Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards of 2019

A balance transfer credit card is one that offers an introductory 0% APR period, allowing you to consolidate and pay off your debt without interest. Ultimately, a balance transfer card can help you to improve your financial health by tackling credit card debt. Find information, advice and our recommendations for the best balance transfer cards from our partners below.

The best balance transfer credit cards of 2019

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Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by Bankrate.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the bank’s website for the most current information.

Best for overall value

discover-it-012518.png Card Image
Apply Now ON Discover's secure website

Discover it® Balance Transfer

Recommended Credit Score:
670 - 850

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
0% for 6 months Purchases intro APR
0% for 18 months Balance Transfers intro APR
14.24% - 25.24% Variable Regular APR
$0 Annual Fee

Bankrate Score

91 out of 100

Card Details

  • Intro Offer: Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • 100% U.S. based customer service.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Receive Free Social Security number alerts— Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
  • No annual fee.
Terms and Restrictions Apply | Rates and Fees

Best for recently extended 0% intro APR offer

capital-one-quicksilver-cash-rewards-credit-card-041217.png Card Image
Apply Now ON Capital One's secure website

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Recommended Credit Score:
670 - 850

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
0% intro on purchases for 15 months Purchases intro APR
0% intro on balance transfers for 15 months Balance Transfers intro APR
15.24% - 25.24% (Variable) Regular APR
$0 Annual Fee

Bankrate Score

93 out of 100

Card Details

  • One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 15.24%-25.24% variable APR after that
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months; 15.24%-25.24% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for financial planning and tracking

wells-fargo-platinum-visa-card-041718.png Card Image
Apply Now ON Wells Fargo's secure website

Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Card

Recommended Credit Score:
670 - 850

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
0% for 18 months Purchases intro APR
0% for 18 months Balance Transfers intro APR
13.74%-27.24% (Variable) Regular APR
$0 Annual Fee

Bankrate Score

81 out of 100

Card Details

  • 0% Intro APR for 18 months on purchases and balance transfers (fees apply), then a 13.74%-27.24% variable APR; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate and fee
  • Get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Credit Card
  • Easy access to your FICO® Credit Score with Wells Fargo Online®
  • Zero Liability protection for promptly reported unauthorized transactions
  • Convenient tools to help create a budget and manage your spending with My Money Map
  • $0 Annual Fee
  • Select "Apply Now" to learn more about the product features, terms, and conditions
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for more rewards with everyday spending

221f6ee0-15b5-11e9-862b-05a9a238b808.png Card Image
Apply Now ON Citi's secure website

Citi Rewards+℠ Card

Recommended Credit Score:
670 - 850

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
0% intro for 12 months on Purchases Purchases intro APR
0% intro for 12 months on Balance Transfers Balance Transfers intro APR
15.74% - 25.74% (Variable) Regular APR
$0 Annual Fee

Bankrate Score

92 out of 100

Card Details

  • Introducing the New Citi Rewards+℠ Card - the only credit card that automatically rounds up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase - with no cap
  • Earn 15,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for $150 in gift cards at thankyou.com
  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for 12 months. After that, the variable APR will be 15.74% - 25.74%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Earn 2X ThankYou® Points at Supermarkets and Gas Stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1X Points thereafter. Plus, earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases.
  • Get 10% Points Back for the first 100,000 ThankYou® Points you redeem per year
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for no penalty APR

bankamericard-credit-card-041718.png Card Image
Apply Now ON Bank of America's secure website

BankAmericard® credit card

Recommended Credit Score:
670 - 850

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
0% Introductory APR on purchases for 18 billing cycles Purchases intro APR
0% Intro APR for 18 billing cycles for balance transfers made in the first 60 days Balance Transfers intro APR
15.24% - 25.24% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers Regular APR
$0 Annual Fee

Bankrate Score

89 out of 100

Card Details

  • New Offer: 0% Introductory APR for 18 billing cycles for purchases and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days, then, 15.24% - 25.24% Variable APR. 3% fee (min $10) applies to balance transfers
  • No annual fee
  • No penalty APR. Paying late won't automatically raise your interest rate (APR). Other account pricing and terms apply.
  • Access your FICO® Score for free within Online Banking or your Mobile Banking app
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for cash back

