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Chase Slate: The Cure for the Common Debt?

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Chase Slate

Chase Slate® Editor's Rating: 4.6 / 5

Applying for another credit card might seem foolish if you’re dealing with a pile of debt. But if you’re thinking about getting the Chase Slate®, you’ve got the right idea.

This card is one of the Nerds’ favorites for balance transfers because it offers a unique combination of features that will get dedicated debtors out of the red in no time. Curious about how the Chase Slate® can help you get back to black? Let’s take a look.

Chase Slate®

Apply Now on Chase's secure website

Pros

  • $0 annual fee
  • $0 Intro Fee on Transfers made within 60 days of Account Opening
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • Qualify with Good credit

Cons

  • No rewards

Bonus Offer

Save with a $0 introductory balance transfer fee, 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and $0 annual fee. Plus, receive your Monthly FICO® Score for free.

Annual Fee

$0

Intro APR Promotions

0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers

APR

  • APR: 13.24%-23.24% Variable
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.24%, Variable

Card Details

  • Chase Slate named "Best Credit Card for Balance Transfers" three years in a row by MONEY Magazine
  • $0 Introductory balance transfer fee for transfers made during the first 60 days of account opening
  • 0% Introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • Monthly FICO® Score and Credit Dashboard for free
  • No Penalty APR - Paying late won't raise your interest rate (APR). All other account pricing and terms apply
  • $0 Annual Fee

In this article:

The Chase Slate®: The basics
Where the Chase Slate® shines
Free FICO scores for  Chase Slate® cardholders
Where the Chase Slate® falls short
The Chase Slate® versus the competition
Is the Chase Slate® the right card for you?

The Chase Slate®: The basics

At first glance, the Chase Slate® seems a little ho-hum because it doesn’t offer a sign-up bonus, and using it won’t earn you points in Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program. But the Chase Slate® isn’t your everyday credit card. It specializes in one thing: helping users pay off their credit card debt.

On that front, the Chase Slate® really delivers. It offers a long 0% period on purchases and balance transfers and provides the opportunity to avoid paying a balance transfer fee. Let’s do a deeper dive into the features that set the Chase Slate® apart from the crowd.

Where the Chase Slate® shines

There are good reasons the Nerds consistently recommend the Chase Slate® to people struggling with credit card debt:

No balance transfer fee – The Chase Slate® waives its balance transfer fee if you move your high-interest debt onto it within 60 days of opening your account. This feature gives it a huge edge over other balance transfer cards. After 60 days, the fee is 5% of the amount transferred or $5, whichever is greater. Although a 5% fee might not sound like much, it can really cut into the overall savings you’ll see from doing the balance transfer in the first place.

For example, on a $10,000 balance, you’d have to pay a $500 fee right off the bat with most cards. That’s a hefty chunk of change that would be better spent on paying down your balance, which is entirely possible with the Chase Slate®.

Long 0% period on purchases and balance transfers – Need a year to pay down your debt? You’ll get it (and then some) with the Chase Slate®. It offers 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 13.24%-23.24% Variable. In that amount of time, you should be able to take a serious swing at your balance.

Its annual fee is $0 – The Chase Slate® will save you big bucks on interest and balance transfer fees. To drive the deal home, it also charges an annual fee of $0. It’s tough to beat the Chase Slate® if you’re looking for a truly cost-effective way to pay down your debt.

Free FICO scores for Chase Slate® cardholders

To help cardholders keep track of their credit scores, Chase provides  Chase Slate® customers with free FICO score access. You’ll have to give your consent, but after that, you can access your FICO score for free. Chase also offers tools to help you understand the reasons behind your credit score.

Carrying credit card debt can damage your FICO score, because it drives up your credit utilization ratio. Being able to see your score as you pay off your balance is a helpful tool for tracking your progress toward outstanding credit. This feature is just one more thing to love about the Chase Slate®.

Where the Chase Slate® falls short

Even great credit cards have drawbacks to consider. Here are a few of the Chase Slate®’s you should know about:

Need great credit to qualify – Getting an application for the Chase Slate® approved requires having a great credit score, which, again, is sometimes an obstacle for people with credit card debt. You might have to explore alternatives for refinancing your balance if your credit is subpar.

0% APR period isn’t ultra-long – The Chase Slate® provides a generous introductory 0% period, but not the absolute longest on the market. Looking into other cards might be necessary if your goal is to stretch your interest-free payments out for as long as possible.

