Updated on Jan 16, 2020

Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards

Use a balance transfer credit card to enjoy months of zero interest while you pay off debt.
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A balance transfer credit card can offer you an opportunity to pay off high-interest credit card debt. The best balance transfer credit cards allow you to pay down your balance by giving you an introductory window of time – usually 12 months or more – when interest doesn’t accrue on your balance. Browse our top picks and find the best balance transfer credit card for you.

Summary

Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards of 2019

Best for high rewards

Discover it® Balance Transfer

Reward details 5% cash back (up to a quarterly maximum each time you activate) when you use it at gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more, and 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases
Redeem for... Cash back

Current Offer Discover matches all cash back you earn at the end of your first year
Annual Fee $0
Highlights Provided by Discover Show Highlights
Card Highlights Provided by Discover:
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • 100% U.S. based customer service.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • No annual fee.
  • Issuer: Discover
  • Rewards Details: 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate. 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*
  • Cash Advance APR: 26.49% Variable
  • Introductory APR: 0%
  • Introductory APR Period: 6 months
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: 0%
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: 18 months
  • Ongoing APR: 13.49% - 24.49% Variable

Our two cents

Who should get it

If you have good to excellent credit and are looking for a card with an introductory 0% interest on transferred balances for 18 months (after that an ongoing APR of 13.49% - 24.49% Variable APR), the Discover it® Balance Transfer card may be an ideal balance transfer card for you.

How to use it
Transfer your highest APR balances first to stop accruing interest charges and pay down the balance as much as possible during the Discover it® Balance Transfer’s 18-month introductory period. Try not to make large purchases on the card if your goal is to eliminate credit card debt as you’ll only get six months with no interest on purchases and 18 months for balance transfers (after that ongoing APR is 13.49% - 24.49% Variable).
Consider this

  • Up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)
  • Caps on rotating bonus rewards per quarter

Why you'll love it

Who doesn’t appreciate 18 months of 0% interest for balance transfers (after that ongoing APR is 13.49% - 24.49% Variable)? The Discover it® Balance Transfer card offers a temporary solution to accumulating credit card debit, in addition to a substantial rewards program. Once you have paid off your transferred balance, you can enjoy 5% cash back (up to a quarterly maximum each time you activate) when you use it at gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more. All other purchases qualify for 1% unlimited cash back.

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Apply Now on Capital One's secure website.

Best for low balance transfer fee

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Reward details Unlimited 1.5% fixed-rate cash back on all purchases.
Redeem for... Cash back

Current Offer One-time $150 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within three months.
Annual Fee $0
Highlights Provided by Capital One Show Highlights
  • One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 15.49%-25.49% variable APR after that
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months; 15.49%-25.49% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees
  • Issuer: Capital One
  • Rewards Details: 1.5 % Cash Back on every purchase, every day. $150 Cash Back after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3%
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.49% (Variable)
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: None
  • Introductory APR: 0% intro on purchases
  • Introductory APR Period: For 15 Months
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: 0% intro on balance transfers
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: For 15 Months
  • Ongoing APR: 15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)
  • Penalty APR: None

Our two cents

Who should get it

The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card is for those who have above-average credit but want a balance transfer credit card that offers 15 months at a 0% intro APR (then an ongoing 15.49% - 25.49% (Variable) APR, alongside a low balance transfer fee, to pay down balances.

How to use it
Transfer your highest APR balances first so you can discontinue accruing interest charges and pay down the balance as much as possible during the 15-month introductory period then an ongoing 15.49% - 25.49% (Variable) APR.
Consider this

  • No category bonus options
  • Foreign transaction fee
  • Assesses a balance transfer fee

Why you'll love it

In addition to 15 months interest-free to pay down your credit card balance, you can also enjoy substantial rewards with the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card, including 1.5% fixed-rate cash back on every purchase with no limits, no foreign transaction fees and a one-time $150 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within three months.

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Partner Offer Apply Now on American Express's secure website.

