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Carrying a balance on a credit card with a high annual percentage rate can make every purchase more expensive. Transferring those balances to a card with a low introductory APR can save you money and potentially pay the debt off faster.
Balance transfer credit cards can vary greatly when it comes to promotional terms and APRs. We surveyed balance transfer cards on ValuePenguin as well as cards from major issuers, to find the most competitive balance transfer offers. If you're interested in transferring one or more credit card balances to save money, here are the best balance transfer offers to consider now.
Best balance transfer credit cards 2021
|Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card||18-month Balance Transfer offer||Excellent/Good|
|Wells Fargo Platinum card||0% Intro APR for purchases||Excellent/Good|
|Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer||Rewards||Excellent/Good|
|AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®||Miles||Excellent||Read Review|
|Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card||Points||Excellent/Good||Read Review|
|Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card|
|Wells Fargo Platinum card|
|Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer|
|AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®||Read Review|
|Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card||Read Review|
Best balance transfer credit card with an 18-month offer
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)
- 0% Intro APR for 18 months on purchases from date of account opening and 0% Intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers from date of first transfer. After that the variable APR will be 14.74% - 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Balance transfers must be completed within 4 months of account opening.
- There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
- Get free access to your FICO® Score online.
- With Citi Entertainment®, get special access to purchase tickets to thousands of events, including concerts, sporting events, dining experiences and more.
- Shop with confidence knowing that you have dependable protection benefits, including $0 Liability on Unauthorized Purchases and Citi® Identity Theft Solutions.
- The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 14.74% - 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
Intro APR of 0% for 18 months on Balance Transfers from date of first transfer, then a 14.74% - 24.74% (Variable) APR applies
The Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card offers a lengthy introductory balance transfer period, which could make it a good choice if you have a larger balance to pay off. While this card doesn't include a rewards program, it could be suitable for making large purchases if you can't pay them off right away. There's a $0 annual fee for this card, though the balance transfer fee could quickly add up depending on the amount you're transferring.
- Recommended credit score: Excellent/Good
- Regular APR for purchases: 14.74% - 24.74% (Variable), based on creditworthiness
- Balance transfer fee: A Balance transfer fee applies with this offer: 3% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.
- Rewards: The Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card does not offer a rewards program
Best balance transfer credit card with a 0% Intro APR for purchases
Wells Fargo Platinum card
Wells Fargo Platinum card
- 0% intro APR for 18 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers, then a 16.49% to 24.49% variable APR; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate and fee
- $0 Annual Fee
- Get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Platinum card
- Easy access to your FICO® Credit Score with Wells Fargo Online®
- Monitor your spending, purchases and any suspicious activity with text and email alerts and notifications
- Convenient tools to help create a budget and manage your spending with My Money Map
- Select "Apply Now" to learn more about the product features, terms and conditions
0% intro APR for 18 months on qualifying balance transfers and 0% intro APR for 18 months from account opening on new purchases, then an APR of 16.49%-24.49% (Variable) applies; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate and fee.
If you've got a large purchase on the horizon, the Wells Fargo Platinum card could prove to be a good choice since you'll have lengthy period to pay off your balance with no interest accrued. There is a balance transfer fee that kicks in, but you'll pay $0 annual fee. If we had to point out a downside to this card, it's that there's no rewards program for purchases.
- Recommended credit score: Excellent/Good
- Regular APR for purchases & balance transfers: 16.49%-24.49% (Variable), based on creditworthiness
- Balance transfer fee: 3% intro for 120 days from account opening, then up to 5%; min: $5.
- Rewards: The Wells Fargo Platinum card does not offer a rewards program
- For rates and fees of Wells Fargo Platinum card, please click here.
Best rewards credit card with a balance transfer offer
Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer
13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)
- Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
- To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.
- Balance Transfer Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.99% – 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
- Balance Transfers do not earn cash back.
- If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
- There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
- The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 13.99% – 23.99% based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
Intro APR of 0% for 18 months on Balance Transfers, then an APR of 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable) applies
The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer combines generous balance transfer terms with a rewards program. With this card, you Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. The catch is that you have to pay at least the minimum amount due each month to earn rewards. And to qualify for the 0% introductory APR on balance transfers, transfers must be completed within the first four months of opening your account.
- Recommended credit score: Excellent/Good
- Regular APR for purchases: The standard variable APR for purchases is 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable), based on your creditworthiness
- Balance transfer fee: 3% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.
- Rewards: Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
Best balance transfer card with miles
AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®
0% introductory APR for 15 Months for each Balance Transfer made, then an APR of 15.99%, 19.99% or 24.99% variable applies
The AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® might be appealing if you're looking for a balance transfer card that also offers travel rewards and benefits. This card extends its balance transfer offer to balances transferred within the first 45 days of account opening, so you'll need to be timely to take advantage of the introductory APR. You may also want to weigh the $99 annual fee against the card's rewards and other travel benefits.