No rewards – The Chase Slate® is a low-cost tool for paying down your debt. But if you’re looking for a card that earns rewards on an ongoing basis, you’ll have to look elsewhere. There is plastic out there that provides an introductory APR offer on balance transfers and the ability to score points or cash back on your daily spending – you just have to know where to look.

Nerd Note: There are a few other caveats you should keep in mind before applying to the  Chase Slate®:

  • The amount you transfer (including fees and interest) can’t exceed $15,000 or your credit limit, whichever is lower.
  • You can’t transfer debt from another Chase account.

Make sure the card fits your needs before applying.

The Chase Slate® versus the competition

Now let’s see how the Chase Slate® looks against its competition. Who knows? There might be a balance transfer option out there that you never considered.

The Chase Slate® versus the Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever

Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever

Apply Now on Citibank's secure website

Pros

  • No late fee
  • No annual fee
  • 0% if you qualify for 21 mos on transfers

Cons

  • No rewards

Bonus Offer

0% on purchases and balance transfers for 21 months

Annual Fee

$0*

Intro APR Promotions

0% on purchases and balance transfers for 21 months

APR

  • Min APR: 13.24%, Variable
  • Max APR: 23.24%, Variable

Card Details

  • The ONLY card with No Late Fees, No Penalty Rate, and No Annual Fee… EVER.
  • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 21 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.24% - 23.24% based on your creditworthiness.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • The same great rate for all balances, after the introductory period.
  • Save time when you call with fast, personal help, 24 hours a day – just say “representative”
  • Enjoy the convenience of setting up your own bill payment schedule on any available due date throughout the month.

The Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever is often touted a good card for paying down high-interest debt because it provides a very long 0% period. With it, you’ll get 0% for 21 months on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 13.24% - 23.24% Variable . Also, you’ll never have to worry about paying a late fee or a penalty APR, and its annual fee is $0*.

Like the Chase Slate®, the Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever doesn’t offer any type of rewards program. It does, however, charge a 3% balance transfer fee. As a result, you’ll likely save more with the Chase Slate® if your goal is to refinance your debt–as long as you transfer your balance right away. But if you need to make a big purchase and want a really long time to pay it off interest free, go for the Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever instead.

The Chase Slate® versus the Discover it®- 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer

Discover it®- 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer

Apply Now on Discover's secure website

Pros

  • Bonus cash back categories
  • No annual fee
  • 0% on purchases for 6 months and 0% on balance transfers for 18 months
  • No foreign transaction fee

Cons

  • Slightly less merchant acceptance for Discover in US - acceptance outside of US can be an issue
  • If you value simplicity, a flat rate cash back card may be better

Bonus Offer

You could turn $200 into $400 with Cashback Match™. We’ll automatically match all the cash back you earn at the end of your first year. New cardmembers only.

Annual Fee

$0

Intro APR Promotions

0% on purchases for 6 months and 0% on balance transfers for 18 months

APR

  • APR: 11.24% – 23.24% Variable
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.24%, Variable

Card Details

  • You could turn $200 into $400 with Cashback Match™. We’ll automatically match all the cash back you earn at the end of your first year. New cardmembers only.
  • Earn 5% cash back in new bonus categories like gas, restaurants, Amazon and more - up to $1500 every quarter you activate. Plus, unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Redeem your cash back for any amount, any time. Cash rewards never expire.
  • 100% U.S. based customer service.
  • FICO® Credit Scores for free on statements and online.
  • No annual fee.
  • Click "APPLY NOW" to see rates, rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms, Cashback Match™ details & other information.

The Discover it®- 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer is a card to keep on your radar if your plan is to do a balance transfer and earn rewards on future purchases. In terms of its APR deal, the Discover it®- 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer provides 0% on purchases for 6 months and 0% on balance transfers for 18 months, and then the ongoing APR of 11.24% – 23.24% Variable.

As far as rewards go, with the Discover it®- 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer you’ll earn 5% cash back in rotating quarterly bonus categories (up to $1,500 spent per quarter) and 1% cash back on all other purchases. You’ll also have access to Discover Deals, a robust shopping program that could help you score discounts or bonus cash back. Plus, all of these great perks come at an annual fee of $0.

