If you have credit card debt or plan to make a big purchase, a low-interest credit card can be a lifesaver. Many offer more than a year of 0% APR to pay down your debts, or a low ongoing interest rate for a longer-term debt reduction strategy. These cards are the best in the business, from waived fees to rewards and more. Transfer your balance, and you’ll get some room to breathe — and a chance to get out of debt.
Our pick for

Balance transfers

Chase Slate®

Apply Now

on Chase's secure website

Intro Purchase APR
0%
Ongoing APR
15.74% - 24.49%
APR, Variable
Recommended credit score
690
850
Good - Excellent
We like it for
No balance transfer fee 0% APR period No annual fee

Benefits

The $0 fee for balance transfers made in the first 60 days after account opening is a huge differentiator for this card, potentially saving you hundreds of dollars compared with a card that has a fee of 3% to 5%. The lengthy no-interest period applies to both transfers and new purchases. The card lets you carry a balance for free without adding to it, giving you time to eliminate your debt.

Drawbacks

Bottom line

Our pick for

Longest 0% APR period

Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever

Apply Now

on Citibank's secure website

Intro Purchase APR
0%
Ongoing APR
14.49% - 24.49%
APR, Variable
Recommended credit score
690
850
Good - Excellent
We like it for
0% APR period No late fees or penalty APR No annual fee

Benefits

The interest-free period on the Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever is among the longest we’ve seen: 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 21 months, and then the ongoing APR of 14.49% - 24.49% Variable APR. Citi’s pledge to never charge fees or a penalty annual percentage rate on late payments is unusual and a nice break for the chronically forgetful.

Drawbacks

Bottom line

Our pick for

Sign-up bonus

Chase Freedom®

Apply Now

on Chase's secure website

Intro Purchase APR
0%
Ongoing APR
15.74% - 24.49%
APR, Variable
Recommended credit score
690
850
Good - Excellent
We like it for
Cash-back rewards Cash bonus 0% APR period No annual fee

Benefits

The Chase Freedom® gives you a little of everything. In addition to a $0 annual fee and a long 0% APR period on purchases and balance transfers, it offers a nifty sign-up bonus. You get 5% cash back on up to $1,500 per quarter in spending on rotating bonus categories that include such things as gas stations, supermarkets and restaurants. All other spending earns 1% back.

Drawbacks

Bottom line

Our pick for

Rewards

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Apply Now

on Citibank's secure website

Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Ongoing APR
14.49% - 24.49%
APR, Variable
Recommended credit score
690
850
Good - Excellent
We like it for
Simple generous rewards 0% APR period No annual fee

Benefits

Offering 1% cash back on every purchase and an additional 1% when you pay them off, the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer provides easy rewards to go with its lengthy interest-free period on balance transfers and $0 annual fee. This is an excellent card that doesn’t require excellent credit: You can qualify with good credit.

Drawbacks

Bottom line

Our pick for

Low fees

Discover it® - 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer

Apply Now

on Discover's secure website

Intro Purchase APR
0%
Ongoing APR
11.74% - 23.74%
APR, Variable
Recommended credit score
690
850
Good - Excellent
We like it for
0% APR period Cash-back rewards No first-time late fee No foreign transaction fees No annual fee

Benefits

This card combines a lengthy 0% period on balance transfers with 5% cash-back rewards on rotating bonus categories (on up to $1,500 in spending per quarter) and 1% back on all other spending. There’s also an unusual bonus, which Discover describes as: “Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically.” No foreign transaction fee is unusual for this category. Discover won’t charge a fee for your first late payment or raise your APR for paying late.

Drawbacks

Bottom line

Our pick for

Ongoing low interest

Barclaycard Ring™ Mastercard®

Apply Now

on Barclaycard's secure website

Intro Purchase APR
0%
Ongoing APR
13.74%
APR, Variable
Recommended credit score
720
850
Excellent
We like it for
Low APR No balance transfer fee No annual fee

Benefits

If you expect to carry a monthly balance for a long time, a temporary 0% period is helpful, but an ongoing low rate is also important. Enter the Barclaycard Ring™ Mastercard®, which recently started offering an introductory APR of 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 13.74% Variable APR. The $0 fee for balance transfers is a big deal, saving you money over cards that charge 3% to 5%. The annual fee is $0, and the card has no foreign transaction fee. Barclaycard gives cardholders a say in changes to the card’s features and terms, an unusual model for any financial product.

Drawbacks

Bottom line

Methodology

NerdWallet’s credit cards team selects the best cards in each category based on overall consumer value. Factors in our evaluation include fees, promotional and ongoing APRs, and sign-up bonuses; for rewards cards, we consider earning and redemption rates, redemption options and redemption difficulty. A single card is eligible to be chosen in multiple categories.

Updated February 10, 2017.

NerdWallet staff writer Gregory Karp contributed to this article. Virginia C. McGuire is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: virginia@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @vcmcguire.