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12 Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards of June 2024

Updated: May 24, 2024
Erin Hurd
Written by
Assigning Editor
Caitlin Mims
Reviewed by
Content Management Specialist
Paul Soucy
Edited by
Fact Checked
Lead Assigning Editor
Fact Checked
Erin Hurd
Written by
Assigning Editor
Caitlin Mims
Reviewed by
Content Management Specialist
Paul Soucy
Edited by
Fact Checked
Lead Assigning Editor
Fact Checked
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NerdWallet's Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards of June 2024

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Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards

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Some of the best credit cards for balance transfers aren't strictly "balance transfer cards"Many cards offer bonuses and rewards that can put money back in your pocket long after the 0% period runs out.
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Find the right credit card for you.

Whether you want to pay less interest or earn more rewards, the right card's out there. Just answer a few questions and we'll narrow the search for you.

Find the right credit card for you.

Whether you want to pay less interest or earn more rewards, the right card's out there. Just answer a few questions and we'll narrow the search for you.

Our pick for

Longest intro period for transfers & purchases

Our pick for

Extra-long balance transfer offer

Our pick for

Long intro period + straightforward benefits

Our pick for

Long intro period + low intro fee

Our pick for

Long intro period + gas and dining rewards

Our pick for

Long intro period + 2% cash back

Our pick for

All-around cash back

Our pick for

2% cash back

Our pick for

Travel rewards

Our pick for

Quarterly cash back categories

Our pick for

Extra-long intro period + no late fees

Our pick for

Military

FULL LIST OF EDITORIAL PICKS: BEST BALANCE TRANSFER CREDIT CARDS

Before applying, confirm details on the issuer’s website.

Wells Fargo Reflect® Card

Our pick for: Longest intro period for transfers & purchases

The Wells Fargo Reflect® Card has one of the longest 0% intro APR periods on the market — approaching almost two years. You'll be hard-pressed to find a longer interest-free promotion, and it applies to both purchases and balance transfers. Read our review.

BankAmericard® credit card

Our pick for: Long intro period + straightforward benefits

The BankAmericard® credit card isn't flashy, nor does it aim to be. You get one of the longest 0% introductory APR periods available anywhere, providing plenty of time to whittle down debt or finance a large purchase. And that's about it. Read our review.

Chase Slate Edge℠

Our pick for: Long intro period + interest-saving incentives

The $0-annual-fee Chase Slate Edge℠ is light on flash but features an excellent 0% intro APR period on purchases and balance transfers, plus some other potential incentives for paying on time. Read our review.

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

Our pick for: Long intro period + low intro fee

A lengthy 0% introductory APR period for both purchases and balance transfers has made the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card a NerdWallet favorite. Read our review.

Citi Simplicity® Card

Our pick for: Extra-long intro period + no late fees

The Citi Simplicity® Card has an excellent 0% intro APR period on balance transfers, and an OK one on purchases. It doesn't charge an annual fee, late fees or penalty APRs either. Read our review.

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

Our pick for: Extra-long balance transfer offer

The Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card offers a super-lengthy 0% intro APR period on balance transfers, and there's also a decent offer on purchases. But the balance transfer fee is pricey. It doesn't have the late-fee forgiveness of Citi's other balance-transfer card, but it's still a great option. Read our review.

Discover it® Chrome

Our pick for: Long intro period + gas and dining rewards

The Discover it® Chrome doesn't have rotating categories like some of Discover's better-known cards. Instead, it gives you extra rewards at gas stations and restaurants, with no activation required, plus an outstanding balance transfer offer. You get the "cash-back match" bonus in your first year, too. Read our review.

Citi Double Cash® Card

Our pick for: Long intro period + 2% cash back

Year after year, the Citi Double Cash® Card has been a top choice among flat-rate cash-back cards. You earn 2% cash back on every purchase — 1% when you buy something and 1% when you pay it off. There's no 0% intro period for purchases and no bonus categories, but the high rewards rate more than makes up for the lack of bells and whistles. Read our review.

