Credit card debt can be a serious problem. If you’re one of the millions of Americans struggling to keep up with those monthly payments you know how tough interest rates can be, especially if you’re just making the minimum or missing payments altogether. These problems can become exponentially worse very quickly as not paying your credit card bill onetime can jack up that annual percentage rate (APR) and add even more debt to an already insurmountable credit card balance.
Sometimes the best way to start making a real dent in that debt is to open another credit card. Yes, you read that correctly, although it sounds a bit strange that opening a new card would be the path to paying down debt. However, given that many new cards offer a 0% balance transfer that you’re not required to pay any interest on it for at least 12 months or more, it’s actually a very smart solution to manage your debt.
Transferring your balance from an existing card to a new 0% card helps to eliminate the high interest rates and fees that keep getting added to your debt every month. Once you’ve moved that balance to a card with no interest rate, you can start to pay it off much quicker and, before you know it, you’ll be credit card debt free!
So which card is the best choice? It seems like every major bank under the sun is offering a credit card with enticing features such as cash back rewards, sign up bonuses, low or no introductory APRs, and low or no fees. At first glance, they can all appear to be basically the same, but if you dig a bit deeper some are significantly better options than others.
Key benefits and perks to look out for include longer 0% introductory APR periods, larger sign up bonuses and additional features that make the card more convenient and cost-effective over time. Your search could take time, so we’ve made it just a little easier for you by doing some of the research ourselves and determined the best 0% balance transfer cards on the market right now. This list was considered by weighing the many pros and cons of every card we analyzed and concluded that these 12 are your best bet to transfer your current credit card or other loan balances.
One important thing to keep in mind, however, is the effect your credit score will have on your approval for these cards. Many of them cater mostly to consumers with good or excellent credit. Scores that fall below this standard may have a tougher time with the process.
Chase is our favorite card for balance transfers because of all the 0’s associated with owning it. A 0% introductory APR period of 15 months, $0 introductory transfer fee, and $0 annual fee make this card the best of the bunch when it comes to balance transfers, specifically high balances. But don’t take our word for it, Money magazine has said as much about the Slate for three years running. Another encouraging selling point with the Slate is that Chase doesn’t require you to have impeccable credit to be approved.
APR: 0% Introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, then it rises to a variable 13.24%-23.24% based on the status of your credit score.
Fees: $0 annual fee. $0 introductory balance transfer fee on transfers made within the initial 60 days of opening an account.
Perks: You won’t face a penalty APR for missed payments and you’re automatically enrolled in the Chase Blueprint program which lets you set your own debt payment schedule and gives you access to your FICO scores.
Drawbacks: The card comes with restrictions such as a $15,000 total transfer limit and you can’t transfer balances from other Chase cards. Unlike other cards, you won’t get any rewards for using it.
Ready to apply? Click Here to Apply for Chase Slate or to Learn More
The Simplicity offers the longest 0% introductory APR on our list with an impressive 21 months, the best deal with any card you can find at the moment. You won’t need to pay an annual fee or late fees, there are no penalty rates and no limits on what type of debt you wish to transfer over to the card. But just be aware that your credit better be excellent if you want to apply for this card, otherwise you may just want to keep reading the rest of our reviews from here.
APR: 0% Introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 21 months, then it rises to a variable 13.24%-23.24% based on the status of your credit score.
Fees: $0 annual fee. $5 or 3% balance transfer fee, whichever is greater.
Perks: No penalty APR rates and access to your FICO score are both good, but having almost two years with no APR to pay off your debt is even better.
Drawbacks: You can’t transfer balances from other Citi accounts. As with the Slate, you won’t earn any rewards for using it, either.
Ready to apply? Click Here to Apply for Citi Simplicity or to Learn More
With this card from Bank of America you’ll enjoy a lengthy 0% APR introductory rate and the rate increase after that is lower than you can find with other cards. There is no annual fee, but you will have a balance transfer fee of $10 or 3% of your transfer amount, which isn’t as attractive as the Simplicity or the Slate card. But if you apply by phone, you can transfer balances the minute you’re approved.
APR: 0% Introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 18 months on transfers made within the first 60 days from when you open the account, then the rate increases to a variable 11.24%-21.24% based on the status of your credit score.
Fees: $0 annual fee. $10 or 3% balance transfer fee, whichever is greater.
Perks: You get a year and half to pay down your debt which is definitely a plus. The BankAmericard also offers zero liability fraud protection so you’re never responsible for charges you didn’t make.
Drawbacks: Like the other cards we’ve covered so far, you won’t get any rewards for using this one.
The Discover “it” card is already considered one of the better options for the sign up bonus and all of the cash back rewards it offers. But it’s also a great choice for balance transfers with an 18 month, 0% introductory APR. While the rate will increase to industry standards after that initial promotional timeframe, you won’t have to worry about penalty APR rate increases if you miss a payment.
