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If you’re currently carrying balances on one or more credit cards, you can reduce your rate and save big by completing a balance transfer; if you use the money you’re saving in interest payments to pay down the balance of the credit card, it'll help you pay off your debt. The trick is in choosing the right balance transfer credit card.
Here are three factors to keep in mind when choosing the right balance transfer credit card for your wallet:
Introductory APR Many balance transfer credit cards come with a special introductory rate. Before you go with the lowest rate available, take the time to review introductory periods. Be sure to take a peek at the post-introductory period APRs. The last thing you want to do is transfer your balances to a card that will eventually carry a higher rate than you’re currently paying if you don't think you can pay off the balance during the introductory period.
Fees Balance transfers often come with a fee that typically ranges from 3% to 4% of the balance that you are transferring to the new card. The difference between no balance transfer fee, 3%, and 4% may not seem like much, but if you have a large balance, it can make a huge impact on your bill.
Fine Print You will want to take the time to read all of the fine print surrounding the allowed balance transfers. For instance, many credit card companies will accept balance transfers only from cards issued by a different company.
Featured Balance Transfer Offers
Discover it® - 18 Month Balance Transfer offers 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months. Then the variable purchase APR applies, currently 10.99% to 22.99%. This card does have a balance transfer fee: 3% of the transfer amount. There is no annual fee.
Chase Slate® offers $0 introductory balance transfer fee during the first 60 days your account is open. This card also offers 0% intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers and purchases. After that, the variable APR applies, currently 12.99%, 17.99%, or 22.99% (depending on your creditworthiness). There is no annual fee.
U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card offers 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 billing cycles. After that, the variable APR applies, currently 9.99% to 23.99%. This card has an introductory balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer amount ($5 minimum) for balances transferred within the first 30 days of account opening. After that, the balance transfer fee is 4% of each transfer amount or $5, whichever is greater. There is no annual fee.
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwised endorsed by any card issuer. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.
0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months - then a variable purchase APR applies, currently 10.99% - 22.99%. A 3% fee applies to each transferred balance.
0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months. Then the variable purchase APR applies, currently 10.99% - 22.99%.
Rated 4.8 out of 5 Stars by over 5,000 cardmembers.*
No annual fee, no late fee for your first late payment - APR won't go up for paying late, no overlimit fee and no foreign transaction fee.*
Free FICO® Credit Score online and on monthly statements.*
5% cash back at gas stations on up to $1,500 in purchases from July through September 2014 after you sign up*. 1% cash back on all other purchases.
100% U.S.- based customer service - anytime, day and night.
*See rates, rewards, free FICO® Credit Score terms and other info by clicking "Apply."
Our Review: A generous cash back and 18-month balance transfer offer makes the Discover It Card the go-to card to keep more money in your pocket. When you consider the rewards, low fees, and good customer service, it’s pretty easy to see why Discover It is one of the most popular cash back credit cards available... Read full review
Get 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 18 months. After that, the APR will be 11.99%-21.99% based upon your creditworthiness.*
There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer.
Citi® Easy DealsSM Get what you want for less. Earn Citi Easy Deals Points for the purchases you make with your card.
Redeem your points for great online deals on name-brand merchandise, gift cards and even local deals.
Let our 24/7 concierge service help book your hotel rooms, flights and more.
$0 liability on unauthorized purchases and Citi® Identity Theft Solutions.
No annual fee*
Our Review: With its 18-month 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers, the Citi Diamond Preferred Card is a great pick for people who carry a balance. While this card does offer a few other benefits, such as a concierge service, its main attraction is its introductory APR. That is a long time in the world of credit cards. This is an opportunity for you to get a break from high interest charges, whether you are trying to make a dent in your debt or if you need to make a bunch of big purchases at once ..... Read full review
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 12.99% - 21.99% based on your creditworthiness.
There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
No late fees - EVER
No penalty rate - EVER
No annual fee - EVER
Save time when you call with fast, personal help, 24 hours a day.
Our Review: By not charging for late payments, the Citi Simplicity Card gives cardholders some breathing room when it comes to managing their credit. Plus, with an 18-month 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers, this card is a smart pick for people who carry a balance. In exchange for this flexibility, the Citi Simplicity Card does not have a rewards program... Read full review
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will be 12.99%-22.99%, based on your creditworthiness
There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
The only card that earns you cash back twice on every purchase with:
1% cash back when you buy
Plus 1% cash back as you pay for those purchases, whether you pay in full or over time*
No Category Restrictions, No Caps, No Enrollments in Rotating Categories
No Annual Fee
Our Review: With no annual fee and the opportunity to earn cash back twice, the new Citi Double Cash card takes rewards a step further than cards in this category. You'll get 1% cash back on purchases plus ANOTHER 1% cash back as you make payments for those purchases, whether in full or installments... Read full review
Best 0% Offer in "Crowning 2013's Best Credit Card Offers" (January 14, 2013) -Forbes Online
Pay less interest. Save on balances and new purchases
$0 introductory balance transfer fee for transfers made during the first 60 days. After that, the fee for future balance transfers is 3% of the amount transferred with a minimum of $5.
0% Introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After the introductory period ends, a variable APR of 12.99%, 17.99%, or 22.99%.
$0 Annual Fee
Our Review: If you have credit card debt and excellent/good credit, the Chase Slate credit card can help provide you with a valuable break from high interest rates. This card offers a generous $0 balance transfer fee introductory offer and a long 15 months 0% APR intro period on balance transfers and purchases. The Chase Slate card does not offer a rewards program, however, so if you want to collect cash back or travel rewards, you may be better off with another card... Read full review
Earn a $100 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
Earn a $25 Bonus after you add your first authorized user and make a purchase within this same 3-month period
0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After the intro period, a variable APR of 13.99%-22.99%
5% Cash Back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases between October 1 - December 31, 2014 at Amazon.com, Zappos.com and select department stores
You'll enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months like gas stations, restaurants and Amazon.com. It's free and easy to activate your bonus each quarter!
Unlimited 1% Cash Back on all other purchases
No annual fee and rewards never expire
Our Review: With its sign-up bonus, rotating 5% cash back categories, and 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, the Chase Freedom card is one of the most popular no-annual-fee rewards cards on the market. Because this card lets cardholders earn cash back in so many different ways, it fits a wide range of lifestyles... Read full review
Earn 40,000 bonus miles after your first purchase and payment of the $89 annual fee*
First checked bag FREE on eligible bags for you and up to four companions on domestic US Airways operated flights
One companion certificate good for up to 2 guests to travel with you on a US Airways operated flight at $99 each, plus taxes and fees
Priority boarding Zone 2 on US Airways operated flights
Redeem miles for award travel on US Airways and American Airlines booked through usairways.com or US Airways Reservations
Earn miles on every purchase with 2 miles for every $1 you spend on US Airways purchases and 1 mile for every $1 on purchases everywhere else
Please see terms and conditions for complete details
Our Review: Frequent US Airways flyers can use the US Airways Premier World MasterCard to help earn Dividend Miles - 2 miles per $1 on US Airways purchases and 1 mile per $1 spent everywhere else. As an incentive to sign up, you earn 40,000 bonus miles after your first purchase and payment of the $89 annual fee. The card is best suited for frequent travelers, as there is an $89 annual fee... Read full review
0% Intro APR* on purchases and balance transfers for 15 billing cycles. After that, a variable APR currently 9.99%-23.99%
No annual fee*
Online bill pay for a fast and convenient way to pay bills online with your U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum
$0 fraud liability* for unauthorized transactions if your card is ever lost or stolen
Fraud Protection detects and notifies you of any unusual card activity to help prevent fraud
Online account management and account alerts
Our Review: With free access to your monthly credit score and no annual fee, the US Bank Platinum Visa Card is a good choice for those who plan to carry a balance. The lack of rewards makes it less than ideal for those who don't carry a balance. However, if you’re paying down some debt, the 0% intro APR and low regular APR make this card the way to go... Read full review
Earn 20,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after $1,500 in card purchases within 3 months of account opening - redeemable for $200 in gift cards or other great rewards!
0% intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 12 months. After that, the variable APR will be 12.99%-22.99% based upon your creditworthiness*
There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.*
2 ThankYou Points per dollar spent on dining at restaurants and entertainment. 1 ThankYou Point on other purchases.
Points do not expire and earn unlimited Thank You Points
Redeem ThankYou Points for merchandise, travel rewards, gift cards, cash and more
Travel with ease and enjoy global acceptance with Chip Technology
No annual fee*
Our Review: If you’re looking for a simple rewards card with a straightforward points structure the Citi ThankYou Preferred Rewards card might be a good fit for you. There are no complicated rotating “bonus reward” categories, no expiration dates on points earned, and no annual fee- all purchases will earn you 1 point for each dollar you spend with the exception of dining and entertainment purchases which earn double points... Read full review
Earn 20,000 bonus miles when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days - that's enough to redeem for a $200 travel statement credit
0% intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for the first 12 months after account opening. After that, variable APR, currently 14.99% or 18.99%, based upon your creditworthiness.
