NerdWallet’s Best Balance Transfer and 0% Interest Credit Cards, Spring 2013
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.
NerdWallet’s pick: Discover it
We’re in love with Discover it card because 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. Here was the calendar for 5% categories in 2013:
- January – March: Restaurants and movies
- April – June: “Spring style”
- July – September: “Summer fun”
- October – December: “Holiday shopping”
Best for Late-Payers: Citi Simplicity
The Citi Simplicity is for people who appreciate a little leniency. Like the Discover it, the Simplicity’s 0% transfer APR lasts 18 months. But unlike the it, the Simplicity does not offer rewards. Instead, it extends the APR to purchases for 18 months and does not charge late fees or penalty interest rates. If you sometimes struggle to make payments, the Simplicity is by far your best option. You have time to pay off old debts and make new purchases without incurring further charges. You will sacrifice rewards, but the repayment policies may well be worth the loss.
Honorable Mention: Citi Diamond Platinum Select
Just like the Citi Simplicity, the Diamond Platinum Select offers 18 months of zero interest on both balance transfers and purchases. The downside – unlike the Simplicity, the Diamond won’t waive late fees and does have a penalty APR. But it does have a slightly better ongoing APR of 11.99%-21.99% (variable), so if you plan to take a long time to pay off your debt, this is a great option.
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.