Key takeaways

  • Lengthy credit card balance transfer offers can mean the difference between paying hundreds in interest and paying nothing at all.
  • Balance transfer cards with 21-month intro periods can help you pay off debt, but they carry few benefits beyond the intro period.
  • Alternatives for paying down debt include shorter intro periods and consolidation loans.

A balance transfer card can be an effective money-saving option for paying down high-interest credit card debt — and the longer the introductory period, the greater your potential savings. While you’ll find many excellent balance transfer cards on the market, it’s become more difficult recently to find one that offers a 21-month 0 percent intro APR.

That said, you do still have options if you’re looking for a longer-than-typical intro APR offer. We detail a few of your 21-month intro offer card options, as well as the pros and cons of that lengthy APR offer and alternatives to consider for paying down your debt.

Cards that offer 21 months of 0% APR for balance transfers

These cards offer some of the longest intro APR periods for balance transfers on the market.

Citi Simplicity® Card


  • It has minimal fees — including no annual fee, late fee or penalty APR
  • The balance transfer fee is on the low end


  • It offers minimal long-term value once the intro APR expires
  • Intro period for purchases is short compared to other cards on the market

Who should get this card?

Citi Simplicity works best for someone with good credit to excellent credit — a FICO score of 670 to 850 — who needs a lengthy balance transfer period, but can get by with a shorter intro purchase period. The low-end-of-normal intro balance transfer fee of 3 percent could add up to substantial savings over a card that charges the typical 5 percent fee. For example, the average credit card debt in the U.S. was $6,088 at the end of Q3 2023, according to TransUnion. If you transferred $6,000 to Citi Simplicity, its 3 percent balance transfer fee would tack on another $180 for a total balance of $6,180 to pay off. But a card that charges a 5 percent balance transfer fee would add $300 to your balance, totaling $6,300.

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card


  • It offers more perks than the Citi Simplicity, including access to Citi Entertainment
  • It has a slightly longer ongoing interest rate


  • The balance transfer fee is on the high end of typical
  • It has more fees than the Simplicity, including late fees and a penalty APR

Who should get this card?

Citi Diamond Preferred offers access to Citi Entertainment and has a few additional perks, but it isn’t as ideal a card for balance transfers as compared to others on this list. Its higher balance transfer fee puts it behind Citi Simplicity. If you’re looking for a Citi balance transfer card, there isn’t a compelling reason to choose this one over Simplicity.

Wells Fargo Reflect® Card


  • It features a long 21-month intro offer on both balance transfers and purchases
  • Wells Fargo’s cell phone protection kicks in when you pay your mobile bill with your card


  • The balance transfer fee is on the high end
  • It offers minimal long-term value with the card past the intro period

Who should get this card?

Wells Fargo Reflect offers an equally lengthy 21-month intro 0 percent APRs on both purchases and balance transfers for people with at least good credit. If you need to both transfer existing high-interest debt and make new purchases to pay off over time, this card is a solid choice.

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card*


  • It features a 21-month intro offer on both purchases and balance transfers
  • It has a comparatively low balance transfer fee


  • There’s a shorter time frame to take advantage of the balance transfer offer
  • There’s not much long-term value beyond the intro period

Who should get this card?

The U.S. Bank Visa Platinum card checks all the boxes with its limited-time offer of an intro 0 percent APR for 21 months on purchases and balance transfers (before the ongoing 18.74 percent to 29.74 percent variable APR kicks in). Plus, it has a lower balance transfer fee than Wells Fargo Reflect. If you can make your transfer within the first 60 days, this card should be at the top of the list for you.

Other options

Looking for more choices? Check with your local or affinity-based credit union. While credit unions don’t advertise their products as widely as larger traditional banks, they often offer highly competitive rates on loan products, including credit cards.

21-month 0% APR card pros and cons

Cards designed solely for balance transfers or avoiding interest on purchases are a boon to cardholders who may carry a balance or want to pay off high-interest debt. Weight the advantages and disadvantages of these cards before applying.


  • Helps you pay down debt. At 21 months to pay off debt interest-free, these are among the longest periods you’ll find on any card. Nearly two years to pay down a balance without accruing interest can be life-changing for people.
  • Good for large purchases. The best 0 percent APR cards also offer an interest-free period for purchases, so you can finance large expenses over time.
  • May benefit your credit utilization ratio. When you open a new card, your available credit increases. As long as you don’t make purchases with your new card and focus on paying down debt, your credit utilization ratio will decrease, which can help your credit score.


  • Fewer features or rewards. Dedicated balance transfer cards tend to lack the same perks available on a rewards card, such as cash back, a signup bonus or travel-related features.
  • Balance transfer fees can be high. Most balance transfer cards charge a fee on your transferred balance that’s between 3 percent and 5 percent of the transferred amount. Depending on how much money you transfer, this can result in significant extra costs.
  • Credit requirements are high. The best balance transfer offers require a good to excellent FICO score of 670 or higher. This is unfortunate, as cardholders with poor financial health are most likely to benefit from a long balance transfer period.
  • Can’t move balances from the same bank. Banks usually don’t allow you to transfer balances between their products. It means if you already hold a Citi card, you can’t open a Citi Simplicity and move the balance to that card. If that’s your situation, choose a card that isn’t with your current issuer or consider an alternative to paying down your debt.

Alternatives to a 21-month 0% intro APR card

Opening a 21-month balance transfer credit card is a great first step to paying down your debt, but other debt repayment options might work better for your situation. Here are a few suggestions.

  • Consider a shorter intro period. If you can pay off your debt in less than 21 months, a shorter intro period might open up your balance transfer card options dramatically. Many rewards credit cards offer intro periods of 12 to 18 months and, thanks to their rewards programs, can remain valuable additions to your wallet even after the intro period ends. For example, if you transfer a $5,000 balance to Citi Simplicity ($5,150 after the balance transfer fee) and pay it off over 21 months, you’ll pay about $246 per month to pay it off during the intro period. Transfer $5,000 to the Citi Double Cash® Card, which offers an intro 18 months 0 percent interest on balance transfers (then a 19.24 percent to 29.24 percent variable APR), and you’ll pay about $287 per month to pay off the balance. Once you pay off your balance, though, you can keep earning rewards with your Double Cash card.
  • Debt repayment strategy. A debt repayment strategy like the avalanche or debt snowball methods don’t require opening a new credit card. These strategies build momentum through prioritizing debt by interest rate or amount so you can focus on one account at a time.
  • Debt consolidation loans. A debt consolidation loan works like a balance transfer card: you move your separate debts into a single account, simplifying your payments. The biggest advantages debt consolidation loans have over balance transfer cards is you may be able to borrow more money with a loan, and you can combine multiple debts under one payment plan and interest rate. The most common type of debt consolidation loan is a personal loan, though homeowners also have the option of a home equity loan.

The bottom line

A balance transfer card is among the best tools for paying down your debt interest-free with minimal hassle, and a 21-month intro period can give you the most wiggle room to make your payments comfortably. Given the recent trends in balance transfer cards shortening their intro periods or raising balance transfer fees, you may want to apply soon if you’ve had your eye on a particular offer.

*Issuer-required disclosure

Information about the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card has been collected independently by Bankrate. Card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.