40711270-fe24-11e8-8180-c1350658d338.png Card Image
Apply Now ON Citi's secure website

Citi® Double Cash Card

Recommended Credit Score:
670 - 850

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
N/A Purchases intro APR
0% 18 months on Balance Transfers* Balance Transfers intro APR
15.74% - 25.74%* (Variable) Regular APR
$0* Annual Fee

Bankrate Score

94 out of 100

Card Details

  • Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back
  • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 15.74% - 25.74% based on your creditworthiness*
  • Click 'Apply Now' to see the applicable balance transfer fee and how making a balance transfer impacts interest on purchases
  • No categories to track, no caps on cash back, no annual fee*
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for a low regular variable APR

hsbc-gold-mastercard-credit-card-101217.png Card Image
Apply Now ON HSBC's secure website

HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card

Recommended Credit Score:
670 - 850

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
0% Introductory APR on credit card purchases for the first 18 months from account opening Purchases intro APR
0% Introductory APR on balance transfers for the first 18 months from account opening Balance Transfers intro APR
Variable APR of 13.24%, 17.24% or 21.24% will apply after the Introductory Period Regular APR
$0 Annual Fee

Bankrate Score

83 out of 100

Card Details

  • 0% Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 18 months from account opening. Then a variable APR of 13.24%, 17.24% or 21.24% will apply.
  • No Penalty APR.
  • Late Fee Waiver.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $0 Annual Fee.
  • $0 liability for unauthorized purchases.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Terms and Restrictions Apply | Rates and Fees

Best for straightforward rewards

a0f6d2c0-c8e0-11e8-a3eb-a72e4907d68a.png Card Image
Apply Now ON Chase's secure website

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Recommended Credit Score:
670 - 850

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months Purchases intro APR
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months Balance Transfers intro APR
16.99% - 25.74% Variable Regular APR
$0 Annual Fee

Bankrate Score

92 out of 100

Card Details

  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.99-25.74%. Balance transfer fee is 3% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase - it's automatic
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
  • No annual fee
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for dining and entertainment purchases

49fda590-9f2b-11e8-8835-390989bf37d0.png Card Image
Apply Now ON Capital One's secure website

Capital One® SavorOne℠ Cash Rewards Credit Card

Recommended Credit Score:
670 - 850

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
0% intro on purchases for 15 months Purchases intro APR
0% intro on balance transfers for 15 months Balance Transfers intro APR
15.24% - 25.24% (Variable) Regular APR
$0 Annual Fee

Bankrate Score

91 out of 100

Card Details

  • Earn a one-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 15.24% - 25.24% variable APR after that
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months; 15.24% - 25.24% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • No annual fee
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for rotating category cash back

chase-freedom-082917.png Card Image
Apply Now ON Chase's secure website

Chase Freedom®

Recommended Credit Score:
670 - 850

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months Purchases intro APR
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months Balance Transfers intro APR
16.99% - 25.74% Variable Regular APR
$0 Annual Fee

Bankrate Score

90 out of 100

Card Details

  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.99-25.74%. Balance transfer fee is 3% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
  • No annual fee
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by Bankrate.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the bank’s website for the most current information.


Author: Bankrate Staff | Last Updated: January 16, 2019

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In this article

Quick comparison: Bankrate’s best balance transfer credit cards of 2019

 

Card Name Bankrate Score Best For
Discover it® Balance Transfer 91/100 Best for overall value
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card 93/100 Recently extended 0% intro APR offer
Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Card 81/100 Financial planning and tracking
Citi Rewards+SM Card 92/100 More rewards with everyday spending
BankAmericard® credit card 89/100 No penalty APR
Citi® Double Cash Card 94/100 Cash back
HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card 83/100 Low regular variable APR
Chase Freedom Unlimited® 92/100 Straightforward rewards
Capital One® SavorOneSM Cash Rewards Credit Card 91/100 Dining and entertainment purchases
Chase Freedom® 90/100 Rotating category cash back

Why you should trust Bankrate

Bankrate’s team of financial services experts have years of experience studying the financial services industry and offering thoughtful, tailored advice depending on your circumstance. We take your financial health as seriously as you do and focus on offering impartial and well-researched guidance for every stage of your financial life cycle. From mortgages to home loans, and personal loans to 0% APR cards, our team covers the spectrum of financial services. We are here to answer all your credit card questions. In the case of balance transfer credit cards, we have evaluated as many credit cards as possible to determine the best cards to suit your lifestyle.

