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Published: Jan 19, 2024 32 min read
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Best Balance Transfer Card with Cash Back
Best for Everyday SpendingBest Balance Transfer Card for Travel Rewards
Chase Freedom Unlimited® Credit Card Logo
Blue Cash Everyday ® Credit Card from American Express Logo
Capital One VentureOne Credit Card Logo
Chase Freedom Unlimited®Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American ExpressCapital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
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Introductory Period

balance_transfer_intro_apr,balance_transfer_intro_duration, reg_apr,reg_apr_type APR thereafter

balance_transfer_intro_apr,balance_transfer_intro_duration, reg_apr,reg_apr_type APR thereafter. (See Rates and Fees page.)

balance_transfer_intro_apr,balance_transfer_intro_duration, reg_apr,reg_apr_type APR thereafter

Balance Transfer FeeIntro 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

balance_transfer_fees

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balance_transfer_fees

Best Balance Transfer Card with Cash Back
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Our Partner
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Introductory Period

balance_transfer_intro_apr,balance_transfer_intro_duration, reg_apr,reg_apr_type APR thereafter

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

balance_transfer_fees

Best for Everyday Spending
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
Our Partner
Learn More
Introductory Period

balance_transfer_intro_apr,balance_transfer_intro_duration, reg_apr,reg_apr_type APR thereafter. (See Rates and Fees page.)

Balance Transfer Fee

balance_transfer_fees

Best Balance Transfer Card for Travel Rewards
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
Our Partner
Learn More
Introductory Period

balance_transfer_intro_apr,balance_transfer_intro_duration, reg_apr,reg_apr_type APR thereafter

Balance Transfer Fee

balance_transfer_fees

Advertiser disclosure: Money.com has partnered with CardRatings.com for our coverage of credit card products. Money and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Our site does not include all card companies or all available card offers.

Why Trust Us

Our editorial team has spent well over a thousand hours analyzing, evaluating and comparing the top credit card offers in the market. We carefully vet each card’s fine print in order to understand their features, limitations and potential benefits for consumers.

We review cards independently, ensuring our content is accurate and guided by editorial integrity. Read our full methodology to learn more.

  • 30+ credit cards evaluated
  • 10+ data points used, including ongoing fees, reward programs and welcome offers
  • 65+ sources reviewed

Money’s Main Takeaways

  • Balance transfer cards with long introductory periods — for instance, 18 to 21 months — tend to offer fewer rewards and benefits than other cards.
  • Look at balance transfer fees and time limits, since transfers usually need to be made within a specific period from account opening.
  • In order to avoid interest on your transfer amount, it’s important to have a solid repayment plan in place so you can pay down the debt before the introductory period ends.
  • There are other alternatives to consolidate debt, such as personal loans or debt consolidation services.

Balance transfer credit cards can offer you an effective way to consolidate debt and reduce the interest you pay overall.

The best balance transfer cards will provide a lengthy introductory 0% APR period — anywhere between 15 to 21 months — giving you enough time to pay down most, if not all, of what you owe while there are no interest charges piling up. They also tend to charge lower balance transfer fees than other credit cards.

Read on for our reviews of the best balance transfer cards in the market today.

Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards Reviews

Best Balance Transfer Cards with Introductory APR for 21 Months

Best Balance Transfer Cards with Introductory APR for 18 Months

Best Balance Transfer Cards with Introductory APR for 15 Months

Best Balance Transfer Cards with No Balance Transfer Fee

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Best Balance Transfer Cards with Introductory APR for 21 Months

U.S Bank Visa® Platinum Card

Courtesy of US Bank
Pros
  • Long introductory period on both purchases and balance transfers
  • Cell phone protection up to $600
  • Balance transfer fee is always 3% (with a $5 minimum)
Cons
  • Foreign transaction fee
  • No rewards
HIGHLIGHTS
Intro APR:
0% intro APR for 21 months on balance transfers
Regular APR:
18.74%-29.74%
Annual Fee:
$0
Insurance and protection:
Cell phone protection

Why we chose it: The U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card offers one of the longest introductory periods on both purchases and balance transfers, as well as a low 3% balance transfer fee.

The U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card is a reliable balance transfer card that delivers just what’s needed. It offers 21 months of 0% APR on both purchases and balance transfers (18.74%-29.74% regular APR afterwards).

