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One of the most effective ways of reducing credit card debt is with a balance transfer to another credit card. If you do it consciously and responsibly, you can get rid of debt faster and save money while doing so.
When choosing a balance transfer credit card, you want to make sure you get a card that will save you the most. This includes how many months of a 0 percent intro APR you’ll get; the longer the intro period, the more time you’ll have to pay off debt interest-free. Another thing to consider is a balance transfer fee, which is typically between 3 percent and 5 percent of your balance.
Most credit cards charge a fee when you transfer a balance. If you’re transferring a large sum, this fee can get rather costly. Credit cards that don’t charge a balance transfer fee are rare, but you can still find several on the market. Note that most cards like this are offered by credit unions, which require consumers to meet specific criteria in order to obtain membership.
Read on to learn which credit cards don’t charge a balance transfer fee so you can determine if any of them are a good option for you.
Best balance transfer cards with no balance transfer fee
Navy Federal Credit Union Platinum Credit Card*
The Navy Federal Credit Union Platinum Credit Card is an excellent option for a balance transfer since it charges no balance transfer fee and currently offers a 0 percent intro APR on balance transfers for 12 months (6.74 percent to 18.00 percent variable APR thereafter). The low, ongoing APR makes this card a good deal even once the intro offer expires. This card also charges no annual fee, foreign transaction fees or cash advance fees (if performed at a Navy Federal branch or ATM).
Note that all Navy Federal Credit Union credit cards require membership, which is available to military members, veterans and their families. Also note that all Navy Federal Credit Union credit cards come with no balance transfer fees. However, the Navy Federal Credit Union Platinum card is currently the only card that offers a zero-interest offer for a limited time.
Navy Federal More Rewards American Express Card*
The Navy Federal More Rewards American Express® Card is currently the only Navy Federal credit card that includes a low intro APR offer of 1.99 percent for six months on balance transfers (after which a variable APR of 10.40 percent to 18.00 percent applies). Although not a 0 percent intro APR offer, that’s still better than paying a high interest rate on credit card debt.
This card also includes no annual fee and solid rewards rates: 3X points at restaurants and on food delivery, 3X points at supermarkets, 3X points on transit and gas and 1X points on all other purchases. Points can be redeemed for cash back, travel, gift cards, merchandise and more. Some benefits include 25 percent off car rentals, up to 30 percent off select hotel bookings through Amex’s Booking.com platform, car rental loss and damage insurance and 24/7 roadside assistance.
First Tech Credit Union Choice Rewards World Mastercard*
The First Tech Credit Union Choice Rewards World Mastercard® is another balance transfer card that offers rewards on purchases. For balance transfer perks, this card includes a 0 percent intro APR on balance transfers for 12 billing cycles (after which a variable APR of 9.75 percent to 18.00 percent applies) and no balance transfer fee. It also includes no annual fee, foreign transaction fee or cash advance fee.
As for rewards, this card offers 2X points on groceries, gas, electronics, medical purchases, household goods and telecommunications and 1X points on all other purchases. Points can be redeemed for cash back, gift cards, travel, merchandise, events and experiences. New cardholders will also be able to earn a welcome offer of 20,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 within 60 days of account opening. Like the other cards on this list, this credit card requires certain qualifications for membership with the First Tech Credit Union.
Union Bank Platinum Visa Credit Card*
The Union Bank® Platinum™ Visa® Credit Card comes with no annual fee, a 0 percent intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months (followed by a variable APR of 9.99 percent to 21.49 percent) and no balance transfer fees on transfers completed within the first 60 days of account opening (after which a 3 percent fee, min. $10, applies).
Beyond the Union Bank Platinum Visa’s balance transfer perks, this card doesn’t come with much else. Other features include standard card benefits like emergency card replacement, zero fraud liability and purchase security.
DCU Visa Platinum Credit Card*
If you’re more interested in not paying a balance transfer fee than not paying interest on a balance for a limited time, the DCU Visa® Platinum Credit Card is worth considering. This card comes with a variable APR of 10.75 percent to 18.00 percent, but depending on your creditworthiness at the time of account opening, you may qualify for an APR as low as 10 percent on balance transfers, purchases and cash advances. You’ll also pay no balance transfer fees, cash advance fees or foreign transaction fees. This card also includes no annual fee. Note that this card requires DCU membership.
