A balance transfer card is an important tool to help pay off credit card debt. These cards enable you to move high-interest debt to a new credit card that won’t charge interest for a year or more. Some of the top cards offer a 0% APR well into 2022. Here is our list of the best balance transfer cards available today.
- Best Balance Transfer Cards in January 2021
- U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card–Editor’s Pick
- Wells Fargo Platinum Visa–Editor’s Pick
- Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card–Best for Cash Back
- Citi Double Cash Credit Card–Best for Cash Back
- Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card–Best Amex Offer
- U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card–Best for Dining Rewards
- Citi Diamond Preferred Card–Best Citi Balance Transfer Offer
- Citi Rewards+ Card–Best for Round-Up Rewards
- How to Choose the Best Balance Transfer Offer
Best Balance Transfer Cards in January 2021
U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card—Editor’s Pick
The U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card earns the top spot for one reason and one reason only–it offers the longest 0% APR on balance transfers available today. At 20 billing cycles, this card’s 0% APR would last until the end of 2022. It comes with no annual fee, but little in the way of cash back or other rewards.
- 0% Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 20 billing cycles. After that, a variable APR
- No Annual Fee*
- Choose your own payment due date that fits your schedule.
- Get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your U.S.Bank Visa® Platinum Credit Card. Certain terms, conditions, and exclusions apply.
Wells Fargo Platinum Visa—Editor’s Pick
The Wells Fargo Platinum Visa also earns an editor’s pick for its 0% balance transfer that lasts for 18 months. It too offers little in the way of additional rewards, but doesn’t charge an annual fee either.
- 0% Intro APR for 18 months on purchases and balance transfers (fees apply) on transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rates and fees
- Get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your card
- Easy access to your FICO® Credit Score
- Zero Liability protection for promptly reported unauthorized transactions
- $0 Annual Fee
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card—Best for Cash Back
For those who want cash back rewards in addition to a solid balance transfer offer, the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card fits the bill. It offers an impressive 0% APR balance transfer for 15 months + up to 1.8% cash back + a signup bonus. And it does all of this without charging an annual fee.
- Welcome Offer: Earn $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
- Cash Back: Earn 1.5% cash rewards on every purchase
- Cash Back Bonus: Earn 1.8% cash rewards on qualified mobile wallet purchases during the first 12 months from account opening
- Get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card
- Intro APR: 0% Intro APR for 15 on purchases and balance transfers
- $0 Annual Fee
Citi Double Cash Credit Card—Best for Cash Back
I’ve carried the Citi Double Cash Credit Card for years. In addition to an excellent balance transfer offer, it also pays up to 2% cash back and doesn’t charge an annual fee.
- 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be based on your creditworthiness
- There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
- The only card that earns you cash back TWICE on every purchase with:
- 1% cash back when you buy
- Plus 1% cash back as you pay for those purchases, whether you pay in full or over time*
- No Category Restrictions, No Caps, No Enrollments in Rotating Categories
- No Annual Fee
Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card—Best Amex Offer
The is the best balance transfer card that uses the American Express platform. It is issued by Wells Fargo, and combines both a 0% APR and rewards (including a signup bonus).
- Earn 20,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 within your first 3 months. – that’s a $200 cash redemption value
- Earn 3X points for eating out and ordering in
- Earn 3X points for gas stations, rideshares and transit
- Earn 3X points for travel including flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals
- Earn 3X points on popular streaming services
- Earn 1X points on other purchases
- 0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers
- No annual fee
U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card—Best for Dining Rewards
The U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card combines a good transfer feature with rewards geared for those who eat out. And yes, the rewards apply to food delivery as well. There is no annual fee.
- Earn 25,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases with the card in the first 90 days.
- Earn 4X points on restaurant purchases–takeout, food delivery and dining
- Earn 2X points at grocery stores (including delivery), gas stations and streaming services
- Earn 1X points on all other purchases
- You’ll get a $15 credit for annual streaming services with Netflix and Spotify
- 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 billing cycles
- No annual fee
Citi Diamond Preferred Card—Best Citi Balance Transfer Offer
The Citi Diamond Preferred Card is a 0% APR card. It offers an excellent balance transfer and doesn’t charge an annual fee. It doesn’t, however, offer rewards.