Its standard balance transfer fee is 3% of the total transferred, which is lower than most competitors. It also stays at 3%, unlike other cards that raise it to 5% after a specified period.

While it doesn’t offer any rewards or much insurance coverage, it does include cell phone protection of up to $600 if you use the card to pay your monthly phone bill.

It’s a no-frills balance transfer credit card for those looking for the longest possible time frame to pay off their balance.

All information about the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card has been collected independently by Money.com.

Wells Fargo Reflect® Card

Courtesy of Wells Fargo
Pros
  • 0% intro APR (followed by 18.24%, 24.74% or 29.99%) for 21 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers
  • Lower minimum APR than some competitors
Cons
  • No rewards
  • Foreign transaction fee
HIGHLIGHTS
Intro APR:
0% intro APR for 21 months on balance transfers
Regular APR:
18.24%, 24.74% or 29.99% variable APR
Annual Fee:
$0
Insurance and protection:
Cell phone protection, auto rental collision damage waiver

Why we chose it: The Wells Fargo Reflect® Card offers up to 21 months of 0% APR on balance transfers and purchases, followed by 18.24%, 24.74% or 29.99% variable APR.

The card stands out in other ways too. While many cards have a limited time period to make these transfers, the Wells Fargo Reflect® Card has one of the longest at 120 days from account opening; many others offer 60 or even 30.

Finally, the card does provide the chance to earn some cash back in specific offers through My Wells Fargo Deals — features that are not available through most of its main competitors.

All information about the Wells Fargo Reflect® Card has been collected independently by Money.com.

Citi Simplicity® Card

Courtesy of Citi
Pros
  • 21 months of introductory 0% APR on balance transfers, followed by 19.24%-29.99% variable APR
  • No late fees or penalty APR
  • 3% balance transfer fee for transfers made within the first 4 months
Cons
  • Introductory APR only lasts 12 months for purchases
  • Foreign transaction fee
HIGHLIGHTS
Intro APR:
0% intro APR for 21 months on balance transfers
Regular APR:
19.24%-29.99%
Annual Fee:
$0
Insurance and protection:
Standard fraud protection

Why we chose it: The Citi Simplicity® Card offers 21 months of 0% APR (followed by 19.24%-29.99% variable APR) on balance transfers and no late fees.

The Citi Simplicity® Card offers a lengthy introductory APR for balance transfers at 21 months. This gives cardmembers more flexibility regarding their debt consolidation plans, especially since the promotional 21 months begin from the date of the first balance transfer, not the account opening date.

Its balance transfer fee is $5 or 3% during the first four months, $5 or 5% thereafter, comparable to many competitors, but with a longer period than most.

One of its main advantages is that it doesn’t penalize you for late payments. This means that you can pay at any point throughout the month without incurring late fees or being charged a penalty APR. (Some card issuers raise your interest rate if you’re late on a payment.) Payments must still be made within the billing period, of course, to prevent a negative impact on your credit.

However, a big drawback is the length of its promotional period for purchases, which only lasts 12 months.

All information about the Citi Simplicity® Card has been collected independently by Money.com.

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

Courtesy of Citi
Pros
  • 21 months of 0% APR on balance transfers, followed by 18.24%-28.99% variable APR
  • Lengthy four-month period from account opening to make qualifying transfers
Cons
  • 0% APR on purchases lasts 12 months, followed by 18.24%-28.99% variable APR
  • No purchase protection or insurance
HIGHLIGHTS
Intro APR:
0% intro APR for 21 months on balance transfers
Regular APR:
18.24%-28.99% variable APR
Annual Fee:
$0
Insurance and protection:
Standard fraud protection

Why we chose it: Another card with one of the longest balance transfer promotional periods is the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card, which offers 0% APR on balance transfers for 21 months, with a 18.24%-28.99% variable APR after that.

It also allows you to select your own payment due date, so you could schedule your payments right after payday, for instance.

Nonetheless, the promotional period for purchases is only 12 months, which is shorter than those from other competitors.

All information about the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card has been collected independently by Money.com.

Best Balance Transfer Cards with introductory APR for 18 Months

Citi Double Cash® Card

Courtesy of Citi
Pros
  • 2% cash back on all purchases
  • 18 months of 0% intro APR on balance transfers, followed by an APR of 19.24%-29.24% (variable)
Cons
  • No 0% introductory APR on purchases
HIGHLIGHTS
Intro APR:
0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months
Regular APR:
19.24%- 29.24% variable
Annual Fee:
$0
Insurance and protection:
Standard fraud protection

Why we chose it: Among cards with a high cash back rate, the Citi Double Cash® Card offers one of the longest introductory periods at 18 months.

