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

  • Dane Henderson

    I would get cards that are maxed out, you can consolidate and get your interest rates lowered. Keep cards tha you have still some limits and low rates and put others in program. DebtSolv.orghas done that 855.443.7414 x210

  • George Kalopitas

    I’m using Barclay’s Ring (8% APR and no fees), for transferring balances.

  • Travis Donnelly

    In August I applied for the Citi Simplicity card in order to transfer my balance from my Discover card. Citi Simplicity replied in a letter I needed to provide them with an original bill from a telephone company to verify my address (?) and I also needed to provide a copy of another utility bill with my name and address. I have a long credit history stretching over 30 years and have never had to provide such info in ANY FORM. However, I did send them the documentation and a couple of weeks later they sent me a letter of decline (!!!!) because they could not verify my info. I am really pissed…..In the future, will I need to give them a DNA sample for verification/identification????? How can they NOT be able to get any info they need from my extensive credit reports!!!!!!! Should I reapply in a few months or try to apply for another card (ex. Chase Slate)?

    • NerdWallet

      Hi Travis! I’m sorry you’re in this frustrating situation. Sometimes, a credit card issuer will require additional documentation to verify your identity, and it sounds like Citibank might be having a hard time doing so in this case. I would recommend reaching out to them directly for more clarity. If you still can’t get approved, your best bet is probably to wait about 6 months, then apply for a different balance transfer card.

      If you have further questions, please feel free to reach out to – we’ll do what we can to help you get this straightened out!

  • NerdWallet

    Depending on where you are in the world, the Discover it might be the best bet. It has no foreign transaction fee and 18 months of 0% interest on balance transfers. However, it’s not accepted in every country (here’s a list of places that take Discover). If you travel to places not on the list, go with the Capital One Quicksilver. It has no foreign transaction fee, and as a Visa, it’s pretty much universally accepted. It offers 12 months of 0% interest on purchases and balance transfers.

  • NerdWallet

    Having a lot of debt on one credit card doesn’t necessarily hurt your credit score. What’s hurting you is that you have a high debt utilization ratio, meaning that your debt is high compared to your overall credit limit. If you took out a new credit card and never even used it, your overall credit limit would be higher so your score would improve. Getting more credit cards would help your score, but spreading your debt out among them would not.

    That said, you should definitely get a balance transfer credit card to lower your interest payments and help you to get debt-free faster. I recommend the Chase Slate if you can pay off your debt in less than 15 months, or the Citi Simplicity if you need more time.

  • J-Bank

    The only thing that NerdWallet is missing is that if you have a lot of
    debt on one card it CAN hurt your score it if is too close to the credit
    limit. You can have 10 cards that have no balance and have an 11th
    that is maxed and it will seriously effect your score. You have to have
    EVERYONE of your cards under about 85% of utilization. I don’t know
    the EXACT amount, but it is definitely not higher than 90%.

  • mrtrantastic

    I wouldn’t suggest that, because credit utilization becomes a important factor in calculating your credit score. ALTHOUGH, your overall utilization will be significantly smaller, the credit bureau will view it as having almost maxed out a card. That being said, I’d transfer somewhere close to a 60% utilization on the new card. If you’re not paying a yearly fee or anything, you may also decide to keep the old card around even after you’ve paid it off.

  • CAP

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

  • CAP

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

  • NerdWallet

    Unfortunately, CAP is correct – As of December 2014, Chase won’t allow you to transfer balances between two Chase cards.

  • 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.

  • Mike Banks

    The minimum payment will be 1% of the balance. Simply take your balance
    and divide by the amount of months you plan to pay it down in. If there
    is interest in addition to your balance, calculate the interest in.
    Google it, also search business credit card builders if you are an
    entrepreneur and want more tips because there is a free financial
    software included in the program that helps to calculate the payments
    for those who have more cards than the average person.

  • 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.

  • NerdWallet

    In general, yes, there shouldn’t be an issue with that.

  • NerdWallet

    Unfortunately, there’s no standard formula for calculating your minimum payment, but this article provides some guidelines that might help:

  • NerdWallet

    Hi Rebecca. When looking for a balance transfer card, you should make sure to consider a few things:

    (1) What is the balance transfer fee? You should look for a credit card that offers a 0% balance transfer fee (at least for an introductory period) so that you aren’t charged a fee to consolidate your cards.

    (2) Is there an introductory APR on balance transfers? How long is it? These cards often offer an introductory period where there is a 0% APR on balance transfers. If you are planning to carry the balance for a long time period, you will want to look for a longer introductory APR period.

    (3) What is the ongoing APR? Once the introductory period is over, you’ll want to be sure you aren’t surprised with a super-high interest rate!

