18 MONTH 0% INTRO APR | BEST FOR ROTATING CATEGORY CASH BACK

Apply now
On Discover's secure site
See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply
Balance transfer intro APR
18 months 0% for 18 months
Purchase intro APR
0% for 6 months
Regular APR
11.99% - 22.99% Variable
Rewards rate
1%–5% Cash back
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

21 months 0% Intro APR | Excellent credit

Apply now
On Citi's secure site
Terms Apply
Balance transfer intro APR
21 months 0% for 21 months on Balance Transfers
Purchase intro APR
0% for 12 months on Purchases
Regular APR
13.74% - 23.74% (Variable)
Rewards rate
N/A
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

18 billing cycles Intro APR | No penalty APR

Apply now
On Bank of America's secure site
Terms Apply
Balance transfer intro APR
18 billing cycles 0% Intro APR for 18 billing cycles for any BTs made in the first 60 days. A 3% fee (min. $10) applies.
Purchase intro APR
0% Intro APR for 18 billing cycles for purchases
Regular APR
12.99% - 22.99% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
Rewards rate
N/A
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

UP TO 21 MONTHS 0% INTRO APR | BEST FOR LONGEST INTRO APR

Apply now
On Wells Fargo's secure site
See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply
Balance transfer intro APR
18 months 0% intro APR for up to 21 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers
Purchase intro APR
0% intro APR for up to 21 months from account opening
Regular APR
12.99%-24.99% Variable APR
Rewards rate
N/A
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

20 Billing Cycles Intro APR | Best for long intro APR period

Apply now
On U.S. Bank's secure site
See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply
Balance transfer intro APR
20 billing cycles 0%* for 20 billing cycles on balance transfers*
Purchase intro APR
0%* for 20 billing cycles on purchases*
Regular APR
14.49% - 24.49%* (Variable)
Rewards rate
N/A
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

15 months 0% intro APR | 2% cash rewards

Apply now
On Wells Fargo's secure site
See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply
Balance transfer intro APR
15 months 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers
Purchase intro APR
0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening
Regular APR
14.99%-24.99% (Variable)
Rewards rate
2% Cash back
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

15 Months 0% intro APR | Automatic bonus category

Apply now
On Citi's secure site
Terms Apply
Balance transfer intro APR
15 months 0% for 15 months on balance transfers
Purchase intro APR
0% for 15 months on purchases
Regular APR
13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)
Rewards rate
1%–5% Cash back
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

21 months 0% intro APR | Best for no late fee

Apply now
On Citi's secure site
Terms Apply
Balance transfer intro APR
21 months 0% for 21 months on Balance Transfers
Purchase intro APR
0% for 12 months on Purchases
Regular APR
14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)
Rewards rate
N/A
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

18 months 0% Intro APR | Up to 2% cash back

Apply now
On Citi's secure site
Terms Apply
Balance transfer intro APR
18 months 0% intro for 18 months on Balance Transfers
Purchase intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
13.99% - 23.99% (Variable)
Rewards rate
2% Cash back
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

15 billing cycles Intro APR | Flexible rewards categories

Apply now
On Bank of America's secure site
Terms Apply
Balance transfer intro APR
15 billing cycles 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for any BTs made in the first 60 days. A 3% fee (min. $10) applies.
Purchase intro APR
0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases
Regular APR
13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
Rewards rate
1%–3% Cash back
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

15 Billing Cycles Intro APR | Best for unlimited 1.5% cash back

Apply now
On Bank of America's secure site
Terms Apply
Balance transfer intro APR
15 billing cycles 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for any BTs made in the first 60 days. A 3% fee (min. $10) applies.
Purchase intro APR
0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases
Regular APR
13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
Rewards rate
1.5% Cash back
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)
The more you know…
As debt continues to be an issue for many Americans, 13% of U.S. adults reported losing sleep over paying off credit card debt, according to our study.