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

Our pick for: 2% cash back

Among flat-rate cash-back cards, you'll be hard-pressed to beat the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card. It earns an unlimited 2% back on all purchases, which is excellent. But in addition, the card offers a rich sign-up bonus and a generous intro APR period on both purchases and balance transfers. That's an impressive, hard-to-find combination of features on a card with a $0 annual fee. Read our review.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Our pick for: All-around cash back

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® was already a fine card when it offered 1.5% cash back on all purchases. Now it's even better, with bonus rewards on travel booked through Chase, as well as at restaurants and drugstores. On top of all that, new cardholders get a 0% introductory APR period and the opportunity to earn a sweet bonus. Read our review.

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Our pick for: Quarterly cash back categories

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ offers bonus cash back in quarterly categories that you activate, as well as on travel booked through Chase, at restaurants and at drugstores. Category activation can be a hassle, but if your spending matches the categories — and for a lot of people, it will — you can rack up hundreds of dollars a year. There's a fantastic bonus offer for new cardholders and an intro APR offer, too. Read our review.

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

Our pick for: Travel rewards

One of the best no-annual-fee travel cards available, the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card gives you a solid rewards rate on every purchase, with points that can be redeemed for any travel purchase, without the restrictions of branded airline and hotel cards. Bank of America® has an expansive definition of "travel," too, giving you additional flexibility in how you use your rewards. Read our review.

Navy Federal Credit Union® Platinum Credit Card

Our pick for: Military

A $0 annual fee. An introductory APR that's about as close to 0% as you can get. A $0 balance transfer fee. And depending on your credit, an ongoing APR that's as close to rock-bottom as you can get. You have to be a member of Navy Federal, however, and unlike with some other credit unions, the eligibility requirements don't include a "shortcut" that gets you in via donation. Read our review.

• • •

OTHER RESOURCES

What is a balance transfer credit card?

Initiating a balance transfer involves moving debt from a high-interest credit card to a new card with a lower interest rate, ideally one with an introductory 0% period. Essentially, you're using one credit card to pay off another, but because you aren't paying as much in interest, you have more money available to pay down your debt faster.

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How much can I save with a balance transfer credit card?

A balance transfer makes financial sense only if the money you save on interest is more than any fee you'll pay to carry out the transfer.

Interest savings

Moving debt to a card with an introductory 0% APR period for balance transfers will save you money in interest. Those savings can add up to hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars depending on how much you owe.

According to NerdWallet's latest American Household Credit Card Debt Study, the average household with revolving credit card debt — that is, debt that was carried from one month to the next — had a total of $21,367 in such debt as of December 2023. Let's say you had that much debt on a card with an APR of 17%, and you wanted to pay off the debt in equal amounts over 18 months:

  • If you left the debt on the 17% card, you'd pay about $5,410 in interest over the course of those 18 months.

  • If you transferred the debt to a card with a 0% intro APR for 18 months, you'd pay no interest at all. Further, if you used the money you would have paid in interest and applied it to paying down the balance, you'd be out of debt a couple of months earlier.

Mind the balance transfer fee

A balance transfer isn't always a slam-dunk solution to high-interest debt. Most cards with promotional 0% APR periods charge balance transfer fees, which typically range from 3% to 5% of the amount being transferred. Some cards don't charge these fees, or waive them for a period of time when you first open your account.

Before pulling the trigger on a transfer, consider whether the amount you’ll save on interest will be enough to make up for any transfer fee. In the above example, a 3% fee on a $6,741 transfer comes out to a little over $200, while a 5% fee would be about $340. If you're saving $900 in interest, then the fee is worth paying.

However, if you'd been planning to pay off the debt in six months rather than 18, then the transfer would have saved you only about $330 in interest — so a 3% fee would have eaten up most of your savings while a 5% fee would have ended up costing you money.

Estimate your savings with our calculator

Whether a balance transfer will save you money depends mostly on four factors:

  • How much you owe.

