards credit card that offered 1X points on every $1 spent, you do not earn 1X points for every $1 transferred. In almost all cases, you earn 0 points for balance transfers.

But if there is a promotional 0% interest rate on purchases, you can earn rewards based on those purchases, but not on balance transfers.

Hot Tip: It’s important to consider that using a balance transfer offer on a rewards credit card would take away from your credit line that could be used to gain rewards. That’s why sometimes we recommend finding the best balance transfer card just for that purpose: to transfer a balance and save on interest without making any new charges.

How to Complete a Balance Transfer

Conducting a balance transfer is very simple. When applying for a new account, you’ll be asked you if you want to transfer a balance.

Most of the time, all you need is the name of your credit card company that currently holds your debt, your account number, and the amount you want to transfer.

Sometimes, you will need to provide the address of where you mail your payments, but these days, most of the credit card companies know each other.

Some banks will conduct the balance transfer request electronically; others will process by mail.

How Long Does a Balance Transfer Take?

Balance transfers can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks. It all depends on how each credit card issuer handles the balance transfer request.

It’ is important that you continue to make the minimum payments on the credit card that carries the original debt. Just because you initiate a balance transfer request doesn’t mean your credit card company knows about it instantaneously.

It’s not uncommon for the account you’re transferring the balance to for the 0% promotional rate to instantly add the requested amount on your credit card.

Credit Limits and Balance Transfers

Credit limits can be the most frustrating part of balance transfers. Once you’ve decided to open a new credit card to take advantage of a 0% balance transfer offer, you probably already know exactly how much money you want to transfer.

Unfortunately, when applying for a new credit card, you never know how much of a credit limit you’ll be approved for. This could be an issue if the amount you want to transfer is higher than the credit limit you’re approved for.

It’s also important to mention that American Express limits your credit limit even further for balance transfers. They do not allow transfers that exceed the lesser of $7,500 or 75% of your credit limit.

If you have existing credit card accounts with the same bank you are using for the balance transfer offer, it might be possible to move a portion of your credit limit to increase the one on your 0% offer.

Bottom Line: Although you can’t earn travel rewards for transferring a balance, you will be rewarded by saving money on high-interest charges. The process to complete a balance transfer is pretty simple and normally takes just a few days.

Final Thoughts

Taking advantage of a 0% balance transfer offer by getting a new credit card will save you a ton of money by avoiding high-interest charges on your current credit cards.

As we’ve described, it’s important to consider the length of the offer, any other fees associated with the card and balance transfer, and what the interest charges will be once the promotional rate ends.

It’s a bonus when some of these cards extend the 0% APR rate to purchases for the length of the offer, providing even more opportunities for you to save on interest charges.

It gets even better when some of these 0% balance transfer credit cards also earn travel reward points for purchases (but not balance transfers).

When you hit the triple threat, like The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express with no fees, 0% on balance transfers and purchases for over a year, and a rewards program, it’s hard to choose another offer.

FAQ

What does it mean to transfer your credit card balance?

Transferring your credit card balance will move your debt from one credit card to another. This is commonly done with new accounts, but can also be requested on existing accounts. It’s best to take advantage of a promotional balance transfer offer when transferring a balance.

Is it a good idea to do a balance transfer on a credit card?

It can be. If you’re taking advantage of a promotional balance transfer offer, like 0% APR, then yes, it is. You will want to consider any additional fees that come along with the balance transfer before deciding if it’s a good idea for you.

Do balance transfers affect my credit score?

It depends. There are many factors that affect your credit score. If you’re opening a new credit card account to transfer a balance or maxing out a credit line to transfer a balance, it will affect your score. If you’re transferring a balance between existing accounts and maintaining a similar credit utilization, it may not affect your score.

Can I transfer my balance from one credit card to another?

Transfering your balance from one credit card to another is the most common transfer of debt, and most widely accepted. It is possible to transfer your balance from other debt accounts, but it depends on the financial institution.

How long does a balance transfer usually take?

Balance transfers can take anywhere from a few days to a couple weeks. It all depends on how each credit card issuer handles the balance transfer request. Some banks conduct balance transfers electronically, which increases the speed of the transfer.

Do I need to cancel my old credit card after making a balance transfer from it?

Transferring a balance doesn’t close your old credit card, nor does it require you to. In fact, it might be a good idea to keep your old credit account open to maintain your credit history and increase your average age of accounts, which could have a positive effect on your credit score.

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Chase Freedom Unlimited®

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Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.

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