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 2023. Here is our list of the best balance transfer cards available today.
Summary of the Best Balance Transfer Cards
Citi Double Cash Credit Card–Best for Cash Back
- Rewards: 2% cash back: 1% when you buy + 1% as you pay
- 0% Intro APR: Get 0% APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months.
- Annual Fee: $0
- Credit Required: Good to excellent (690+)
Citi Diamond Preferred Card–Best Long 0% Intro APR
- 0% APR: Get 0% Intro APR for 21 months on balance transfers and 12 months on purchases.
- 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.
- No Annual Fee
U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card–Long 0% Intro APR
- 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)
Wells Fargo Reflect Card–Best for Long 0% APR
- 0% Intro APR: Up to 21 months on qualifying balance transfers and purchases, then the regular APR applies (currently 12.99% - 24.99%)
- Wells Fargo Deals: Earn cash back statement credits from select merchants
- Benefits: Cell phone protection, 24/7 roadside assistance, and zero liability protection
- Annual Fee: $0
Note that this card does not offer a signup bonus or cash back. If you are willing to accept a somewhat shorter 0% APR, the next card is a solid option.
Wells Fargo Active Cash Card–Best for Cash Back
- Cash Back: You get unlimited 2% cash back on eligible purchases (no category limitations or rotating categories to worry about)
- Signup Bonus: $200 after spending $1,000 within your first 3 months.
- 0% Into APR: 0% intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months from account opening, then the regular APR applies (14.99% - 24.99%)
- Extra Benefits: Cell phone protection
- Annual fee: $0
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.