  • The current interest rate on that debt.

  • The balance transfer fee.

  • How long the 0% period on the new card lasts.

Enter this information into NerdWallet's balance transfer calculator to get a sense of how much you could save by doing a balance transfer.

How to do a balance transfer using a credit card

If the math on a balance transfer works in your favor, here’s what to do next.

1. Apply for a 0% balance transfer card

In many cases, cards with an introductory 0% APR offer for transfers give you only a short period of time after opening your account to take advantage of the offer — say, 60 days. So even if you already have a card with a 0% period in effect, it might be too late to use it for a transfer.

In general, you'll need good credit to qualify for a balance transfer card.

Most issuers won’t let you transfer debt from one of their cards to another. For example, you can’t transfer a balance from one Chase card to another. So make sure you aren’t applying for a card from the same bank that holds the debt you need to transfer.

2. Tell the new card’s issuer you want to do a transfer

With some cards, you can do this from your online account dashboard or even the issuer’s mobile app. With others, you’ll need to call the customer service number on the back of the card.

3. Provide information requested by your issuer

You’ll need to know the account number of the debt you want to transfer and how much you want to move. Depending on the credit limit on your new card and the card issuer’s policies (which may limit the amount of a transfer), you may get approved to transfer the entire amount or just a part of it.

4. Continue making payments on the old card

This is critical. The transfer doesn't happen as soon as you ask for it. It can take days or even a couple of weeks. Pay at least the minimum until your old card account shows that the debt has been moved. The last thing you want is to incur an expensive late fee (and possibly damage your credit scores).

5. Watch your accounts

You’ll see the debt paid off on the old card and show up on the new one. Now it’s time to pay it down.

6. Stash the old card, but keep it open

It may be tempting to cut up the old card and cancel the account for the sake of catharsis, but closing a paid-off credit card account can damage your credit scores. If the card doesn't charge an annual fee, keep it open.

Pros and cons of balance transfer credit cards

Pros: Why it’s worth getting a balance transfer credit card

  • You can pay off your debt faster. This should be the point of the balance transfer. Apply the money you save in interest to your balance to get you out of debt faster. Don’t just move debt from one card to another to avoid paying it off.

  • It simplifies your finances. If you’re juggling multiple payments and due dates, you may find it easier to consolidate into one monthly lower-interest payment.

Cons: Why a balance transfer credit card might not be for you

  • If you don’t pay off your debt within the 0% period, you could be worse off. Without a solid plan in place to pay off the balance you’ve transferred, you could end up paying interest at even higher rate than on your previous card when the 0% period expires.

  • There’s typically a fee involved. Most cards have a balance transfer fee, and depending on how much you owe and the terms you’re looking for, it may not be worth it to shift your debt.

  • You need good to excellent credit to qualify. If your credit standing is just OK, you may not get approved for another card. And every time you apply for a new card, your score takes a hit, so it’s best not to apply if you think approval is a long shot.

  • You may get approved for an amount less than you want to transfer. The new card's issuer might let you transfer only a portion of what you owe. For example, it might set a limit of $5,000 on balance transfers. You can try asking for a higher amount. If that fails, consider other steps to pay down your debt.

How to compare balance transfer credit cards

1. Determine whether you qualify for a balance transfer credit card

In most cases, 0% balance transfer credit cards require good or excellent credit. Generally, that means a credit score of about 690 or better. (You can get your credit score for free on NerdWallet.)

2. Look at the issuer that holds your current debt

In most cases, you can't transfer balances among cards from the same bank — from one Chase card to another Chase card, for example. This is important to know because it will save you from getting a card you can’t use. Be especially careful with store-branded credit cards, which often do not clearly identify the issuing bank. (Stores don't typically issue and manage their own credit cards; they partner with a bank to do it.)

