Choosing a Balance Transfer Credit Card: Things to Keep in Mind

Editorial Note:

A balance transfer credit card is a low APR card that allows you to transfer high-interest credit card debt onto a new card. This can help save you money on interest, pay off your debt faster and lower your monthly payments.

There are a number of important features of balance transfer credit cards. Depending on your situation, it makes sense to choose one particular benefit over another. Some of the key points related to choosing a balance transfer credit card are listed below.

How 0% Balance Transfer Credit Card Works

Introductory (or Promotional), Regular, and Penalty APRs

Balance transfer credit cards can have a zero introductory (or promotional) APR or a very low APR. This is directly related to your credit score. Good and excellent credit score applicants are more likely to receive a 0% APR credit card. Note that once the promotional rate is over, any balances will be subject to the regular APR. It is good to know what your regular and penalty APRs will be.

Promotional Period

The length of your balance transfer period is also important. The longer the period, the better. A longer period will give you more time to pay off your balance completely without paying interest. The best balance transfer cards offer periods that are 15 to 21 months long. A card with a shorter period may offer other promotional or permanent benefits to make up for the decreased time.

Balance Transfer Fees

It is common for a balance transfer card to charge a fee, usually the larger of $5 to $10 or 3% to 5%. A $5000 balance transfer can result in a $150 to $250 transfer fee. Note that the balance transfer fee does not eliminate the interest savings gained from transferring your balance. A few cards out there do not charge a balance transfer fee. This is also a benefit offered by some credit unions to their members. In general, you need good credit (a credit score of 701 or more) to qualify for credit cards with no balance transfer fees.

Rewards of a Balance Transfer Credit Card

Planning to keep the balance transfer card after the promotional period is over? If the answer is yes, then you may be interested in a balance transfer credit card with rewards. Some of such cards offer a permanent (but capped) tiered cashback promotion. This may be 3%, 2% and 1% cash back on purchases in categories like groceries, fuel, or others. These tiers will be applicable on new purchases only but may be capped at a specified value per year. Some credit cards issue sign-up bonus points, which you can redeem for bill credits, travel benefits, or other perks.

