BEST FOR LONGEST INTRO APR

Wells Fargo Reflect® Card

Apply now
On Wells Fargo's secure site
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
15.99% - 27.99% Variable APR
Rewards rate
N/A
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

Best for Excellent credit

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

Apply now
On Citi's secure site
Balance transfer intro APR
21 months 0% for 21 months on Balance Transfers
Purchase intro APR
0% for 12 months on Purchases
Regular APR
16.74% - 26.74% (Variable)
Rewards rate
N/A
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

Best for good credit

Citi® Double Cash Card

Apply now
On Citi's secure site
Balance transfer intro APR
18 months 0% intro for 18 months on Balance Transfers
Purchase intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
16.99% - 26.99% (Variable)
Rewards rate
2%
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

TRAVEL CARD WITH A BALANCE TRANSFER OFFER

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

Apply now
On Capital One's secure site
Balance transfer intro APR
15 months 0% intro on balance transfers for 15 months
Purchase intro APR
0% intro on purchases for 15 months
Regular APR
17.99% - 27.99% (Variable)
Rewards rate
1.25X–5X
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)
Bankrate-Icons-Final Longer Intro APR

Best for No penalty APR

BankAmericard® credit card

Apply now
On Bank of America's secure site
Balance transfer intro APR
21 billing cycles See Terms
Purchase intro APR
See Terms
Regular APR
See Terms
Rewards rate
N/A
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

BEST FOR ROTATING CATEGORY CASH BACK

Discover it® Balance Transfer

Apply now
On Discover's secure site
Balance transfer intro APR
18 months 0% for 18 months
Purchase intro APR
0% for 6 months
Regular APR
14.99% - 25.99% Variable
Rewards rate
1%–5%
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

Best for 2% cash rewards

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

Apply now
On Wells Fargo's secure site
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
17.99%, 22.99%, or 27.99% Variable APR
Rewards rate
2%
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)
Apply now
On Capital One's secure site
Balance transfer intro APR
15 months 0% intro on balance transfers for 15 months
Purchase intro APR
0% intro on purchases for 15 months
Regular APR
17.99% - 27.99% (Variable)
Rewards rate
1.5%–5%
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

Best for no late fee

Citi Simplicity® Card

Apply now
On Citi's secure site
Balance transfer intro APR
21 months 0% for 21 months on Balance Transfers
Purchase intro APR
0% for 12 months on Purchases
Regular APR
17.74% - 27.74% (Variable)
Rewards rate
N/A
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)
Apply now
On Bank of America's secure site
Balance transfer intro APR
18 billing cycles See Terms
Purchase intro APR
See Terms
Regular APR
See Terms
Rewards rate
1.5%
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

Best for automatic bonus category

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

Apply now
On Citi's secure site
Balance transfer intro APR
15 months 0% for 15 months on balance transfers
Purchase intro APR
0% for 15 months on purchases
Regular APR
16.99% - 26.99% (Variable)
Rewards rate
1%–5%
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

Best for flexible rewards categories

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card

Apply now
On Bank of America's secure site
Balance transfer intro APR
18 billing cycles See Terms
Purchase intro APR
See Terms
Regular APR
See Terms
Rewards rate
1%–3%
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

Compare Bankrate’s best 0% balance transfer credit cards

Card name Bankrate’s pick for Balance transfer intro APR period Regular APR Bankrate review score
Wells Fargo Reflect Card Longest intro APR Up to 21 months

15.99% %–27.99% variable 4.2 / 5
(Read full card review)
Citi Diamond Preferred Card Excellent credit 21 months 16.74%– 26.74% variable 3.7 / 5
(Read full card review)
Citi Double Cash Card Good credit 18 months 16.99%– 26.99% variable 4.3 / 5
(Read full card review)
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card Everyday purchases 15 months

17.99% to 27.99% (variable) 4.2 / 5
(Read full card review)
BankAmericard credit card No penalty APR 21 billing cycles

