If you’ve got good credit, there’s no reason your credit card should be lugging around extra weight. Transferring your debt to a balance transfer card with an interest-free promotion can help you save money on high interest charges and shed your debt more quickly.
The best balance transfer credit cards offer interest-free promotions such as an introductory period that can last as long as 15 to 18 months or more – giving you plenty of time to bump up your payments and get rid of your debt for good. You also can rest easier knowing that every cent you pay is going toward shaving your card balance down, rather than paying interest charges.
Some balance transfer cards also waive their balance transfer fees if you apply shortly after opening your new card, giving you the opportunity to essentially carry a balance for free.
To find the right card for your wallet, don’t just look at the card’s 0% interest rate balance transfer offer, though. Also consider its balance transfer fee and whether it offers any additional perks, such as rewards. A good balance transfer card shouldn’t cost you more than 3% to transfer a balance — unless it offers such an awesome and long balance transfer period that is worth paying the extra fee.
Balance transfer credit cards: 4 Good Options to Consider
Amex EveryDay® Card from American Express
Best for: Cardholders who want to avoid paying a balance transfer fee but still want to earn some rewards.
Rewards: This credit card offers 2 points for every dollar you spend at grocery stores, and 1 point for every other dollar you spend. A 20% point bonus if you use your card at least 20 times in one billing cycle. With easy access to American Express’s Membership Rewards Program®, you can use these points towards travel and even dining and entertainment. There is no option for cash back rewards, but you can redeem your points for gift cards and merchandise.
Balance transfer offer: 0% intro APR for 15 months on any credit card balance transfer made within 60 days of opening your card.
Annual fee: No annual fee
Bonus: One-time 15,000 points after you charge $1,000 on new purchases within the first three months of opening the card.
Citi Simplicity® Card
Best for: Cardholders who want more time to pay off their credit card balance and want to avoid extra charges, such as late fees.
Balance transfer offer: 0% APR for 18 months to 21 months (depending on which offer you’re shown) on any balance you transfer within four months of opening your new credit card.
Annual fee: No annual fee
U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Credit Card
Best for: Cardholders with excellent credit who want a lengthy balance transfer period, but also hope to qualify for a lower APR after the end of the promotion.
Balance transfer offer: 0% APR for 18 months on any balance you transfer within 60 days of account opening.
Annual fee: $0
Other fees: 3% (or $5) balance transfer fee; 3% to 4% (or $5 to $10) cash advance fee; 2% to 3% foreign transaction fee; up to $39 late payment fee; up to $35 returned payment fee; 25.99% cash advance APR; no penalty APR.
BankAmericard® Credit Card
Best for: Cardholders who want to avoid paying a balance transfer fee and also want to transfer someone else’s balance. If your partner carries a balance, but has a lower credit score, Bank of America is one of the few issuers that lets you transfer their balances into your name.
Balance transfer offer: 0% APR for the first 18 months after account opening. Promotion applies only to balances transferred within the card’s first two months.
Annual fee: $0
Which card might bring the most joy to your wallet?
If you think you can pay off your balance in as little as 15 months, it’s hard to beat carrying a balance for free. Cards without a balance transfer fee, such as the Amex EveryDay® Card and the BankAmericard® Credit Card, don’t offer the longest, most exciting promotions. But if you owe several thousand dollars, you’ll save hundreds of dollars simply by choosing a card that lacks a transfer charge. You might even save enough money after you’ve paid off all your credit card debt to celebrate with a family dinner, a weekend excursion, or a day at the spa.