Earn 2X miles on travel and dining and 1X miles on all other purchases
Miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
Book the travel you want - airfare, hotels, cruises and more and earn miles on your purchase
Get 10% miles back to use toward your next redemption every time you redeem for travel statement credits
No foreign transaction fees on anything you buy while in another country
Complimentary online FICO® Score access for Barclaycard Arrival cardmembers
Our Review: If you like to travel, you can earn 2X miles on travel and dining purchases and 1X miles on all other purchases with the Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard. Every time you buy something on this card, you earn miles. These miles are good for statement credits toward flights, hotels, car rentals, and cruises. This program is especially generous when you consider that this card does not have an annual fee... Read full review
Earn 20,000 award miles after your first purchases or balance transfer
Earn up to 15,000 award miles with balance transfers (1 mile per $1 transferred) within 30 days of account opening
Earn 2 award miles per $1 on ticket purchases directly from Miles & More integrated airline partners
Earn 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases
Annual Companion Ticket after first purchase
No Foreign transaction fees on purchases made outside the U.S.
Redeem miles for flight awards and upgrades on Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, SWISS, Star Alliance airlines and other partners
$79 Annual Fee, waived for SEN and HON Circle Members
Our Review: Fly Lufthansa Airlines at least a few times a year? Then consider earning miles with Lufthansa and receiving a lucrative introductory bonus with the Premier Miles and More World MasterCard. At a reasonable $79 annual fee, you’ll come out ahead with these rewards... Read full review
With all of the available credit cards that are out there, it can be hard to know which card is right for you. Balance transfer credit cards are a great option for you to consider as they can help you pay off debt faster while saving you money.
Everyone is looking for ways to save money, and a balance transfer credit card could be the answer for you. By transferring your balances from high rate credit cards to a lower-rate card, you will be paying less interest.
The best balance transfer credit cards usually offer 0% introductory APRs. This means you won’t have to pay any interest for the introductory period, which leads to huge savings.
Here’s an example of the savings you could get when you take advantage of a balance transfer credit card. Let’s say you currently have $3,000 on a credit card with 24% APR. You decide to do a balance transfer to a card with 13% APR; this new card is also offering an introductory rate of 3% for six months. You save $483 just in the first year of the balance transfer.
Estimate Your Balance Transfer Savings
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Pay off debt
Balance transfers also help you pay off your debts faster because you will have less debt to pay off. Sure, the initial balance is the same as the one you had with your existing card, but because you will owe less in interest, you will end up paying less to the credit card issuer overall.
One great way to pay off your debt quicker with the help of a balance transfer credit card is to continue making the same monthly payments that you were paying on your original cards. Once transferred, you will notice that your monthly minimum payment will be lower with the new lower rate. But if you keep paying the same minimum payment as you were before, you could shave years off the time that it takes to pay off the balance.
Increase your buying power
A new credit card will also boost your buying power. Balance transfer credit cards often have higher limits than a regular credit card. This means that you will have more credit available to you for upcoming purchases. This is a valuable benefit if you plan on purchasing furniture, electronics, appliances, or other big ticket items in the near future. Just be sure to be responsible with that new limit.
Keep in mind, promotional interest rate offers may cause you to lose the grace period on purchases if you do not pay the entire statement balance (including the amount subject to the promotional APR) by the payment due date. If you plan to carry a balance, contact the credit card issuer to find out about the effects of the promotional APR offers on the grace period for new purchases.
Increase your credit score
Being responsible with your balance transfer credit card will also help you increase your credit score. Many people do not realize that credit scores take into consideration their debt-to-limit ratio. This is the percentage of your credit card limits that you are currently using. In other words, the higher your balances, the more this figure may affect your score.
As mentioned previously, transferring your balances to a lower rate card will help you pay off your debt quicker. This will automatically help you boost your credit score. This is a good thing, especially if you have your eye on a new car or are in the market for a new house. Every little thing helps when it comes to your overall credit and its effect on future interest rates.
Paying off your credit card balances is one of the best moves you can make to improve your financial situation. But if you can’t afford to wipe your debt clean, then transferring your balance to a low interest credit card is your next best option.
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About CreditDonkey® CreditDonkey is a credit card comparison website. We publish data-driven analysis to help you save money & make savvy financial decisions.
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed on this page are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.
†Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which CreditDonkey receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CreditDonkey does not include all companies or all offers that may be available in the marketplace.
*See the card issuer's online application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However, all information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Apply Now" button you can review the terms and conditions on the card issuer's website.
CreditDonkey does not know your individual circumstances and provides information for general educational purposes only. CreditDonkey is not a substitute for, and should not be used as, professional legal, credit or financial advice. You should consult your own professional advisors for such advice.