Compare the best credit cards for balance transfers

Card name Bankrate’s pick for Balance transfer intro APR period Regular APR
Discover it® Balance Transfer Rotating category cash back 18 months 11.99% – 22.99% variable
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card Excellent credit 21 months 13.74% – 23.74% variable
BankAmericard® credit card No penalty APR 0% intro APR for 18 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days 12.99% – 22.99% variable
Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card Intro APR Up to 21 months (18 months, plus up to 3 months if you make on-time monthly payments while the intro offer is active) 12.99% – 24.99% variable
U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card Best for long intro APR period 0% intro APR for 20 billing cycles for balance transfers made in the first 60 days 14.49% – 24.49% variable
Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card Best for 2% cash rewards 15 months 14.99%-24.99% variable
Citi Custom Cash℠ Card Automatic bonus category 15 months 13.99% – 23.99% variable
Citi Simplicity® Card No late fee 21 months 14.74% – 24.74% variable
Citi® Double Cash Card Up to 2% cash back 18 months 13.99% – 23.99% variable
Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card Flexible rewards categories 0% intro APR for 15 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days 13.99% – 23.99% variable
Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card Best for unlimited 1.5% cash back 15 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days 13.99% – 23.99% variable

A closer look at Bankrate’s best balance transfer cards

Discover it® Balance Transfer

Best for rotating category cash back

  • This card is best for: Someone who needs to pay down existing credit card debt in the short term, but wants to earn rewards for the long term.
  • This card is not a great choice for: People who are looking for a low maintenance rewards program as you’ll need to enroll each quarter to earn your 5% bonus cash back (on rotating categories each quarter when you activate, up to $1,500 in combined purchases, then 1%) and you’ll need to pay attention to applicable categories to maximize your spend. You might also want to avoid this card if you fear the opportunity to earn cash back will entice you to overspend.
  • What makes this card unique? The competitive base rewards, generous welcome offer and consumer-friendly terms make this a decidedly well-rounded balance transfer credit card.
  • Is the Discover It® Balance Transfer worth it? This is a solid balance transfer offer, and, for disciplined spenders, the rewards program could prove to be a boon in the long term.

Read our full Discover it® Balance Transfer review.
Jump back to offer details.

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

Best for good to excellent credit

  • This card is best for: Someone interested in a simple but effective method of temporarily avoiding interest on a balance transfer or purchase.
  • This card is not a great choice for: Anyone looking for benefits such as rewards programs or premium perks.
  • What makes this card unique? The promotional APR on balance transfers made within the first four months of account opening lasts 21 months, one of the longest periods currently on the market. The Citi Flex Loans feature provides an opportunity to borrow money against your Citi card credit limit at a fixed rate, although it’s not available to all cardholders. Also, taking out additional loans could be risky if you’re already doing a balance transfer.
  • Is the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card worth it? This is a straightforward credit card. It might not do the most things, but it does the main thing — giving you a chance at a temporary break from incurring interest on purchases and balance transfers — quite well.

Read our full Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card review.
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BankAmericard® credit card

Best for no penalty APR

  • This card is best for: Those who want the assurance of a lengthy introductory offer without the prospect of a penalty APR looming over them.
  • This card is not a great choice for: Anyone who incorrectly assumes that “no penalty APR” means “no consequences.” You might be subject to a flat late fee for missing an on-time payment on this card, not to mention the fact that late payments of any kind can also do a number on your credit score.
  • What makes this card unique? Although the BankAmericard doesn’t have a standard rewards program, you might be able to earn cash back through BankAmeriDeals if your card is eligible.
  • Is the BankAmericard® credit card worth it? If you’re committed to paying off a balance transfer during the introductory period, this card might be worth a look. Just don’t let the lack of penalty APR let you get complacent about making payments on time and in full.

Read our full BankAmericard® credit card review.
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Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card

Best for intro APR

  • This card is best for: If you need an extra-long window to pay off a balance transfer, this card can give you the most breathing room.
  • This card is not a great choice for: Anyone who is looking to skip a balance transfer fee entirely or who can’t transfer a balance within 120 days of account opening to qualify for the intro 3% balance transfer fee.
  • What makes this card unique? The intro APR offers are top-notch. Cardholders can secure a 0% intro APR on purchases for up to 21 months from account opening (then 12.99% to 24.99% variable APR). They’re also eligible for a 0% intro APR for up to 21 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers made within 120 days of account opening (then 12.99% to 24.99% variable APR). Those are among the longest promotional APR offers currently on the market.
  • Is the Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card worth it? We consider this card a prime pick for people in the market for a balance transfer, given the length of its intro APR period. In this case, the lack of a traditional rewards program could be a boon as it allows you to focus on paying off your debts.

