A recent Bankrate survey found that 49 percent of credit card holders carry a balance from month to month, while data from Clever Real Estate reveal that credit card users owe an average of $5,875. Twenty-three percent of card users from that same study thought it would take them more than five years to pay off their credit card debt.

Credit card debt can be especially hard to recover from, partially because of ongoing exorbitant interest rates. Many consumers use a balance transfer credit card with a 0 percent intro APR offer as a pathway toward debt relief. If you need a leg up when paying credit card debt off, here are some of the best cards that can help you pay off credit card debt faster with minimal costs.

Comparing the best cards for paying off debt

Check out the table to compare intro APR periods and other card features to discover the right card for you. All are no-annual-fee cards.

Credit card Intro APR period on balance transfers Intro APR period on new purchases Ongoing variable APR Balance transfer fee
Wells Fargo Reflect® Card 21 months 21 months 18.24 percent, 24.74 percent, or 29.99 percent ($5 minimum), then 5 percent fee ($5 minimum)
BankAmericard® credit card 18 billing cycles 18 billing cycles 16.24 percent to 26.24 percent 3 percent for 60 days from account opening, then 4 percent
Citi® Double Cash Card 18 months N/A 19.24 percent to 29.24 percent variable 3 percent intro fee ($5 minimum) for transfers completed within the first four months, then 5 percent fee ($5 minimum)
Citi Simplicity® Card 21 months 12 months 19.24 percent to 29.99 percent 3 percent intro fee ($5 minimum) for transfers completed within the first four months, then 5 percent fee ($5 minimum)
U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card 21 billing cycles 21 billing cycles 18.74 percent to 29.74 percent 3 percent ($5 minimum)
Citi Diamond Preferred® 21 months 12 months 18.24 percent to 28.99 percent $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater

Top cards for paying off debt

Best intro APR offers

Wells Fargo Reflect® Card

Rating: 4.3 stars out of 5
Best for low interest


Rating: 4.1 stars out of 5
Best for cash back rewards

Citi Double Cash Card

Rating: 4.2 stars out of 5
Best for late payment protection

Citi Simplicity Card

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Best for alternative payments

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

Rating: 4.3 stars out of 5
Best for balance transfers and low interest

Citi Diamond Preferred® Card

How to choose the best credit card for paying off debt

Using a credit card to pay off debt may be a surprising strategy, but the 0 percent introductory terms some balance transfer cards offer can make it a smart move. Paying off credit cards in full is easier when you don’t have to make monthly interest payments. And the savings can be substantial — even after balance transfer fees.

If you’re considering a card that offers a 0 percent intro APR for a limited time, these tips can help you find the right one:

  • Decide if you want a 0 percent intro APR on purchases, balance transfers or both. Some cards offer an intro APR on either balance transfers or new purchases, while others include both. If you want to save money on purchases while you consolidate debt, look for an option that offers a 0 percent intro APR on both.
  • Figure out how long you need to pay off your debt. Compare the length of the introductory offers available, keeping in mind that the longest zero-interest term on the market is 21 months. If you need as much time as possible to pay off your credit card debt, look for the longest offer you can qualify for.
  • Determine if you want to earn rewards. While most balance transfer cards won’t offer rewards, you likely can find a couple that do or a rewards card that has decent intro APR offers. But you’ll typically wind up with a shorter introductory offer.
  • Compare fee structures. Make sure to compare fees, including annual fees, balance transfer fees and late fees. Also, take note of the ongoing variable APR, and remember any debt left when your introductory period is over will accrue interest at this rate.

Find the right card for you using Bankrate's CardMatch™. Discover prequalified offers for credit cards that can help with debt management.

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Frequently asked questions

  • Top balance transfer cards typically require a good FICO score (between 670 and 739), but many factors are considered for approval. Some issuers offer prequalification tools that can help consumers know which cards they might qualify for.
  • That depends on how much debt you have as well as other considerations, but you should aim to pay off your entire debt before the intro APR ends to avoid interest.
  • If you prefer to not use a zero-interest card, you have alternative ways to pay down credit card debt. For example, you can take out a personal loan, which might have a fixed lower interest rate, or you could borrow against your home’s equity.

What’s next?

Bankrate has several debt management tools that can help you figure out the best strategy to reduce debt and raise your credit score.

The bottom line

Paying off debt becomes considerably easier when you get the chance to avoid interest for a year or more. After all, the average credit card interest rate is more than 20 percent, and avoiding this added charge each month means that every dollar you pay on your credit card goes directly toward the principal balance.

That being said, using a credit card payoff calculator to figure out how long you might need to pay off your debt can be helpful. Also, make sure to compare your picks to our list of the best balance transfer credit cards before you apply, in case another card piques your interest.

Information about the BankAmericard® credit card was last updated on February 9th, 2024.