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NerdWallet’s Best Balance Transfer and 0% Interest Credit Cards, 2015

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Best Balance Transfer and 0% Interest Credit Cards

The best balance transfer cards are like life preservers in the merciless sea of credit card debt. It’s tough swimming out of debt when interest continues to make the waves higher and higher. With a 0% introductory APR, you can stop accumulating interest for several months while catching up with payments. Many credit cards offer APR deals, but not all of them are worthy of your consideration. To help narrow and refine your search, we’ve put together a quick list of the best balance transfer and 0% interest credit cards available today.

Best card for balance transfers:  Chase Slate®

Chase Slate Elite Credit Card
Apply Now

on Chase's
secure website
Or call (855) 619-9842

The Chase Slate® offers something pretty rare: a long 0% balance transfer period and no balance transfer fee if you transfer a balance within the first 60 days your account is open. It offers 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 12.99% - 22.99% Variable. The card also comes with Blueprint, a feature that helps you track and budget your spending. But the real value is the 0% APR period and no balance transfer fee combination – you almost never see this transfer twofer, and it can really add up to significant savings for those with credit card debt. It also means that no matter how much debt you have or what the difference is between your current card’s rate and the Chase Slate®’s rate, you’ll always save money if you transfer your balance to this card and pay it off in the introductory period.

Best for rewards and 0% APR: Discover it®-New! Double Cash Back your first year

Discover it Credit Card
Apply Now

on Discover's
secure website

The Discover it®-New! Double Cash Back your first year offers both an amazing intro APR deal and a halfway decent rewards rate. To find both features wrapped up in a single credit card is a rare occasion. It offers 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. Rewards accumulate at 5% in rotating categories that change quarterly throughout the year.

Earnings in these categories are capped at $1,500 in spending per quarter, meaning you can earn up to $300 in accelerated rewards every year. You’ll get 1% cash back in non-bonus spending. Oh, and did we mention? The annual fee is $0. Pretty awesome.

Best for long-term debt: Lake Michigan Credit Union Prime Link Platinum Visa

Lake Michigan Credit Union Prime Link Platinum Visa Credit Card
Apply Now

on Lake Michigan Credit Union's
secure website

The Lake Michigan Credit Union Prime Link Platinum Visa boasts one of the lowest ongoing APRs out there: The ongoing APR is 6.25% Variable . Anyone can join with a donation to the Michigan branch of the ALS association. Moreover, the card has no balance transfer fee, so it’s always worth it to shift your debt from a higher-rate card to this one. If you need to carry your debt for substantially more than 15 months, this can be a better pick than the Chase Slate®.

Best for waived late fees: Citi Simplicity® Card

Citibank Simplicity Credit Card
Apply Now

on Citibank's
secure website

The Citi Simplicity® Card offers 0% for 21 months on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 12.99% - 22.99% Variable , and no late fees or penalty APR, ever. If you’re struggling with debt, this might be a better card than the Discover it®-New! Double Cash Back your first year, because you have more time to pay it off interest-free. There is a 3% balance transfer fee, so be sure to do the math and see whether the extra months of 0% interest over the Chase Slate® will outweigh the one-time charge.

More Options

Balance transfer credit cards are an excellent method of consolidating debt and freezing interest. They give you a little room to breathe and time to get back on your feet. If the cards we showcased here aren’t quite what you need, visit your local credit union. Because credit unions are not-for-profit organizations, they can offer financial products that are sure to have the consumer’s best interest in mind, and there’s a good chance they’ll be able to help.

  • Karen

    I applied for the Citi Simplicity card to transfer my balance to. My balance is $8000, my credit limit with the simplicity card is only $2000. Should I cancel the Citi Card now before it comes in the mail? Will I be able to transfer $8000? thanks.

    • Sandra

      I would strongly recommend you call them and ask for a credit limit increase because the balance you want to transfer to the card is more than the limit.

  • Jonathan Buttall

    If you have to use different credit cards to consolidate your debt, you shouldn’t have a credit card in the first place. A good way to deal with debt is to use a scissors on your plastic.

    • Renzie

      Must be nice to have a life where no unexpected large expenses pop up… you know, medical bills, big automotive repairs, catastrophic home damage not fully covered by insurance. Maybe instead of being judgemental over people using tools like 0% APR BT offers, you should thank your lucky stars that your life is apparently charmed. I’d offer to buy you a clue, but it doesn’t fit into the budget I carefully set.