Review criteria

We take into account every element of a balance transfer cards offering: From its introductory APR offer, its fees, and standard APRs, to additional perks and extra rewards. A good balance transfer credit card is one that allows you to consolidate high-interest debt, pay down what you owe at low-to-no interest, thereby saving you on interest and helping to improve your overall financial health. We also know that although a card may seem great on paper, it needs to work well for you, fit your lifestyle and provide the best tool for you to achieve your goals. Our Bankrate Score takes into account a number of factors but we have weighted what we consider to be the most important more heavily:

  • Balance Transfer Fee: A good balance transfer credit card will offer a low fee on transferred balances and a great balance transfer credit card will not charge a transfer fee at all.
  • 0% Introductory APR Offer: Balance transfer cards should typically have a long period — between 12 – 18 months — of 0% APR.
  • Regular Variable APR: Regular variable APR is especially important to consider for balance transfer cards because this is the interest rate that you will be charged after the introductory 0% APR period.
  • Rewards: Rewards may not be the main motivation behind getting a balance transfer card but we want to help you get the most value from your credit card. Many credit card providers offer rewards as an incentive for becoming a cardholder.

The 10 best balance transfer credit cards to help you get out of debt

Discover it® Balance Transfer

Analysis: Our editors chose the Discover it Balance Transfer as our favorite for overall value because it enables consumers to consolidate debt, maximize cash rewards in rotating bonus categories, and double their cash back rewards at the end of the first year of card ownership. This card stands out as one of the best rewards-earning balance transfer credit cards on the market. If you are looking for a well-rounded credit card that will have staying power in your wallet this new year, even after your debt is paid off, this card should be at the top of your list. However, if you have a history of getting in trouble with spending just to earn rewards without paying off your balance in full every month, a basic balance transfer card with no rewards offer is a better option for you.

Pros

  • Pay off your debt faster with 0% intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers (then, 14.24%-25.24% standard variable APR applies)
  • Earn up to 5% cash back in rotating categories (up to the quarterly maximum) each time you activate.
  • Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all purchases that are not included in the quarterly bonus categories.
  • One of the most lucrative perks of the Discover it Balance Transfer card is that Discover will match all of your cash back earnings at the end of the first year of card ownership.
  • In addition to the introductory balance transfer offer, this card also offers a 6-month intro 0% APR period on purchases. Although we don’t recommend taking on more debt (even if it is interest-free) when you are already transferring a balance, this card has the potential to be incredibly helpful in a financial pinch.
  • This card charges no annual fee.
  • Your FICO® Credit Score will be on your monthly statements, mobile, and online for free when you have the Discover it Balance Transfer

Cons

  • In order to earn your 5% cash back in the quarterly bonus categories, you must activate your bonus rewards. Forgetting to do so would mean earning just 1% back on all purchases.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of 3% of the amount of each transfer, which, depending on how much debt you are transferring, could negate your savings on the cost of interest.
  • Although Discover will not charge a late fee on your first late or returned payment, there is a late or returned payment fee of up to $37 after one is forgiven.

Read Bankrate’s full Discover it Balance Transfer review.

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Analysis: The Capital One Quicksilver Card has one of the shortest intro balance transfer period of any of the cards on this list. However, it offers a straightforward 1.5% cash back rewards on everything you buy. The combination of a solid balance transfer offer and a valuable cash back structure is what drove this card to #3 on our list of the best balance transfer credit cards for 2019. We recommend the Capital One Quicksilver Card to consumers with a smaller balance that they need to transfer and who don’t already have a card that offers flat-rate cash back or rewards on all of their purchases. This is a card that we also recommend as one of the best cash back credit cards, which further emphasizes its value outside of just being a credit card with an introductory balance transfer offer.

Pros

  • This card offers a respectable 15-month intro 0% APR offer on balance transfers, after which, the regular variable APR of 15.24% – 25.24% applies. If you have a relatively small amount of debt to pay off and you are looking for a card that you will want to keep in your wallet after your debts are paid, the Capital One Quicksilver Card is a solid choice.
  • The 1.5% cash back on all purchases is the most straightforward way to earn cash back on all of your purchases. Without even thinking about it, you can earn money back on the purchases that you make every day.
  • In addition to the 15-month balance transfer offer, the Quicksilver Card also offers an introductory 0% APR on purchases for 15 months, after which, the regular variable APR of 15.24%- 25.24% applies.
  • There is a $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months of opening your account.