The major drawback to the Discover it®- 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer is that it charges a 3% balance transfer fee. You’ll have to take a look at your own spending to see if you’ll earn enough in rewards to outweigh this cost. If not, you’re probably better off going with the Chase Slate® for your debt-payoff needs.

The Chase Slate® versus a personal loan

Using a credit card balance transfer deal isn’t the only way to save on high-interest debt. Taking out a personal loan is a good way to bring down your rate and give your credit score a boost. Since this refinancing option switches revolving debt into an installment loan, your credit utilization ratio will improve quickly. For many folks, this leads to a higher FICO score in a jiffy.

Another benefit to choosing a personal loan over a credit card balance transfer is that you’ll be locked in to a lower rate throughout the life of the loan. Twelve, 15 or 18 months at 0% with a credit card is great, but eventually the clock runs out. If you’re not finished paying off your balance in that period of time, your rate will likely jump into the double digits. Depending on how long it will take you to pay in full, a personal loan might be a thriftier alternative.

The drawback to using a personal loan is that you will have to pay some interest, and to qualify for the best rates, you’ll need excellent credit. But in some cases, local banks or credit unions might be willing to work with customers who don’t have great scores. This isn’t the case with most balance transfer credit cards, so if your FICO score is lagging, you might want to investigate small lenders in your area.

Is the Chase Slate® the right card for you?

The Nerds think that the Chase Slate® is the best card out there for people with good credit who are trying to refinance credit card debt. It provides a triple whammy of savings on interest, balance transfer fees and annual fees. Use the Chase Slate® to get started on accomplishing your debt-free goal today.

At a glance
Annual fees $0
Introductory APR deal 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 13.24%-23.24% Variable
Rewards program None
Signup bonus None
Verdict: If you need to refinance high-interest credit card, the  Chase Slate® is our top pick
Good for:
  • Someone who wants to pay off credit card debt with a balance transfer deal
  • Someone who wants to finance a large purchase and pay it off over time
  • Someone with very good credit
Bad for:
  • Someone who wants to earn rewards
  • Someone who needs significantly longer than a year to pay off a purchase or balance transfer
  • Someone with poor credit

How do we determine the Editor Rating?

To determine the Chase Slate®’s Editor Rating we measure the card against our o% APR Rubric:

Editor Rating Explained

Rating

Rationale

Annual fee - Especially for Balance Transfer and 0% Intro APR cards, not having an annual fee is key - unless the card is also offering rewards (weight 100%)

5

$0 annual fee, which is essential if you need a 0% APR promotion to pay off high-interest credit card debt.
0% APR period length - If you're trying to pay off high-interest credit card debt or need time to pay off a large purchase, a longer 0% APR period puts more time on your side (weight 100%)

3

The card offers 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 13.24%-23.24% Variable. This is about average. The top 0% cards offer almost two years to pay off your balance.
Penalty APR - We recommend never missing a payment, but sometimes life happens and you forget when your bill is due. Many cards increase your interest rate on late balances, so it's nice to have a card that's more forgiving (weight 75%)

5

The card doesn't charge a penalty APR if a payment is late.
Ongoing APR (best offer) - If you plan on using the card after the 0% promotion is over or you can't pay off the balance before it ends, you'll want to minimize your costs with a low APR (weight 75%)

5

If you qualify for the lowest ongoing APR this card offers, you're well below the average for the market.
Balance transfer fee - Transferring your high-interest credit card debt to a lower-interest card can save you money in interest costs. But watch out for upfront balance transfer fees, which can cancel out most, if not all, of your savings (weight 100%)

5

This card waives its 5% balance transfer fee for the first 60 days after you open the account. So transfer early and save.
Access to credit help - If you're struggling with credit card debt, having access to your credit score or other credit help can help you get back on the right track (weight 75%)

5

A free FICO score and a credit dashboard help you understand the factors affecting your score.
True interest cost - NerdWallet bases this factor on the interest you would pay over the first two years of being a cardmember, including any 0% APR promotion (weight 100%)

5

According to NerdWallet's calculations, the true interest cost over two years is 6.75%. See our credit card tool for our methodology: https://www.nerdwallet.com/zero-percent-credit-cards
Notable extras - Anything extra the card offers that make it worthwhile to carry (weight 50%)

3

Free FICO score.

Last updated May 25, 2016.

Lindsay Konsko is a staff writer covering credit cards and consumer credit for NerdWallet. Follow her on Twitter @lkonsko and on Google+.


Image via iStock.