- The key feature is the card’s 0% Intro APR for 18 months on purchases and balance transfers.
- After that the variable APR will apply based on your creditworthiness.
- Balance transfers must be completed within 4 months of account opening.
- There is a fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
- You get free access to your FICO® Score, although it’s a specialized score designed for credit cards
- No Annual Fee
Citi Rewards+ Card—Best for Round-Up Rewards
The Citi Rewards+ Card, the last on our list, combines a 0% balance transfer with reasonable rewards.
There are some other balance transfer cards from other issuers, which you can check out here.
How to Choose the Best Balance Transfer Offer
Finding 0% balance transfer cards is the easy part. Choosing the best option for your specific circumstances, however, requires a lot more than just comparing transfer fees and length of the 0% introductory rate. In fact, there are several questions you should consider before making a choice. What might be the best option for one person many not be the wisest choice for another.
Here are 6 things to consider.
1. How much debt you have
The amount of credit card debt you have is an important consideration for at least two reasons. First, you may or may not qualify for enough credit on a balance transfer card to cover all of your existing credit card debt. This may mean you need to apply for multiple offers if you want to move all of the debt to a 0% card.
Second, your monthly minimum payment may be higher than what you are paying now. While two percent of the outstanding balance is a common minimum payment formula, not all issuers follow this standard. You’ll want to make sure you understand what the minimum payment will be and that your budget can handle it.
2. Which cards hold your debt now
Credit card issuers do not allow you to transfer debt from one of their cards to another. If you have debt on a Citibank card, for example, you can’t transfer it to another Citibank card. This is particularly important to remember when searching for balance transfer cards. You may find a great offer, but it won’t do you much good if it’s with the same issuer that currently holds your debt.
3. Your credit score
Credit card issuers don’t publish their underwriting standards, including the credit score needed to qualify for one of their cards. The best card offers, however, require a good credit score. While there is no minimum score required, in my experience you want to aim for a FICO score of at least 700. Keep in mind that other factors are important, too, such as your income, debt levels, and history with the credit card issuer.
If you don’t know your credit score, there are several free tools available to get access to your score. One of the free options is credit card issuers. Most major issuers today provide free access to your credit score. You’ll find a list of those issuers here.
4. Time to pay off the debt
Most of the top balance transfer cards today offer 0% for 12 to 20 months. Before transferring a balance, assess whether you’ll be able to pay off the debt before the 0% introductory rate ends. If you can pay off the debt in 15 months, for example, you’ll then want to look for offers of 15 months or longer.
5. Life After the 0% Offer
Make a plan for when the 0% offer expires. In our case, we continued to transfer the balances until we paid off our credit card debt in full. While this is a reasonable option, there are at least two potential hurdles.
First, there is no guarantee that 0% offers will be available a year or two from now. While balance transfer cards have been part of the credit card landscape for many years, all good things eventually come to an end. In fact, many major issuers left the balance transfer space last year because of Covid, including Chase, American Express and Capital One.
Second, even if these offers are available down the road, there is no guarantee that you’ll qualify for them. As noted above, these offers require a good to excellent credit score.
One way to prepare is to understand what the interest rates will be at the end of the 0% offer. As the CFPB has noted, it’s important to understand the interest rate over the life of the new card, not just the introductory rate. All credit card issuers make this information available to you. During the application process, the regular APR is typically stated as a range based on your creditworthiness. If your application is approved, however, you’ll know then what the regular APR is. While this can of course change, you’ll at least have some idea of the consequences should you be unable to pay off the debt before the zero percent rate expires.
6. Other credit card perks
Finally, it’s worth considering the perks beyond the 0% offer. Some of the best balance transfer cards come with no rewards, as noted above. There are, however, several good balance transfer cards that offer cash back rewards.
For additional balance transfer offers, check out this resource.