APR: 0% Introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 18 months then it rises to a 11.24%-23.24% variable based on your credit score.
Fees: $0 annual fee. $0 foreign transaction fee. No late fee on first late payment only. There is a 3% balance transfer fee after the 18 month introductory period expires.
Perks: Discover offers a sign up bonus by matching the cash back you earned over 12 months for the first year. The company also offers a “Freeze it” option to prevent fraudulent purchases in case the card is lost or stolen, they let you track your FICO score and monitor your account for fraud.
Drawbacks: Discover isn’t accepted as widely as Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. But there are still plenty of retailers and online merchants who do take the card for payment.
Ready to apply? Click Here to Apply for Discover it or to Learn More
One of the best cash back cards on the market is also a solid choice for consumers looking for a card that can provide smart balance transfer capabilities. It doesn’t offer as lengthy a 0% introductory APR and you do have to pay a balance transfer fee, but the Quicksilver also pays you considerable cash back rewards in addition to receiving all of the many benefits of the Visa Signature Program.
APR: 0% Introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months, the rate increases to 13%-23.24% variable after the initial period expires
Fees: No fees. $0 annual fee. 3% balance transfer fee.
Perks: Quicksilver pays you $100 after spending $500 on all purchases in your initial three months of ownership. The card also offers Visa Signature benefits for upgrades at hotels and resorts, complimentary 24 hour concierge, extended warranty protection on purchases, and preferred seating and advance ticket access to Visa Signature events.
Drawbacks: The 12 month introductory period is one of the shortest you’ll find among these cards. You can’t get this card with anything less than excellent credit.
Ready to apply? Click Here to Apply for Capital One Quicksilver or to Learn More
6. Wells Fargo Platinum Visa Card
The Platinum Visa from Wells Fargo is an average card for transferring balances. A good introductory APR period and standard variable rate after the fact, along with no annual fee, make up for the balance transfer fee that you will be assessed at average costs. But be careful about paying late as you’ll be charged for doing so. On the plus side, the card provides cell phone protection when you use it pay your wireless bill.
APR: 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then it rises to a variable rate of 15.40% to 25.24%. Cash advances and overdraft protection come with a variable rate of 24.24% to 26.24%
Fees: $0 annual fee. $5 or 3% balance transfer fee. 3% foreign transaction fee. $10 or 5% cash advance fee. Late payment penalty fee of $37, which is standard with most of these cards.
Perks: This Platinum Visa offers a whole range of perks including zero liability, overdraft protection, cell phone protection, and other Visa benefits like car rental coverage, roadside assistance, travel insurance and emergency services.
Drawbacks: Do not make late payments or you’re going to pay through the nose and those fees can add up fast, rendering your efforts towards paying down debt moot.
Barclaycard’s MasterCard offers great cash back rewards and an easy to earn sign up bonus, but its balance transfer advantages are pretty standard with an average introductory APR period and balance transfer fee commensurate with many of the other cards on our list. This one stands out more for the rewards you can earn, which can be redeemed toward paying your statement each month. So it can help you lower your debt, but you’ll need to spend to earn those rewards.
APR: 0% Introductory APR for 12 months on purchases and transfers with a rate increase of then it rises to a variable rate of 15.24%, 19.24% or 23.24% based on credit worthiness
Fees: $0 annual fee. 3% balance transfer fee. 3% foreign transaction fee. 5% cash advance fee.
Perks: Barclaycard offers a sign up bonus of $100 cash back after you spend $500 within the initial three months. You also get free access to credit reporting services and FICO scores, industry standard fraud protection, and chip card technology security. Travel insurance also has you covered in case your plans change or you need to cancel altogether.
Drawbacks: This one makes good sense if you’re looking for cash back rewards, but for balance transfers it’s only average.
Ready to apply? Click Here to Apply for Barclaycard CashForward or to Learn More
Comparable to some of the lower end cards on our list with respect to length of the 0% APR introductory rate, the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express is strong on cash back rewards at supermarkets and gas stations but offers only average balance transfer capabilities. If you have a smaller amount of debt that you can realistically pay down in a year, then this Amex may be for you.
APR: 0% Introductory APR for 12 months on purchases and transfers with a rate increase of then it rises to a variable rate of 13.24% to 23.24% as determined by your credit.
Fees: $0 annual fee. $5 or 3% balance transfer fee. 2.7% foreign transaction fee. $5 or 3% cash advance fee.
Perks: The perks are plentiful with respect to cash back rewards, which get applied to your statement in the form of credits. The card comes with all of the industry standard protections for purchases, travel, returns, and fraudulent charges. New customers can get up to $200 when they use the card with major wireless providers in the U.S.
Drawbacks: Transfers can be denied if they exceed $7,500 or 75% of your credit limit.
