26 Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards of 2018

26 Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards of 2018

credit card advice

Brittney Mayer
By: Brittney Mayer
Updated: October 18, 2018
Opinions expressed here are ours alone, and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by any issuer. Site may be compensated through the issuer affiliate programs.

Credit card debt is a drag. And that drag only gets worse when you’re stuck paying high interest fees, making it seem as though you’ll never pay down your balance.

For many consumers, a balance transfer credit card can make a big difference in the time — and money — it takes to pay down credit card debt. But not all credit cards are good balance transfer cards. No, the best cards for balance transfers are cards with low fees and generous intro-APR offers, with features that fit your individual needs.

While our top cards are all excellent choices, variety is, as they say, the spice of life. We have dozens of great options for balance transfer credit cards that offer a variety of useful features to help nearly any consumer find the right fit.

Overall | 0% Intro APR | No Transfer Fee | No Annual Fee | Low Ongoing APR
Transfers & Purchases | Businesses | Students | Fair Credit

Best Overall Balance Transfer Cards

Proclaiming any one credit card as the very best for balance transfers is a little like claiming to have the best pizza — that is to say, it’s pointless. Pizza (and credit cards) has far too many variables for any one pie to appeal to everyone.

So, with that in mind, it’s not about finding the best balance transfer card, it’s about finding the right card. And the right balance transfer credit card will vary based on your specific needs and qualifications.

That being said, some features are universally appealing — like fresh veggies over canned — and our top three overall balance transfer cards tick many of the most common boxes, including providing long 0% promotional periods and low fees.

Discover it® Balance Transfer Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • 100% U.S. based customer service.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 6 months
0% for 18 months
13.99% - 24.99% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

Specifically designed for balance transfers, this card has a long intro-APR period for transfers posted within the first 90 days of account opening, as well as a shorter intro-APR period for new purchases. The balance transfer fee is comparable to — if not less than — the fee charged by most cards, and there’s no annual fee.

Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Card Review

at Wells Fargo'ssecure website

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • 0% Intro APR for 18 months on purchases and balance transfers (fees apply), then a 17.49%-26.99% variable APR; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rates and fees
  • 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 Visa® Credit Card
  • Free access to your FICO® Credit Score with Wells Fargo Online®
  • Zero Liability protection for promptly reported unauthorized transactions
  • Convenient tools to help create a budget and manage your spending with My Money Map
  • $0 Annual Fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 18 months
0% for 18 months
17.49%-26.99% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good

Another no-annual-fee option, this card has a long intro-APR period good on both balance transfers and new purchases, with a typical balance transfer fee. Balance transfers must be made within the first 120 days to qualify for the 0% promotional rate.

BankAmericard® Credit Card Review

at Bank of America'ssecure website

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

0.0/5.0
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days, then 13.49% - 23.49% Variable APR
  • $0 Intro Balance transfer fee during first 60 days of account opening. After that, the fee for future balance transfers is 3% (min. $10).
  • No annual fee
  • No penalty APR. Paying late won't automatically raise your interest rate (APR). Other account pricing and terms apply.
  • Access your FICO® Score for free within Online Banking or your Mobile Banking app
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles
0% Intro APR for 15 Billing Cycles (for balance transfers made in the first 60 days)
14.99% to 24.99% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good

A rarity among big-bank balance transfer credit cards, this card charges no balance transfer fee on transfers made within the first 60 days of account opening. Which works out, as you’ll need to make any transfers within those same 60 days for them to qualify under the 0% APR introductory deal.

Best 0% Intro APR Balance Transfer Cards

When it comes to paying down credit card debt, the lower your interest rate, the faster you can do away with your debt. That’s because your payments go to your interest fees first — and your debt second.

These cards offer extended intro-APR offers, providing at least 18 months of 0% APR on your transferred balances. While these cards have long terms, however, most cards have time limits for when you need to transfer your balance to qualify for the promotional rate, so read the terms and conditions carefully.

CITI® RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

0.0/5.0
  • The ONLY card with No late fees, No penalty rate, and No annual fee... EVER.
  • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for the first 21 months
  • 0% Intro APR on new purchases for the first 12 months
  • 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.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
0% for 21 months
15.99% to 25.99% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good

This card is at the top of the list if you’re simply looking for a card with the longest possible 0% APR promotional period for balance transfers, offering a full 21 interest-free billing cycles on transferred balances. The card does have a relatively high 5% balance transfer fee, though it has no annual fee.

