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Chase Slate: The Cure for the Common Debt?

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Chase Slate

Applying for another credit card might seem foolish if you’re dealing with a pile of debt. But if you’re thinking about getting the Chase Slate®, you’ve got the right idea.

This card is one of the Nerds’ favorites for balance transfers because it offers a unique combination of features that will get dedicated debtors out of the red in no time. Curious about how the Chase Slate® can help you get back to black? Let’s take a look.

Chase Slate Elite Credit Card
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on Chase's
secure website

At a glance
Annual fees $0
Introductory APR deal 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 12.99% - 22.99% Variable
Rewards program None
Signup bonus None
Verdict: If you need to refinance high-interest credit card, the Chase Slate® is our top pick
Good for:
  • Someone who wants to pay off credit card debt with a balance transfer deal
  • Someone who wants to finance a large purchase and pay it off over time
  • Someone with very good credit
Bad for:
  • Someone who wants to earn rewards
  • Someone who needs significantly longer than a year to pay off a purchase or balance transfer
  • Someone with poor credit

In this article:

The Chase Slate®: The basics
Where the Chase Slate® shines
Free FICO scores, coming soon to the Chase Slate® near you
Where the Chase Slate® falls short
The Chase Slate® versus the competition
Is the Chase Slate® the right card for you?

The Chase Slate®: The basics

At first glance, the Chase Slate® seems a little ho-hum because it doesn’t offer a sign-up bonus, and using it won’t earn you points in Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program. But the Chase Slate® isn’t your everyday credit card. It specializes in one thing: helping users pay off their credit card debt.

On that front, the Chase Slate® really delivers. It offers a long 0% period on purchases and balance transfers and provides the opportunity to avoid paying a balance transfer fee.

Chase Slate Elite Credit Card

Chase Slate®

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Apply Now on Chase's secure website

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers

Cons

  • No rewards

Sign-up Bonus

$0 Introductory balance transfer fee for transfers made during the first 60 days

Annual Fee

$0

Intro APR Promotions

0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers

APR

  • APR: 12.99% - 22.99% Variable
  • Cash Advance APR: 23.99%, Variable

Card Details

  • Chase Slate named "Best Credit Card for Balance Transfers" two years in a row by Money Magazine
  • $0 Introductory balance transfer fee for transfers made during the first 60 days
  • 0% Introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • NEW Free Monthly FICO® Score and Credit Dashboard
  • No Penalty APR - Paying late won't raise your interest rate (APR). All other account pricing and terms apply
  • $0 Annual Fee

Let’s do a deeper dive into the features that set the Chase Slate® apart from the crowd.

Where the Chase Slate® shines

There are good reasons the Nerds consistently recommend the Chase Slate® to people struggling with credit card debt:

No balance transfer fee – The Chase Slate® waives its 3% balance transfer fee if you move your high-interest debt onto it within 60 days of opening your account. This feature gives it a huge edge over other balance transfer cards. Although a 3% fee might not sound like much, it can really cut into the overall savings you’ll see from doing the balance transfer in the first place.

For example, on a $10,000 balance, you’d have to pay a $300 fee right off the bat with most cards. That’s a hefty chunk of change that would be better spent on paying down your balance, which is entirely possible with the Chase Slate®.

Long 0% period on purchases and balance transfers – Need a year to pay down your debt? You’ll get it (and then some) with the Chase Slate®. It offers 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 12.99% - 22.99% Variable. In that amount of time, you should be able to take a serious swing at your balance.

Its annual fee is $0 – The Chase Slate® will save you big bucks on interest and balance transfer fees. To drive the deal home, it also charges an annual fee of $0. It’s tough to beat the Chase Slate® if you’re looking for a truly cost-effective way to pay down your debt.

Free FICO scores, coming soon to the Chase Slate® near you

In January 2015, Chase announced that it will start providing its Chase Slate® customers with free FICO score access later that year. As of March 2015, it wasn’t clear when the benefit would take effect, but the Nerds confirmed that it is coming down the pike.

Carrying credit card debt can damage your FICO score, because it drives up your credit utilization ratio. Being able to see your score as you pay off your balance is a helpful tool for tracking your progress toward outstanding credit. This feature is just one more thing to love about the Chase Slate®.