- Recommended credit score: Good/Excellent
- Regular APR for purchases: 15.99%, 19.99% or 24.99% variable, based on creditworthiness
- Balance transfer fee: Either $5.00 or 3% whichever is greater
- Rewards: Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 AAdvantage® mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
Best balance transfer card with points
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
Intro APR of 0% intro APR for 12 months on qualifying balance transfers, then an APR of 14.49%-24.99% (Variable) applies
The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card pairs a winning travel rewards program with a fairly long 0% introductory offer on purchases and balance transfers. Once you've finished paying down your transferred balance, this card is a keeper. You earn an exceptionally high 3X rewards rate on a wide variety of travel purchases, and you can redeem points for any type of travel purchase, or for cash back. Plus, it comes with good travel benefits, including no foreign transaction fees — all for $0 annual fee.
- Recommended credit score: Excellent/Good
- Regular APR for purchases: 14.49%-24.99% (Variable), based on creditworthiness
- Balance transfer fee: 3% intro for 120 days from account opening, then up to 5%
- Rewards: Earn 3X points on eating out, ordering in and popular streaming services, 3X points on gas stations, rideshares and transit, and 3X points on travel including flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals. Earn 1X points on other purchases.
The information related to Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever, AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® and the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.
What is a balance transfer?
A balance transfer is when you move the balance from one credit card to another, typically to take advantage of a lower APR. The new credit card you're moving a balance to may charge you a fee for the transfer, which can be a flat dollar amount or a percentage of the amount being transferred.
How to choose a balance transfer card
Balance transfer cards aren't all created equally. When comparing cards, there are several things to consider, including:
- Length of the introductory period. Balance transfer promotions for a 0% APR can range from six months to 21 months or even longer, depending on the card issuer. When choosing a balance transfer offer, the introductory period matters because you need to be able to pay the balance off before it ends to avoid interest charges.
- Ongoing APR. The ongoing APR is also important if you don't think you'll be able to pay a transferred balance before the promotional period ends, or if you're making new purchases to the card. The higher the card's regular variable APR, the more interest you'll pay if you carry a balance month to month.
- Balance transfer fee. Balance transfers often fall in the 3% to 5% range and they can increase the amount you have to pay back. For example, a 5% fee on a $10,000 balance would mean an additional $500 to repay.
Choosing a card with no balance transfer fee versus one that has a longer introductory period could make more sense, from a savings perspective. As the graph below shows, your total payoff amount and the length of time it takes you to pay down debt with a balance transfer are both lower for the card with no transfer fee.
- Introductory APR for purchases. You may also want to check to see if a balance transfer card extends a 0% introductory APR to purchases when planning a large purchase. Just remember that transferring a balance and making a large purchase at the same time means more you have to pay back.
- Rewards. Balance transfers typically don't earn rewards. But if you plan to use a balance transfer card for purchases, you may be interested in whether or not the card offers points, miles or cash back.
- Other benefits. Balance transfer cards can offer other benefits, beyond interest savings. For example, you may find a card that offers travel statement credits or an introductory welcome bonus. Looking at the complete package of benefits can help you decide whether a particular card makes sense for you.
- Opportunities to upgrade. Lastly, you may want to consider whether or not there are opportunities to trade up to a better card with the same issuer. For example, if you open one card for balance transfers, you may decide later that you want another card for earning rewards or taking advantage of premium travel benefits.
A balance transfer calculator can be a helpful tool for running the numbers on a 0% introductory APR offer. You can compare different card offers to see which one may yield the most savings over time.
Deferred interest vs. a 0% introductory APR
Deferred interest and 0% introductory offers sound similar but they aren't the same.
With a deferred interest offer, you have a certain amount of time to pay off the balance to avoid interest charges. If you pay the balance in full before the promotional period ends, then no interest charges would apply. But if you still have a balance remaining once the deferred interest period ends (even just 1 cent), you'd be responsible for paying interest on the entire balance from the original purchase date.
A 0% introductory APR offer, on the other hand, means that you would only pay interest on the balance remaining after the promotional period ends. You wouldn't owe interest for any of the balance you've already paid off up to that point.
The balance transfer offers on this page are all true intro 0% APR offers. You should take a close look at the terms and conditions of any balance transfer offer to make sure it isn't a deferred interest offer before you apply.
How to apply for a balance transfer credit card
If you're interested in applying for a balance transfer credit card, it's helpful to use the comparison criteria outlined earlier to shop around for card offers.