List Of Balance Transfer Credit Cards

Card nameIntroductory APR for Balance TransfersPurchase APRTypes of Rewards
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card with Sign Up Bonus 20K PointsWells Fargo Propel American Express® Card0% introductory APR for 12 months15.74% to 27.74%Points
Chase Freedom® Credit CardChase Freedom® Credit Card0% introductory APR for 15 months14.99% to 23.74%Cash Back
Wounded Warrior Project USAA® Rewards™ Visa Signature® CardWounded Warrior Project USAA® Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card0% introductory APR for 12 months12.90% - 27.90%Rewards Points
Paralyzed Veterans of America USAA® Rewards™ Visa Signature® CardParalyzed Veterans of America USAA® Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card0% introductory APR for 12 months12.90% - 27.90%Rewards Points
Disabled American Veterans USAA® Rewards™ Visa Signature® CardDisabled American Veterans USAA® Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card0% introductory APR for 12 months12.90% - 27.90%Rewards Points
American Veterans USAA® Rewards™ Visa Signature® CardAmerican Veterans USAA® Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card0% introductory APR for 12 months12.90% - 27.90%Rewards Points
U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Select+ American Express® CardU.S. Bank FlexPerks® Select+ American Express® Card0% introductory APR for 9 months15.99% - 25.99%Rewards Points
U.S. Bank Harley-Davidson® Visa Signature® Credit CardHarley-Davidson® Visa Signature® Credit Card0% introductory APR for 12 months13.99% to 22.99%Rewards Points
Quicksilver® Credit Card From Capital One®Quicksilver® Credit Card0% introductory APR for 15 months14.74% 22.74% or 26.74%Cash Back
SavorOne℠ Rewards from Capital One®SavorOne℠ Rewards from Capital One®0% introductory APR for 15 months15.49% - 25.49%Cash Back
Wells Fargo Cash Back College Visa® CardWells Fargo Cash Back College Visa® Card0% introductory APR for 6 months13.15% to 23.15%Cash Back
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® CardWells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card0% introductory APR for 12 months15.99% to 26.99%Cash Back
U.S. Bank Cash 365™ American Express® CardU.S. Bank Cash 365™ American Express® Card0% introductory APR for 12 months15.99% to 24.99%Cash Back
SunTrust Travel Rewards Credit CardSunTrust Travel Rewards Credit Card0% introductory APR for 15 months13.24% - 23.24%Cash Back
SunTrust Prime Rewards Credit Card With Low APR on Balance Transfers & Sign Up Bonus $100SunTrust Prime Rewards Credit Card5.25% introductory APR for 36 months13.24% - 23.24% Cash Back
SunTrust Cash Rewards Credit CardSunTrust Cash Rewards Credit Card0% introductory APR for 15 months13.24% - 23.24%Cash Back
PNC CashBuilder® Visa® Credit CardPNC CashBuilder® Visa® Credit Card0% introductory APR for 12 months14.99% to 24.99%Cash Back
HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard®HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard®0% introductory APR for 15 months14.74% 18.74% or 24.74%Cash Back
Discover it® Secured Credit Card: Build Credit and Earn 2% Cash BackDiscover it® Secured Credit Card10.99% introductory APR for 6 months24.99%Cash Back
Discover it® Chrome for Students Credit Card - 2% Cash BackDiscover it® Chrome for Students Credit Card10.99% introductory APR for 6 months14.99% to 23.99%Cash Back
Discover it® Chrome Gas & Restaurant Credit CardDiscover it® Chrome Gas & Restaurant Credit Card0% introductory APR for 14 months13.99% to 24.99%Cash Back
Special Connections® MasterCard® with RewardsSpecial Connections® MasterCard® with Rewards0% introductory APR for 12 months11.99% to 21.99%Cash Back
KC Royals™ Mastercard®KC Royals™ Mastercard®0% introductory APR for 12 months15.99% to 21.99%Cash Back
Citizens Bank Cash Back Plus™ World MasterCard®Citizens Bank Cash Back Plus™ World MasterCard®0% introductory APR for 15 months16.24% 20.24% or 24.24%Cash Back
Citi® Double Cash CardCiti® Double Cash Card0% introductory APR for 18 months15.49% to 25.49%Cash Back
BMO Harris Bank Cash Back MasterCard®BMO Harris Bank Cash Back MasterCard®0% introductory APR for 12 months15.74%17.74% 20.74% or 23.74%Cash Back
MLB™ Cash Rewards Mastercard® from Bank of America®MLB™ Cash Rewards Mastercard® from Bank of America®0% introductory APR for 12 months15.24% to 25.24%Cash Back
Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit CardBank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card0% introductory APR for 15 months13.99% to 23.99%Cash Back
Susan G. Komen® Cash Rewards Visa® Credit Card from Bank of America®Susan G. Komen® Cash Rewards Visa® Credit Card from Bank of America®0% introductory APR for 12 months15.24% to 25.24%Cash Back
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express®Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express®0% introductory APR for 15 months14.99% to 25.99%Cash Back
Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Card: Low Intro APR With No Annual FeeWells Fargo Platinum Visa® Card0% introductory APR for 18 months17.49% to 26.99%NO Rewards
Simplicity® Credit CardCiti® Simplicity® Credit Card0% introductory APR for 21 months16.24% to 26.24%NO Rewards
Diamond Preferred® Credit CardCiti® Diamond Preferred® Credit Card0% introductory APR for 21 months15.24% to 25.24%NO Rewards
Barclaycard Ring® Credit CardBarclaycard Ring® Mastercard®0% introductory APR for 15 months13.99%NO Rewards
BankAmericard® Credit CardBankAmericard® Credit Card0% introductory APR for 15 months14.99% to 24.99%NO Rewards
BankAmericard® Credit Card for StudentsBankAmericard® Credit Card for Students0% introductory APR for 15 months14.99% to 24.99%NO Rewards
Wells Fargo Visa Signature® CardWells Fargo Visa Signature® Card0% introductory APR for 15 months14.49% to 27.99%Rewards Points
Wells Fargo Rewards® CardWells Fargo Rewards® Card0% introductory APR for 15 months18.49% to 27.99%Rewards Points
Citi® ThankYou® Preferred Credit CardCiti® ThankYou® Preferred Credit Card0% introductory APR for 15 months15.49% to 25.49%Rewards Points
BarclaysUS Mastercard® Titanium Card™BarclaysUS Mastercard® Titanium Card™0% introductory APR for 15 months16.99% Rewards Points
BarclaysUS Mastercard® Black Card™BarclaysUS Mastercard® Black Card™0% introductory APR for 15 months16.99% Rewards Points
Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit CardAmex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card0% introductory APR for 12 months14.99% to 24.99%Rewards Points
Amex EveryDay® Credit CardAmex EveryDay® Credit Card0% introductory APR for 12 months14.99% to 25.99%Rewards Points

Our balance transfer calculator is designed to help you determine whether or not a balance transfer will actually save you money. It will show you exactly how many dollars you’ll save on up to four balance transfers at once.

Credit Card Balance Transfer Calculator

Examine Your Options Thoroughly

Balance transfer credit cards, with all their potential benefits, should be well considered. Some benefits are more important to you than others, and we encourage you to carefully examine your options before choosing a balance transfer credit card.

Roman Zelvenschi

I started a digital marketing agency Romanz Media Group Inc. 12 years ago. Running my own business quickly taught me the importance of cash flow. Making sales was not enough, I had to have money in the bank to pay the vendors, staff and personal bills.

During those early stages of the company I learned how to get creative with debt and to save on interest cost. I paid for everything I could with a credit card to both get more points and to extend the payment date by 25 days (credit card grace period). I then utilized a 0% balance transfer offers to rotate this debt.

I learned a lot during this process and made a lot of mistakes. My key lesson is that the most important part of being financially independent is how much I managed to save, rather than how much I earned. Staying disciplined with savings and tracking spending is not easy and I tried many different methods to stay on track.

FinancialFreedom.Guru is a side project where I and my staff are trying to share the practical knowledge on how to understand finances and to build wealth.

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