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Updated April 17, 2016

Credit Cards with No Balance Transfer Fee

Credit cards with no balance transfer fees can be a great, as long as you read the fine print
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Transferring high-interest credit card balances to one card can be a clever way of consolidating and getting a handle on debt. Even better is when the new card won’t charge you a balance transfer fee for making one or more transfers.

No Fee Balance Transfer Deals

But what's the catch?

Cards without balance transfer fees are rare. However, like other cards, they should be used only after thoughtful comparison shopping. The fact that a card does not have a transfer fee should be just one aspect of your choice.

Zero percent credit cards with no balance transfer fee sound too good to be true?

They exist and they can save you money in the long run - especially if you can find a card that won’t charge you a fee for making the move and that will give you 0% APR at least for a while.

But you could end up where you started though if you don’t pay attention to the following details:

  • You need good credit. You need to be approved for the deal just as you would any other new credit card - and cards that have no balance transfer fee tend to go after cardholders with good reputations for paying their bills in a timely manner (of course, you can carry a balance and still be a reliable credit card user).

  • You can only switch to a new credit card company. Banks that are offering these deals are trying to attract NEW customers. So you can’t make a balance transfer from a Chase Freedom card to a Chase Slate card, but you could move your balance with Chase to a Barclaycard credit card. Likewise, you can move your balance from Bank of America, Citibank, Discover, or Wells Fargo to Chase.

  • You should read the fine print and take a dose of reality. A balance transfer promotion is not a license to spend wildly again. You still need to pay off the balance even though a new credit card company is giving you more time to do it and not charging you as much in interest charges as your previous card. Don’t fall for misguided temptation or get caught up in the common myths that are associated with balance transfers. Two of the most common myths are:

    • Applying for a balance transfer card causes your credit score to plummet. Not true. Although applying for a new credit card does generate a "hard credit inquiry," which will negatively impact your credit score, the impact is usually negligible, typically lowering your FICO score by just a few points.

    • The new card might raise its interest rates at any time. Federal law prohibits card issuers from using this kind of "bait and switch" tactic. As long as you abide by the cardholder agreement, a card promising an 15-month, 0% intro APR must keep that promise. The APR that applies after the intro period could change, however.

  • Do complete the transfer by the promotional deadline. Most cards give new cardholders just 45 to 60 days to take advantage of the promotional interest rate, so don’t dawdle. To initiate the transfer, you will usually have to do one of the following after you've been approved:

    • Phone the card issuer.
    • Use the convenience checks mailed to you by the company.
    • Initiate the transfer on your NEW credit card account's online website.

  • Don’t miss payments. In most cases, a missed payment will negate the issuer’s balance transfer deal - i.e., you’ll immediately lose the promotional APR and may also be subject to penalties and fees.

No Balance Transfer Fee Credit Cards

The reason to look for a card that has no balance transfer fee is obvious. Many credit card companies will charge you a fee that typically ranges from 3% to 5% of your balance (in other words, move a $5,000 balance to another card and you’ll have to pay as much as $200 on top of the balance, interest charges you accrue, and any other fees that may apply).

To illustrate how no balance transfer fee card may have the right combination of positive factors for some people, consider how the following credit cards stack up:

  • No Balance Transfer Fee and 0% APR Promotion: Chase Slate® has an introductory 60-day $0 balance transfer fee promotion, as well as a 15-month 0% intro APR on balance transfers and purchases. After the introductory APR period ends (15 months), the variable APR applies, currently 15.49% - 24.24%, depending on your creditworthiness. On the plus side, the card has no annual fee. On the minus side, it also has no rewards program.

    If you decide to go with the Chase Slate, make sure you transfer your balance within the first 60 days. After 60 days, you’ll be charged a 5% transfer fee ($5 minimum) for subsequent balance transfers.

    Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
    0% for 15 months
    0% for 15 months
    15.49% - 24.24% Variable
    $0

    Disclaimer: The information for the Chase Slate has been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

    Keeping all these pros and cons in mind, the Chase Slate® is an excellent choice for those who can pay off the balance within 15 months, provided they don’t take longer than 60 days to move over their outstanding balances from other cards to it. However, it’s not ideal for people who want cash back and other rewards, or for cardholders who need more than 15 months to pay off the balance (in addition to the cost of any purchases they make with the card during that time).

  • No Balance Transfer Fee: Barclaycard Ring offers a 0% Introductory APR for the first 15 months on purchases. Plus, you'll get a 0% introductory APR for 15 months on Balance Transfers made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable APR will apply, 13.49%. There are no balance transfer fees, no foreign transaction fees, and no annual fee.

Those cardholders who zero in on "no balance transfer fee" cards, factor in all the cards’ details, and have hefty balances may benefit from making a transfer in the long run. They could save money in interest charges and fees. But before making the move, use a calculator to determine if the card’s benefits are likely to outweigh the costs. Be aware of cards that may charge a balance transfer fee after a certain period of time, in case you’ll be tempted to move more than one card balance over to the new card.

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.

Disclaimer: The information for the Chase Slate has been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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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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