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Zero is a lucky number when you’re trying to get rid of credit card debt. That’s why you might be eyeing the Chase Slate® or the Barclaycard Ring™ Mastercard® if you’re dealing with high balances and steep interest rates. Among cards from major issuers, they’re the only ones that let you get away with paying zip, nada, zilch in interest and fees on your balance transfer. They share an uncommon trio of benefits:
- A 0% introductory APR on balance transfers and purchases
- A way to avoid balance transfer fees
- No annual fee
Choosing between these two cards is like being stuck between a pillow and a fluffy place. The core benefits are virtually the same, and they both deliver excellent value. But depending on your spending preferences and credit situation, one card might suit you better than the other.
The Chase Slate® and the Barclaycard Ring™ Mastercard®, side by side
For years, the Chase Slate® was the most cost-effective balance transfer card available. The Barclaycard Ring™ Mastercard®, meanwhile, didn’t offer a 0% interest period for balance transfers; it gave you a low ongoing APR instead. That made it a decent balance transfer credit card, but not the best.
The calculus changed in 2017, when the Barclaycard Ring™ Mastercard® added its 0% APR deal. Nowadays, the Chase Slate® and Barclaycard Ring™ Mastercard® are #Twinning:
|Barclaycard Ring™ Mastercard®||Chase Slate®|
|Note: Neither of these issuers allows same-issuer transfers. You can't transfer a Chase debt to Chase, or a Barclaycard debt to Barclaycard.|
|Balance transfer fee||None||Introductory $0 balance transfer fee during the first 60 days after account opening, then 5% or $5, whichever is greater.|
|APR||0% on Purchases for 15 months and 0% on Balance Transfers for 15 months (on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening), and then the ongoing APR of 13.99% Variable APR||0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 16.24% - 24.99% Variable APR|
Consider Chase Slate® if:
You want to transfer a balance from Barclaycard. Barclaycard, like just about every other issuer, doesn’t allow same-issuer transfers. That is, you can’t transfer balances from one Barclaycard to another Barclaycard. If you want to move debt from this issuer, getting the Chase Slate® would be your best bet.
» MORE: Full review of the Chase Slate®
Consider Barclaycard Ring™ Mastercard® if:
You plan to travel abroad. “Get out of debt” credit cards are supposed to keep costs to a minimum. But even so, most charge foreign transaction fees of 1% to 3% for purchases made abroad. The Barclaycard Ring™ Mastercard® is a rare exception. This gives it an edge on the Chase Slate® if you’re traveling internationally while paying down debt.
You’re looking for a tight-knit community. When you join the online Barclaycard Ring™ Mastercard® community, you can suggest product improvements and vote on card changes. The card also features a profit-sharing program called Giveback. After you reach a certain spending threshold, you’ll get a small portion of the card’s profits.
You want to transfer a balance from Chase. Chase, like Barclaycard, doesn’t allow same-issuer transfers. If you have a Chase balance you’re looking to pay down and you have excellent credit, the Barclaycard Ring™ Mastercard® should be at the top of your list.
The first question: What can you get?
In the words of the Rolling Stones, “You can’t always get what you want.” Such is the case when you’re deciding between the Barclaycard Ring™ Mastercard® and the Chase Slate®. Both cards offer excellent value, but in some cases, your credit situation or current issuer might make the decision for you.
But even if you wind up with your second choice, don’t sweat it. You’ll still get a shot at paying down your debt without paying interest or fees. That’s what matters.
This article has been updated. It was originally published Aug. 1, 2016.