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Updated September 26, 2015

Study: Credit Cards for Balance Transfers 2015

Here are the top balance transfer credit cards from our partners
Read more about Balance Transfer

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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.

A balance transfer credit card can help consolidate and eliminate your debt by offering you a low interest rate. Unfortunately, most of those rates are available only for a certain amount of time. This time limit puts a ticking clock on your debt repayment plan, which, for Mission: Impossible fans, might make things more exciting. considered the issue of time plus a host of other factors to narrow down the field of balance transfer credit cards to only the best cards from our partners. Not all of these will be the right one for you, so be sure the one you choose is the one that best matches your needs.

Roundup Methodology

Here are the main factors we considered in comparing balance transfer credit cards:

  1. Length of Intro Period
  2. Regular APR
  3. Balance Transfer Fee

Of all the main factors, the length of the introductory period is the most crucial. This should be the first thing you look for when you consider a balance transfer. During this period, most cards offer a 0% APR on balance transfers. Make sure you can pay off most, if not all, of your debt before that period runs out. After that, interest rates tend to jump to the regular APR, usually between 10% and 22%, and maybe even higher depending on your creditworthiness.

If you plan to carry a balance and the credit card balance transfer offer you are considering does not have a similar introductory APR (including promotional length) on purchases, you may want to avoid using that card for new purchases. 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 introductory APR) by the payment due date. If you plan to carry a balance, check the credit card issuer's terms to find out about the effects of the promotional APR offers on the grace period for new purchases.

You also need to watch out for additional costs, like a balance transfer fee. This is what it will cost you to move your balance from the old card to the new one.

We rated each factor on a 1-5 scale to come up with our best-of list.

Keep in mind you also have to consider which credit card company you currently use. Rarely will issuers let you transfer balances from one of their cards to another – they usually do it for new customers only.

Intro No Balance Transfer Fee Credit Card: Chase Slate

Chase Slate
Apply for Chase Slate
At Chase's Secure Site
  • Chase Slate named "Best Credit Card for Balance Transfers" two years in a row by Money Magazine
  • $0 Introductory balance transfer fee for transfers made during the first 60 days
  • 0% Introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • Free Monthly FICO® Score and Credit Dashboard
  • No Penalty APR - Paying late won't raise your interest rate (APR). All other account pricing and terms apply
  • $0 Annual Fee
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
0% Intro APR for 15 Months
0% Intro APR for 15 Months
12.99%, 17.99%, or 22.99% Variable

  • Intro Period: 0% on balance transfers for 15 months, 4/5
  • Regular APR: 12.99%, 17.99%, or 22.99% variable APR, 3/5
  • Balance Transfer Fee: $0 balance transfer fee during first 60 days, 5/5
  • CreditDonkey Score: 4/5

Chase Slate is the best option on CreditDonkey for those looking to relocate their debt without paying a balance transfer fee. The card won’t charge you a balance transfer fee during the first 60 days as you consolidate balances and take advantage of the introductory 0% interest rate. That intro APR will last for 15 months.

Slate also comes with Chase’s Blueprint payment program, which gives cardholders more control over how they manage their balance. In our review, we liked that Blueprint “offers different payment plans that achieve different goals.”

Why We Like It
Chase Slate is the best card on the market that offers 0% APR without a balance transfer fee. The Blueprint program will help you pay your balance faster to avoid future interest charges.

Its Downsides
The 15-month introductory period is shorter than some competing cards. Also, to be approved for the Slate card, you will need excellent/good credit.

Who It Works Best For
People who can pay off their debt within the 15-month period.

Low APR Balance Transfer Credit Card: Barclaycard Ring

Barclaycard Ring MasterCard
Apply for Barclaycard Ring MasterCard
At Barclaycard's Secure Site
  • No Balance Transfer Fees - start saving immediately!
  • A low variable APR on balance transfers and purchases
  • No Annual Fee and No Foreign Transaction Fee
  • Chip card technology, so paying for your purchases is more secure at chip-card terminals in the U.S. and abroad
  • Choose your card benefits and features
  • Get rewarded through the new Giveback(TM) program, where Barclaycard Ring members get money back for good performance
  • Get exclusive access to our online community and vote on the card features you like and view the financials of the Barclaycard Ring MasterCard online
  • Complimentary FICO® Credit Scores as a benefit to active card members. Opt-in to have instant and convenient access to FICO® Scores from your Barclaycard online account.
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
8% (Variable)

  • Intro Period: N/A, 0/5
  • Regular APR: 8% variable APR, 5/5
  • Balance Transfer Fee: $0, 5/5
  • Rewards: Giveback rewards +1 bonus point
  • CreditDonkey Score: 3.7/5

Balance transfer cards work great if you can pay off the balance before the introductory period runs out. But, in the real world, even 18 months might be too short for people carrying significant debt. In this case, managing your debt is more important than paying it off and a card like the Barclaycard Ring can help.

Unlike other balance transfer cards, the Ring doesn’t offer an introductory period. Instead, the card offers a variable 8% interest rate. This low rate gives cardholders the option to reduce their debt load on their own schedule.

In the place of a traditional rewards program, the card offers Giveback, which lets cardholders share in some of the company’s profits. The Barclaycard website makes it clear that Giveback is not based on the actual profits of the program but rather a calculation made available on the card website. Even though this is fairly new, in our review we found that the Giveback could be “a great opportunity for early adopters.”

Why We Like It
The Ring is a no-nonsense credit card that, with its low interest rate and reduced fees, can really help someone who needs time to get out of debt. Also, as a “crowd sourced” card, the Ring gives users a say in how the card works.

Its Downsides
No 0% introductory period. The ongoing low interest rate might tempt people to just carry a balance instead of becoming debt-free.

Who It Works Best For
The Ring is a great choice for people who need several years to pay off their existing debt.

Alternative Credit Cards to Consider

These cards are just a sample of what is being offered. CreditDonkey also has you covered for more options for balance transfer cards with strong introductory offers. Also be sure to read our guide on the Balance Transfer Game.

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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 otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

More from CreditDonkey:

Infographics: Balance Transfer Game

Balance Transfer Game

Dig Yourself Out of Debt

How to Get Out of Debt

10 Smart Ways to Get Out of Debt

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Comments about Study: Credit Cards for Balance Transfers 2015

  • Irma I Cardenas from Texas
    on September 19, 2014 9:10 PM said:

    I 've used the balance transfer offers for the first two cards and strongly agree with your assessment. Helped me get two unexpected major purchases harnessed. I do watch the expiration date of each offerclosely.

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Chase Slate Review

If you have credit card debt, Chase Slate's no balance transfer fee promotion and introductory APR offer is tempting. But is there a catch? Read this review before transferring your balance.
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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.

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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.