Read our full Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card review.
Jump back to offer details.

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

Best for long intro APR period

  • This card is best for: Anyone who needs a significant amount of time to pay down a card balance. This card boasts one of the longer intro APR periods on purchases and balance transfers on the market.
  • This card is not a great choice for: Those looking to earn extra rewards like cash back in the long term.
  • What makes this card unique? The length of this card’s intro APR period is relatively rare and the balance transfer fee is on the lower side of the standard when paired with the intro APR length.
  • Is the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card worth it? The value of this card is strongly based on the amount of time you need to pay down your balance. If you need more time, this card is one of the best out there. If you don’t need as much time or ultimately want to cash in on rewards, another card may be a better fit.

Read our full U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card review.
Jump back to offer details.

Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card

Best for 2% cash rewards

  • This card is best for: Anyone looking for a card that has both a 0% intro APR offer for qualifying balance transfers and purchases from account opening, as well as an exceptional cash rewards program.
  • This card is not a great choice for: Those who make the length of the introductory offer the top priority. This card offers 15 months at an introductory 0% APR (followed by 14.99% – 24.99% variable APR) on qualifying balance transfers from account opening and purchases from account opening, which is average.
  • What makes this card unique? Cards that earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases are rare, but a card that also has introductory APR offers is rarer still.
  • Is the Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card worth it? Although a 15-month window to avoid APR is fairly run-of-the-mill, the potential long-term value for cash rewards could more than make up for the length of the intro offer.

Read our full Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card review.
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Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

Best for automatic bonus category

  • This card is best for: Anyone who wants a balance transfer credit card that also earns bonus rate cash back — automatically, in any of 10 eligible categories — based on their spending each billing cycle (up to the maximum spend each billing cycle).
  • This card is not a great choice for: Those concerned about paying a balance transfer fee higher than the typical 3%. This card’s fee is 5% of the amount being transferred ($5 minimum), which could take a larger bite out of your potential interest savings.
  • What makes this card unique? Some bonus-rate cards involve rotating categories that you’re required to activate every quarter. With this card, your bonus category is determined by where you spend the most each billing cycle.
  • Is the Citi Custom Cash Card worth it? The length of the balance transfer offer is standard but not spectacular, and the balance transfer fee might be a concern. The Citi Custom Cash is serviceable as a balance transfer card, but the main feature is the innovative cash back program.

Read our full Citi Custom Cash℠ Card review.
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Citi Simplicity® Card

Best for no late fee

  • This card is best for: People with two goals in mind: temporarily avoiding interest on a balance transfer for an extended period and not having to pay late fees or annual fees.
  • This card is not a great choice for: Anyone interested in a card for everyday use. The balance transfer offer is this card’s main appeal, since it doesn’t have a rewards program that earns cash back or points. There is a promotional APR on purchases, but it’s not particularly lengthy (0% intro APR for 12 months, then 14.74% to 24.74% variable APR).
  • What makes this card unique? Citi cardholders enjoy a solid array of security benefits, including Citi® Identity Theft Solutions and Citi® Quick Lock. If you’re looking to manage debt with a balance transfer, you might also appreciate features designed to protect you from fraudulent threats to your credit score.
  • Is the Citi Simplicity Card worth it? What it lacks in flash, this card makes up for with its potential to help you pay off debt via its intro promotional APR. The lack of late fees and annual fees adds to its value.

Read our full Citi Simplicity® Card review.
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Citi® Double Cash Card

Best for up to 2% cash back

  • This card is best for: Anyone looking for a card with lengthy introductory offers on balance transfers plus a cash back program.
  • This card is not a great choice for: Shoppers looking for a temporary break from interest. The card currently doesn’t have an introductory offer on new purchases.
  • What makes this card unique? The Citi Double Cash Card offers an inventive cash back rewards program. You’ll earn 1 percent cash back on every purchase and another 1 percent (2 percent total) when you pay for those purchases.
  • Is the Citi® Double Cash Card worth it? The balance transfer offer and the cash back rewards promise a potent combination of short-term and long-term value. You might be tempted to keep it well after the balance transfer offer expires.