The Citi Double Cash® Card is a great option for people looking at balance transfer offers and enticing rewards. The card offers 2% cash back on all purchases (1% when you buy, and 1% when you pay your card), among the most competitive flat rates out there.

Offering 0% APR on balance transfers for 18 months (19.24%- 29.24% after that), the Citi Double Cash® Card strikes the right balance, offering both high cash back and a long intro APR period.

Despite its many advantages, though, it doesn’t offer an introductory APR on purchases or any insurance coverage other than standard fraud protection.

All information about the Citi Double Cash® Card has been collected independently by Money.com.

Chase Slate Edge℠

Courtesy of Chase
Pros
  • 18-month promotional period with 0% intro APR on purchases and qualifying balance transfers, followed by a 20.49%–29.24% variable APR
  • APR decreases by 2% after spending $1,000 each year and paying on time
Cons
  • No rewards program
HIGHLIGHTS
Intro APR:
0% on purchases and balance transfers for 18 months
Regular APR:
20.49%–29.24% variable
Annual Fee:
$0
Insurance and protection:
Purchase protection, extended warranty, auto rental collision damage waiver

Why we chose it: The Chase Slate Edge℠ provides a lengthy promotional period along with valuable benefits that can help improve your credit score and promote healthy credit card usage.

The Chase Slate Edge℠ offers 18 months at a 0% APR (20.49%–29.24% variable APR thereafter). Also, if you make every monthly payment on time and spend at least $1,000 a year, Chase will decrease your APR until it reaches the Prime Rate plus 9.74%. Note that if you reach the lowest possible APR after your first year, it won’t get any lower.

The balance transfer fee is either $5 or 3% of the total transferred, whichever is greater, if you transfer during the first 60 days of account opening. After that, it’s $5 or 5% of the transfer total.

Additionally, the card’s current welcome offer could potentially raise your credit limit by $500 if you pay every bill on or before its due date for the first six months of account opening.

These features could be a great help for cardholders who want to learn how to build credit, improve their creditworthiness and also reach a lower APR by the end of their promotional period.

Best Balance Transfer Cards with introductory APR for 15 Months

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Courtesy of Chase
Pros
  • 5% on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 3% on dining and drugstore purchases
  • Unlimited 1.5% on all purchases
Cons
  • 3% foreign transaction fee
HIGHLIGHTS
Intro APR:
balance_transfer_intro_apr,balance_transfer_intro_duration and intro_apr_rate,intro_apr_duration
Regular APR:
reg_apr,reg_apr_type
Annual Fee:
annual_fees
Insurance and protection:
Purchase protection, extended warranty, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, rental collision waiver

Why we chose it: The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is one of the most well-rounded cards out there, and with its 15-month promotional period, it’s an excellent choice for anyone looking for a card that will be valuable beyond a balance transfer.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® has a lengthy 15-month 0% APR period (reg_apr,reg_apr_type thereafter) on both purchases and balance transfers, competing even with some balance transfer-dedicated cards.

It also has a number of valuable perks, which make it stand out even more. It offers trip cancellation insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver and high cash back reward rates on bonus categories (5% on travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® and 3% on dining, which includes eligible takeout and delivery) along with a high 1.5% base rate on all eligible purchases.

If you’re looking for a great rewards credit card that also offers a long introductory period for balance transfers, this should be your top choice. However, if a long 0% APR period is the priority, you might be better off with one of the other cards in this list, many of which, offer slightly longer intro periods.

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card

Courtesy of Bank of America
Pros
  • High rewards, up to 3% back on select categories
  • Among longest promotional period of cash back cards (15 billing cycles)
Cons
  • Balance transfers must be made in the first 60 days of account opening
  • Foreign transaction fee
HIGHLIGHTS
Intro APR:
0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 billing cycles
Regular APR:
18.24% - 28.24% variable
Annual Fee:
$0
Insurance and protection:
Standard fraud and overdraft protection

Why we chose it: Very few balance transfer cards offer intro bonuses or rewards, but this Bank of America® option does just that — offering a fairly lengthy introductory period on balance transfers, a solid welcome offer and high cash back rates on select categories.

