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Credit Cards

The best balance transfer credit cards of August 2022

There are many balance transfer credit cards available. Here are the best according to our analysis.

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Credit card interest rates are typically in the double digits, so carrying a balance on your credit card is likely costing you a lot. But one way to get that debt under control is to choose the right card.

Considering Americans carry an average balance of $5,313, there's a lot of room to save money with a balance transfer credit card. These cards offer no interest on balance transfers for a set period of time — at least six months and up to 21 months. During the introductory 0% APR period, you can pay off debt without paying costly interest charges.

We analyzed 101 popular balance transfer cards using an average American's annual spending budget and credit card debt and dug into each card's perks and drawbacks to find the best of the best based on your consumer habits. We factored in each card's transfer fee, the length of the 0% interest period and any interest you'd pay once the intro period ends. But the more you pay each month, the faster you'll pay off the balance you've transferred, and ideally, you could pay off the debt in full before the higher interest rates kick in.

Below, Select rounds up some of the best balance transfer credit cards and summarizes what you need to know about using a balance transfer card.

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Best balance transfer credit cards

Intro 0% APR for up to 21 months

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

On Citi's secure site
  • Rewards

    None

  • Welcome bonus

    None

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% for 21 months on balance transfers; 0% for 12 months on purchases

  • Regular APR

    15.99% - 25.99% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    5% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum. Balance transfers must be completed within 4 months of account opening.

  • Foreign transaction fee

    3%

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Balances can be transferred within 4 months from account opening
  • One of the longest intro periods for balance transfers

Cons

  • 3% foreign transaction fee

Citi Simplicity® Card

On Citi's secure site
  • Rewards

    None

  • Welcome bonus

    None

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% for 21 months on balance transfers; 0% for 12 months on purchases

  • Regular APR

    16.99% - 26.99% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    5% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum. Balance transfers must be completed within 4 months of account opening.

  • Foreign transaction fee

    3%

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Balances can be transferred within 4 months from account opening
  • One of the longest intro periods for balance transfers

Cons

  • 3% foreign transaction fee
  • No rewards program

Wells Fargo Reflect® Card

On Wells Fargo's secure site
  • Rewards

    None

  • Welcome bonus

    None

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% intro APR for 18 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers. Intro APR extension of up to 3 months with on-time minimum payments during the intro and extension periods. 15.24% - 27.24% variable APR thereafter; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate

  • Regular APR

    15.24% - 27.24% variable APR on purchases and balance transfers

  • Balance transfer fee

    Introductory fee of 3% ($5 minimum) for 120 days from account opening, then up to 5% ($5 minimum)

  • Foreign transaction fee

    3%

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

See rates and fees and our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Long introductory APR period up to 21 months on purchases and qualifying balance transfers
  • 3% intro balance transfer fee ($5 minimum) for first 120 days
  • Access to Visa Signature Concierge
  • Get up to $600 cell phone protection
  • Access to My Wells Fargo Deals to earn cash back in the form of a statement credit when shopping, dining

Cons

  • No rewards
  • No welcome bonus
  • 3% fee charged on foreign transactions

Intro 0% APR for 20 months

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

On U.S. Bank's secure site
  • Rewards

    None

  • Welcome bonus

    None

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% for the first 20 billing cycles on balance transfers and purchases

  • Regular APR

    16.74% - 26.74% (Variable)

  • Balance transfer fee

    Either 3% of the amount of each transfer or $5 minimum, whichever is greater

  • Foreign transaction fee

    2% to 3%

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

See rates and fees and our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • 20 billing cycles of no interest on balance transfers and purchases
  • No annual fee
  • Cell phone protection plan

Cons

  • No rewards program
  • 2% to 3% foreign transaction fee
  • Balances must be transferred within 60 days from account opening

Intro 0% APR for 18 months

Citi® Double Cash Card

On Citi's secure site
  • Rewards

    2% cash back: 1% on all eligible purchases and an additional 1% after you pay your credit card bill

  • Welcome bonus

    No current offer

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% for the first 18 months on balance transfers; N/A for purchases

  • Regular APR

    16.24% - 26.24% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    For balance transfers completed within 4 months of account opening, an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer ($5 minimum) applies; after that, a balance transfer fee of 5% of each transfer ($5 minimum) applies

  • Foreign transaction fee

    3%

  • Credit needed

    Good/Excellent

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • 2% cash back on all eligible purchases
  • Simple cash-back program that doesn't require activation or spending caps
  • One of the longest intro periods for balance transfers at 18 months

Cons

  • No welcome bonus, so you can’t maximize rewards during the first few months of card opening
  • Minimum cash-back redemption of $25
  • 3% fee charged on purchases made outside the U.S.
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $443
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $2,213

BankAmericard® credit card

  • Rewards

    This card doesn't offer cash back, miles or points.

  • Welcome bonus

    $100 statement credit online bonus after making at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% for the first 18 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers made within 60 days of opening your account

  • Regular APR

    12.99% to 22.99% variable variable APR on purchases and balance transfers

  • Balance transfer fee

    Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.