Read our full Citi® Double Cash Card review.
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Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card

Best for flexible rewards categories

  • This card is best for: Frequent shoppers looking to match their spending habits with plus-rate cash back categories — but ideally, without letting it affect their responsible use of the introductory offer.
  • This card is not a great choice for: People who just want to take advantage of an introductory APR offer and have no interest in pursuing rewards.
  • What makes this card unique? Not many cards offer the opportunity to choose a rewards category. The Customized Cash Rewards card lets you earn 3 percent cash back in one of six categories — travel, gas, dining, online shopping, drug stores or home improvement/furnishings — and 2 percent on grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter (on the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases, then 1 percent).
  • Is the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card worth it? There’s a lot of cash back potential with this card, if your spending habits are in line with the categories. Just remember that the introductory offer is a temporary break from interest charges, not a license to spend.

Read our full Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card review.
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Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card

Best for unlimited 1.5% cash back

  • This card is best for: Those seeking unlimited, uncomplicated cash back that never expires.
  • This card is not a great choice for: Cash back maximizers who don’t mind keeping track of a few bonus categories to earn a higher rewards rate.
  • What makes this card unique? Bank of America Preferred Rewards members earn 25 percent – 75 percent more cash back (based on your enrolled tier). That means Preferred Rewards members could earn a maximum of up to 2.62 percent cash back on every purchase.
  • Is the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card worth it? If you’re a Preferred Rewards member, the boosted rewards rate makes this card a no-brainer. Otherwise, a flat rate of 1.5 percent cash back is becoming less competitive in the cash back market. But it’s still a solid rate, especially because it’s paired with a good balance transfer offer.

Read our full Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card review.
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What is a balance transfer credit card?

A balance transfer involves moving debt from one credit account to a different account, typically by using a balance transfer credit card that has a lower interest rate than the original account. A balance transfer card can help you pay off debt by transferring your existing balance to a new credit card with a 0% intro APR period. During that time, you have the chance to pay off the principal without having to pay interest.

Although balance transfers are primarily used for credit card debt, each issuer has its own rules for what types of debt you can transfer. Depending on the issuer, your balance transfer options could include:

  • Credit card balances
  • Auto loans
  • Personal loans
  • Student loans
  • Payday loans

However, most issuers will not let you transfer a balance from an existing account with that same issuer. Also, some issuers let you transfer multiple debts to one balance transfer card, a form of debt consolidation.

Bankrate insight
How much credit card debt does the average American owe? According to Experian, the average credit card balance was $5,313 in 2020.

Pros and cons of balance transfer credit cards

Pros

  • Save money: By temporarily avoiding interest on the debt you’ve transferred, you could save money on interest payments.
  • Improve credit utilization ratio: Over the long term, reducing debt can improve your credit utilization ratio, meaning that you’re using less of the credit available to you.
  • Reduce monthly payments: The temporary break from interest on your transferred balance could translate to a smaller monthly payment than what you’re currently making.
  • Consolidate debts: Depending on the card and the issuer, you might have the option of transferring a balance from another credit card, a loan or from multiple credit accounts.

Cons

  • High credit approval threshold: The best offers with the longest 0% APR terms tend to go to people who have good or excellent credit.
  • Dip in credit score: As with any credit card, applying for a balance transfer card typically leads to a short-term dip in your credit score.
  • Accrued interest on remaining balance: If you don’t pay off the transfer entirely during the introductory period, the remaining balance will be subject to the new card’s regular APR.
  • Less attractive rewards: The main feature on most balance transfer cards is a lengthy intro APR period, though some cards do offer fairly modest cash back rewards.
  • Limits on transfer amounts: Balance transfer cards may limit the amount that you’re allowed to transfer and it can be difficult to know these limits until you apply for the card.