Cons

  • While the Capital One Quicksilver Card is a solid option, it carries neither the longest balance transfer period nor the highest rewards rate of cards in this category.
  • There is a late payment fee of up to $38. If you have a history of not making your minimum payment each month, you may want to look at other cards that offer late payment forgiveness.
  • Like many other cards in this category, there is a balance transfer fee of 3% of each transferred amount during the first 15 months that your account is open.

Read Bankrate’s full Capital One Quicksilver Card review.

Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Card

Analysis: For consumers who struggle with both credit card debt and managing a budget that allows them to comfortably pay all of their bills in full each month, the Wells Fargo Platinum Visa Card is an excellent choice. Not only does this card offer a competitive 18-months 0% APR introductory period (after that the regular 13.74%-27.24% variable APR applies) on purchases and balance transfers, but it also provides the unique perk of giving consumers access to the Wells Fargo My Money Map budge and spending-management system. There are other cards on the market that are better if you are looking for rewards and cash back, but this card is our top pick if what you need is a straightforward balance transfer card that will not only provide a launch pad to get out of debt, but will also give you all the tools that you need to keep you out of debt throughout the year.

Pros

  • The 18-month 0% intro APR offer is one of the best-in-class offers for consumers looking to transfer their balance.
  • One of the biggest perks of this card is access to Wells Fargo’s My Money Map tool, which can help you plan and track your spending as you pay off your balance and set yourself up for future financial success. A balance transfer card can help reduce the amount that you will pay to your card provider in interest, but one of the most important things that we recommend is that you set a budget and make sure that you stay debt free after you pay off your balance. The Wells Fargo My Money Map Tool can help you do just that, potentially opening doors to other financial products, like mortgages, at more favorable rates.
  • Using this card to pay your phone bill each month grants you up to $600 in cell phone insurance.
  • There is no annual fee for this card, which means that you won’t have an annual payment cutting into how much you can save by using a balance transfer.

Cons

  • Outside of having on of the best balance transfer offers, this card is rather lackluster and offers no opportunity to earn cash back or rewards points on your spending. That being said, if you already own a card that offers rewards and/or have gotten into trouble with spending just to earn the rewards on a different card, the Wells Fargo Platinum Visa could be a good choice.
  • Be very wary of the high regular variable APR that goes into effect after the introductory APR expires. With a regular variable APR of 13.74%-27.24%, it is easy to get into trouble if you aren’t paying your balance in full each month or paying off the entirety of your transferred balance within the promotional 18-month period.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of 3% of the transferred balance during within the first 120 days of card ownership. After that, the fee increases to 5%, making it one of the more costly balance transfer fees in this category.

Read Bankrate’s full Wells Fargo Platinum Visa review

Citi Rewards+SM Card

Analysis: The new Citi Rewards+ Card doesn’t ask you to increase your everyday spending in order to earn more rewards. Some of your smallest purchases —
coffee, a quick grocery run, or last minute errands — have the potential to become something more rewarding, no extra effort required. The Rewards+ Card also comes with 15,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first three months. In addition, the new Round Up feature allows you to get an extra bump to the nearest ten points (Ex: $3 Coffee = 10 Points, $12 Meal = 20 Points). And paying 0% interest for the first twelve months on purchases or balance transfers (after which, regular variable APR of 15.74%-25.74% applies) gets you off to a great start. If you’re a daily spender, you’re always looking for more ways to save. Why not get a card that gives you more ways to earn?

Pros

  • Small purchases earn maximum rewards thanks to the card’s roundup feature.
  • You can earn 15,000 ThankYou Points after spending $1,000 within the first three months of card ownership.
  • You’ll get access to perks and benefits, like presale tickets and VIP experiences through Citi Private Pass, trip cancellation protection, and more.
  • It has no annual fee.

Cons

  • ThankYou Points earned with this card are slightly devalued compared to ThankYou Points earned with other top Citi cards.
  • It’s supermarket earnings (2x points at supermarkets and gas stations on up to $6,000 in combined purchases annually) aren’t super competitive.