5. U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

The U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card offers an extremely competitive intro-APR period, providing 0% APR on balance transfers for 20 months after account opening.

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

  • Get 0% intro APR on balance transfers & new purchases for the first 20 billing cycles
  • Balance transfer fee of 3% of the amount transferred
  • Pay no annual fee

Although this card doesn’t charge an annual fee, it does have a balance transfer fee of 3% of the total amount transferred — or $5, whichever is greater — for each transfer.

Discover it® Balance Transfer Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • 100% U.S. based customer service.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 6 months
0% for 18 months
13.99% - 24.99% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

This card offers well over a year of 0% APR on balance transfers that are made within the first 90 days, as well as six months of 0% APR on new purchases. Plus, with no annual fee and solid rewards, you can enjoy this card well after your intro-APR offer has passed.

Best Balance Transfer Cards with No Transfer Fee

Credit card balance transfers can be an ideal way to reduce your interest fees, which can make paying down your credit card debt easier and faster. Unfortunately, balance transfers have one big drawback: transfer fees.

Coming in as high as 5% of your total transferred amount, balance transfer fees can get costly quickly. And the only way to get a no-fee balance transfer? Find a card that doesn’t charge transfer fees. Some of our favorite picks offer a winning combination of intro-APR offers and no-fee transfers.

BankAmericard® Credit Card Review

at Bank of America'ssecure website

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

0.0/5.0
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days, then 13.49% - 23.49% Variable APR
  • $0 Intro Balance transfer fee during first 60 days of account opening. After that, the fee for future balance transfers is 3% (min. $10).
  • No annual fee
  • No penalty APR. Paying late won't automatically raise your interest rate (APR). Other account pricing and terms apply.
  • Access your FICO® Score for free within Online Banking or your Mobile Banking app
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles
0% Intro APR for 15 Billing Cycles (for balance transfers made in the first 60 days)
14.99% to 24.99% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good

This card offers more than a year of 0% interest on balance transfers made within 60 days of opening your account. You’ll also enjoy fee-free transfers in those same first 60 days. Top it all off with no annual fee, and you have a strong contender in the balance transfer ring.

8. Amex EveryDay® Credit Card

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card has both a nice, long 0% APR period for balance transfers, but also offers $0 balance transfer fee on transfers requested within 60 days of account opening.

Amex EveryDay® Credit Card

  • Get 0% intro-APR on balance transfers and new purchases for the first 15 months
  • Introductory $0 balance transfer fee for the first 60 days
  • Pay no annual fee

This card also comes with useful purchase rewards and a signup bonus, but remember that balance transfers don’t earn rewards or count toward the spending requirement.

9. SunTrust Prime Rewards Credit Card

The SunTrust Prime Rewards Credit Card stands out from the crowd with a unique intro-APR offer. Rather than a year or so of 0% APR, this card provides three full years at a super-low APR equal to the Prime rate (variable) on balance transfers made in the first 60 days of account opening.

SunTrust Prime Rewards Credit Card

  • Get a 3-year intro-APR offer at the (variable) Prime rate for balance transfers made in the first 60 days
  • Introductory $0 balance transfer fee for the first 60 days
  • Pay no annual fee

Adding to the this card’s appeal, balance transfers made within the first 60 days won’t be charged a balance transfer fee. Plus, there are no annual or foreign transaction fees.

Best Balance Transfer Cards with No Annual Fee

In some cases, an annual fee can be worth paying, such as when you can get bonus cash back or points on purchases you make frequently. But rewards are rarely at the top of the list when looking for a balance transfer credit card — so why pay for what you won’t use?

Happily, the balance transfer credit card market is full of great options sans annual fee, and the better your credit score, the better your options will be. Our favorites pair a long intro-APR offer with a low balance transfer fee.

Discover it® Balance Transfer Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • 100% U.S. based customer service.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 6 months
0% for 18 months
13.99% - 24.99% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

As with all Discover credit cards, this card has no annual fee. Designed specifically for balance transfers, this card also provides a long intro-APR term providing well over a year of 0% APR on transfers. It also has a shorter intro-APR period for new purchases.

Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Card Review

at Wells Fargo'ssecure website

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • 0% Intro APR for 18 months on purchases and balance transfers (fees apply), then a 17.49%-26.99% variable APR; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rates and fees
  • 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 Visa® Credit Card
  • Free access to your FICO® Credit Score with Wells Fargo Online®
  • Zero Liability protection for promptly reported unauthorized transactions
  • Convenient tools to help create a budget and manage your spending with My Money Map
  • $0 Annual Fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 18 months
0% for 18 months
17.49%-26.99% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good

This card has matching intro-APR offers for balance transfers and purchases, though balance transfers need to be made within the first 120 days to qualify for the introductory rate. And, of course, you get it all with no annual fee.

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74-25.49%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase - it's automatic
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 15 months
16.74% - 25.49% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

Although this card isn’t specifically a balance transfer credit card, it does come with a good intro-APR offer for 0% interest on transfers and new purchases, annual-fee-free. Keep in mind that you can’t transfer a balance from one Chase credit card to another Chase card.

Best Balance Transfer Cards with Low Ongoing APRs

In an ideal scenario, you’d find a balance transfer card with a nice, long intro-APR deal, and pay off your credit card debt with a month to spare on your 0% offer. In the real world, however, life can get in the way, leaving you sitting on debt that’s now being charged interest at your card’s regular rate.

With these cards, an expiring promotional rate doesn’t have to be the end of the world, as they offer qualified cardholders a low ongoing APR that can help keep you on track to pay off your debt.

Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard® Review

at Barclays'ssecure website

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★
4.3

OVERALL RATING

4.3/5.0
  • Enjoy a 0% intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable 13.99% APR will apply
  • Low 13.99% variable APR on purchases and cash advances
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • International Chip and PIN
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
See Terms
13.99% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

In addition to its intro-APR offer, this card offers the same low ongoing 13.99% Variable APR on transferred balances, new purchases, and even cash advances. And since the card has no APR range, all approved applicants will receive the same rate.

14. U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

The U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card offers 20 months of 0% APR on balance transfers and new purchases alike. After that, your exact APR will vary based on your credit, with the potential for a sub-13% rate for well-qualified applicants.

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

  • Get 0% intro APR on balance transfers & new purchases for the first 20 billing cycles
  • Balance transfer fee of 3% of the amount transferred
  • Pay no annual fee

Although this card doesn’t charge an annual fee, it does have a balance transfer fee of 3% of the total amount transferred — or $5, whichever is greater — for each transfer.

Discover it® Balance Transfer Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • 100% U.S. based customer service.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 6 months
0% for 18 months
13.99% - 24.99% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

A long introductory rate for balance transfers is followed by a competitive regular APR range. While your specific APR will vary based on your credit, the most qualified applicants may receive a regular rate below 15%.

Best Cards for 0% APR on Transfers & Purchases

Although it’s not typically a great idea to start putting new purchases on your balance transfer card — the idea is to pay off your credit card debt, not add to it — if your balance transfer card is also your card with the lowest purchase APR, it can be worthwhile to consider it.

This can be even more tempting with cards, like those below, that offer a 0% introductory APR deal on purchases and balance transfers, making them ideal for upcoming out-of-pocket costs as well as existing credit card debt. Just make sure you’re not taking on more debt than you (or your credit limit) can handle.

Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Card Review

at Wells Fargo'ssecure website

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • 0% Intro APR for 18 months on purchases and balance transfers (fees apply), then a 17.49%-26.99% variable APR; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rates and fees
  • 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 Visa® Credit Card
  • Free access to your FICO® Credit Score with Wells Fargo Online®
  • Zero Liability protection for promptly reported unauthorized transactions
  • Convenient tools to help create a budget and manage your spending with My Money Map
  • $0 Annual Fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 18 months
0% for 18 months
17.49%-26.99% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good

Where most balance transfer credit cards focus on, well, balance transfers, this card edges out the competition with the same long promotional period for new purchases and transfers, which means you can get 0% for 18 months (18) on old and new purchases alike.

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74-25.49%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase - it's automatic
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 15 months
16.74% - 25.49% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

While not the longest intro-APR period available, this card’s interest rate deal is still competitive, especially considering it applies to both new purchases and balance transfers, with no limit on when you need to transfer your balance to enjoy the low rate.