Ready to apply? Click Here to Apply for Blue Cash Everyday Card or to Learn More
The TD Visa is a cash back card that caters to consumers who like to eat out at restaurants a lot, as the majority of the rewards are earned at dining establishments. But this is a card that should appeal to those of you who want to consolidate debt on one card, though with just one year for the 0% introductory APR you’ll want to limit the amount you transfer over. In addition, that introductory rate only applies to transfers so you might want to leave the card in your wallet when you get to the register…unless you’re paying for dinner.
APR: 0% Introductory APR on balance transfers only, for one year. APR rates rise to a variable of 13.24%, 18.24% or 23.24% on approved credit.
Fees: $0 annual fee. $0 foreign transaction fee. $10 or 4% balance transfer fee.
Perks: TD Bank offers new customers $100 cash back bonus after $500 spent in the first 90 days of an open cardholder account. The card also comes with all of the typical Visa Signature benefits in addition to free VantageScore access.
Drawbacks: That 0% introductory APR doesn’t apply to purchases.
Ready to apply? Click Here to Apply for TD Cash Visa or to Learn More
10. BB&T Bright Card
This card brings to the table just about everything that the other guys offer, however the Bright Card does have the best APR you can find after the initial 15 month 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers ends. In fact, this card is so basic with respect to its perks and advantages that it would otherwise be pretty tough to identify in the current sea of 0% introductory APR cards that are floating around out there.
APR: 0% Introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and transfers with a rate increase that only reaches an 8.40% to 17.40% variable based on your credit. But with the high end of that variable near equal to the low side of most other rates, BB&T has got them beat.
Fees: $0 annual fee. $10 or 3% balance transfer fee. 3% foreign transaction fee. 3% cash advance fee.
Perks: You’d be hard pressed to find a better APR after the initial 0% introductory so this could be a good option if you anticipate carrying a balance on your card down the line. Beyond that, the Bright Card comes with standard protections against fraudulent activity and purchase security with the Visa Checkout program.
Drawbacks: You don’t get any rewards, but outside of that there are no drawbacks that outshine the low APR of potentially just under 9% with excellent credit.
Ready to apply? Click Here to Apply for BB&T Bright Card or to Learn More
Comparing the Freedom and the Slate, it’s clear one is better suited for purchasing and the other is better for paying down debt. The Slate being the latter for all of the great 0% introductory offers that come with it, while the Freedom has an excellent cash back program that rewards you for using the card. But then you’re interested in 0% balance transfer card for reducing debt, right?
APR: 0% Introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers expires after 15 months then rises to a variable rate of 14.24%, 19.24%, or 23.24%
Fees: $0 annual fee. 5% balance transfer fee after 15 months.
Perks: You can get up to 5% back on certain purchases based on qualifying categories throughout the year. There’s also a sign up bonus of $150 after you spend $500 in the first three months of opening the account and another $25 when you authorize an additional user on the card and make at least one purchase within that same three month span. Chase also offers fraud, purchase, and price protections.
Drawbacks: You may be tempted to use the card, and negate the hard work you put in to eliminate your credit card debt, because of all the bonuses and rewards that come with it.
Ready to apply? Click Here to Apply for Chase Freedom Card or to Learn More
12. SunTrust Cash Rewards MasterCard
Sun Trust’s MasterCard combines the best of cash back with a manageable APR rate as low as 10% after the initial 0% introductory period that’s good for 15 months on both purchases and transfers. No annual fee and cash back of up to 5% on gas and groceries are also big selling points here.
APR: 0% introductory APR for 15 months and that includes both purchases and balance transfers, then raises to a variable rate of 10.49% to 21.49% with eligible credit scores.
Fees: $0 annual and foreign transaction fee. $10 or 3% balance transfer fee. $10 or 4% cash advance fee.
Perks: FICO score monitoring, EMV security chip in every card. Cash back rewards on certain categories. All MasterCard eligible benefits.
Drawbacks: Another example of a good card for spending, though you’ll pay far less in APR than other cards with good rewards programs.
Ready to apply? Click Here to Apply for SunTrust Cash Rewards or to Learn More
Our Final Thoughts
Transferring your balances to a 0% APR credit card can improve your debt situation greatly, but you need to be careful about the potential pitfalls and snares that may come after that initial introductory period. Consider how much debt you want to transfer and the amount of time it will realistically take for you to pay it off.
Some cards offer longer 0% APR introductory lengths, but once they end those rates can skyrocket. So be sure you know what you’re getting into before applying for one of these cards if the goal is to pay off your credit card debt. Many of these cards reward you for using them and, while that sounds like a pretty great deal at first, the money you’re spending to trigger those rewards could hinder your original plan of eliminating your debt.
With any card you decide to apply for, be sure you read the full terms and conditions to know exactly what the requirements and rates will be as you continue to leave the account open. The best rule of thumb is not to use it for purchases at all. Just keep it in your purse or wallet while you’re paying off that balance.