Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards of April 2020

Elizabeth is a writer specializing in credit cards, debt repayment, and small business. Her work has also appeared on MSN Money, Yahoo! Finance, and Business Insider.

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We've compiled this in-depth guide to help you get rid of debt by highlighting our favorite offers and breaking down some of the most frequently asked questions about balance transfer cards. Transferring high-cost credit card debt to one of our picks for the best balance transfer credit card can help you pay off what you owe at a reduced interest rate.

Ratings Methodology
Wells Fargo Platinum card

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On Well Fargo's Secure Website.

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On Well Fargo's Secure Website.

Rewards

N/A

Annual Fee

$0

Intro APR

Purchases: 0%, 18 months
Balance Transfers: 0%, 18 months on qualifying balance transfers

Ongoing APR

15.49%-24.99% (Variable)

Bonuses & Perks

FICO® score for free, mobile phone protection

Highlights
  • Pay down balances instead of interest with Wells Fargo’s longest intro APR
  • $0 Annual Fee
  • Get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Platinum card
  • Easy access to your FICO® Credit Score with Wells Fargo Online®
  • Zero Liability protection for promptly reported unauthorized transactions
  • Convenient tools to help create a budget and manage your spending with My Money Map
  • Select "Apply Now" to learn more about the product features, terms and conditions
Long 0% APR
Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever

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On Citi's Secure Website.

Apply Now

On Citi's Secure Website.

Rewards

N/A

Annual Fee

$0

Intro APR

Purchases: 0%, 12 months
Balance Transfers: 0%, 21 months

Ongoing APR

14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)

Bonuses & Perks

No penalty APR

Highlights
  • No Late Fees, No Penalty Rate, and No Annual Fee... Ever
  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 21 months from date of first transfer. All transfers must be completed in first 4 months. After that, the variable APR will be 14.74% - 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • 0% Intro APR on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening. After that, the variable APR will be 14.74% - 24.74%, based on your 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 balances, are paid in full
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 14.74% - 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
  • Stay protected with Citi® Quick Lock and $0 liability on unauthorized charges
Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

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On Citi's Secure Website.

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On Citi's Secure Website.

Rewards

2% cash back: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay

Annual Fee

$0

Intro APR

Purchases: N/A
Balance Transfers: 0%, 18 months

Ongoing APR

13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)

Bonuses & Perks

FICO score for free

Highlights
  • Earn cash back twice. Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.
  • Balance Transfer Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.99% – 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back.
  • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 13.99% – 23.99% based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

Apply Now

Apply Now

On Citi's Secure Website.

Apply Now

On Citi's Secure Website.

Rewards

N/A

Annual Fee

$0

Intro APR

Purchases: 0%, 12 months
Balance Transfers: 0%, 21 months

Ongoing APR

13.74% – 23.74% (Variable)

Bonuses & Perks

FICO score for free

Highlights
  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 21 months from date of first transfer. After that, the variable APR will be 13.74% – 23.74%, based on your creditworthiness. All transfers must be completed in first 4 months.
  • 0% Intro APR on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening. After that, the variable APR will be 13.74% – 23.74%, based on your 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.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • Get free access to your FICO® score online.
  • With Citi EntertainmentSM, get special access to purchase tickets to thousands of events, including concerts, sporting events, dining experiences and more.
  • Shop with confidence knowing that you have dependable protection benefits, including $0 Liability on Unauthorized Purchases and Citi® Identity Theft Solutions.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 13.74% – 23.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.

Great for: $0 intro balance transfer fee The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express

Why Apply

This card is unavailable on site and card details may be out of date -- One of the few remaining balance-transfer cards that include an intro $0 balance transfer fee. Add in the premium rewards and welcome bonus, and it's hard to ignore. Read Full Review

Rewards

2x points at US supermarkets ($6,000 spending cap per year), 1x points on all else. Use your Card 20 or more times in a billing period to earn 20% more points

Annual Fee

$0

Intro APR

Purchases: 0%, 15 months
Balance Transfers: 0%, 15 months for transfers made within 60 days

Ongoing APR

12.99%-23.99% Variable

Bonuses & Perks

10,000 points after spending $1,000 within three months

Highlights
  • Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.74% to 25.74%.
  • $0 balance transfer fee. Balance transfers must be requested within 60 days from account opening.
  • 2x points at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1x); 1x points on other purchases.
  • Use your Card 20 or more times on purchases in a billing period and earn 20% more points on those purchases less returns and credits.
  • Over 1.5 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2017.
  • No annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
Rewards