The key to getting the most value out of a balance transfer credit card is to keep making your monthly payments during the intro period until the balance reaches zero. The potential benefits are significant, just as long as you hold up your end of the bargain.

Who should get a balance transfer credit card?

According to The Federal Reserve, about half of all credit card users carry a balance month to month. If you find yourself among this group and your current card has a high interest rate, a balance transfer credit card with an introductory 0% APR offer can help you address some key financial issues and save a bit on interest. A balance transfer card is worth considering for the following people:

The debt reducer

If you’re looking to pay down credit card debt and avoid added interest costs, a solid balance transfer card may work well for you. Debt can be expensive, especially credit card debt. As of Oct. 13, 2021, Bankrate estimates the current average interest rate on credit cards at 16.16% variable. The best balance transfer credit cards come with 0% APR intro offers that provide a 12-month-to-21-month window to pay off balances.

The quick payer

While balance transfer offers are commonly measured in months, the typical loan is an arrangement that lasts for years. If you find yourself looking for extra time to pay off a balance but you don’t want the long-term commitment of a loan, balance transfer cards usually offer a quicker solution along with the advantage of 0% intro APR offers. Although loans do have their benefits, they’re best-suited for very large debts that exceed the normal limit for balance transfers.

The financial wellness seeker

A balance transfer card can help you pay down debt more quickly since you won’t be accruing interest during your intro period. Paying debt down more quickly will expedite an improvement to your credit utilization ratio. Your credit utilization ratio represents how much available credit you have compared with how much you’re using. The amount of debt you owe accounts for 30 percent of your FICO credit score. As such, when leveraged correctly, a balance transfer credit card can help you achieve two important financial goals: paying down debt and improving your credit score.

The consolidator

If you like to keep all your ducks in a row and in one place, consider transferring multiple balances to one balance transfer credit card. This way, you’ll have just one monthly payment to keep track of — no more multiple accounts, passwords and payment due dates.

The emergency spender

If you ever need to make an emergency purchase, first consider a card offering promotional interest on purchases. However, if you have made that purchase already and didn’t have time to find favorable financing, a balance transfer credit card with a zero interest or low interest promotional APR offer could help you save money as you pay back that expense.

How much money could you save with a balance transfer?

If you’re paying down a large balance, a 0% intro offer could save you several hundred dollars or more.

Experian reports that the average credit card balance reached $5,315 in 2020. Here’s how much you could save by transferring $5,315 in debt to one of our best balance transfer credit cards, based on the following conditions:

  • That you would pay the balance transfer fee upfront and pay off a $5,315 balance within the intro offer period.
  • Potential savings with each card are calculated by comparing how much interest you would pay on your current card at 20% APR (using our Credit Card Payoff Calculator), minus the balance transfer fee.

Example savings by credit card

Card Name Balance transfer intro offer period Regular APR Balance transfer fee Potential savings minus transfer fee
Discover it® Balance Transfer 18 months 11.99 percent to 22.99 percent variable $159.45 (3%)* $720.55
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card 21 months 13.74% – 23.74% variable $265.75 (5%) $762.25
BankAmericard® credit card 18 billing cycles (on any transfers made in first 60 days) 12.99% – 22.99% variable $159.45 (3%) $720.55
Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card Up to 21 months (18 months, plus up to 3 months if you make on-time monthly payments while the intro offer is active) 12.99% – 24.99% variable $159.45 (3%)** $868.55**
U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card 20 billing cycles (on transfers made in first 60 days) 14.49% – 24.49% variable $159.45 (3%) $818.55
Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card 15 months for qualifying transfers from account opening 14.99%-24.99% variable $159.45 (3%)**** $575.55
Citi Custom Cash℠ Card 15 months 13.99% – 23.99% variable $265.75 (5%) $469.25
Citi Simplicity® Card 21 months 14.74% – 24.74% variable $265.75 (5%) $762.25
Citi® Double Cash Card 18 months 13.99% – 23.99% variable $159.45 (3%) $720.55
Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card 15 billing cycles (on any transfers made in first 60 days) 13.99% – 23.99% variable $159.45 (3%) $575.55
Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card 15 months 13.99% to 23.99% variable $159.45 (3%) $575.55