BankAmericard credit card

Analysis: We recommend the BankAmericard credit card for consumers who have a large balance that they need to transfer and are looking for a straightforward balance transfer card. With 0% Introductory APR for 18 billing cycles for purchases and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days, then 15.24% – 25.24% Variable APR, and a transfer limit up to the credit limit that you are approved for, this card is a solid choice for paying down debt. A 3% fee (min $10) applies to balance transfers. Most other credit cards in this category have a capped balance transfer amount, making the BankAmericard credit card an attractive option for people with large amounts of debt who will get approved for a high credit limit. However, if you are looking for a card with lasting value, you should look elsewhere. Despite its utility for balance transfers, the BankAmericard credit card does not offer any rewards or cash back.

Pros

  • If you qualify, the ongoing 15.24% – 25.24% Variable APR is much lower than many of this card’s competitors offer.
  • There is no annual fee for this card.
  • This card does not charge a penalty APR

Cons

  • While the BankAmercard is the best credit card for consumers with large balances, this card does not offer any rewards or cash back. If you have a smaller balance (think $10,000 or less) it will be worth your while to look at cards that have both lengthy balance transfer and rewards offers.
  • Purchases outside of the U.S. will result in a 3% foreign transaction fee, making this card a bad choice if you are looking for a card that you can take overseas.
  • We think it’s worth noting that this card charges a balance transfer fee of 3% or $10 (whichever is greater). This is a standard fee across many balance transfer cards, but it can cut into the money you will save on interest and should be considered in any calculations that you do to determine if a balance transfer is worth it.

Read Bankrate’s full BankAmericard credit card review.

Citi® Double Cash Card

Analysis: The Citi Double Cash Card is a leader among balance transfer cards that also offer cash back. It comes with a lengthy introductory 0% APR on balance transfers for 18 months. After that, it’s a variable APR of 15.74% – 25.74% based on your creditworthiness. Like the Capital One Quicksilver card, the Double Cash Card has a flat-rate cash back structure that offers 1% back when you make a purchase and another 1% back when you pay your bill each month. While this card comes with huge earning potential from the “double cash” structure, we only recommend it to consumers who are certain that they will be able to pay their bill in full each month moving forward.

Pros

  • Lengthy balance transfer offer
  • 2% back on all purchases (1% when you make a purchase, 1% when you pay your bill)
  • This card charges no annual fee
  • No need to sign up for rotating categories each quarter
  • The amount of cash back you can earn is unlimited

Cons

  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater. This could cut into how much money you can save, so make sure to incorporate this into your savings calculations.
  • There is a variable penalty APR up to 29.99% and applies if your payment is late or returned
  • If you typically carry a balance, the interest charges will far outweigh your cash back earning. Make sure not to spend more than you normally would just to earn rewards.

Read Bankrate’s full Citi Double Cash Card review.

HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card

Analysis: The HSBC Gold Mastercard credit card is best for consumers who plan to have a remaining balance after the initial 18-month 0% introductory APR period and who will qualify for the low end of the ongoing variable APR range. With the potential to have a rate as low as 13.24%, it is likely that you would continue to save money on interest charges, even after the intro balance transfer period is over. With that being said, this is a balance transfer card that does not offer cash back or rewards. If you are looking for a card that does, we recommend looking elsewhere.

Pros

  • If you can qualify for the lowest APR offered for this card (13.24% variable), you will have one of the lowest APRs available on the credit card market today, making any remaining balance that you carry relatively cheap when compared to other cards in this category.
  • In addition to the balance transfer offer, the HSBC Gold Mastercard offers a lengthy 18-month 0% introductory APR on credit card purchases (after which, the ongoing variable APR of 13.24%, 17.24%, or 21.24% will apply).

Cons

  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $10 or 4%, whichever is greater.
  • This card does not offer any cash back or rewards, limiting its utility to balance transfers and making large purchases with 0% interest for 18 months.
  • There is a late payment fee of up to $37. If you have a habit of making late payments, you might want to look for a different balance transfer credit card that does not charge late fees.