Where the Chase Slate® falls short

Even great credit cards have drawbacks to consider. Here are a few of the Chase Slate®’s you should know about:

Need great credit to qualify – Getting an application for the Chase Slate® approved requires having a great credit score, which, again, is sometimes an obstacle for people with credit card debt. You might have to explore alternatives for refinancing your balance if your credit is subpar.

0% APR period isn’t ultra-long – The Chase Slate® provides a generous introductory 0% period, but not the absolute longest on the market. Looking into other cards might be necessary if your goal is to stretch your interest-free payments out for as long as possible.

No rewards – The Chase Slate® is a low-cost tool for paying down your debt. But if you’re looking for a card that earns rewards on an ongoing basis, you’ll have to look elsewhere. There is plastic out there that provides an introductory APR offer on balance transfers and the ability to score points or cash back on your daily spending – you just have to know where to look.

The Chase Slate® versus the competition

Now let’s see how the Chase Slate® looks against its competition. Who knows? There might be a balance transfer option out there that you never considered.

The Chase Slate® versus the Citi Simplicity® Card

Citibank Simplicity Credit Card
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The Citi Simplicity® Card is often touted a good card for paying down high-interest debt because it provides a very long 0% period. With it, you’ll get 0% for 21 months on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 12.99% - 22.99% Variable . Also, you’ll never have to worry about paying a late fee or a penalty APR, and its annual fee is $0*.

Like the Chase Slate®, the Citi Simplicity® Card doesn’t offer any type of rewards program. It does, however, charge a 3% balance transfer fee. As a result, you’ll likely save more with the Chase Slate® if your goal is to refinance your debt. But if you need to make a big purchase and want a really long time to pay it off interest free, go for the Citi Simplicity® Card instead.

The Chase Slate® versus the Discover it®-Double cash back your first year

Discover it Credit Card
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on Discover's
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The Discover it®-Double cash back your first year is a card to keep on your radar if your plan is to do a balance transfer and earn rewards on future purchases. In terms of its APR deal, the Discover it®-Double cash back your first year provides 0% on purchases for 6 months and 0% on balance transfers for 18 months, and then the ongoing APR of 10.99% - 22.99% Variable.

As far as rewards go, with the Discover it®-Double cash back your first year you’ll earn 5% cash back in rotating quarterly bonus categories (up to $1,500 spent per quarter) and 1% cash back on all other purchases. You’ll also have access to Discover Deals, a robust shopping program that could help you score discounts or bonus cash back. Plus, all of these great perks come at an annual fee of $0.

The major drawback to the Discover it®-Double cash back your first year is that it charges a 3% balance transfer fee. You’ll have to take a look at your own spending to see if you’ll earn enough in rewards to outweigh this cost. If not, you’re probably better off going with the Chase Slate® for your debt-payoff needs.

The Chase Slate® versus a personal loan

Using a credit card balance transfer deal isn’t the only way to save on high-interest debt. Taking out a personal loan is a good way to bring down your rate and give your credit score a boost. Since this refinancing option switches revolving debt into an installment loan, your credit utilization ratio will improve quickly. For many folks, this leads to a higher FICO score in a jiffy.

Another benefit to choosing a personal loan over a credit card balance transfer is that you’ll be locked in to a lower rate throughout the life of the loan. Twelve, 15 or 18 months at 0% with a credit card is great, but eventually the clock runs out. If you’re not finished paying off your balance in that period of time, your rate will likely jump into the double digits. Depending on how long it will take you to pay in full, a personal loan might be a thriftier alternative.

The drawback to using a personal loan is that you will have to pay some interest, and to qualify for the best rates, you’ll need excellent credit. But in some cases, local banks or credit unions might be willing to work with customers who don’t have great scores. This isn’t the case with most balance transfer credit cards, so if your FICO score is lagging, you might want to investigate small lenders in your area.

Is the Chase Slate® the right card for you?

The Nerds think that the Chase Slate® is the best card out there for people with good credit who are trying to refinance credit card debt. It provides a triple whammy of savings on interest, balance transfer fees and annual fees. Use the Chase Slate® to get started on accomplishing your debt-free goal today.

Lindsay Konsko is a staff writer covering credit cards and consumer credit for NerdWallet. Follow her on Twitter @lkonsko and on Google+.


Image via iStock.