* The introductory balance transfer fee for the Discover it® Balance Transfer is 3% of the amount of each transfer. For future transfers, the fee for each qualifying balance transfer is up to 5%.
** The introductory balance transfer fee for the Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card is 3% or $5 for 120 days after account opening. The fee for each qualifying balance transfer after 120 days is up to 5%, with a minimum of $5.
*** The total savings assume you qualify for up to 21 months of promotional APR; the Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card offers 18 months of a 0% intro APR on qualifying balance transfers made within 120 days of account opening with the opportunity for an up to three-month extension if you make on-time monthly payments while the intro offer is active.
**** The introductory balance transfer fee for the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card is 3% or $5 for 120 days after account opening. The fee for each qualifying balance transfer after 120 days is up to 5%, with a minimum of $5.

Bankrate insight
What’s the difference in cost between a 2% and 3% balance transfer fee? On a $5,000 balance, a 2% fee would be $100 and a 3% fee would be $150. The difference in cost is even more pronounced with a 5% balance transfer fee: $250.

How to choose a balance transfer credit card

The best credit cards for balance transfers share a number of key features. To find the one that’s best for you and your unique financial situation, consider the following questions:

What is your credit score?

Most credit cards, including cards for balance transfers, list a recommended credit score to apply. Check your credit score before you start shopping and then compare it with each card’s recommended credit score to get an idea of whether you might qualify. Most balance transfer cards recommend credit scores ranging from good to excellent (usually 670 or higher). Although you might find it easier to get a balance transfer card for bad credit, the tradeoff will probably involve a shorter introductory offer.

How much do you want to transfer?

The limit for balance transfer cards depends on the card, the issuer and specific aspects of your financial situation. Typically, issuers will let you transfer a balance (plus fees) that is no higher than your credit limit. If you want to make a balance transfer that exceeds your credit limit, you’ll have to ask the issuer for an increase. A Bankrate poll found that only 18 percent of cardholders requested a credit limit increase in 2020, but 70 percent of those who asked did receive a higher limit.

What is the balance transfer fee?

Understanding balance transfer fees is one of the most important parts of having a balance transfer credit card. A balance transfer fee will be applied to whatever balance you are transferring onto your new card, usually at 3 or 5 percent of that balance amount. For example, if you have $10,000 in credit card debt to transfer, a balance transfer fee of 3 percent is equal to $300. A balance transfer fee of 5 percent would be $500. It’s very important to be fully aware of any potential fees you incur on your card, as they could hamper your goals to pay down debt in a timely or more cost-effective manner. Look for cards with lower balance transfer fees.

What is the promotional APR?

The promotional APR on a card refers to an introductory interest rate that is offered for a set period of time before the regular interest rate for that card applies. These promotional interest rates can range from 0 percent to any given interest percentage that is significantly lower than a card’s regular APR. Balance transfers cards offer promotional APRs that could help you save in the long run. Balance transfer cards that don’t charge a balance transfer fee tend to have a low interest promotional APR versus a 0 percent promotional APR.

The longer a promotional offer lasts, the more time you’ll have to pay down your transferred debt. A longer introductory period also translates to smaller monthly payments. Every month of temporary relief from interest represents potential savings. Be sure to calculate which specific promotional offer works best for your financial situation.

Does the promotional APR apply to balance transfers, purchases or both?

Some balance transfer cards tout a promotional APR on purchases; many do not. If you suspect you’ll need a promotional APR on purchases, look for a zero interest credit card with an offer that extends to both balance transfers and purchases. Keep in mind, however, that charging a new purchase you can’t readily pay off could make it harder to pay off the transferred balance while the promotional APR is in effect.

What are the card’s terms and conditions?

You’ll find essential details in the card’s terms and conditions, including the balance transfer fee, penalties for late payments and how much time you’ll have to transfer the balance to qualify for the introductory offer. These terms and conditions will also note what happens when your 0 percent intro APR period ends. If you have trouble finding the information you’re looking for, call the issuer or go to their website.

What is the card’s long-term value?

Does the card have features that make it worth keeping after you’ve used the balance transfer offer to pay off debt? Credit card rewards shouldn’t be the main motivation behind getting a balance transfer card, but cash back or points can increase a card’s long-term value.