(See Terms) variable 4.6 / 5
(Read full card review)
Discover it Balance Transfer Rotating category cash back 18 months 14.99%–25.99% variable 4.5 / 5
(Read full card review)
Wells Fargo Active Cash Card 2% cash rewards 15 months 17.99%, 22.99%, or 27.99% variable 4.3 / 5
(Read full card review)
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card No foreign transaction fee 15 months

17.99% –27.99% variable 3.8 / 5
(Read full card review)
Citi Simplicity Card No late fee 21 months 17.74%–27.74% variable 3.5 / 5
(Read full card review)
Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card Unlimited 1.5% cash back 18 billing cycles

(See Terms) variable APR 3.8 / 5
(Read full card review)
Citi Custom Cash Card Automatic bonus category 15 months 16.99%–26.99% variable 4.4 / 5
(Read full card review)
Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card Flexible rewards categories 18 billing cycles

(See Terms) variable APR 4.6 / 5
(Read full card review)
Capital One SavorOne Everyday purchases 15 months 17.99% –27.99% variable 4.9 / 5
(Read full card review)

A closer look at Bankrate’s top 0% balance transfer cards

Wells Fargo Reflect Card: Best for longest intro APR

  • What we love about the Wells Fargo Reflect Card: We consider this card a prime pick for people in the market for a balance transfer credit card, as the intro APR offers are top-notch and among the longest promotional APR offers currently available.
  • Who this card is good for: People who need an extra-long window to pay off a balance transfer.
  • Alternatives: The Chase Freedom Unlimited Card is ideal for anyone ready to forego a longer introductory APR period in exchange for the opportunity to receive cash back rewards.

Learn more: U.S. Bank Visa Platinum benefits guide.
Read our full Wells Fargo Reflect Card review or jump back to offer details.

Citi Diamond Preferred Card: Best for excellent credit

  • What we love about the Citi Diamond Preferred Card: 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).
  • Who this card is good for: Someone interested in a simple but effective method of temporarily avoiding interest on a balance transfer or purchase.
  • Alternatives: The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card is ideal for anybody looking for additional benefits, rewards programs or premium perks.

Learn more: Why expert Andy Shuman loves the Citi Diamond Preferred Card.
Read our full Citi Diamond Preferred Card review or jump back to offer details.

Citi Double Cash Card: Best for good credit

  • What we love about the Citi Double Cash Card: With the Citi Double Cash, you’ll earn 1 percent cash back on every purchase and another 1 percent (2 percent total) when you pay off those purchases.
  • Who this card is good for: Anyone who wants a card with lengthy introductory offers on balance transfers plus a cash back program.
  • Alternatives: The Double Cash currently doesn’t offer an introductory APR offer on new purchases, so shoppers looking for a temporary break from interest may find the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card to be a better fit.

Learn more: Why expert Holly Johnson loves the Citi Double Cash Card.
Read our full Citi Double Cash Card review or jump back to offer details.

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card: Best travel card with a balance transfer offer

  • What we love about the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Card: It’s an affordable travel card that has the added perk of an intro offer on balance transfers. Plus, cardholders can get special entry rates into Capital One’s new airport lounges with this card.
  • Who this card is good for: People who want a low-cost travel card that’s fairly well-rounded.
  • Alternatives: Anyone looking for the luxury perks and benefits that come with higher-cost travel credit cards may prefer the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card.

Learn more: Capital One VentureOne rewards card benefits guide.
Read our full Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card review or jump back to offer details.

BankAmericard credit card: Best for no penalty APR

  • What we love about the BankAmericard Credit Card: This card boasts one of the market’s longest promotional offers for purchases and balance transfers, which can save you money on interest and help you pay off your balance faster.
  • Who this card is good for: Someone who wants the assurance of a lengthy introductory offer without the prospect of a penalty APR looming over them.
  • Alternatives: The Citi Simplicity Card may be the ideal solution for anybody looking to avoid an annual fee, penalty APR, and late penalties altogether.