3. Compare 0% APR periods for balance transfers

The longer the 0% period, the better, since you’ll have more time to pay down your debt without interest. But know that longer periods might mean higher transfer fees

4. Compare balance transfer credit card fees

Transfer fees on most credit cards range from 3% to 5%. That’s equivalent to $30 to $50 for each $1,000 you transfer. A handful of cards do not charge transfer fees or waive them for an introductory period. But those cards are few and far between, and most of them require excellent credit. Also, cards that don’t charge a transfer fee generally have shorter 0% APR periods than balance transfer cards that do.

5. Say no to annual fees

A good balance transfer card will not charge an annual fee. Some rewards cards with annual fees do offer 0% introductory periods, but they're a bad choice for getting out of debt. (The rewards and sign-up bonuses on such cards encourage spending, and the annual fee eats up money that could be going to pay down debt.)

Making the most of your balance transfer credit card

  • Use your balance transfer credit card only for debt. The cards that save you the most while paying off debt generally don’t offer the best rewards. That's why it's better to use two cards: One for paying off debt over time, and one for making (and immediately paying off) new purchases.

  • Know when promotional periods end. Your card’s introductory 0% APR period doesn't last forever, and in most cases a $0 transfer fee is available only for a limited time. Transfer debt and pay it off within those time periods to avoid interest and fees. Read your credit card statements carefully — or just call your issuer and ask if you're not sure when the clock will run out.

  • Pay on time. If you’re late with a payment, your card’s 0% balance transfer APR will probably disappear. That’s because promotional terms often get voided if your account isn’t in good standing. Aside from losing the card’s most valuable feature, you might also have to pay a late fee (close to $40, typically) and a penalty interest rate (often about 30%). Avoid this basket of bad news by setting up automatic payments, if you’re confident you’ll have enough money in your account to cover at least the minimum. Make extra payments throughout the month, as your budget allows.

  • Make a plan. Take stock of your debt and figure out what you’ll have to do to become debt-free. Calculate how much extra money you can put toward your credit card debt each month, and track your progress as you chip away at the balance .

Alternatives to using a 0% balance transfer credit card

Maybe a balance transfer credit card isn’t right for you. There are other ways to get a handle on your debt.

1. Pay more than the minimum due

Your minimum monthly payment due is the absolute least you can pay without incurring a penalty. It won't get you very far toward paying off your debt. To see real interest savings, you need to pay interest on less money, and that means reducing the principal by paying more than the minimum.

2. Use a debt payment calculator

Debt payment calculators show you how much you could save in interest by paying down your credit card balance without a transfer. Enter your balance and choose an interest rate, then see your savings if you reduced the balance by 5% to 50%. See the calculator here.

3. Ask if you qualify for a lower rate

If your credit score has improved since you opened the account, it could pay off to ask your issuer to lower your interest rate. You might get some points knocked off your rate, or possibly get your account moved to a card with a lower rate. You may also be told it’s not possible, but it’s worth a phone call to ask.

5. Consider a personal loan

A personal loan can be a solid option to get a handle on your high-interest debt. Personal loans can be issued by banks, credit unions and online lenders. Some loans designed for debt consolidation can even be paid directly to your creditors, streamlining the process.

Keep in mind that a personal loan makes sense only if the interest rate on the loan is the less than the interest rate you were paying on your credit card debt. Shop around to find the most favorable terms and know that credit unions typically offer some of the best rates but you typically have to become a member to apply. Some online lenders charge origination fees, similar to when a balance transfer card charges a balance transfer fee. Be sure to do the math before committing to a card's terms.

*For U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card: An introductory fee of either 3% of the amount of each transfer or $5 minimum, whichever is greater, for balances transferred within 60 days of account opening. After that, either 5% of the amount of each transfer or $5 minimum, whichever is greater.

Last updated on May 24, 2024

Methodology

NerdWallet's Credit Cards team selects the best balance transfer credit cards based on overall consumer value, as evidenced by star ratings, as well as their suitability for specific kinds of consumers. Factors in our evaluation include annual fees, balance transfer fees, the length of each card's 0% introductory APR period, ongoing APRs, credit-profile requirements, cardholders' access to credit scores, and other noteworthy features such as rewards or perks that give the card ongoing value beyond the promotional APR period. Learn how NerdWallet rates credit cards.