A balance transfer card offers a lot of advantages for managing debt and getting a temporary break from interest. The keys are choosing the right card with the right offer and then paying the balance down to zero before the introductory offer ends.

Still unsure? Read the full story: Is a balance transfer a good idea?

Bankrate insight
If your balance transfer credit card has a rewards program, don’t expect to see a bundle of cash back or points show up in your account after you complete the transfer. Balance transfers generally aren’t included in the list of rewards-eligible transactions. Besides, you shouldn’t focus on earning rewards until you’ve paid off your transferred balance.

How to do a balance transfer

You don’t have to be an expert in personal finance to understand the balance transfer process. It’s essentially a matter of moving debt from one credit account to another. The main things to know are:

  1. Consider keeping your old card open, especially in the short-term: Doing so could improve your credit utilization rate and, as such, your credit score. However, if you’re afraid that you’ll just run up another balance or if the card has a high annual fee you can no longer justify paying, it may be in your best interest to close the account.
  2. Know how much time you have: Once you’ve applied for and received a balance transfer card, you’ll have a certain period of time (spelled out in the card’s terms and conditions) when you can make transfers that qualify for the zero-interest offer.
  3. Initiate the transfer: Most issuers will have a process online or in their mobile app that allows you to make balance transfer requests. Depending on the issuer, you might be able to make the request by phone.
  4. Provide your account info: You’ll need to give the issuer the account numbers of the card or loan accounts you want to transfer balances from.
  5. Follow the issuer’s instructions: If you request your balance transfer online, your card issuer’s website will take you through a step-by-step process where you’ll select options and enter information on a series of screens.
  6. Look for confirmation: The issuer of your balance transfer card will notify you when the transfer is approved, but always check your other account(s) to make sure the new balance reflects the amount you’ve transferred. Pending charges made before you initiated the transfer will still show up.

If you have questions at any point in the process, contact a customer service representative for help. It’s your money, after all, so you’ll want to get everything right.

What’s the longest 0% APR balance transfer offer?

Nowadays, 21 months, 20 months and 18 months are the gold, silver and bronze standards for 0% intro APR offers with balance transfer credit cards. A number of cards offer 15 months at an introductory zero-interest rate, while others fall into the 12-month range.

Although any temporary break from credit card APR is beneficial, a more lengthy intro offer will give you the best opportunity to avoid interest as you pay off your transferred balance.

Here’s a look at some of the longest 0% intro APR offers currently available:

Balance transfer credit card 0% intro APR offer Transfer a balance by October 30, 2021 and avoid regular APR until:
Discover it® Balance Transfer 18 months (11.99%-22.99% variable after) April 30, 2023
Citi Diamond Preferred Card 21 months (13.74% – 23.74% variable after) July 31, 2023
BankAmericard credit card 18 billing cycles on any balance transfers made in first 60 days (12.99%-22.99% variable after) April 30, 2023
Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card Up to 21 months (18 months, plus up to 3 months if you make on-time monthly payments while the intro offer is active) At least April 30, 2023
U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card 20 billing cycles on balance transfers made in first 60 days (14.49%﹘24.49% variable after) June 30, 2023
Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card 15 months on qualifying transfers from account opening (14.99% – 24.99% variable after) January 31, 2023
Citi Custom Cash℠ Card 15 months from date of first transfer (13.99% – 23.99% variable after) January 31, 2023
Citi Simplicity Card 21 months (14.74% – 24.74% variable after) July 31, 2023
Citi Double Cash Card 18 months (13.99% – 23.99% variable after) April 30, 2023
Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card 15 billing cycles on any balance transfers made in first 60 days (13.99%-23.99% variable after) January 31, 2023
Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card 15 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days (13.99%-23.99% variable after) January 31, 2023

*Terms and Restrictions Apply

Poll: 9 in 10 U.S. adults hit by price hikes in 2021

Are you getting sticker shock when you pay for everyday goods and services? If so, you’re not alone. A July 2021 survey of 2,420 U.S. adults conducted by YouGov for Bankrate found that almost 9 in 10 U.S. adults (89 percent) say they’ve paid higher prices this year. Prices are on the rise due to a mix of factors, including changes in consumer behavior, supply chain issues and shortages of some raw materials, says Ryan Sweet, a U.S. economist with Moody’s Analytics. “Almost all of it can be attributed to the pandemic,” Sweet says.