For consumers who want a card that both helps them consolidate debt in the short term and rewards their usage long term, the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card is an excellent choice.

The card offers a 15-month introductory period on both new purchases and balance transfers. However, balance transfers must be made within the first 60 days of account opening, a shorter span than other cards, which commonly offer around four months.

The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card also offers very high rewards, with 3% on a monthly category of your choice from a pre-established list (including gas stations, drug stores, online shopping and more).

You also earn 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, although with a $2,500 quarterly spending limit on the 3% and 2% categories combined, earning 1% after that. You also get 1% on all other qualifying purchases.

All information about the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by Money.com.

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

Courtesy of Capital One
Pros
  • Earn 5x miles on hotels and rental cars through Capital One Travel
  • balance_transfer_intro_apr,balance_transfer_intro_duration
  • No foreign transaction fee
Cons
  • Fewer rewards and bonus categories than top competitors
  • Some insurance benefits require good credit to qualify
HIGHLIGHTS
Intro APR:
balance_transfer_rate for 15 months
Regular APR:
reg_apr,reg_apr_type
Annual Fee:
annual_fees
Insurance and protection:
Extended warranty, auto rental collision damage waiver, travel accident insurance, lost luggage reimbursement (all mentioned coverage only available for qualifying Visa Signature cardholders)

Why we chose it: The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card offers great travel rewards and benefits, such as no foreign transaction fee and travel accident insurance, along with a lengthy, 15-month introductory period.

The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card is one of the few travel-focused cards with a lengthy introductory APR period.

It offers 15 months of 0% APR on both purchases and balance transfers, reg_apr,reg_apr_type thereafter.

The card doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee and provides valuable travel-related coverage, such as rental car insurance and lost luggage reimbursement. Unfortunately, these insurance benefits are only available to cardholders with high credit scores that qualify for Visa Signature status.

Cardholders can also earn rewards for some of their travel purchases as the card offers 5x miles per dollar for rental car and hotel bookings made through the Capital One Travel portal. On all other qualifying purchases, the card offers 1.25x miles per dollar that can be redeemed for travel or transferred to one of Capital One’s partners, such as Air Canada, Avianca or British Airways.

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Courtesy of American Express
Pros
  • 3% back at U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations up to the first $6,000 per year, 1% afterwards
  • 3% back on U.S. online retail purchases up to the first $6,000 per year, 1% afterwards
  • balance_transfer_intro_apr,balance_transfer_intro_duration (followed by a reg_apr,reg_apr_type APR)
Cons
  • 2.7% foreign transaction fee

Terms apply. Click here for rates and fees.

HIGHLIGHTS
Intro APR:
balance_transfer_intro_apr,balance_transfer_intro_duration and intro_apr_rate,intro_apr_duration
Regular APR:
reg_apr,reg_apr_type
Annual Fee:
annual_fees
Insurance and protection:
Purchase protection and car rental loss and damage insurance*

Why we chose it: In addition to a 15-month introductory period, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express offers an array of rewards and benefits, especially when it comes to groceries and gas.

The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express offers 15 months of 0% APR on both purchases and balance transfers (followed by a reg_apr,reg_apr_type APR), which can be more than enough time to pay down your balance considerably without accruing interest charges.

But its benefits don’t end on the 16th month, as it offers high rewards at U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations, some of the largest expenses on almost every American’s budget.

The card also offers purchase protection, car rental loss and damage insurance* and a couple of statement credits. Cardholders can get $7 each month (up to $84 annually) after spending at least $9.99 a month on Disney Bundle monthly subscription purchases, as well as up to $15 per month in statement credits after purchasing at HomeChef.com. (Enrollment required.)

Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards with No Balance Transfer Fee

First Tech Choice Rewards World Mastercard®

Courtesy of First Tech
Pros
  • No balance transfer fee for transfers made within first 90 days of account opening
  • 12 months with 0% APR on balance transfers (13.50%-18.00% thereafter)
  • Rewards program
Cons
  • No promotional APR on purchases
  • 12-month promotional period is on the short side compared to other cards
HIGHLIGHTS
Intro APR:
12 months with 0% APR on balance transfers
Regular APR:
13.50%-18.00%
Annual Fee:
$0
Insurance and protection:
ID theft protection, trip cancellation insurance, coverage for lost or delayed baggage, purchase assurance, secondary rental insurance

Why we chose it: The First Tech Choice Rewards World Mastercard® is one of the few no-balance transfer-fee credit cards with rewards, and it also offers a low regular APR — all of which make it a valuable card to have even after its promotional period ends.