  • Foreign transaction fee

    3%

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

Terms apply.

Intro 0% APR for 15 months

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

On Chase's secure site
  • Rewards

    Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 1.5% on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back. That's 6.5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 4.5% on dining and drugstores, and 3% on all other purchases.

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% for the first 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers

  • Regular APR

    16.49% - 25.24% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    Intro fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater, on transfers made within 60 days of account opening. After that, either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

  • Foreign transaction fee

    3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Rewards can be transferred to a Chase Ultimate Rewards card
  • Generous welcome bonus

Cons

  • 3% fee charged on foreign transactions

How to use a balance transfer card

Before you take advantage of a balance transfer offer, there are some things you should keep in mind:

  • Transfers can't be made between cards from the same bank. For example, if you have a Chase card, you can't transfer debt to another Chase card.
  • You may incur a fee. Most of these cards charge a balance transfer fee. It's usually 3% to 5% of the amount you transfer. For example, transferring $5,000 with a 3% fee will cost you $150. This fee will post on the balance transfer card, rather than the original card.
  • Most transfers need to be completed within 120 days from account opening. If you wait too long to make a transfer, you may miss out on the 0% APR period.
  • There are limits on how much debt you can transfer. Card issuers typically limit the amount you can transfer to a percentage of your total credit limit or a specific dollar amount. And issuers also factor in the total cost of the balance transfer, which includes any balance transfer fees.
  • Many balance transfer cards require good or excellent credit. If you have less than stellar credit, it can be difficult to qualify for a balance transfer card.

Bottom line

Using a balance transfer credit card to consolidate and pay off credit card debt is a great strategy to save on interest charges. However, it also needs to be met with cutting back on credit card spending as doing this multiple times over isn't recommended.

Before you apply for a balance transfer credit card you may want to check your credit score using a credit monitoring service like Chase Credit Journey or CreditWise to make sure it's up to par.

Lastly, and more importantly, you'll want to have a budget set in place. Without a sturdy budget, you may find yourself digging deeper into credit card debt.

Balance transfer credit card FAQ's

Select researched and found the most commonly asked questions about balance transfer credit cards from consumers.

Do balance transfers hurt your credit?

Applying for a new credit card will typically 'ding' your credit score (although the drop is usually small and temporary), but the balance transfer itself doesn't hurt your credit. However, if the balance transfer card has a low credit limit and you transfer over a high amount of debt, your credit utilization ratio will go up, which could hurt your credit score. You typically want to keep your credit utilization ratio under 30%.

Is it worth getting a balance transfer?

Balance transfers are good options for consolidating credit card debt. However, be sure to calculate how much it will cost to transfer the balance versus how much in interest fees you'll accrue by simply paying down the balance on your current credit card.

How do you qualify for a balance transfer?

Balance transfer credit cards are typically for consumers with good to excellent credit scores. If you're approved for a balance transfer offer, be sure to take advantage of it quickly as they are limited-time offers.

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Our methodology

To determine which credit cards offer the best balance transfer deals, Select analyzed 101 of the most popular credit cards that offer no interest on balance transfers issued by the biggest banks, financial companies and credit unions that allow anyone to join.

We compared each card on a range of features, including: annual fee, balance transfer fee, rewards program, introductory and standard APR, welcome bonuses and foreign transaction fees, as well as factors such as required credit and customer reviews when available.

For the cards that offered a rewards program, we also estimated how much cash back you might earn over a five-year period. Select teamed up with location intelligence firm Esri. The company's data development team provided the most up-to-date and comprehensive consumer spending data based on the 2019 Consumer Expenditure Surveys from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You can read more about their methodology here.

Esri's data team created a sample annual budget of approximately $22,126 in retail spending. The budget includes six main categories: groceries ($5,174), gas ($2,218), dining out ($3,675), travel ($2,244), utilities ($4,862) and general purchases ($3,953). General purchases include items such as housekeeping supplies, clothing, personal care products, prescription drugs and vitamins, and other vehicle expenses.

Select used this budget to estimate how much the average consumer would save over the course of a year, two years and five years, assuming they would attempt to maximize their rewards potential by earning all welcome bonuses offered and using the card for all applicable purchases. All rewards total estimations are net of the annual fee.

It's important to note the value of a point or mile varies from card to card and based on how you redeem them. When we calculated the estimated returns, we assumed that cardholders are redeeming points/miles for a typical maximum value of 1 cent per point or mile. (Extreme optimizers might be able to achieve more value.)

When choosing the best balance transfer card, we focused on the card that provides consumers with the cheapest way to pay off their debt rather than the number of rewards they could potentially earn. When you're in credit card debt, your primary focus should be repayment. Earning rewards should be seen as a bonus, and you don't want to spend beyond your means in order to earn points.

The five-year rewards total and the interest rate and fees estimates are derived from a budget similar to the average American's spending and debt. You may earn a higher or lower return depending on your spending habits.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
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