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
15.49% - 24.24%
APR, Variable
Recommended credit score
690
850
Good - Excellent
We like it for
No balance transfer fee 0% APR period No annual fee

Bottom line

With its $0 balance transfer fee, $0 annual fee and lengthy interest-free period, this is perhaps the most powerful card available to gain financial breathing room on the journey to debt freedom.

Benefits

Drawbacks

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
14.24% - 24.24%
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

Bottom line

This card’s long 0% APR period means you’ll have more time to offset the balance-transfer fee in interest savings. Its lack of penalties for late payments can help by not adding to your debt.

Benefits

Drawbacks

Our pick for

Sign-up bonus

Chase Freedom®

Apply Now

on Chase's secure website

Intro Purchase APR
0%
Ongoing APR
15.49% - 24.24%
APR, Variable
Recommended credit score
690
850
Good - Excellent
We like it for
Cash-back rewards Cash bonus 0% APR period No annual fee

Bottom line

Free money from a sign-up bonus is always nice, and the lengthy 0% APR period makes the Chase Freedom® a solid choice for financing a major purchase. It’s a poor option for balance transfers, though, because of its high fee.

Benefits

Drawbacks

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
14.24% - 24.24%
APR, Variable
Recommended credit score
690
850
Good - Excellent
We like it for
Simple generous rewards 0% APR period No annual fee

Bottom line

If you like to keep it simple while paying down transferred debt, the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer gives you generous rewards and a lengthy no-interest period. Unlike some transfer cards, this one is a keeper long after the 0% period ends.

Benefits

Drawbacks

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
11.49% - 23.49%
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

Bottom line

The Discover it® - 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer has generous rewards and a lengthy interest-free period for balance transfers, although not as much for new purchases. However, the card allows you to earn rewards while creating breathing room to get out of debt.

Benefits

Drawbacks

Our pick for

Ongoing low interest

Barclaycard Ring™ Mastercard®

Apply Now

on Barclaycard's secure website

Intro Purchase APR
0%
Ongoing APR
13.49%
APR, Variable
Recommended credit score
720
850
Excellent
We like it for
Low APR No balance transfer fee No annual fee

Bottom line

For its low fees, 0% introductory APR, and ongoing low interest, the Barclaycard Ring™ Mastercard® beats much of the competition. Crowdsourced features make the card consumer-friendly and a great pick for those with excellent credit who carry a balance now and probably will years into the future.

Benefits

Drawbacks

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.