5x rewards on up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter in popular categories such as dining, groceries, travel, and automotive

Annual Fee

$0

Intro APR

Purchases: 0%, 12 months
Balance Transfers: 0%, 18 months

Ongoing APR

14.40% - 24.40%, variable

Bonuses & Perks

$150 credit after spending $1,200 on purchases within the first 90 days

Highlights
  • 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 12 months and Balance Transfers for 18 months; after that the variable APR will be 14.40% – 24.40%, based on your creditworthiness
  • Earn $150 Statement Credit after you spend $1,200 on purchases within the first 90 days from account opening
  • Earn 5x rewards on up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter in popular categories such as dining, groceries, travel, and automotive
  • No upper limit on the points you can accumulate, and since points never expire, you can save up for a big award!
  • Earn Points on Every Purchase! It's simple: $1 = 1 Point
  • No Annual Fee or Foreign Transaction Fee
  • Select Your Rewards Your Way

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A balance transfer credit card is a seriously underrated financial tool for people who have high-interest credit card debt. The best cards for balance transfers offer long 0% intro APR periods that allow you to avoid interest on your balances, get out of debt faster, and free yourself of costly credit card debt forever. Used wisely, a balance transfer card can save you thousands of dollars in interest, compared to carrying a balance at a typical credit card APR of about 17% per year. The most valued balance transfer cards offer 0% intro APR for as long as 21 months on amounts transferred, while other cards go so far as to waive fees, thus offering truly free short-term financing.

What should you look for in a balance transfer credit card?

Many financial decisions can be boiled down to a few key factors. When searching for the best credit cards for your balance transfer needs, you’ll want to focus on the following features:

  • A long 0% intro APR period of at least 15 months
  • A low balance transfer fee, ideally 3% or less
  • No annual fee
  • 0% APR on purchases if you plan to make purchases with the card
  • Free access to your credit score

You might not be able to check off all of these boxes, but these are the best features to look for in a balance transfer card.

What is a balance transfer?

A balance transfer occurs when a borrower moves a balance from one credit card to another. Balance transfers are most often used to refinance credit card debt at a low interest rate (e.g., a balance on a card at an 18% APR is transferred to a 0% intro APR balance transfer credit card).

It’s important to remember that 0% intro APR balance transfer offers are a promotional perk that do not last forever. After the 0% intro APR expires, any remaining debt will begin accruing interest at the standard APR on your balance transfer credit card.

For this reason, cardholders who use 0% APR balance transfer credit cards to move a balance would be wise to pay down that balance aggressively before the promotional period ends.

What is a balance transfer fee?

Most credit cards charge balance transfer fees to transfer a balance to them. The typical transfer fee is $5 or 3% of the amount transferred, whichever is greater, but some balance transfer credit cards charge as much as 5%. On a $5,000 balance, that means you could pay $150 to $250 in fees just to move the balance to another card. On the other hand, there are a few balance transfer cards with introductory offers that include no-fee balance transfers. When choosing the best card for a balance transfer, low balance transfer fees are important.

Keep in mind that balance transfer fees are rolled into your balance. Therefore, if you move a $5,000 balance to another credit card that charges a 3% fee, you will have a balance of $5,150 on your new card. When the 0% intro APR expires, all balances (including the fee) will begin accruing interest.

What credit limit will you be approved for?

Typically, credit limits are determined based on your credit score, income, and debt-to-income ratio. If you hold other credit cards with the same issuer, they may also consider the credit limits on those cards to avoid extending too much credit to you.

Finally, having a pre-existing, positive relationship with that issuer and paying down debt can help you get approved for a higher credit limit.

There's no way to know what credit limit you'll be approved for on a balance transfer credit card before applying, but the most recent Consumer Finance Protection Bureau Credit Card Market report provides some insight.

Consumers with good credit got approved for an average credit limit of just over $4,000 on general-purpose credit cards, while those with excellent credit got approved for roughly $9,000. That being said, every credit card product comes with a different credit limit range, and a balance transfer card may offer a lower limit than other general-purpose credit cards.