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn a one-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 14.74% - 24.74% variable APR after that
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months; 14.74% - 24.74% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
  • No foreign transaction fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

With this card, you’ll receive 0% for 15 months on balance transfers, plus 0% for 15 months on new purchases. The card also has no annual fee, as well as rewards categories that will be useful once your introductory deals are over.

Best Balance Transfer Cards for Businesses

As quickly as a consumer can wrack up credit card debt, a growing business can likely do it three times as fast, especially when you’re just getting started or if you’re in an industry where revenue is cyclical or seasonal.

On the bright side, the solution for a business owner can be as simple as the one for a consumer: a balance transfer. Many quality business credit cards now come with intro-APR deals of at least a year, providing you with interest-free breathing room to help get your business out of debt.

Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
4.5

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year
  • Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other card purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 12 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 12 months
14.99% - 20.99% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

Often ranked as one of the top business credit cards, this card has a lot going for it, not the least of which is a year’s worth of 0% interest on balance transfers and new purchases. The card does have a balance transfer fee, but there’s no annual fee.

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
4.5

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase made for your business
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • No Annual Fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 12 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 12 months
14.99% - 20.99% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

Similar to its sibling, this card comes with a year-long promotional deal good for 0% interest on balance transfers and new purchases. Keep in mind that you won’t be able to transfer a balance from one Chase credit card to another Chase card.

21. U.S. Bank Business Edge™ Platinum Card

The U.S. Bank Business Edge™ Platinum Card offers a competitive 0% intro-APR period for balance transfers and new purchases, as well as a low regular APR thereafter.

U.S. Bank Business Edge™ Platinum Card

  • Get 0% intro APR on balance transfers & new purchases for the first 12 months
  • Balance transfer fee of 3% of the amount transferred
  • Pay no annual fee

As with most balance transfer cards, this card charges a balance transfer fee; prepare to pay 3% of your total transaction amount for each balance transfer you make.

Best Balance Transfer Cards for Students

Although some well-prepared students may have credit histories well before graduation, your typical college kid likely has little to no credit history at all. This can make it hard to find a good balance transfer card — but not impossible.

A number of major credit card issuers offer credit cards specifically for students, with no minimum credit score or history requirements. What’s more, student cardholders can access many of the same perks as non-student cardholders, including competitive intro-APR offers for balance transfers.

22. BankAmericard® for Students

The BankAmericard® for Students has the same killer offer as its non-student counterpart, providing 0% intro-APR on balance transfers and new purchases for the first 15 billing cycles, all with no annual fee and no balance transfer fee for the first 60 days.

BankAmericard® for Students

  • Get 0% APR on new purchases & balance transfers for the first 15 billing cycles
  • Introductory $0 balance transfer fee for the first 60 days
  • Pay no annual fee

It’s important to note that only balance transfers made within the first 60 days of account opening will qualify for the intro-APR offer and reduced balance transfer fee.

23. Wells Fargo Cash Back CollegeSM Card

The Wells Fargo Cash Back CollegeSM Card offers students no annual fee and an intro-APR offer good for 0% interest on new purchases and balance transfers for the first six months of account opening.

Wells Fargo Cash Back College? Card

  • Earn 3% cash back on gas, grocery, and drugstore purchases for the first 6 months
  • Earn unlimited 1% cash back on other purchases
  • Pay no annual fee

While this card doesn’t charge interest on balance transfers for the first six months, watch out for the balance transfer fee. Although the transfer fee is reduced during the promotional APR period, it can still put a dent in your savings. (The information related to the Wells Fargo Cash Back CollegeSM Card has been collected by CardRates.com and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product or service.)

Discover it® Student Cash Back Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

STUDENT RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.5/5.0
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants or Amazon.com up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Good Grades Rewards: $20 statement credit each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next 5 years.
  • No annual fee. No late fee on first late payment. No APR change for paying late.
  • Get 100% U.S. based customer service & get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Freeze It® on/off switch for your account that prevents new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers in seconds.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 6 months
10.99% for 6 months
14.99% - 23.99% Variable
$0
Fair

This card’s balance transfer intro-APR offer isn’t the low 0% frequently seen, but it’s still not a bad deal for students with no or limited credit who need a break from high rates. Don’t forget to include the balance transfer fee in your calculations.