However, the Bankrate survey found that price hikes didn’t register for everyone and that older consumers were more likely to report price increases. Here’s a generational breakdown of consumers who reported higher prices:

  • 95 percent of baby boomers (age 57 to 75)
  • 92 percent of Gen Xers (age 41 to 56)
  • 84 percent of millennials (age 25 to 40)
  • 75 percent of Gen Zers (age 18 to 24)

The top categories in which consumers reported higher prices are groceries (71 percent), gas (67 percent) and restaurants (46 percent), followed by consumer products such as clothes, furniture and electronics (35 percent) as well as home services such as construction, house cleaning and landscaping (26 percent). Plus, travel costs such as airfare, hotels and car rental (26 percent) and personal care services such as salons and gyms (21 percent).

Consumers across all age groups who have noticed higher prices say these surges are hurting their money situation. However, rising prices seem to be hitting middle-income households especially hard (71 percent). The same goes for boomers, as 75 percent reported that rising prices have hurt them financially. Bankrate industry analyst Ted Rossman stated that “Price increases are especially painful for boomers who are trying to make their savings last,”. Also, he points out, older adults are probably invested more conservatively and may be retired.

The survey also found that consumers are taking steps to deal with the hardship of increasing prices and get their budgets in better shape. While some are adjusting their strategies by avoiding certain purchases and dipping into savings, you can use a variety of methods to cope with rising prices. It’s important to be thorough with your budget and make tweaks if you need to adjust. Comparison shopping at multiple stores can be time consuming, but often worth the additional savings. And if you’re patient, postponing large purchases can be quite helpful as well. Others have sought out ways to boost their income as well, with many people adding a side gig to their repertoire during the pandemic. Finally, some Americans have turned to credit cards to cover the shortfall. In fact, 20 percent of consumers reported racking up more debt due to rising prices. If you find yourself in this situation, taking advantage of a balance transfer credit card can alleviate some of the pressure until costs go down.

Read more about the full results of this poll.

How we chose our best balance transfer cards

Bankrate writers and editors have evaluated dozens of options to determine which cards are most likely to help you achieve your financial goals with a balance transfer. In this category, our 5-star scoring system pays particular attention to the essential features of a balance transfer credit card, including:

0% introductory APR offer

Balance transfer cards should ideally have a long 0% APR introductory offer — between 12 and 18 months, if not longer. You’ll have more time to pay off the transferred balance before the regular APR takes effect.

Regular variable APR

Regular variable APR is the interest rate that you will be charged after the introductory 0% APR period. Ideally, the low end of the variable APR range should be at least a few points below 16% with a high end no more than 26%.

Balance transfer fee

The best balance transfer credit cards will charge a low fee on transferred balances, or even no fee at all. If you have an excellent credit score, consider asking to have the fee lowered or waived.

More information on balance transfer credit cards

Want to know more about transferring balances to a credit card? Here’s a list of our top resources from Bankrate’s personal finance experts:

Balance transfer guides by credit card issuer

If you want to do a balance transfer with a specific bank or card issuer, Bankrate has detailed guides from the following financial companies:

Video guide: What you should know about balance transfer credit cards



Have more questions for our credit cards editors? Feel free to send us an email, find us on Facebook, or Tweet us @Bankrate.


Frequently Asked Questions

about the author
Former Senior Editor Barry Bridges has been writing about credit cards, personal loans, mortgages and other personal finance products since 2017. Before joining Bankrate, he was an award-winning newspaper journalist in his native North Carolina.
about the editor
Mariah Ackary is a personal finance writer who specializes in credit card rewards and small business credit. Mariah is a lifelong writer, but she began writing about finance in 2018. She joined the Bankrate team in 2019, excited by the opportunity to directly help people make good financial decisions. Send your questions to mackary@bankrate.com ...

* 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.