It's also important to consider which offers you may or may not qualify for, based on your credit history and the amount of debt you have to transfer. The better your credit score, the more cards you can choose from when applying for a balance transfer offer.
Checking your credit report and credit scores before applying can help you determine which card may be the best fit. It's possible to get your FICO credit score for free. Doing so can give you a better idea of where you land in terms of having fair, good or excellent credit.
How to make the most of a balance transfer credit card
If you're transferring a balance to a card to save money on interest, it pays to use it wisely. Here are some tips for making the most of a balance transfer card.
- Read the fine print on terms and fees. If you're paying a fee to transfer a balance, you want to know that upfront so you can factor it into your repayment plans. The same goes for an annual fee the card may charge, as well as the terms of the 0% APR promotional offer.
- Calculate your payment budget. Making minimum payments alone may not be enough to clear a balance before a promotional period ends. Calculate how much you need each month to pay off a balance transfer in the introductory term allowed for your card.
- Mark your calendar. Make note of when your card's introductory rate period ends and when the regular variable APR would apply to any remaining balance. Also, note processing times for payments and when they're credited to your account. If you're making the final payment on your balance the day before the promotional period ends, you want to make sure it gets in under the cutoff time for processing.
- Pay on or before the due date each month. Paying late or missing a payment on a balance transfer card could cause you to lose your 0% introductory APR deal. In a worst-case scenario, your card issuer could apply a penalty rate, which is often much steeper than the regular variable APR.
FAQs about balance transfer credit cards
How do you transfer credit card balances?
You can request a balance transfer by applying for a new balance transfer credit card online. Credit card companies can also mail out balance transfer checks, which you can use to transfer a balance from one card to another.
What is the best balance transfer credit card?
The best balance transfer card is ultimately the one that offers the best terms for your financial situation, based on your creditworthiness.
What happens when you transfer a credit card balance?
When you transfer a credit card balance, the balance is shifted to a new card. You then make payments to the new card, while the original card remains open unless you decide to close it.
How long does a balance transfer take?
Balance transfer processing times can vary from one credit card company to the next. For instance, some may be able to complete a transfer in five to seven business days, while others can take up to three weeks.
What happens to your old credit card after a balance transfer?
Your old credit card doesn't go anywhere. It remains open unless you decide to close it. Keep in mind that closing a credit card, even one with a zero balance, could knock points off your credit score.
How do balance transfers work?
First, you choose a credit card to transfer your balance to. Next, you tell the credit card company how much you want to transfer. You provide the credit card company with the account information for the card balance you want to transfer. The credit card company then processes the transaction, which may or may not involve a fee. You'd then make payments to the card the balance was transferred to going forward.
Should I transfer my credit card balance?
Whether it makes sense to transfer a credit card balance depends on your financial situation. If you've done the math with a balance transfer calculator and determined that you could save money and your credit allows you to qualify for the best promotional offers, then it could be a good option.
Can you transfer a loan to a credit card?
Yes, if your credit card company allows it. You'd need to check with your card issuer to determine whether a loan transfer is possible and what types of loans you can transfer, such as personal loans or car loans.
Can you do a balance transfer with bad credit?
Yes, although you may not qualify for the lowest APR or best promotional terms if you have poor credit compared with fair or good credit.
How does a balance transfer affect your credit score?
Opening a new credit card for a balance transfer can trim a few points off your credit score since this usually requires a hard inquiry. However, it can also improve your score in the long run, since the additional line of credit will lower your credit utilization ratio (the percentage of your credit limit you're using), which is one of the most important credit score factors after payment history.
Can I transfer someone else's credit card balance to mine?
Yes, if your credit card company allows it. Though once you transfer the balance to your card, the debt becomes your responsibility.
Can you transfer a partial credit card balance?
You can and in some cases, it may be necessary if your new balance transfer card's limit is less than the full amount you want to transfer.
Is it worth getting a balance transfer credit card?
Again, it all comes down to how much money you could potentially save on interest charges. But it can be worth it if you would pay less in interest and possibly pay the debt off faster, even with a balance transfer fee factored in.
Can you balance transfer from a credit card to a debit card?
Debit cards are tied to your bank account so their balance reflects the amount of money you have on hand, not an available credit limit. So this type of transfer wouldn't work. You could transfer money from your credit card to your debit card or bank account using a cash advance, but that's not the same as balance transfer.
Can you transfer student loans to a credit card?
You could if your card issuer allows it, but there are some downsides. Moving federal student loan debt to a credit card, for example, means you give up certain protection and benefits, such as the option to put payments in deferment or forbearance, or apply for income-driven repayment plans.