Five steps to using a balance transfer credit card

  1. Get approved for a balance transfer card. You may receive offers from a credit card you already have, but offers for new cardholders are usually much better than the offers issuers send to existing customers.
  2. Transfer your balances. If you’re wondering how to do a balance transfer, it’s fairly simple. Many card issuers allow you to transfer a balance at the time of your application, while others will require you to request a balance transfer after approval, either by phone or online.
  3. Continue to make payments on your old card. A balance transfer can take one to two weeks to process. Continue to make at least the minimum payment on your old credit card until you see that the balance transfer amount was deducted from your old card. There may be a small amount of interest due in the month following your balance transfer, even if you move your whole balance, so it’s a good idea to check back after the balance transfer is complete so that you don’t get slapped with a late fee for failing to pay a few dollars in remaining interest.
  4. Pay down your balances as fast as you can. Both 0% intro APR balance transfer credit cards and low interest rate intro offers won’t last forever, so it’s imperative that you use the promo period wisely. If your card doesn’t offer the same promotional terms on purchases, consider using it solely for the balance transfer to avoid piling up debt at a higher purchase APR.
  5. Avoid the temptation to rack up new balances. Transferring a balance to a credit card frees up capacity on another credit card. If you have a tendency to overspend, it may be smart to avoid credit cards altogether while you pay down that existing credit card debt.

Savvy people use low-interest balance transfer credit cards for the specific purpose of refinancing high-interest credit card debt. Often, that means moving a balance to take advantage of a low or 0% intro APR, and then putting all your credit cards in your sock drawer until the transfer (and any other credit card debt) is paid off in full.

Is a balance transfer card right for you?

When it comes to 0% APR cards, shopaholics and lazy budgeters need not apply. Many people get into trouble by opening a card for a balance transfer, moving a balance, and then racking up another large balance on their old credit card. However, in the right hands, a balance transfer credit card can be a powerful financial tool used to pay off debt.

If these three statements apply to you, you are likely a good candidate for a balance transfer credit card:

  • You have existing credit card debt at a high APR.
  • You are serious about paying off your credit card debt once and for all.
  • You won’t rack up a new balance on your old credit card after transferring the balance to a new credit card.

FAQs

  • As long as your old credit card doesn’t charge an annual fee, keeping it open can be a smart move. Your credit utilization is one of the most important factors in determining your credit score, and it’s based largely on your debt-to-credit ratio, or your overall debt balances divided by your overall available credit. The more available credit you have, the lower your credit utilization. This can help your credit score. That said, if leaving your old credit card open tempts you to rack up a balance on it again, it’s best to remove the temptation and close it.

  • If you have a 0% intro APR balance transfer credit card, interest won’t be charged at all during the introductory period. As long as the interest is waived rather than deferred, it won’t accumulate during the introductory period either. This means that interest begins to accumulate once the introductory period ends on the remaining balance, and it will be charged on a monthly basis and added to your minimum monthly payment.

  • Typically, you can process multiple balance transfers from multiple different cards, but there are a couple of factors to take into consideration. The total balance amount you transfer, plus any transfer fees, cannot exceed your credit limit on the balance transfer card. For example, if your balance transfer card has a $10,000 credit limit and a 3% balance transfer fee, then you wouldn’t be able to transfer more than roughly $9,700, given the fee. Some credit cards also have balance transfer limits independent of their credit limits. You may want to transfer balances from multiple cards, but you might not be approved for a high enough credit limit. The other factor to consider is that you typically can’t transfer a balance from one card to another if they’re both from the same card issuer.

  • You do not need perfect credit to qualify for a balance transfer credit card. Card issuers know that people who apply for balance transfer cards are likely to carry an existing balance with another issuer, which could have already marred your credit score. (What are balance transfers good for if not for transferring existing credit card debt?)

    A good to excellent credit score (a FICO® Score above 700) will get you access to most balance transfer cards on the market, including those that offer 18 months or more of 0% intro APRs. People who have fair credit (scores generally above 650) can be approved for most offers as well.

    Importantly, credit scores are not the only factor issuers use to decide whether or not to approve you for a balance transfer credit card. Your income, mortgage or rent payments, and payments due on other debts also play a role in deciding whether or not you get approved for a new balance transfer card.

The Ascent's picks for the best balance transfer credit cards for auto_date_month_year:
Card Balance transfer offer Great For
Wells Fargo Platinum card Graphic of Wells Fargo Platinum card Balance transfer offer:

18 months

Great For:

Balance transfers and purchases

Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever Graphic of Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever Balance transfer offer:

21 months

Great For:

Long 0% intro APR

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer Graphic of Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer Balance transfer offer:

18 months

Great For:

Balance transfers and cash back

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card Graphic of Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card Balance transfer offer:

21 months

Great For:

Long 0% intro APR

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express Graphic of The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express Balance transfer offer:

15 months

Great For:

$0 intro balance transfer fee

ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard® Credit Card Graphic of ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard® Credit Card Balance transfer offer:

18 months

Great For:

Fair/average credit

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