Read Bankrate’s full HSBC Gold Mastercard review.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Analysis: Similar to many of the cards on this list, the Chase Freedom Unlimited is, first and foremost, a cash back card, offering 1.5% cash back on all eligible purchases. If you have a balance that you feel that you can comfortable pay off within the introductory 0% intro APR balance transfer offer (after which, the ongoing 16.99% – 25.74% APR applies), this card is a good option. Where this card really shines is its utility when owned alongside either the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Chase Sapphire Reserve in order to take advantage of the Chase Ultimate Rewards Program. If you already have one of the Sapphire cards and feel comfortable with a slightly shorter balance transfer offer, we recommend the Chase Freedom Unlimited.

Pros

  • In addition to a good balance transfer offer, the Chase Freedom Unlimited also offers 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months.
  • There is a relatively easy-to-hit sign-up bonus: $150 cash back after you spend $500 within the first three months of card ownership.
  • We can’t emphasize the value of Chase Ultimate Rewards enough. If you transfer points from the Freedom Unlimited to one of the Chase Sapphire cards, you can increase your rewards by up to 50%, packing this card full of value.

Cons

  • The balance transfer fee on the Chase Freedom Unlimited is $5 or 3%, whichever is greater. This is on the high-end for industry-standard balance transfer fees and is definitely something to consider if you are transferring a larger balance.
  • There is a 3% foreign transaction fee on all purchases made outside the United States. If you don’t plan on leaving the country anytime soon or you have a card that boasts no foreign transaction fees, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
  • The regular ongoing variable APR is 16.99% – 25.74%, which is pretty high! Make sure that you can feel confident that you can pay off your transferred balance within the introductory period so that you don’t end up paying more interest on the remaining balance than you were on your old card.

Read Bankrate’s full Chase Freedom Unlimited review.

Capital One® SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Analysis: With generous tiered rewards on great bonus categories like dining, entertainment and grocery stores, the SavorOne Cash Rewards card is a card you’ll want to use long after you taken advantage of the 15-month introductory offer for balance transfers. If you can feasibly pay off your credit card debt within the 0% APR offer period (note that debt is subject to a 15.24% – 24.25% variable APR after the introductory period is over), this card is a great option for those looking to earn rewards on daily spending while paying off existing debt. The card has no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees, making it a card that can add long-term value both in the U.S. and abroad.

Pros

  • You can earn generous rewards on everyday purchases while you pay off debt with 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases.
  • With no rewards cap, the earning potential with this card is limitless.
  • Like most balance transfer cards, there is no annual fee.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

Cons

  • The balance transfer fee on this card is 3% of the amount of each transfer  made within the first 15 months, which can add up to a lot! Use our balance transfer calculator to make sure that this fee does not outweigh your savings on interest.
  • There are longer introductory offers available if you’re worried about paying off a large debt within the 15 months offered with this card.

Read Bankrate’s full Capital One® SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card review.

Chase Freedom®

Analysis: If you don’t mind rotating bonus categories, the Freedom provides good value as a cash back card. As a balance transfer card, its strength lies in the first 15 months of your account – when you pay 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers (16.99% – 25.74% APR after that). Also, be aware that there is a balance transfer fee of $5 or 3% of the amount transferred. If you’re strategic during the first 15 months with this card, you could pay off your balance while earning some valuable bonuses under no interest.

Pros

  • For being a no annual fee card, the Chase Freedom offers some solid bonuses – with 5% cash back on rotating categories and $150 after spending $500 in the first three months of your account opening.
  • The Freedom is a great tool to pair with premium Chase cards in order to maximize travel rewards. Accumulating points from rotating categories and transferring them to premium cards help you to save a ton on travel expenses.
  • You have redemption flexibility outside of cash back, with options to redeem points for merchandise and gift cards.

Cons

  • While the 5% cash back rate on rotating categories is on the higher end compared to similar cards, there is a $1,500 spend limit per quarter. Depending on your spending habits, this may not be enough room to really feel the bonuses.
  • If you happen to miss your deadline to activate your categories for 5% cash back, your overall earnings might fall short of what you could get with other cards.
  • While this card is a good ally for the frequent traveler, the foreign traveler should be aware of its 3% foreign transaction.

Common FAQs

How do balance transfers work?

A balance transfer credit card is a financial tool that can help you avoid paying high interest on another card or credit account. The key is the introductory APR offer.