Best for large purchases

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Reward details Up to 6% cash back on streaming services and at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and 1% cash back on all other purchases. Terms Apply.
Redeem for... Cash back

Current Offer $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months. Terms Apply.
Annual Fee $95 (See Rates & Fees)
Highlights Provided by American Express Show Highlights
  • Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • New 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • New 3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more.
  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%). 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations. 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • Over 3 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2017 and 2018.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.49% to 25.49%
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
  • Issuer: American Express
  • Annual Fee: $95 (See Rates & Fees)
  • Balance Transfer Fee: Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Cash Advance APR: 26.74% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.
  • Introductory APR: 0%
  • Introductory APR Period: 12 months
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: 0%
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: 12 months
  • Ongoing APR: 14.49% - 25.49% Variable (See Rates & Fees)
  • Penalty APR: 29.99% Variable

Our two cents

Who should get it

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express works for people who spend frequently enough to earn enough rewards to offset its annual fee and are tactful about where they shop for groceries and gas. The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express sets a high bar for balance transfer offers among other cards, making it especially ideal for families.

How to use it
If you’re planning to make a large purchase or transfer a balance soon, take advantage of the 12-month 0% intro APR (after that, 14.49% - 25.49% Variable (See Rates & Fees) Variable) that comes with the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. Additionally, you can earn up to 6% cash back on streaming services and at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%), 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and 1% cash back on other purchases.
Consider this

  • 3% or $5 balance transfer fee, whichever is greater
  • Annual fee of $95 (See Rates & Fees)
  • High penalty APR

Why you'll love it

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express offers 12 months of 0% intro APR for balance transfers and purchases (then, 14.49% - 25.49% Variable (See Rates & Fees)), while simultaneously making it easier than ever to earn significant cash back for daily shopping.

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Best for average credit

ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard®

Reward details 5 points per $1 spent on up to $1,500 in combined spending on categories that change each quarter.
Redeem for... Cash back

Current Offer $150 Statement Credit after you spend $1,200 on purchases within the first 90 days after opening your account.
Annual Fee None
Highlights Provided by Amalgamated Bank of Chicago Show Highlights
  • 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 12 months and Balance Transfers for 18 months; after that the variable APR will be 14.40% - 24.40%, based on your creditworthiness
  • Earn $150 Statement Credit after you spend $1,200 on purchases within the first 90 days from account opening
  • Earn 5x rewards on up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter in popular categories such as dining, groceries, travel, and automotive
  • No upper limit on the points you can accumulate, and since points never expire, you can save up for a big award!
  • Earn Points on Every Purchase! It's simple: $1 = 1 Point
  • No Annual Fee or Foreign Transaction Fee
  • Select Your Rewards Your Way
  • Issuer: Amalgamated Bank of Chicago
  • Annual Fee: None
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3% of each balance transfer (minimum $5)
  • Cash Advance APR: 26.49% Variable APR
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: None
  • Introductory APR: 0%
  • Introductory APR Period: 12 months
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: 0%
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: 18 months
  • Ongoing APR: 14.40% - 24.40% Variable APR on purchases

Our two cents

Who should get it

The ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard® is designed for people with average credit craving a staple balance transfer card, while simultaneously looking to maximize their rewards each year.

How to use it
The ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard® offers ample benefits while you build credit, plus a 12-month 0% intro APR period on purchases and 18-month 0% intro APR period on balance transfers, no foreign transaction fees and no annual fee. The card offers five points per $1 spent on up to $1,500 in combined spending on categories that change each quarter.
Consider this

  • 3% balance transfer fee, minimum of $5
  • Rotating bonus categories change every three months
  • Lacks travel rewards

Why you'll love it

If you have average credit and want to transfer a balance or make a large purchase, you will appreciate the ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard®. It gives new cardholders 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months and 0% intro APR for balance transfers for 18 months as long as the balance transfers are posted within 90 days of account opening.

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Compare the best balance transfer credit cards

Credit Card Balance Transfer Offer – 0% APR Period Regular APR Balance Transfer Fee
Best for high rewards: Discover it® Balance Transfer 18 months 13.49% - 24.49% Variable 3%*
Best for low balance transfer fee: Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card 15 months 15.49% - 25.49% (Variable) 3%
Best for large purchases: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express 12 months 14.49% - 25.49% Variable (See Rates & Fees) 3% or $5**
Best for average credit: ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard® 18 months 14.40% - 24.40% Variable APR on purchases 3% or $5**
*Intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms) **Whichever is greater

What are balance transfers and how do balance transfer cards work?

A balance transfer card can be a lifesaver in helping you pay down debt because it typically offers 12 months or more of 0% APR. Once you’ve selected the best-fitting balance transfer card for your needs, review your outstanding debts and the interest rates associated with each. Transfer the outstanding debt with the highest interest rate to your new balance transfer card. Remember to use the introductory period to take advantage of no interest charges and pay off all of that transferred debt.