The First Tech Choice Rewards World Mastercard® offers 12 months with 0% APR on balance transfers, followed by a 13.50%-18.00% regular APR. While that sounds short, the card’s biggest benefit is the lack of a balance transfer fee.

This can work for people who have a short-term plan to pay off a large balance without incurring an additional cost.

The card also offers 2x points per dollar on groceries, gas, electronics, household goods and medical and telecommunication retailers, as well as 1x point on all other qualifying purchases.

Unfortunately, these points can only be redeemed through the issuer’s platform and have no cash value.

There’s also a wide array of Mastercard Benefits, such as coverage for rental cars, trip cancellation, lost baggage and discounts from companies like DoorDash and Lyft.

With these perks, along with its low regular APR, the First Tech Choice Rewards World Mastercard® could be a great addition to your wallet.

All information about the First Tech Choice Rewards World Mastercard® has been collected independently by Money.com

Navy Federal Credit Union® Platinum Credit Card

Courtesy of Navy Federal
Pros
  • No balance transfer fee
  • Low regular variable APR
Cons
  • Promotional period has a 0.99% APR, followed by 11.24%-18.00% variable APR
  • Must be a Navy Federal Credit Union member to apply
HIGHLIGHTS
Intro APR:
0.99% APR on balance transfers for 12 months
Regular APR:
11.24%-18.00% variable APR
Annual Fee:
$0
Insurance and protection:
Rental collision damage waiver

Why we chose it: The Navy Federal Credit Union® Platinum Credit Card doesn’t charge a balance transfer fee and also offers a much lower regular APR (11.24%-18.00%) than other credit cards.

The Navy Federal Credit Union® Platinum Credit Card doesn’t technically offer a 0% APR introductory period, as it charges a 0.99% APR during the first 12 months. However, it doesn’t charge a balance transfer fee and offers an incredibly low regular APR (11.24%-18.00% compared to 20%-30% in other cards).

The card is an excellent choice for anyone trying to reduce costs not just during the promotional period, but after it ends too.

Unfortunately, the Navy Federal membership is only for active or retired members of the military, their families and certain military department employees.

All information about the Navy Federal Credit Union® Platinum Credit Card has been collected independently by Money.com

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How We Chose the Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards

As part of our methodology to find the best balance transfer credit cards, we examined the 2023 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study by J.D. Power, along with the following four factors:

  • Introductory period length. The length of time that 0% APR is offered is the main attraction of balance transfer cards. We primarily looked at cards that offered between 18 and 21 months (with the exception of rewards cards and those that had special features).
  • Regular APR. After the introductory period ends, the APR cardholders are left with is important, especially since some might not have yet paid off their entire balance. Lower regular APRs gave some cards an edge.
  • Fees and time limit. Balance transfer fees are important additional expenses to consider when transferring an existing balance over to your new card. We prioritized cards that offered a 3% intro balance transfer fee (which is often the lowest fee offered), along with a longer period to make the balance transfer.
  • Rewards and perks. While balance transfer credit cards are not known for their rewards, those that do offer perks tend to be a valuable addition to your wallet. If a card with a long intro period offers rewards or benefits such as purchase protection, it’s worth a deeper look.

Balance Transfer Credit Cards Guide

There’s a lot to know about balance transfer credit cards, from their interest-free promotions to what they offer after those are over.

Read on to better understand what these cards are, how they work and the details that can help you make the right decision.

What is a balance transfer credit card?

A balance transfer is an agreement between two credit card issuers. Essentially, the issuer from the card you’re transferring to pays off your debt to the issuer you’re transferring the balance from. This transfer is subject to approval from both parties and depends on the transfer amount and your payment history.

Balance transfer credit cards are cards with introductory offers of 0% APR on balances transferred from another card for an established period of time. These introductory periods with a 0% balance transfer APR can range anywhere between 15 and 21 billing cycles.

