What’s the Best Balance Transfer Credit Card?

October 1, 2019

By Sherry Keyles

If you’re struggling to pay off your credit card debt, a 0% APR balance transfer credit card can help you pay down your debt faster and save you hundreds–even thousands–of dollars in interest, depending on your debt amount.

When it comes to choosing a balance transfer credit card, people always want to know what’s the best card to get. There isn’t good answer because what’s best for your financial situation may not be the best card for someone else.

Do the Math

When considering the best card for your specific situation, the first thing you should do is calculate your total debt amount and determine how much you can afford to pay each month towards your debt. Finally, figure out how long it will take to pay the debt off. (you can do this by using a balance transfer calculator). Without high-interest rates, chances are you can pay your debt off much faster than you currently can.

Choose a Balance Transfer Credit Card

Once you do the math, you can start to look for the best card. Keep in mind, the offers listed are for cardholders with good to excellent credit. If you have a low credit score, you might not qualify for these offers.

When comparing cards, take these considerations under advisement:

Length of 0% Balance Transfer Card - Each balance transfer card has its own unique 0% APR offer – currently offers range from 12 to 21 months. Once the introductory offer expires, the interest will go up to a regular interest rate, which could be as high as 26%. To avoid paying the high interest, you need to ensure the card you choose is long enough to accommodate your debt. If you don’t think you can pay off your debt in 21 months, consider a personal loan instead.

Balance transfer fees – Most card issuers charge a fee, typically 3%-5%, on the amount transferred. You can find a few cards without a balance transfer fee. However, many times the longer APR offer can offset the fee amount. Make sure to factor in the balance transfer fee to the total amount you owe.

Timing of the transfer – Most cards put a timing limitation on the balance transfers. If you don’t transfer your debt within the time period (typically 60 or 90 days after getting the card), you will lose the introductory offer Several cards having timing limitations that are important to understand. To take advantage of some of these deals, you must initiate the transfer within a set period of time (typically 60 or 90 days after getting the card).

Rewards and cash back – Cards offering rewards (points, airline miles) and cash back encourage you to make purchases with the card. Since purchase are discouraged, you should only get a rewards or cash back credit card if you plan to keep the card after you pay off your balance.

Other features - Balance transfer credit cards also offer different features to appeal to different cardholders. In addition to the zero-interest period include no balance transfer fees, no late fees, credit score, reward points, airline miles and cash back.

What not to consider:

0% APR on purchases - While these cards do offer introductory purchase 0% APR offers, you are discouraged from making purchases on a balance transfer credit card until you pay off your balance. You are trying to eliminate debt, not add.

Signup bonuses –Since most cards do not allow you to earn rewards on balance transfers, you likely wouldn’t qualify for the signup bonuses offered since they generally require purchases within the first few months.

Cards from current issuer - Most card issuers do not allow you to transfer a balance from a credit card with the same issuer (including affiliates).Therefore, if you have a balance with Citi, you cannot transfer to another Citi credit card. You will need to transfer to Chase, Discover or another issuer.

The Best Balance Transfer Credit Card for You

Your goal is to find the card, which will save you the most money and put you on the path towards a debt-free financial future. Before you decide to apply, make sure you read the card's fine print to understand all the terms and conditions you must adhere to in order to receive the 0% APR offer.

When it comes to balance transfer credit cards, there isn’t one card better than the others. Each balance transfer credit card has a unique offer and only know which is the best card to fit your specific situation, albeit 99% of the time, the best deal is the one that is going to save you the most money. To figure out which is going to be the case, use a balance transfer calculator like ours. Do you need a longer 0% APR offer? Do you have multiple balances to transfer? Do you plan to keep this card after 0% APR period is up? To find the best card, review all the offers carefully, read the fine and take your finances into consideration. Once you choose a card, transfer your balances and make sure you stay on track so your financial future is bright.


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