Frequently asked questions

A balance transfer involves moving debt from a high-interest credit card to a new card with a lower interest rate, ideally one with an introductory 0% period. Essentially, you're using one card to pay off another, but because you aren't paying as much in interest, you have more money available to pay down your debt more quickly.

When evaluating balance transfer credit cards, you'll want to pay attention to:

  • The balance transfer fee. Most cards charge a fee of 3% to 5% of the amount transferred. That translates to $30 to $50 for each $1,000 transferred. Some cards charge no transfer fee, although such offers are getting harder to find.

  • The introductory interest rate. Credit cards designed for balance transfers offer a lower interest rate, often 0%, when you first open the account.

  • The length of the intro APR period. The longer the intro period, the better. Look for 15 months or more at 0%. When the promotional period ends, the interest rate shoots up, so you'll want to have your debt paid off by the end of that time.

  • The annual fee. The point of a balance transfer is to save money, so you shouldn't be paying an annual fee.

  • The issuer. You typically can't transfer debt between cards from the same issuer. For example, if you have debt on a Citi credit card, you can't move it to another Citi card.

You'll need good to excellent credit to qualify for a card with an introductory 0% period. That generally means a credit score of 690 or better.

The first step in executing a balance transfer is applying for a balance-transfer credit card. Once you're approved for the new card, tell that card's issuer that you want to do a transfer. (You can sometimes do this through your credit card's online portal or mobile app; in other cases, you'll have to call the number on the back of the card.)

The new card's issuer will ask for information about the balance you want to transfer, including the financial institution, the account number and the amount of the debt. Depending on your credit limit and the issuer's rules, you may be approved for the full amount of the transfer or only a portion.

The transfer can take a while, so keep an eye on both accounts until the debt disappears from the old one and shows up in the new one. Make at least the minimum payments on the old account until the debt is transferred.

A balance transfer by itself isn't going to have much of an effect on your credit score. The transfer doesn't make the debt go away; it simply moves it to a new place. In fact, applying for the balance transfer card could knock a few points off your score in the short term.

What matters is what you do after you transfer your balance. If you take advantage of the breathing room and significantly reduce your debt, your credit can benefit, since the amounts you owe are a significant factor in your scores.

If you'll have the money to pay off your credit card debt within a month or two, you're probably better off not bothering with a balance transfer. That's because the transfer fee you'd have to pay would probably outweigh any interest that would accumulate during that time. But if paying off that debt will take three or four months, or longer, your interest savings will probably more than make up for the fee.

If you take advantage of a 0% balance transfer offer to aggressively pay off what you owe, there's no real downside. The money you save on interest can instead go toward eliminating the debt even more quickly. But if all you're doing is "parking" debt on a 0% card and paying only the required minimum without a plan to significantly reduce what you owe, you're only treading water. The 0% period will run out and you'll be right back where you started.

For a credit card issuer, taking on a consumer's existing debt at 0% interest is a risk, so issuers are careful about whom they approve for a balance transfer. Generally speaking, issuers don't make balance transfer offers available to people with credit scores that dip much below 700. Each issuer evaluates applications according to its own risk-assessment rubrics; what might be an "easy" card for one applicant to get could be completely unattainable for someone else. As a result, there's no single balance transfer card that you can confidently say is the "easiest" to quality for.

About the author

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Erin Hurd

Erin Hurd is a credit card and travel rewards expert at NerdWallet. Her work has been featured in Yahoo, Nasdaq, TheStreet, International Living, the Daily Reckoning, Personal Finance and FinanceBuzz. Previously the director of strategic growth at a large financial publishing company, Erin is passionate about harnessing the power of credit card and loyalty rewards to travel the world. When she's not writing, she's planning the next adventure for her family of four using points and miles. Twitter: @ErinHurd1. Read more
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