With a period of 0% APR, you can move an outstanding balance to a balance transfer card and pay down that debt interest-free for as long as the intro offer lasts. Depending on the card, the 0% APR period could last in the general range of 12 to 21 months.

The right balance transfer credit card, used correctly, can offer a practical and economical way to deal with debt.

“If you have high interest credit card debt, balance transfer cards allow you to shift debt to a card with a promotional period interest rate of 0%. Some people prefer to use the balance transfer cards to make an expensive purchase while taking advantage of the 0% interest offered by some cards. No matter what someone uses a balance transfer card for, they need to pay off the balance before the end of the promotional period or be prepared to pay more high interest payments.”
— Vicki Cook,Co-founder at WomenWhoMoney.com

A balance transfer test case

Let’s say you have a credit card with a balance of $3,000, charging 17% APR (Annual Percentage Rate). To erase that balance by making payments of $200 a month, it would take you 17 months and wind up costing $396 in interest.

On the other hand, a balance transfer card with an 18-month 0% intro APR might lead to a less expensive outcome.

If you moved the entire $3,000 balance to the balance transfer card, you could pay off the debt in 18 months with monthly payments of $167 and $0 paid in interest. Depending on the card, you may have to pay a balance transfer fee. In this case, a 3% fee would cost you $90 — an appreciable amount but still less painful than paying $396 in interest.

You can simulate your own balance transfer scenario using two of Bankrate’s signature financial tools: the Credit Card Payoff Calculator and the Credit Card Balance Transfer Calculator.

Is a balance transfer right for you?

An ideal situation for a balance transfer would involve:

  • A consumer with good credit (FICO score ranging from 670 to 739)
  • Less than $15,000 in debt to be transferred, since most balance transfer cards set a limit
  • The discipline to pay off the transferred debt

Don’t mistake a balance transfer card for a Get Out of Debt Free Card. Even if you avoid high interest from the original debt, you’re still responsible for the principal amount, plus any fees.

Things to consider before getting a balance transfer credit card

If you think a balance transfer card might be right for you, there are several things to consider. The key attributes of a balance transfer card are:

  • Introductory interest rate: Balance transfer cards come with lower introductory interest rates, often 0%. The longer this introductory period the longer you have to pay down debt with low-no interest.
  • Annual percentage rate (APR) after the introductory rate: Once the introductory period is over the card’s interest will revert to the standard variable APR rate which will depend on your individual creditworthiness. This rate can be very high so it’s important that you know what it is, when it will kick in, and be prepared for it.
  • Balance transfer fee: Most balance transfer cards charge a balance transfer fee anywhere between 3% to 5% of the amount being transferred. This would mean that if you transfer $5,000 to a card charging a 5% transfer fee then you will incur a $250 transfer fee. Two popular cards on the market that don’t charge a balance transfer fee within the first 60 days of account opening are the Chase Slate and Amex Everyday Card.
  • Annual fee: Some cards charge an annual fee and this should be factored into your calculation when choosing a balance transfer offer.
  • Minimum monthly payment: All credit cards charge a minimum monthly payment which is usually determined as a percentage of your balance, plus interest and any fees.
  • Late fees and over-the-limit fees: If you make your payment late or exceed your available credit limit most credit cards will charge a fee.

Under federal law, the introductory APR rate must last at least six months. Many balance transfer credit cards will offer introductory rates for longer periods, anywhere from 12 to 21 months depending on the issuer. This can amount to significant savings for those with a lot of credit card debt.

For example, if you’re transferring a balance of $10,000 from a card with a 17% APR to a balance transfer card with an introductory 15-month 0% APR offer, over the course of a year, if you didn’t touch that balance, you’d save $1,700 in finance charges that would have accrued on the old card.

Make sure to pay attention to the fine print around the introductory offer period. For some cards, you have to execute a transfer within a certain time frame to be eligible for the introductory rate. In your calculations make sure to factor in the balance transfer fee and make sure that you can make the minimum monthly payments. Read the terms carefully to decide what the best offer is for your circumstances and make sure to avoid any cards that you can’t use effectively to pay down your outstanding debt.

“One of the most important factors is to ensure the card you are transferring to does not charge a high transfer fee.”
— Belva Anakwenze, Business Manager at Abacus Financial Group

How long is the average balance transfer offer?

