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Are you currently paying off high-interest credit card debt? Utilizing a 0% APR balance transfer offer can help pay down your credit card balance faster, saving you thousands of dollars in interest and reducing the cost of servicing high-interest debt. Balance transfer cards allow you to transfer high-interest credit card debt to a credit card with a much lower interest rate (as low as 0%), easing the pressure of credit card repayments and providing 12 months or more to pay down the balance without interest charges.
Carrying a balance on your credit card can quickly erase any gains made from collecting points and miles, as the standard APR is so much higher than the value of the rewards. But, whether it's an unplanned expense or additional costs over the holidays, it's common for cardholders to carry a balance at some point during the year. Top balance transfer cards can provide an extended 0% intro period, allowing you to save hundreds or possibly thousands of dollars in interest, typically with low (or no) balance transfer fees and no annual credit card fees.
What Exactly Is a Balance Transfer?
A balance transfer involves opening one credit card to pay off another credit card. Now, that may sound counterintuitive, but there is a method to the madness. While your typical credit card charges an average APR in the range of 15-21%, a balance transfer card provides an introductory 0% offer when you transfer the balance over from another card.
Essentially, 0% intro offers let you pay down credit card debt without paying the high interest commonly associated with credit cards, saving you a tidy sum of money and allowing you to pay the debt down faster.
The Best Balance Transfer Card Featuring 0% APR
The Amex EveryDay doesn’t have the 18-21 month intro period of the longest cards on this list. Instead, it features a winning trifecta:
- $0 balance transfer fee on transfers made in the first 60 days from account opening
- An intro APR of 0% on balance transfers for 15 months, (then, a variable APR of 12.99% - 23.99% applies)
- And you'll pay a $0 annual fee
The Amex EveryDay also earns full Membership Rewards points, without the need to hold another MR earning card. While there are plenty of great intro 0% cards to choose from, we think the Amex EveryDay provides outstanding value for a balance transfer card.
Longest Balance Transfer Card Offer
The Citi Simplicity offers a staggering 21 months intro 0% APR period on balance transfers, giving you almost two years to pay down the balance on your account before the intro APR period ends. (Then, a variable APR of 14.74% - 24.74% applies.)
The card features no late fees or penalty APR rates, and you’ll pay no annual fee to hold the card long term. So, with the longest intro APR rate and a bunch of great features for a no annual fee card, why doesn’t it get the top spot? The balance transfer fee will run you 5% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum, whichever is highest. That fee is much higher than the industry standard 3%, and out of sight of the no-fee cards we rank at the top of the list.
If you’re looking to secure the longest intro APR period possible, but you don’t want to pay the 5% transfer fee, we see the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card as a better option for balance transfers. With this card, you'll pay a fee of 3% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum and get a competitive regular APR rate, complimentary cell phone coverage, and up to 18 months to pay down the balance on your card before the intro period ends.
Top 0% Intro APR Credit Cards for Balance Transfers
|0% Intro APR Balance Transfer Cards||Best For||0% Period on Balance Transfers||Regular APR||Transfer Fee||Annual Fee|
|Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever||Longest intro period + no late fees||21 months (transfers must be completed in first 4 months)||14.74% - 24.74% (Variable) APR||5% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum||$0|
|U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card||Top Pick: Long intro period on purchases and balance transfers||18 months (for transactions made within 60 days of opening account)||13.99% – 23.99% Variable APR||3% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum||$0|
|Citi® Double Cash Card||Long intro period + cash back rewards||18 months (transfers must be completed in first 4 months)||13.99% – 23.99% (Variable) APR||3% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.||$0|
|Wells Fargo Platinum card||Long intro period + $600 Cell Phone Protection||18 months on qualifying balance transfers (for transactions made within 120 days of opening account)||15.49% - 24.99% Variable APR||3% for 120 days, then 5%||$0|
|HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card||Long intro period + no late fees or penalty APR||18 months||12.99% - 20.99% Variable APR||4%||$0|
|The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express||Top Pick: Long intro period + no transfer fee + high-value welcome offer + earns Membership Rewards||15 months (on balance transfers requested within 60 days of account opening)||12.99% - 23.99% Variable APR||$0||$0|
|Chase Slate® credit card||No transfer fee + free FICO score + no penalty APR||First 15 months that your account is open||16.99% - 25.74% Variable APR||$0 for the first 60 days, then $5 or 5% of the amount transferred, whichever is highest||$0|
How to Chose an Intro 0% APR Credit Card
The best Intro 0% APR card is always going to be subjective, dependent on your financial situation and how fast you can pay down the debt. Cards featuring the longest 0% intro period are not inherently better than cards offering a shorter timeframe before the introductory APR ends. Each card on the list below provides a different combination of features, and you’ll want to factor all the elements into the equation before you apply for a card.
Some of the deciding factors to consider include:
- Your current card issuer – The most significant determining factor has nothing to do with APR rates, and boils down to the simple fact you can’t transfer a balance between two cards from the same card issuer. For example, Chase won’t allow you to transfer the balance from your Chase Sapphire Reserve® to a newly opened Chase card that offers an intro balance transfer, so there is no way you can get an intro 0% APR offer on balance transfers. You’ll need to look at Amex, Citi, or any provider other than Chase for a balance transfer card.
- Length of intro 0% APR period – You need to work out exactly how much you can afford to pay each month and work backward to determine how much time is required to pay the balance down. Give yourself some breathing room on this one; if you miss a payment and your account is no longer in good standing, you can kiss your intro APR rate goodbye.
- Balance transfer fee – One of the factors we give plenty of weight to when evaluating Intro APR cards is the balance transfer fee. Let’s say you're choosing between three intro APR cards, and you’re transferring a balance of $10,000. One card charges no transfer fee, one charges 3%, and one charges 5%. The card charging no transfer fee gets a $300 to $500 head start on the other cards, money that could go to paying down a substantial portion of the initial card balance.
- Regular APR rate – If you don’t think you can pay the entire balance down before the introductory APR rate ends, the regular APR rate on the card will have a significant impact on the card you pick.
- Annual fee – If you’re focused on paying down your credit card balance, it doesn’t make sense to be paying a yearly fee on the balance transfer card. Every card we have listed features no annual fee.
When choosing a balance transfer card, look for one that provides a long intro APR period, charges no annual fee, and preferably doesn’t charge a balance transfer fee. Selecting the right card could save you thousands of dollars in fees and interest over the introductory term, providing a low-cost method of servicing existing credit card debt.
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