Here are some of the pros and cons of balance transfer credit cards:

Pros
  • Long periods without interest charges make it easier to pay off existing debt.
  • Credit cards that offer rewards or insurance can provide benefits after the intro period is over.
  • It can help you consolidate debt from multiple high-interest cards, making it easier to pay off debt and keep track of payments.
  • A new credit card might actually help improve your credit score by giving you a higher credit limit.
Cons
  • The longer the intro period, the fewer the perks and rewards, which could make a card less useful in the future.
  • High interest rates when promotional periods end. This could put you at risk of even more debt if you don’t pay it off in time.
  • Balance transfer fees raise your overall debt and credit utilization ratio. Although it’s usually a small percentage of the debt, it could make an impact if your balance is high.
  • If used to acquire more purchasing power instead of consolidating debt, it could lead you further into debt.

If this is what you’re looking for, keep on reading to better understand the process; if you want a broader look at the credit card options available, check out our Best Credit Cards article.

What is a 0% balance transfer?

Usually, when you transfer a balance from one card to another, you’ll have to pay interest on that balance at the new card’s APR.

However, when you get an offer with 0% intro APR for balance transfers, the balance you transferred will not be charged interest for a specified period of time. Some cards that offer this introductory rate only offer it for balance transfers; other cards, however, go a step further and offer 0% APR on new purchases made with the card as well.

What is a balance transfer fee?

Most issuers will charge a balance transfer fee, which is a percentage of the total balance you’re transferring. It’s usually somewhere between 3% and 5% or $5, whichever is greater (spoiler alert: the percentage is almost always greater). Most cards offer a 5% balance transfer fee, but there are cards that offer 3% for a specific period of time as part of a promotion.

For example, you might transfer a $2,000 debt within the first 60 days of account opening, and your balance would end up being $2,060 (3% of $2,000 is $60) on your new card. If you transfer it at a later date when the transfer fee is instead 5%, your balance would be $2,100.

Some cards don’t charge a balance transfer fee during that period, such as the First Tech Choice Rewards World Mastercard®. These are extremely rare, however, and some issuers might offset this by offering a slightly higher interest rate, such as 0.99% instead of 0%, which is the case for the Navy Federal Credit Union® Platinum Credit Card.

What are the limits on balance transfers?

Usually, the amount you can transfer will be equal to the new credit card’s limit. However, depending on the situation (creditworthiness or a specific card’s terms, for example), issuers could set lower limits, whether a specific amount or a percentage, such as 75% of your credit limit.

Also, keep in mind that the fee might take away some wiggle room. If your available credit is $2,000 and the balance transfer fee is 3%, you’ll have enough available credit to transfer around $1,940, as you’ll be charged $58.20 for the transfer.

How to transfer a credit card balance

Transferring a balance between cards is fairly simple, especially now that many issuers include the option in their mobile apps and websites.

1. Apply for your new card. Once you choose a balance transfer credit card that suits your particular needs, go to the issuer’s website and apply.

2. Ask your issuer for the transfer. On your new issuer’s mobile app or website, you’ll find the option to transfer a balance, most likely in a “Services” section. You can also call your issuer directly.

3. Fill in the information. When you find the balance transfer option, you’ll need to fill in the form with the information of the existing credit card (the card you’re transferring the balance from), so keep the card accessible.

4. Wait. It actually is that simple once you’ve been approved for the card itself. The balance transfer needs to be approved and it can take five to seven days to take effect.

5. Pay your new issuer. Keep on paying the balance, but on your new card account instead of your old one — unless you left some balance back there too.

Balance transfer credit card mistakes to avoid

Transferring a balance at a 0% interest rate is always tempting, but there are some risks to watch out for before, during and after you take advantage of an offer:

  • Applying for a credit card without researching. It’s important to carefully research credit card options and review your credit report before you apply for a card, so you only apply for cards that you’re likely to be approved for. While most of our top balance transfer cards require good to excellent credit, our top picks for Best Credit Cards to Build Credit consider applicants with poor or even no credit at all.
  • Not planning ahead. It’s important to have a plan in place to either pay off your transferred debt or significantly reduce it before the introductory period ends and the regular APR kicks in. This typically means being prepared to pay significantly more than the minimum payment due every month.
  • Increasing debt. When you transfer a balance, it’s important to stop using the old card or you run the risk of ending up in more high-interest debt than before.

How to choose a balance transfer credit card

Most balance transfer cards have a 15- to 21-month introductory APR offer, but there’s a lot more to look at when you’re making your choice. Deciding which card is right for you depends on your personal finances, payment plans and what you expect to get from it in the future.