Learn more: Why expert Margaret Wack loves the BankAmericard.
Read our full BankAmericard credit card review or jump back to offer details.

Discover it Balance Transfer: Best for rotating category cash back

  • What we love about the Discover it Balance Transfer Card: The card is decidedly well-rounded, with competitive base rewards, a generous welcome offer with Cashback Match (all cash back earned in the first year will be matched at the end of it) and consumer-friendly terms.
  • Who this card is good for: Someone who needs to pay down existing credit card debt in the short term but wants to earn rewards for the long term.
  • Alternatives: If you’re looking for a low-maintenance rewards program, a flat-rate rewards card such as Wells Fargo Active Cash Card could help you better maximize your spending.

Learn more: Is the Discover it Balance Transfer card worth it?
Read our full Discover it Balance Transfer review or jump back to offer details.

Wells Fargo Active Cash Card: Best for 2% cash rewards

  • What we love about the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card: Its generous cash back rewards rate and introductory APR offer. Cards that earn unlimited 2 percent cash rewards on purchases are rare, but a card that also has introductory APR offers is rarer still.
  • Who this card is good for: Anyone looking for a card with both an intro APR offer for qualifying balance transfers and purchases from account opening, as well as an exceptional cash rewards program.
  • Alternatives: For people who want to make the length of the introductory offer the top priority, the Wells Fargo Reflect Card would provide a longer introductory period.

Learn more: Is the new Wells Fargo Active Cash worth it?
Read our full Wells Fargo Active Cash Card review or jump back to offer details.

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card: Best for no foreign transaction fee

  • What we love about the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card: Its additional benefits, as cardholders have access to exclusive travel and entertainment perks through Capital One Access.
  • Who this card is good for: Anyone who wants to use their card for more than just a balance transfer. There are no foreign transaction fees and a lengthy intro APR offer on purchases.
  • Alternatives: The Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Card may better match someone looking to earn high rewards rates with bonus categories.

Learn more: Why expert Nicole Dieker loves the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards.
Read our full Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card review or jump back to offer details.

Citi Simplicity Card: Best for no late fee

  • What we love about the Citi Simplicity Card: The Citi Simplicity charges no penalty APRs or late fees for missed payments, making it a very friendly card for people struggling to pay off credit card debt.
  • Who this card is good for: People who are temporarily avoiding interest on a balance transfer for an extended period and do not want to pay late fees or annual fees.
  • Alternatives: If you’re more interested in a cash back rewards card for everyday use, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express could provide better long-term value.

Learn more: Citi Simplicity card benefits guide.
Read our full Citi Simplicity Card review or jump back to offer details.

Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card: Best for unlimited 1.5% cash back

  • What we love about the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards Card: The boosted rewards rate makes this card a no-brainer. Bank of America Preferred Rewards members earn 25 percent to 75 percent more cash back (based on your enrollment tier), meaning members could earn a maximum of up to 2.62 percent cash back on every purchase.
  • Who this card is good for: People who want unlimited, uncomplicated cash back that never expires.
  • Alternatives: Cash back maximizers who don’t mind keeping track of a few bonus categories to earn a higher rewards rate may find more value with the Discover it® Cash Back.

Learn more: Compare Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards vs. BankAmericard.
Read our full Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card review or jump back to offer details.

Citi Custom Cash Card: Best for automatic bonus category

  • What we love about the Citi Custom Cash Card: Some bonus-rate cards involve rotating categories that you’re required to activate every quarter. With this card, your top spending category becomes your bonus category each billing cycle.
  • Who this card is good 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).
  • Alternatives: People concerned about paying a balance transfer fee higher than the typical 3 percent may be interested in the BankAmericard credit card, as it can help increase potential interest savings.

Learn more: Is the Citi Custom Cash worth it?
Read our full Citi Custom Cash Card review or jump back to offer details.

Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card: Best for flexible rewards categories

  • What we love about the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Card: Its cash back potential, as not many cards offer the opportunity to choose your preferred rewards category. The Customized Cash Rewards card lets you pick your highest earning in one of six categories — travel, gas, dining, online shopping, drug stores or home improvement and furnishings — and your next tier of earnings are on grocery store and wholesale club purchases.
  • Who this card is good for: Frequent shoppers who want to match their spending habits with cash back categories without affecting their responsible use of the introductory offer.
  • Alternatives: People who just want to take advantage of an introductory APR offer and have less interest in pursuing rewards may want to consider the Citi Diamond Preferred Card.

Learn more: Bank of America Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards vs. Amex Blue Business Cash
Read our full Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card review or jump back to offer details.

Capital One SavorOne Card: Best for everyday purchases

  • What we love about the Capital One SavorOne card: If you’re looking for a card that will still offer value after you finish paying off debt, it’s hard to go wrong with the SavorOne thanks to its wide bonus category coverage and $0 annual fee. You can earn rewards in several of the most popular everyday spending categories, making it easily one of the most practical and lucrative standalone rewards cards out there.
  • Who this card is good for: Anyone who needs to chip away at debt or finance new purchases and feels confident they can pay off their balance within 15 months. Foodies and families will especially love the card’s generous rewards rates at grocery stores, restaurants and entertainment.
  • Alternatives: If you’re looking for a balance transfer card with great long-term value but already have a card you use for everyday rewards, consider the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card. You’ll get a 0 percent intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers (16.99 percent to 26.99 percent variable APR after that) and since it adapts to fit your spending habits, it’s a great supplemental rewards card option. You earn 5 percent back in your top eligible spending category each billing cycle (on up to $500 in spending per billing cycle), with a terrific mix of practical and niche bonus categories eligible, including grocery stores, select travel and select transit, gas stations, drugstores and more.

Learn more: Capital One SavorOne benefits guide.
Read our full Capital One SavorOne card review.


What is a 0% balance transfer credit card?

A balance transfer credit card can help you pay off your debt by transferring existing card balances to a new credit card with a 0 percent intro APR period. During that time, you have the chance to pay off the principal without paying interest. When the intro APR period ends, interest will apply to any remaining balance at the end of each billing cycle like a regular credit card.

Want to learn more? Read our full guide on how balance transfer credit cards work.

What is a balance transfer fee?

A balance transfer fee compensates a lender for taking the risk of issuing a temporary interest-free loan. The typical fee is 3 or 5 percent of the balance being transferred and is always at least $5 or $10.

Lightbulb
In the News
According to industry expert Ted Rossman, balance transfer offers have gotten even more generous in recent months, despite the Federal Reserve’s series of interest rate hikes. Read the full story on how balance transfer competition is heating up and learn how to take advantage of these offers.

How long does a balance transfer take?

The amount of time it takes for the balance to be transferred from one credit card to another will vary by issuer. Some credit card companies may take up to six weeks to complete balance transfers, while others may take as little as two days. You will typically receive an estimated turnaround time from your card provider in advance.

Also, if your new card issuer approves your balance transfer request, it must coordinate the transfer with your current card issuer, which could cause potential delays.

How much money could you save with a 0% balance transfer?

A 0 percent intro offer could save you several hundred dollars or more if you’re paying down a large balance.

Experian’s 2021 State of Credit report shows that the average credit card balance reached $5,525. Here’s how much you could save by transferring a credit card balance of $5,525 to one of our best balance transfer credit cards, based on the following conditions:

  • You would pay the balance transfer fee upfront and pay off the $5,525 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 percent APR (using our Credit Card Payoff Calculator), minus the balance transfer fee.

