Best Balance Transfer Card With A Low Ongoing APR
BankAmericard® credit card
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Get one of the longest intro APR offers out there on both purchases and balance transfers.
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This card’s substantially long intro APR period can help you pay off debt while saving potentially hundreds of dollars or more in interest charges. However, if you can pay your debt off in 15 months or less, there may be better options out there with more long-term value.
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If you’re looking to pay off your credit card debt with a balance transfer card, the BankAmericard credit card is a great choice. You can take advantage of its 0 percent introductory APR on purchases and on balance transfers made within the first 60 days to avoid interest charges for a whopping 21 billing cycles (a variable APR of 16.24 percent - 26.24 percent applies after that). Depending on the ongoing APR (or interest rate) you qualify for, the BankAmericard could also be a great low-interest credit card.
If you need maximum time to pay off debt without added interest, the BankAmericard may help you more than a lot of other balance transfer cards. However, once your intro APR period ends, the card won’t have a lot of value. If you’re able to pay your debt off in less time, a cash back card with an intro APR period may have better long-term value.
Offers one of the longest intro APR periods available on purchases and on balance transfers (made within the first 60 days): 21 billing cycles.
You may be able to qualify for a low interest rate based on your credit score.
Does not penalize you with a penalty APR (which can derail your debt payoff plans) if you make a late payment.
Has few additional features, which limits its long-term value once the intro APR period ends.
Charges a foreign transaction fee, which can make traveling abroad more expensive.
The BankAmericard doesn’t offer a sign-up bonus, which isn’t unusual for a balance transfer card with an intro APR offer of 18 months or longer. The main benefit of the card is its long 0 percent intro APR on purchases and balance transfers (16.24 percent to 26.24 percent variable thereafter).
The introductory APR period of 21 billing cycles is one of the longest currently available on a balance transfer card and could play an important role in helping you deal with credit card debt — a problem for many Americans.
The BankAmericard offers one of the longest introductory APR periods currently available for purchases and balance transfers. Beyond that, it doesn’t carry many additional features, only offering a few Bank of America perks and basics like overdraft protection, $0 fraud liability, digital wallet integration and free FICO Score access.
The BankAmericard’s 0 percent introductory APR on purchases lasts for 21 billing cycles. If you need it, you'll have a lot of breathing room to pay off new purchases while avoiding interest charges. Due to the recent rise of inflation, having more time to pay off more expensive credit card purchases could be a welcome benefit.
To take advantage of the BankAmericard’s hefty intro APR offer on balance transfers, you need to move your debt over to the BankAmericard within 60 days of opening the account. You can transfer over debt from multiple creditors, but how much you can transfer depends on the credit limit Bank of America extends to you.
With the BankAmericard, a balance transfer can take two weeks or longer to compete. You should continue to make payments on your old debts until your transfer shows up on your statement. Once the balance transfer takes effect, you’ll have to make on-time payments each billing cycle to avoid owing interest before the introductory APR period ends.
Although the BankAmericard doesn’t offer a traditional rewards structure, you still have a chance to earn 5 percent to 15 percent cash back by using your card at participating merchants with the BankAmeriDeals program. You can activate limited-time offers for restaurants and other retailers from your online Bank of America account, which will also earn you “coins” over time toward bigger bonuses.
Bank of America’s Museums on Us benefit isn’t mentioned often, but it’s been a mainstay for over 20 years. Showing your Bank of America card and a valid photo ID at more than 225 “cultural institutions” will grant you free general admission to museums during the first weekend of every month — which can save bundles for families and weekend trippers.
The BankAmericard doesn’t charge an annual fee, but if you want to transfer and pay off existing debt, you’ll pay a 3 percent balance transfer fee (or $10, whichever is greater). This fee is fairly standard, and less than the 5 percent fee other cards charge to transfer a balance.
The card’s variable APR is 16.24 percent to 26.24 percent. If you only use the card during the interest-free period, you won’t have to worry about this rate. If you have good enough credit, you may qualify for the low end, which is well below the current average interest rate — making this a good low-interest card to hold on to in case of future emergencies. If you end up at the high end of the card’s variable APR range, you may not have much use for the card once you’re done with the intro APR offer.
The card does charge a foreign transaction fee and a late fee, but won’t hit you with a penalty APR if you make a late payment.
The BankAmericard is a great option for paying off debt or financing a big purchase, but it’s not your only option. Depending on what you need, you may prefer a card with fewer penalties or one that earns rewards. Here are a couple of different options in case the BankAmericard isn’t for you.
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Both the BankAmericard and the Citi Simplicity Card are great options because both focus on helping you get out of debt. But the BankAmericard is a better fit if you have new purchases to make. Compared to the Simplicity card, it has a longer intro APR offer for purchases and a better ongoing APR range once the introductory period ends.
If you want to deal with past debt, the Citi Simplicity matches the BankAmericard’s lengthy balance transfer offer and even gives you four months to transfer over your debt (versus the BankAmericard’s 60-day transfer window). Like the BankAmericard, the Citi Simplicity card doesn’t charge a penalty APR, but it also doesn’t charge a late fee. This feature gives the Simplicity card an edge over the BankAmericard, especially if you want the peace of mind that comes from knowing you are less likely to void your intro offer if you make a late payment.
The Citi® Double Cash Card can’t match the BankAmericard when it comes to the intro APR offer. The Double Cash card only has an intro APR offer for balance transfers, lasting 18 months followed by an ongoing 18.24 percent to 28.24 percent variable APR. This offer is a few months short of the BankAmericard’s lengthy offer, and only applies to balance transfers, not new purchases.
Like most balance transfer cards, you can lose your intro APR offer if you make a late payment, but the Citi Double Cash card may also add a penalty APR of up to 29.99 percent for making a late payment. A penalty APR that high applied to your balance could push you even further into debt.
If you don’t need an intro APR offer on purchases and can avoid getting hit with the penalty APR, the Double Cash card’s long-term value easily tops that of the BankAmericard. It rakes in up to 2 percent cash back on all purchases — 1 percent when you buy plus 1 percent when you pay off those purchases.
When you’re close to paying off your debt, and you’re confident you can pay your credit card balance off quickly in the future, you may want to pair the BankAmericard with a rewards card that fits your spending habits. If you like the BankAmericard’s ongoing interest rate, you can hold on to it and use it as a low-interest card for those moments when you have to buy something you can’t immediately pay off.
If your ongoing APR is 20 percent or higher, choose a new card with a lower rate before you apply for a rewards card. Credit union credit cards tend to have the lowest interest rates around. Some even have additional benefits like rewards, sign-up bonuses and intro APR offers, which can give them more value than a rewards card with a higher interest rate.
For example, the Alliant Visa Platinum Rewards Credit Card offers a flat rate of 2X points on all purchases as well as a welcome bonus of 5,000 bonus points when you spend $500 within the first 90 days of owning the card. These perks are all on top of their low APR of 13.24 to 23.24 percent variable. This card can be a great tool to put small manageable purchases on and earn rewards while you lower your overall debt.
The BankAmericard credit card is a strong choice if you need one of the longest intro APR periods available to pay down your balance. While it doesn’t earn rewards or carry many features that distinguish it from other balance transfer cards with similar intro APR offer lengths, the BankAmericard could be worth keeping even after your balance is paid thanks to its potentially low ongoing APR.
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