1. Compare introductory period length. If you’re looking specifically for 0% APR credit cards, the most important factor to consider is the offer length. Regular cards often offer an introductory low-APR period on both eligible purchases and balance transfers, which normally range between nine and 15 months, while specialized balance transfer cards offer anywhere between 18 and 21 months.

2. Check the balance transfer fee amount and transfer time limit. Most balance transfer cards charge a fee, typically between 3% and 5% of the amount transferred. Some issuers offer the lower 3% only for a limited time, from 30 to 120 days, which is why it’s important to consider whether you can make the transfer immediately. There are also a few cards that don’t charge a balance transfer fee, although they often offer much shorter introductory periods.

3. Consider other fees. If you’re looking to pay off credit card debt, the last thing you want is additional fees. For starters, you might want to get a no annual fee card — although annual fees are rare among balance transfer cards. It’s also important to consider late fees — which could cost you up to $40 for each missed minimum payment — and foreign transaction fees, if you plan to use your card abroad.

4. Compare rewards. While many balance transfer credit cards won’t offer the most generous travel rewards (for those, check out our best travel credit cards list), some have great rewards and benefits. In fact, some of the best cash back credit cards offer 12 to 18 months of 0% APR on balance transfers, along with a welcome bonus.

Alternatives to 0% balance transfer credit cards

Using a credit card to consolidate debt is a good option, but it won’t always be the best choice — especially if you can’t pay your remaining balance within the introductory APR period.

Here are some alternatives that can help you, depending on your particular situation:

  • Debt consolidation loans. A debt consolidation loan can help you pay off all your existing, high-interest debt and consolidate it into a single payment at, hopefully, a lower interest rate. With debt consolidation loans, lenders will normally pay your creditors directly. If this sounds like a good option for you, take a look at our best debt consolidation loans for more information.
  • Debt consolidation services. Debt consolidation services act as an intermediary between you and your creditors, including credit card issuers. You pay debt consolidation companies and they, in turn, make all the payments for you, along with providing financial and credit counseling. They can also negotiate a reduction of your overall debt or interest.
  • Personal loans for credit card debt. There’s also the possibility of getting a personal loan in order to pay off credit cards and consolidate debt. Personal loans typically charge lower interest rates than credit cards, and are quickly processed — in fact, funds could be deposited in your account within 24 or 48 hours from approval. Take a look at our best personal loans article to examine if this route is right for you.
  • Make a plan to pay off your debt faster. If you can’t transfer your high-interest debt to a balance transfer card, and your current card has a high APR, it’s a good idea to devise a quicker repayment plan. Ways to do this include paying more than the minimum amount, using rewards as statement credits or looking for additional income.
  • Ask for a lower interest rate. You can ask credit card companies to lower your interest rate. The request could be approved if, despite your debt, your credit or FICO score has improved over time. This will help lessen the burden of interest charges while you pay off the debt.

Latest News in Balance Transfer Credit Cards

Balance Transfer Credit Cards FAQs

Do balance transfers hurt your credit?

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A balance transfer by itself won't hurt your credit. Applying for a new credit card does leave a mark in your report, and the balance transfer fee might raise your original balance; however, the increase in your credit availability will most likely offset these.

How does a balance transfer work?

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Transferring a balance from one credit card to another is essentially paying one card with another. The new card issuer pays off the balance on the old card and transfers the amount to your new card, which will typically feature a low or no-interest introductory period. You'll then have to pay off that balance on the new card.

How long does a balance transfer take?

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The waiting period for a balance transfer to take effect will vary depending on both issuers. It normally takes five to seven business days, but in rare instances it could extend beyond two weeks.

You might see the change reflected on one card before the other, and it's even possible to see the usage of both cards simultaneously on a credit report. (If that does happen, there's no need to be alarmed, the duplication will disappear soon enough.)

What is the best balance transfer credit card?

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The best balance transfer credit card will depend on what you're looking for. The Wells Fargo Reflect® Card offers a long introductory period, a low balance transfer fee and a 120-day window to make those balance transfers.

What happens when you transfer a balance on a credit card?

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Your new card will pay off the balance on the old card, and the new card's interest rate and benefits will kick in. However, do note that most cards charge a balance transfer fee, usually between 3% and 5% of the amount transferred, which will increase the debt owed.

Summary of Money’s Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards of January 2024

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To see rates and fees for the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, visit this link. Terms apply.

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