Example savings by credit cards with the highest savings potential

Card Name Balance transfer intro offer period Regular APR Balance transfer fee Potential savings minus transfer fee
Wells Fargo Reflect Card Up to 21 months (18 months, plus 3 months if you make on-time monthly payments during the intro period) 15.99%–27.99% variable $165.75 (3%)

$902.25

U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card 18 billing cycles (on transfers made in first 60 days) 17.49%–27.29% variable $165.75 (3%) $851.25
Citi Diamond Preferred Card 21 months 16.74%– 26.74% variable $276.25 (5%) $791.75
Discover it Balance Transfer 18 months 14.99%–25.99% variable $165.75 (3%)

$749.25
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Bankrate insight
What’s the difference in cost between a 2 percent and 3 percent balance transfer fee? On a $5,000 balance, a 2 percent fee would be $100 and a 3 percent fee would be $150. The difference in cost is even more pronounced with a 5 percent balance transfer fee: $250.

Pros and cons of 0% balance transfer credit cards

Pros

  • Save money: You could save money on interest payments by temporarily avoiding interest on transferred debt.
  • Improve credit utilization ratio: Debt reduction can increase your credit utilization ratio over time, which means you’re utilizing less of your available credit.
  • Reduce monthly payments: The temporary break from interest on your transferred balance could translate to a lower monthly payment.
  • Consolidate debts: If you have multiple cards with high balances, you can simplify your debt payment process by consolidating the debt onto one card.

Cons

  • High credit approval threshold: The best offers with the longest 0 percent APR terms tend to be available to people with good or excellent credit.
  • Interest paid 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.

Who should get a 0% balance transfer credit card?

According to The Federal Reserve, about half of all credit card users carry a month-to-month balance. 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 percent 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:

Still unsure if a balance transfer credit card is right for you? Check out our Credit Card Spender Type Tool where you can get personalized credit card recommendations based on your credit score, spending habits and daily needs.

How to choose the best 0% balance transfer credit card

The best credit cards for balance transfers share several key features. To choose a balance transfer credit card that fits your unique financial situation, consider the following four questions:

Does the card offer an introductory APR?

If you think you’ll need a 0 percent introductory APR period in addition to a low balance transfer fee, consider a credit card with a zero-interest offer for balance transfers and purchases. While the promotional APR is in effect, be mindful that charging a new purchase you can’t readily pay off might make it harder to pay off the transferred balance.

What are the card’s fees?

To learn more about the card’s fees, the terms and conditions will include details such as the balance transfer fee, late payment penalties, how much time you have to transfer the balance to qualify for the introductory offer and 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 visit its website.

What are your approval odds?

Like any other credit card application, a balance transfer card application will result in either approval or denial. If you’re denied a balance transfer card, you may be concerned about the short-term effects on your credit score. Consider if it’s worth applying and undergoing a hard credit pull if you are unsure of your approval chances.
Learn more: Why Approval Odds are your key to a successful credit card application

Does the card have long-term value?

Some of the best balance transfer cards offer general benefits to cardholders, such as extended warranties on purchases and identity theft protection services, as well as rewards programs that can help offset interest payments or provide additional discounts or savings on purchases. If you want to use your card for daily purchases like gas or groceries, you may be able to earn points or miles that may be redeemed for gift cards, statement credits or more.

You can search for preapproval options using tools like CardMatch™ by Bankrate and get a glimpse of what you could feasibly be approved for without the consequences of a hard credit pull.

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. Apply for and open a balance transfer card: As is the case with any credit card option, you’ll first need to apply for a balance transfer card and be approved. Balance transfer cards are most attainable with a good to excellent credit score.
  2. Know how much time you have: Once you’ve applied for and received a balance transfer card, you have a certain period of time in which you can make transfers that qualify for the zero-interest offer.
  3. Initiate the transfer: Most issuers will have a process online or in the mobile app that allows you to make balance transfer requests. You’ll need account and credit card numbers handy to start the process.
  4. Look for confirmation: The issuer of your balance transfer card will notify you when the transfer is completed, but always check your other account(s) and keep making payments on your previous card(s) until it’s done. Timelines for processing balance transfers vary from issuer to issuer. In some cases, it could take 7 to 10 days to complete. In some cases, it could take a couple of weeks — or even as long as a month.
  5. Continue to keep the old card’s account open: In general, it’s ideal to leave older credit card accounts active. That’s because canceling them may lower your credit score and reduce your available credit, giving the impression that your utilization rate, or debt-to-credit ratio, has suddenly increased. It will also support you in increasing the average age of your credit history, which is a key factor in establishing creditworthiness.