    Finally, make sure to always make your minimum payments on time! If you miss a payment, any 0% APR deals will likely be canceled and you’ll have to start paying interest right away.

    Right now, one of our favorite balance transfer cards on the market is the Chase Slate, but it requires an excellent credit. You can read more here:

  • Denise

    Thank you for the additional info! I will contact Citi to see if I can get approved for a higher credit limit.

  • NerdWallet

    Hi @disqus_aD2EpSGTlv:disqus,

    I’m sorry to hear about your situation! A balance transfer does sound like a good idea — the Chase Slate is one of the best in the business, with (as of 12/23/2014) no transfer fee for the first 60 days, and a long introductory 0% APR period. Applying for any credit card has a small and temporary negative impact on your credit score, which shouldn’t be an issue unless you are applying to multiple cards in a short time period. Unfortunately, balance transfer cards are typically reserved for people with good or excellent credit, so this is something to be aware of.

    Hope this helps! Feel free to contact us with additional questions.

  • Rus

    Did you apply online or in person?

  • CMartel2

    Online application. Non-rewards card.

  • Eliot Jones

    Do you have to qualify for membership based on these: ?

  • NerdWallet

    Hi Tessa,

    You should consider the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards card. It’s a cash back card that’s available for people with fair/average credit – it has a one-time 0% balance transfer fee and is offering 0% introductory APR until November 2015. You can read more here:

  • Lindsey

    I would be hesitant to apply for the Slate. It isn’t a bad card but I had a score of 763 and only got approved for a $500.00 balance and I seem to hear that a lot about that card.

  • Joshua Seigler

    Both of those cards you applied for do require excellent credit. Its going to be tougher to be approved. Have you tried Barlclays Ring card? They pull transunion and are slightly easier to get.

  • King Lo

    Best thing to do is find a local credit union, and try for one of their cards. Some offer a card with a low balance for credit rebuilding and establishment.

  • Joshua Seigler

    It is. I have done this recently. I did it by applying for Discover and then transferred balance to a new Chase freedom and then to Capital One and then Chase Slate. Some lenders won’t let you transfer if they own both accounts. So Chase won’t let you transfer from Chase to another Chase card. I did this once my 0% was close to ending.

  • Joshua Seigler

    There are other cards. The Chase slate for the 0% balance transfer fee part you do need to qualify. It says it on website but if your approved you need to make sure it says in your T&C. Have you thought about other lenders?

  • Joshua Seigler

    You can transfer anyone’s debt to a card. Just need the account number.

  • Eryn

    If you exceed the intro period you end up having to pay interest on the entire intro period – they just tack it on…then your APR is most likely going to be variable and can definitely exceed your current card. It’s not much, but I would figure out how much you can afford towards the new card (and still pay the current after you have transferred out an amount) each month. Multiply the monthly amount by how many ‘free’ months you have at 0% and only transfer that amount (account for any transfer fee if any). It will end up saving you some money, even though it’s a pain. jmo

  • Dan

    Another alternative, that admittedly requires a little more planning and foresight, is to get a 0% intro rate on purchases and start putting all your purchases on that card and slowly paying off your old card. Let’s say you have $3k worth of expenses this month, you can put it all on the new card, and use that 3k to pay off the old card. Again, it requires more planning though and works best if you have a little bit of liquid cash lying around.

  • Sean

    Hi Dan, did you learn any more about this? I am in the same situation?

  • 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

  • ilovebooks

    no there isn’t

  • woodguy11

    Toyota or usaa

  • DK

    I called up Chase and Chase Slate does not allow balance transfer from student loans

  • Christina Malecki Kessler

    You can most certainly carry any debt to the transfer BUT do NOT consider it as a “purchase” requirement toward miles. I made that mistake when doing it from one card to another. CASH transactions do NOT count toward purchase amounts needed for mileage and/or bonuses. When my 10k card showed I had 5k balance, I had only less than 2 k in miles. I would have had to max the card out, in shorter time, to get the bonus miles.

  • Christina Malecki Kessler

    You are right! And besides, carrying a student loan, depending on interest rate, is a plus to a credit score, actually, in showing multiple varieties of debt one can handle. As much as we would like to see them go away. Another suggestion, is, if you get what is called those “super checks” from your credit card company, which you can apply yourself, anywhere, at 0% interest, but possibly a transfer fee–even if other cards won’t transfer to a student loan.

  • NerdWallet

    Hi there! DK, you are correct – per Chase, student loan balances cannot be transferred onto this card. Sorry for the confusion!

  • Christina Malecki Kessler

    Citi was great at approving mine, instantly over the phone. But I have the Citi Diamond preferred. Started at 1k, which would do me NO good, and they gave me 5k.

  • Dane Henderson

    I agree!