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% intro APR, you can stop accumulating interest for up to 18 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
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on Chase's
secure website

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. You get zero APR for 15 months on purchases and transfers, which is among the longer periods out there, and if you need to transfer a lot of debt, you’ll find the savings worthwhile. A variable APR of 12.99%, 17.99%, or 22.99% kicks in after the introductory period ends. The Slate 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 between your current card’s rate and the Slate’s rate is; you’ll always save money if you transfer your balance to the Slate and pay it off in 15 months.

Best for rewards and 0% APR: Discover it®

Discover it Credit Card
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on Discover's
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The Discover it® 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. The 0% introductory transfer APR lasts an astounding 18 months–the highest period you’ll find right now from any issuer. That’s a solid year and a half without interest on old debts. The it also offers an APR deal on new purchases—0% for 6 months. 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? There’s no annual fee. You get an 18-month 0% APR and 5% rewards categories for no annual fee. Pretty awesome.

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

Lake Michigan Credit Union Prime Link Platinum Visa Credit Card
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on Lake Michigan Credit Union's
secure website

The Lake Michigan Credit Union Prime Platinum Visa boasts one of the lowest ongoing APRs out there: right now, it’s 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

Citibank Simplicity Credit Card
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on Citibank's
secure website

Like the Discover it, the Citi Simplicity offers 18 months of zero interest on balance transfers – but this card offers 18 months on purchases, too. It has no late fees or penalty APR, ever. If you’re struggling with debt, this might actually be a better card than the Discover it®, because you have more time to make new purchases and pay it off interest-free. There is a 3% balance transfer fee, so be sure to do the math and see whether the extra 3 months of 0% interest over the 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. That means low interest rates and good balance transfer options. For more balance transfer options, visit your local credit union or use our credit union tool to find the best credit union in your area.

  • NerdWallet

    Hi @Denise – I’m sorry to hear that your balance transfer limit wasn’t as high as you needed. Before you apply for a second card, I would recommend you check out the tips in this article:

  • Carly

    I have about $1,000 in debt from a shared credit card with an ex-partner (he is not helping to pay) and $6,500 in debt on student loans. The separate interest for each of these is killing me… I am thinking about doing a balance transfer and consolidating this debt onto one card, if possible. Any thoughts on best card to go with and if this would hurt my credit score at all? I am currently a student so the student loan debt is deferred but still accruing interest.

  • CMartel2

    It’s not on the list, but I did exceptionally well with Alliant Credit Union’s Platinum Visa, which has a 12-month 0% interest rate on balance transfers, no balance transfer fee, and no annual fee. I applied after Chase gave me a stingy 5k credit line on a new Chase Slate–not enough. Alliant? 20k. Boom! I’ll be debt free in a year, and I won’t pay a dime more interest! I have no baddies on my credit report but do have high utilization (35%). Not for long. :)

    • Rus

      Did you apply online or in person?

      • CMartel2

        Online application. Non-rewards card.

  • Linda

    I have a Discover It card with a balance of 5700 and limit of 9000. I want to transfer my balance over to a 0% APR card but I am hesitate between the Chase Slate and the Lake Michigan card. I can only pay 150-200 right now since I took on a new job that pays less than half of what I use to make.

  • Dan

    I’ve been looking into doing a balance transfer on my business credit card to another business credit card. So far, it looks like business credit cards do not do balance transfer’s. Is this true across the board, or do any companies offer balance transfers on their business cards?

  • CAP

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