Best Balance Transfer Cards for Fair or Average Credit

Whether building your credit for the first time or rebuilding after a few bumps in the road, having a low credit score doesn’t have to keep you from finding a good balance transfer credit card.

While you likely won’t find a balance transfer offer with a two-year introductory APR unless you have excellent credit, you can still find a card with a solid introductory period and reasonable fees.

25. Aspire Platinum

The Aspire Platinum offers a six-month 0% intro-APR offer good on both balance transfers and new purchases, plus a competitive regular APR after the promotional period expires.

Aspire Platinum

  • 0% introductory APR on new purchases and balance transfers for the first 6 months
  • Balance transfer fee of 2% of the amount transferred
  • Pay no annual fee

You’ll need to become a member of Aspire Credit Union to apply for its credit cards, but you can become eligible for membership if you work for a Select Employer Group or by joining the American Consumer Council.

26. Alliant Visa® Platinum Card

The Alliant Visa® Platinum Card has a low standard APR and an intro-APR offer good for 12 months of 0% interest on both new purchases and balance transfers (transfer fee applies).

Alliant Visa® Platinum Card

  • As low as 0% introductory rate for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • Balance transfer fee of 2% of the amount transferred
  • Pay no annual fee

You’ll need to be a member of Alliant Credit Union to apply for its credit cards. You can become eligible to be a member if you work for a Qualifying Company, live or work in a Qualifying Chicagoland Community, are a member of a Qualifying Organization, or donate to become a member of Foster Care to Success.

How Do Balance Transfers Work?

At the most basic level, a balance transfer is exactly what you might expect; in other words, a balance transfer is the process of transferring a balance from one credit line to another.

The actual process of performing a balance transfer is simple, though there may be some variances from issuer to issuer. For most cards, you can request a balance transfer — or multiple balance transfers — during the application process; this is especially simple with online applications.

Screenshot of Discover Application Balance Transfer Request Form

Many major issuers allow consumers to make their balance transfer requests during the application process.

If you don’t want to request a transfer while you apply, you can usually do so after you’re approved through your credit card’s online banking portal. For consumers who prefer the personal touch, most credit card issuers will also allow you to request a balance transfer over the phone through the customer service line.

You can only transfer as much as your credit line will allow or up to the card’s maximum allowed transfer amount, whichever is lower. Multiple transfers can be made to a single card, and you can transfer any portion of your existing balance that will fit on the new card.

One important thing to note is that you typically cannot transfer a balance between cards from the same credit card issuer. For example, you can’t transfer a Capital One balance to another Capital One credit card.

Why Should I Transfer a Credit Card Balance?

In most cases, the goal of a balance transfer is to move your debt from a high-interest credit line to one with a lower interest rate.

Why bother moving your credit card debt around? Because the interest fees you are charged for carrying a balance are directly determined by your interest rate (and your balance), which means a lower interest rate results in lower interest fees.

In general, when you make a credit card payment, part of your payment goes toward the interest fees, while the remainder of the payment goes toward the principal. For example, if your bill includes $20 in interest fees, and you make a $100 payment, $20 of that payment goes toward the fees, while only $80 will go toward paying down your principal.

When you transfer a balance to a card with a lower interest rate — or, even better, a 0% introductory rate — more of your payment goes toward that principal balance, rather than interest fees. This can allow you to pay down your credit card debt faster without spending more.

Chart of Potential Balance Transfer Savings

Of course, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. There are a number of requirements for a successful balance transfer, starting with your credit score. Most credit card companies provide cards with good intro-APR rates for balance transfers, but the majority of these cards will require at least good credit to qualify.

Then there’s the balance transfer fee. Usually between 3% and 5% of your total transferred amount, these fees can add up quickly. They’ll also reduce the total amount you can transfer as the fees are typically added to your balance when your transfer posts to your account.

Which brings us to the next major hurdle: your credit limit. You can only transfer a balance less than your credit limit. So, if your card has a $5,000 credit limit, you won’t be able to transfer more than $5,000 — unless, of course, there’s a balance transfer fee, in which case it’ll be $5,000 less the transfer fee.

But don’t think a high credit limit automatically means you can transfer every last scrap of debt. Some issuers have maximum limits on what you can transfer. Chase, for instance, caps transfers at $15,000 for several of its credit cards, regardless of whether your actual credit limit is higher.