      • ImJustABill

        In the real world pretty much everyone needs credit cards nowadays. I’m not sure Jonathan lives in the real world. Ideally it’s best to not carry any revolving credit and that’s definitely a good goal to work for. While working towards that goal however it makes sense to get the best interest rates possible.

  • Sandra

    A little trick that I don’t see posted is that you can increase the original credit limit you’re given. I applied for Slate and was given a measly 5k limit (I say measly because all of my existing cards have an over 10K limit). However, I called and asked if I could have the limit increased since I want to do a balance transfer for more than the 5k. They increased the limit to 15K. If you call card companies and ask for an increase as soon as you get approved because you want to do a balance transfer, most will increase it for you. They’d much rather give you credit and profit from the interest rather than say no.

  • Mary Needham

    I’m on SSI and only get 721 a month what is a good credit card for me just really need some help

    • http://www.nerdwallet.com/ NerdWallet

      Hi Mary – Thanks for reaching out to us! Someone from the NerdWallet team will follow up with you directly and you’ll hear from them soon :)

  • jon r hall

    started with chase blueprint had chase slate $24k limit for several years…I never carry a balance regularly overpay carrying a credit with 766 credit score debt free retirement and regular savings I have no concerns about paying my bills with health concerns…last time I was in a coma I woke to positive balances on ALL BILLS. most folks tell me I’m stupid I’VE been on Social Security and LTD from work since 2008 have’nt needed extra $$ to apply for my retirement yet..would love to advise others but as said most folks tell me I’m stupid

  • mollie lanham

    In Dec. my Slate card promotion will be over, I still owe 9,ooo and looking for a new option. My credit score is excellent. Looking for a 0% apr for as many months as possible and no balance transfer fee. Anybody?/
    .

  • CAP

    yes. You can only pay/balance transfer to another non-Chase account

  • JC

    We transferred about 7000 onto Chase slate abd at 0% had a payment of $70 per month. I would guess that would put you sound $100.

  • Sandra

    If you look at the terms and conditions, specifically at the minimum monthly payment, you can see what it would be. For most cards, it’s 1% or $25/30/50. Beware, the transfer fee will accumulate interest if you don’t pay it off right away.

  • JC

    I called Chase right after I was approved for 6000 and asked if they could increase my limit for balance transfer and they gave me another 1000. You can try it to give yourself a better cushion. If not, then they say no. Also, if you only transfer $5000, you could push yourself to pay off the $500.

  • Eliot Jones

    Do you have to qualify for membership based on these: http://www.alliantcreditunion.org/membership/eligibility/ ?

  • Sandra

    I agree with mrtrantastic. I did two balance transfers, both of which maxed out the new cards. My score dropped from 770s to 660. I don’t care, as I’m aggressively paying both down and won’t ask for credit until they’re both paid off. If you think you’ll need additional credit in any way, shape or form, do not max out the new card with a balance transfer.

  • Sandra

    I think Discover’s doing the industry norm actually. I did a balance transfer to a Citizens Bank card and a Barclays card. In my myriad of questions, I was specifically told that once I do a balance transfer, there’s a trigger that occurs. The trigger makes every purchase I make to start charging interest from the day it posts on the card, not from the day the statement due date is late. Thus, there’s no more grace period with purchases. Also, balance transfer fees must be paid off from the initial statement on which they occur, otherwise they start incurring daily interest as well.

  • Sandra

    I wouldn’t worry too much if you have pretty good credit. Apply and see what happens. Usually the limit for the balance transfer is your credit limit. This means that the amount you want to transfer + transfer fee MUST BE under your credit limit. Will your score get dinged? It’s not the act of acquiring the card that dings your credit (unless you go crazy on the number of applications). Getting cards is a very small ding, a few points. What DOES ding you is if you max out the new cards with a balance transfer.

  • Jessica

    Unfortunately, as I just found out today, you can’t transfer a balance from one chase credit card to another.

  • Lisa Banko

    You can go on their websites and do a pre approved screening. It doesn’t affect your credit score and will give you a good idea whether or not you would be approved if you applied. Most of the time if you are pre approved you will be accepted and receive a credit card.

  • Lisa Banko

    I did research on this all day. As far as I can tell the only card that offers no fees for balance transfers at this time is Chase Slate. Most cards are 3% of the balance amount or $5, whatever is more.

  • woodguy11

    Toyota finance

  • woodguy11

    you know borrowing to pay another is a Ponzi …you need to pay off your debt and have 1 card for emergencies only

  • woodguy11

    Toyota or usaa