Wings Visa Platinum Credit Card*
Issued by Wings Financial Credit Union, the Wings Visa Platinum Credit Card includes both a 0 percent intro APR on balance transfers for 12 months and a low variable APR of 8.90 percent to 18.00 percent thereafter. It also includes no balance transfer fees, no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees.
You must be a member of the Wings Financial Credit Union in order to get any Wings Financial credit card. However, the membership qualifications for this credit union tend to be broader than some other credit unions. For example, membership is open (but not limited) to anyone who lives or works in Seattle, Detroit, Orlando or Atlanta or works in the aviation industry nationwide.
Wings Member Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card*
If you’d rather trade the low variable APR from the previous card for a card that earns rewards, Wings Financial also offers the Wings Member Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card. This card comes with no annual fee, no balance transfer fees, a 0 percent intro APR on balance transfers for 12 months (then a variable APR of 14.95 percent to 18.00 percent) and 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases. You can also earn a welcome offer of $100 after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days of account opening, which is a very attainable bonus.
However, if you’d rather earn points instead of cash back, consider the Wings Member Rewards Visa Signature® Card*, which offers many of the same balance transfer features but includes 2X points on all purchases.
SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union Inspire Mastercard*
If you’re an educator in California, the SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union Inspire Mastercard® is a great option to consider for a balance transfer. This card comes with a 0 percent intro APR on balance transfers for six months (after which a variable APR as low as 10.00 percent applies). There’s also no balance transfer fee, cash advance fee or annual fee. If you’re interested in another SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union credit card, note that all cards include no balance transfer fees.
To join SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union, you must meet certain qualifications. Membership is open to educational communities in California, including current or retired school employees, an immediate family member of a current SchoolsFirst member or an employee of a company that provides services to an eligible school district in California.
Best balance transfer cards with a low balance transfer fee
While the options are limited when it comes to credit cards with no balance transfer fees, there are many top balance transfer cards that charge a balance transfer fee on the lower end and still offer plenty of value.
For example, some of the following cards may offer a long introductory period, lucrative rewards or a high intro bonus, which can help offset the balance transfer fee and provide value after the balance transfer intro offer expires.
|Card||Balance transfer terms||Rewards rates|
|Alliant Visa® Platinum Rewards Credit Card||
|Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card||
|Citi® Double Cash Card||
|Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card||
|U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card||
The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card last updated on January 10, 2023.
How to calculate a balance transfer fee
Most balance transfer fees range from 3 percent to 5 percent of each balance you transfer, although individual offers vary. Keep in mind that when you transfer balances to a balance transfer card, this fee is charged to your balance upfront.
To calculate your balance transfer fee, you’ll first want to convert your new card’s balance transfer fee from a percentage to a decimal. Then, multiply that number and the amount of your balance to determine the fee you’ll pay. For example, if you were to transfer $10,000 in high interest credit card debt to a balance transfer card, your fee might be 3 percent of your balance ($300) or 5 percent of your balance ($500) depending on the credit card you sign up for. So, in this example, you’ll have either $10,300 or $10,500 in total debt to pay off.
Is paying a balance transfer fee worth it?
You may be wondering why anyone would pay a balance transfer fee when there are cards that don’t charge this fee (or other fees) at all. The reality is that there are few cards that don’t charge a balance transfer fee, and paying a balance transfer fee is often worth it if you’re able to pay off your debt interest-free, which will save you a lot of money on interest, especially if you have a lot of debt at a high APR. But make sure to run the numbers for your specific situation and use a credit card balance transfer calculator to determine which card works best for your needs — and saves you the most.
*The information about the Navy Federal Credit Union Platinum Credit Card, Navy Federal More Rewards American Express® Card, Union Bank® Platinum™ Visa® Credit Card, DCU Visa® Platinum Credit Card, First Tech Credit Union Choice Rewards World Mastercard®, Wings Visa Platinum Credit Card, Wings Member Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card, Wings Member Rewards Visa Signature® Card and SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union Inspire Mastercard® has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.