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:

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.

How to maximize your 0% balance transfer card

  • Try to only use your balance transfer credit card to handle debts. Unless your balance transfer card also has an intro APR offer on purchases, it’s best to use one card to primarily aid in paying down your debts and a different card to handle small purchases that you can pay off immediately (and potentially earn rewards on).
  • Initiate your transfer quickly. Some cards on the market have a window of time within which you must initiate transferring a credit card balance to receive the full benefits of the intro offer.
  • Always pay on time and more than the minimum amount due whenever possible. To expedite paying down debt and take even further advantage of a balance transfer card’s intro APR offer, it’s always a great practice to pay more than the minimum amount due when you can in addition to paying on time, every time.
  • Make a strategic plan to tackle your debt. Understand how much debt you owe, how long you want to take to pay it off and how your balance transfer card can help you manage your debt. As a general rule of thumb, try to make your pay-off timeline match up with the balance transfer card’s intro APR period.

What’s the longest 0% balance transfer offer?

Currently, the longest 0% intro APR offers on the market are up to 21 months, offered by the Wells Fargo Reflect, Citi Diamond Preferred and Citi Simplicity cards. Although any temporary break from credit card APR is beneficial, a longer intro offer will give you the best opportunity to avoid interest as you pay off your transferred balance. The chart below shows the top three cards with the longest intro APR offers.

Balance transfer credit card 0% intro APR offer Transfer a balance by October 31, 2022 and avoid regular APR until:
Citi Diamond Preferred Card 21 months (16.74%–26.74% variable after) July 2024
Citi Simplicity Card 21 months (17.74%–27.74% variable after) July 2024
Wells Fargo Reflect Card Up to 21 months (18 months, plus 3 months if you make on-time monthly payments during the intro period, then 15.99%–27.99% variable after) At least May 2024

Alternatives to a balance transfer card

Transferring a credit card balance to a balance transfer card is one of the best ways to pay off debt and save money, but there are other ways to manage your debt that don’t involve a balance transfer card. Here are a few options to consider:

  1. Find out if you can qualify for a reduced interest rate: Your credit score may have improved since you opened the account, so requesting a reduced interest rate from your issuer may be beneficial. You might be able to get some points deducted from your rate or have your account transferred to a lower-interest card.
  2. Pay more than the minimum due using a debt repayment calculator: The minimum monthly payment is the absolute least you can pay without penalty — but you won’t get far paying off your debt that way. Using a debt payment calculator, you can figure out how much interest you could save if you paid off your credit card balance without transferring. You need to pay interest on less money to see actual savings, so by paying more than the minimum, you can reduce the principal balance.
  3. Take advantage of a personal loan or debt consolidation loan: A personal loan can help you pay off your high-interest debt, but it’s critical to remember that a personal loan only makes sense if the interest rate is lower than the interest on your credit card debt. You can get a loan from a bank, credit union or online lender, and you may even be able to pay your creditors directly with some loans designed for debt consolidation.
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Bankrate insight
If you’re trying to pay off credit card debt, your first thought might be to do a balance transfer to take advantage of a 0 percent APR offer, but if you don’t qualify for any of the few balance transfer card offers available right now, there are still plenty of alternative options to consider; ranging from using Affirm or Klarna to pay on small purchases to applying for a personal loan. It’s important to work on improving your credit score before applying for a balance transfer card, so we recommend making the most of any opportunity to pay down debt – whether that’s by applying for a balance transfer card or opting for an alternative option.

Expert take: Balance transfer offers are heating up


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:


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 balance transfer credit cards

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 editor who joined the Bankrate team in 2019, excited by the opportunity to 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.