A balance transfer offer typically ranges anywhere from 9 months to nearly two years. Keep in mind that many cards also charge a balance transfer fee, typically ranging from 3% to 5% of the amount being transferred, so it pays to do the math before making a transfer to see how much you’ll ultimately save.

It’s important to remember that the length of time you have at 0% is a limited time offer, meaning you’ll likely have to transfer the balance within a certain period of time after opening the account to qualify for the interest-free time period.

How much money you can save

Balance transfer credit cards can save the average adult cardholder up to $1,000 or more in interest payments. Total savings will vary based on how much you owe, your current interest rate, and how much you can pay per month towards your balance. Creditcards.com reports that the average credit card debt per U.S. adult with a credit card is $5,839, and the current credit card interest rate is 17.23% at the time of this writing. Here is how the savings break down with each of our top picks, assuming a $250 monthly payment:

Credit Card Name Time to Payoff Balance Transfer Savings
Discover it® Balance Transfer 25 months $1,013
BankAmericard® credit card 25 months $1,102
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card 25 months $900
Citi Double Cash Card 25 months $1,008
Chase Freedom Unlimited® 26 months $747

If you would like to enter your own information to calculate your savings, visit our balance transfer calculator.

When to use a balance transfer

Balance transfer credit cards can reduce the interest you pay on your total credit card debt, effectively lowering your monthly payments and saving you money on finance charges. These cards allow you to consolidate all of your credit debt onto one low-rate card.

These cards are typically designed for and offered to people with good to excellent credit. You may not qualify if your credit isn’t good. If you have bad credit, a personal loan might be a better option, especially if you can find a fixed-rate offer with a lower interest rate than what your credit card charges you.

Check your credit report for free before you apply.

However, if you are simply transferring balances from card to card without paying down what you owe, the new card won’t eliminate your debt woes. In fact, you could wind up exacerbating them because balance transfers can involve fees and often carry higher-than-average interest rates once the introductory period is over. Make a plan to pay down as much of your debt as you can within the introductory interest rate period.

The other big factor to consider is the credit limit on the card that you are transferring your balance to. Most balance transfer cards have a cap on the amount you can transfer. Make sure you find out how much you are allowed to transfer before applying for the card. Otherwise, you may not find out if your new account will be able to accept your balance until after the account is opened, and you’ll have to make payments on two credit cards.

All things considered, if used correctly, a balance transfer credit card can be a valuable tool to help you pay off what you owe and get out of credit card debt. The important things to remember are to read the fine print, understand all the charges, rates and fees associated with your card, and make sure that you can transfer your full balance to this new card. Have a plan in place to begin paying down as much of the balance as you can — ideally all of it — within the introductory APR window.

“If you qualify for a balance transfer at a lower interest rate (factoring in any associated fees) than what you currently plan now, it might be a good idea to move over your balance to save money on interest payments while you tackle paying down your debt.”
— Bola Sokunbi, Founder & CEO at Clever Girl Finance

 

How to complete a balance transfer: online or over the phone

Completing a balance transfer is easier than you might think. After you apply and get approved for a card, make sure to gather all the information you will need: credit card account numbers, bank names and addresses and the amount that you want to transfer to your new card.

The process to complete a balance transfer will vary slightly by credit card issuer but generally, the process will be to either call the customer service department or complete the transfer online. The new credit card company will contact your old credit card company and take care of moving your balance to the new card, which could take up to two weeks to complete. It’s important to follow up on your old cards to make sure they show a $0 balance before you stop making payments on them.

However, before you apply, be sure that you are ready to dedicate a portion of your budget to paying off your balance and have a debt payoff plan in place. While these cards can save you a substantial amount of money in interest, repeat applications for low-interest accounts as soon as your introductory offer expires can damage your credit score. Make a budget and take paying off your debt within the 0% APR time frame seriously.

Need to do more research?

If you need to do more research to find the right credit card to transfer a balance, check out our related articles below. You can also browse through every balance transfer card that we have ever reviewed in our reviews section.

* See the online application for details about terms and conditions for these offers. Every reasonable effort has been made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. After you click on the offer you desire you will be directed to the credit card issuer's web site where you can review the terms and conditions for your selected offer.