Top Balance Transfer Credit Cards with 0% Promotional APR
Paying off credit card debt that bears a high rate of interest is a critically important task for people who want to maintain their financial well-being. One of the benefits of competition in the credit card industry is the emergence of cards that will accept a balance transfer of credit card debt from another issuer’s card, and allow the debtor to pay the debt of at a 0% APR interest for a defined period of time.
We highly recommend taking this course to pay off debt, in order to avoid the significant erosion of your finances that can occur from paying the interest rates that usually apply to credit cards, and that are significantly higher than the rates charged for mortgages or car loans. We have reviewed the credit card offerings in the balance transfer space, focusing on cards that have no annual fee, and here are our top picks.
- Chase Slate
This offering from Chase Slate allows cardholders to transfer a balance during the first 60 days of card ownership with no balance transfer fee. After that promotional period, the balance transfer fee with be 3% of the amount transferred with a $5 minimum fee. It’s worth noting that most other cards impose a balance transfer fee of between 3-5% even before they start charging interest on the balance.
After that, you will enjoy a 0% variable APR on purchases, and on balance transfers for 15 months. If possible, you should try to pay off your balance during that period. After that, you’ll be charged a variable APR for both purchases and balance transfers of 12.99%, 17.99% or 22.99%, depending on the state of your credit. No annual fee.
- BankAmericard Visa Card
Bank America’s BankAmericard offering has a 0% promotional APR on purchases, and on qualifying balance transfers that extends for 15 balance cycles. After that period, the variable APR will be between 10.99% and 20.99% for both purchases and balance transfers. The 0% rate applies only to balance transfers made during the first 60 days of card ownership, and a 3% balance transfer fee applies to all balance transfers, with a minimum fee of $10.
The card features additional benefits, including chip technology, mobile banking, and a $0 liability guarantee, making the card useful for overall spending purposes as well.
- Citibank’s Citi Double Cash Card
Citibank has entered the balance transfer space with an offering that allows Citi Double Cash Card holders to earn cash back twice. All eligible purchases will secure 1% cash back, and you will get another 1% cash back by paying off your balance, provided you pay the minimum due. Cash back is unlimited, and there are no category restrictions.
As for balance transfers, a 0% APR applies both to them and to purchases, for the first 15 months you have the card. After that the variable APR is 12.99% to 22.99%. Again, there is no annual fee.
- Chase Freedom
JPMorgan’s Chase Freedom card offers the 0% introductory APR on balance transfers and purchases, also extended for a 15-month period. After that, the variable APR will be 13.99% to 22.99% on purchases and balance transfers. New cardholders will be able to earn $100 bonus cash back after making $500 in purchases during the first three months they have the card. Add another authorized user and make a purchase during that period, and you’ll get another $25 bonus.
The card has a rewards system that lets you earn 5% cash back in quarterly rotating categories on up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter. To qualify, you will need to sign up each quarter and activate that benefit. For all other purchases, you will receive 1% cash back. A 3% balance transfer fee is imposed on all transfers. There is no annual fee.
- Discover It’s 18-Month Balance Transfer Offer
The folks at Discover have produced the Discover IT with an 18-month period of 0% APR on balance transfers, and 0% APR on purchases. After those periods, variable APR of 10.99% to 22.99% will apply. There is a balance transfer fee of 3%.
This rewards card offers 5% cash back for purchases in categories that rotate on a quarterly basis, up to a quarterly maximum, and you will need to register for this benefit. You will receive 1% cash back for all other purchases.
- Capital One’s Platinum Prestige Credit Card
This Capital One’s Platinum Prestige Credit Card provides a 0% APR on balance transfers that will extend to May 2016 for new cardholders. After that a variable APR of 10.9% to 18.9% will apply. So the earlier you obtain this card, the longer that 0% rate will run. Balance transfers incur a 3% fee, but there is no annual fee, and the card offers fraud liability coverage in the event it is stolen.
- Citibank’s Citi Simplicity Card
The Citibank Citi Simplicity Card gives the longer 18 months of 0% APR on balance transfers and purchases, with a variable APR thereafter of 12.99% to 22.99%. A balance transfer fee of 3% is imposed with a fee minimum of $5. No annual fee.
- NFL Extra Points Credit Card
The NFL has gotten in on the action with their NFL Extra Points card, which offers 0% APR for balance transfers for a 15-month period. After that the variable APR is 14.99%, 19.99% or 24.99%. You will need to transfer your balance during the first 45 days of card ownership – after that, you’re out of bounds!
You can also choose from 32 NFL team cards, and each has its own benefits and card art, or you can choose the general NFL card. You will get 10,000 bonus points for joining provided you spend $500 using the card during the first 90 days, and you will earn two points per dollar spent on NFL purchases and team purchases. All other purchases get you 1% cash back. There is no limit on points, and they can be redeemed for VIP NFL experiences, game tickets, and cash back statement credit.
- PenFed Promise Visa Card
The PenFed Promise Visa Card will get you a promotional APR on balance transfers of 4.99% for a twelve month period, and after that a low variable purchase APR of 7.99% to 16.99%. Purchases are charged at the 7.99% to 16.99% rate from the start of card ownership. The card also imposes no annual fee, no balance transfer fee, no late fee, no penalty APR, no foreign transaction fee, and no cash advance fee. Basically, not many fees!
Advice For Those In The Market For A Balance Transfer Card
If you need to transfer you balance, a 0% promotional APR on balance transfers and purchases is what you should look for. A rate that’s low but not 0% will still add up to lost savings. It is also a good idea to use the card only for paying off debt, and not for accumulating more debt.
In most cases, failure to pay the minimum monthly payment will result in you losing that 0% rate, so these cards have to be used strictly in order to secure the debt payoff features they offer. If you build this into your planning, and prioritize payment of this card, the benefits will be substantial.
It is also a good idea to list all the applicable fees, and try to estimate how much they may come to over a one- or two-year period. If you are planning a high number of balance transfers, getting a card without that 3% balance transfer fee should be a priority. Also, introductory rates of “up to” a certain number of months usually offer the longer period only to cardholders with excellent credit, so bear that in mind when choosing. Again, balance transfer cards can save you a bundle, but only if chosen carefully, and used carefully. Enjoy!