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NerdWallet’s Best No Balance Transfer Fee Credit Cards of 2018

July 11, 2018
At NerdWallet, we adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.
We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

Finding a balance transfer credit card with a low promotional annual percentage rate is easy — but getting one that won’t charge you a 3% to 5% fee for moving your money can be a real challenge. If you’re trying to pay down credit card debt, a fee-free card can help you do it faster.

Before we get to our recommendations, there are a few things you should know:

  • Credit unions offer many good fee-free cards, but they require membership. After meeting a credit union’s eligibility requirements, you often also have to open a savings account to qualify for a card.
  • A 0% balance transfer APR could help you even more. If you can get both a 0% balance transfer APR and no balance transfer fees, great. But if you have to choose one or the other, a card with a long 0% APR period might ultimately save you more money, especially if you need a year or more to pay down your debt. For more recommendations, check out our best balance transfer credit cards.
  • Most credit card companies don’t allow same-issuer transfers. That is, if your debt is with Chase, for example, you can’t move it to another Chase card.

NerdWallet’s top no balance transfer fee credit cards

  • Chase Slate®: Most cost-effective.
  • Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard®: Best for multiple transfers over time.
  • PenFed Promise Visa® Card: Fewest fees overall.

Most cost-effective: Chase Slate®

No balance transfer fee for transfers made within 60 days of account opening. 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 16.49% - 25.24% Variable APR. The annual fee is $0.

The Chase Slate® has a rare combination of perks that sends it to the top of this list: an introductory $0 balance transfer fee, an annual fee of $0 and a generous 0% APR period. That means you could use the card to pay down your debt without owing a penny in interest or fees.

Like most balance transfer cards, this card doesn’t offer rewards. And after the first 60 days, a balance transfer fee applies (5% or $5, whichever’s greater). But it can still help you save hundreds of dollars in interest payments while paying down your debt.

A CREDIT UNION OPTION

The Aspire Federal Credit Union Platinum Rewards Mastercard® gives you six months at 0% APR on balance transfers and waives balance transfer fees in the first six months after opening your account, according to the credit union’s website. You can join Aspire by becoming a member of the American Consumer Council, which costs $8 as of this writing.

Best for multiple transfers over time

Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard®

Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard®

Apply Now on Barclays's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • No annual fee
    • 0% on Balance Transfers for 12 months on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening
    • No foreign transaction fee

    Cons

    • No rewards

    Annual Fees

    $0

    APR

    • APR: 13.74% Variable APR
    • Cash Advance APR: 13.74%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    None

    Intro APR

    • 0% on Balance Transfers for 12 months on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening
  • Additional Information
    • Enjoy a 0% intro APR for 12 months on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable 13.74% APR will apply
    • Low 13.74% variable APR on purchases and cash advances
    • No annual fee
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • International Chip and PIN
    • View Rates and Fees

No balance transfer fee for transfers that post to the account after 45 days of account opening. 0% on Balance Transfers for 12 months on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening, and then the ongoing APR of 13.74% Variable APR. The annual fee is $0.

If you’re planning to make several balance transfers, the Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard® could work. It offers 0% on Balance Transfers for 12 months on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening, and then the ongoing APR of 13.74% Variable APR. For balance transfers that post to the account within 45 days of account opening, you’ll pay $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater. After that window of time, you’ll pay no balance transfer fees, although you’ll be charged the ongoing APR. The card also allows cardholders to submit and vote for suggestions for product improvements through its online community.

Fewest fees overall: PenFed Promise Visa® Card

PenFed Promise Visa® Card

PenFed Promise Visa® Card

Apply Now on Pentagon Federal Credit Union's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • No late fee
    • No annual fee
    • 4.99% promotional balance transfer rate for 12 Months on transfers made between July 1, 2017 - September 30, 2017.
    • No foreign transaction fee

    Cons

    • No rewards

    Annual Fees

    $0

    APR

    • Min APR: 9.49%, Variable
    • Max APR: 17.99%, Variable
    • Cash Advance APR: 17.99%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    $100 Statement Creditƚ when you spend $1,500 in the first 90 days.

    Intro APR

    • Purchase: None
  • Additional Information
    • $100 Statement Creditƚ when you spend $1,500 in the first 90 days.
    • No annual fee, No foreign transaction fee, No balance transfer fee, No cash advance fee, No late fee
    • Low APR on purchases
    • EMV chip-enabled for added security

No balance transfer fees ever. This card regularly features low-interest offers. The annual fee is $0.

The PenFed Promise Visa® Card doesn’t just nix balance transfer fees. It also doesn’t charge late fees, cash advance fees, penalty APRs or foreign transaction fees, and its annual fee is $0. That makes it one of the few truly fee-free cards available. You’ll also get a decent sign-up bonus: $100 Statement Creditƚ when you spend $1,500 in the first 90 days.

You’ll still owe some interest if you transfer a balance to this card. But if you want to avoid fees long-term, it’s a great pick.

Military service members, certain government employees and military family members are eligible for PenFed membership. You can also qualify by joining one of these nonprofits. You must deposit at least $5 in your PenFed savings account before getting a card.

Another option for MILITARY HOUSEHOLDS

The Navy Federal Platinum also doesn’t charge balance transfer fees, cash advance fees or foreign transaction fees, though it does charge late fees of up to $20. In the past, it has offered low-interest promotions. Membership is generally available to military service members, certain government employees and military family members. You have to deposit at least $5 in a savings account to qualify for a card.

Information related to the Chase Slate® has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

Claire Tsosie is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: claire@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @ideclaire7.