What is a balance transfer fee?

Most credit card companies charge a fee on any balances transferred. The fee is usually a percentage or minimum dollar amount of the total balance transferred (3-5% or $5-10, depending on the credit card issuer). The credit card company you transfer the debt to is the one that collects the fee.

How to do a balance transfer

Once you have selected the best balance transfer credit card for your needs, you can find information on the credit card’s website on how to initiate a balance transfer. You can also call their customer support number for one-on-one assistance. Overall, the process is relatively straightforward for cardholders planning to transfer their balance. Here are a few steps:

  1. Do research and apply for a balance transfer card
  2. Gather your account details for the card that has the debt (referred to as the “transfer from” card)
  3. Contact customer service and tell them that you want to transfer a balance onto your new card

Make sure you keep making payments towards your original card until the transfer closes to avoid late fees and other penalties, and then transfer your balance before the new card’s introductory offer ends.

How does a balance transfer affect your credit score?

Let’s cut to the chase – the not-so-great news is that your credit may be impacted after completing a balance transfer, but the good news is that credit scores are resilient. A balance transfer may temporarily lead to your credit score dropping because you’ll decrease your average account age and increase the credit utilization on a card. However, each situation is unique and depends entirely on your creditworthiness.

Your credit should go up again if you use credit responsibly over time and pay your credit card bill on time every month, particularly since payment history accounts for a significant impact on a credit score. When you finally pay off your accruing debt, your credit score will likely go up. Here’s a list of credit score components that are most likely to be impacted by a balance transfer:

  • Credit utilization, or how much of your credit is used compared to how much is available
  • Credit history length, or how long you’ve had a credit line open
  • New credit, or other new credit card accounts

Is it a good idea to do a balance transfer?

No matter the type of credit card, responsible card use is very important. Credit cards should not be used to charge something you cannot afford. However, when life happens and emergencies make this unavoidable, a good balance transfer card can save you many dollars and many years of the burden of debt. Be sure to read the fine print and avoid unwanted surprises later.

Are balance transfer fees worth it?

The value of a balance transfer offer usually depends on the balance transfer fee. One of the downsides to a balance transfer is that there may be a fee involved, normally between 3-5%. For example, if you owe roughly $5,000 on a credit then it could cost you anywhere from $150 to $250 to transfer the balance. If you have to pay a fee to transfer a balance, compare how much you’re paying in interest to the fee to make sure the transfer will help save money in the long run. As long as you can pay off the balance transferred before your 0% APR period ends and the amount of interest you could pay on the original card is more than the balance transfer fee, then it may be worth transferring.

Balance transfer fee tip: Most people don’t realize that balance transfer fees are negotiable. That’s especially true if you’re a new customer, as many credit card issuers will waive certain fees to get you to sign the dotted line (if you’re approved). The smart move is to contact the credit card company you’re interested in and ask if they are willing to negotiate./p>

How long does a balance transfer take?

Having your balance transferred from one card to another may require some patience. The amount of time it takes to transfer your balance can vary, depending on the credit card issuer and whether or not you are transferring your balance to a brand new credit card, or one you already have in your wallet.

Chase can take up to 21 days for a balance transfer, while Discover might be able to complete a balance transfer within a week, if it isn’t a new account. It’s an inexact science, but you can regularly check your accounts to see when the transfer processes. It’s wise to time the beginning of your balance transfer process right after you’ve made a payment to avoid risking a late payment fee on your existing account. Make sure you continue to make minimum payments on the card you transferred the balance from until the process is complete.

What are important things to consider when shopping for a balance transfer card?

  • Introductory APR and term. Many (but not all) balance transfer cards offer an introductory annual percentage rate that lasts for a certain number of billing cycles before changing to the regular annual percentage rate.
  • Regular APR. Once the introductory rate is over, the regular annual percentage rate will become your new rate.
  • Balance transfer fee. Many cards charge a fee that applies to the balance transferred. This fee is usually a percentage of the total balance.
  • Annual fee. While many balance transfer cards waive the annual fee for the first year, some will charge an annual fee thereafter.
  • Credit score needed for approval. It is important to know if your credit score is high enough to be considered for approval.
  • Rewards. Many balance transfer cards offer rewards for travel, everyday spending or cashback.

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here

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