Chart Showing Impacts of Credit Limit & Transfer Fees

Regardless of the size of your limit, be wary of transferring too much debt onto one card. Your credit utilization rate — the ratio of how much you owe versus your available credit — can have a big impact on your credit score, and maxing out a credit card, even for a balance transfer, can cause your credit score to drop.

What is an Introductory Balance Transfer Offer?

Given that the goal of a balance transfer is to reduce your interest rate as much as possible, the ideal balance transfer credit card would obviously be one that offers a 0% APR on transferred balances.

While that may sound like wishful thinking, think again. Dozens of credit card issuers offer cards that come with introductory APR offers that provide 0% interest on balance transfers for at least six months. What’s more, many of these cards offer significantly longer; 18-month promotional deals are not uncommon occurrences.

Although there are a handful of options for consumers with fair credit, you’ll likely need at least good credit to qualify for a 0% APR deal on balance transfers that’s longer than a year. And excellent credit will help ensure you get a large enough credit limit to transfer all of your debt.

Of course, each individual credit card offer will have its own particulars, including the credit score requirements as well as the length of the introductory period, though the law requires these offers to extend for at least six months in most cases.

Additionally, some credit card deals that offer the same introductory 0% APR on purchases as they do balance transfers. While not ideal if you’re trying to limit your debt, it can be helpful if you know you have a large purchase on the horizon that will take a little time to pay off.

What is a Balance Transfer Fee?

On the surface, balance transfers can sound almost too good to be true, especially if you can get a card with almost two years of 0% interest on that transfer. But there is one big catch with most cards, and that’s the balance transfer fees.

Chart of Balance Transfer Fees

Balance transfer fees are typically charged by the card to which you are moving your debt, and the fees usually range from 3% to 5% of the total transferred amount — which can add up quickly.

For example, a balance of $5,000 and a 5% transfer fee means you could wind up paying an extra $250 to transfer your balance.

Happily, there are ways to avoid transfer fees — well, there’s one way: Get a card that doesn’t charge them. While most commonly found in credit unions, a number of cards from major credit card issuers also offer no-fee balance transfers, though it tends to depend more on the card itself than on the specific credit card issuer.

As you may expect, of course, getting a no-fee balance transfer usually comes with a catch. Namely, to avoid balance transfer fees, you’ll generally need to transfer your balance within a certain amount of time after opening your account; a 60-day window is typical.

Can You Earn Points or Cash Rewards on Balance Transfers?

A daydream held by many a credit card rewards enthusiast is churning rewards simply by moving balances from one card to another. Why spend more money when you can earn bonus points and cash back on the same balance over and over again?

Sadly, the answer is: Because you can’t.

The vast majority of credit cards only earn rewards for new purchases. Any other transaction type, such as a balance transfer or a cash advance, won’t qualify for rewards. Furthermore, non-purchase transactions generally won’t count toward the spending requirement for a credit card sign-up bonus.

That being said, every rule seems to have a few exceptions, and you may come across the odd card that allows you to earn rewards on transferred balances. In these cases, it’s important to crunch the numbers before you start moving your balances around all willy-nilly.

Few credit cards that offer rewards for transferred balances will be worth the transfer. That’s because they tend to not offer any intro-APR deals or balance transfer fee exceptions, meaning you’ll be paying for every point or mile you get from your transfer — likely multiple times over.

Reduce Interest & Pay Down Debt with a Balance Transfer

Although most consumers think credit card debt is a bummer, we still tend to accumulate it in shocking amounts. And, let’s face it, credit card companies want you to carry a balance — so long as it’s on their card. After all, fewer than 40% of consumers pay their bill in full each month, making interest fees a source of much profit.

CFPB Graph of Payment Amounts

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) survey shows fewer than 40% of consumers always pay credit card balances in full.

Perhaps a bit counter to intuition, that desire for your balance is also the reason why many credit card companies are happy to offer 0% APR balance transfer deals as extra incentive to bring your debt to their ledgers. At the end of the day, some consumers simply aren’t going to pay it all off before the promotional period ends, leaving debt on which the new bank can start charging interest.

But, for those consumers who can stay diligent and repay their balance before the end of the promotional rate, balance transfers can be a great resource. Lower interest fees mean more of your money goes toward paying down your balance, helping you say goodbye to your debt faster without forking over extra cash.