The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Monday, July 13, 2020

8 Best Credit Cards for Balance Transfers and Rewards

8 Best Credit Cards for Balance Transfers and Rewards

credit card advice

Ashley Dull
By: Ashley Dull
Updated: March 12, 2020
Advertiser Disclosure

In the following article, we’ll take a look at eight of the best credit cards for balance transfers and rewards, including 0% intro APR, cash back cards, miles, and points.

As of June 2017, the average American household with credit card debt had a total revolving debt of $10,955. If each card with a balance charges the market average 16.7% interest rate, then the typical household will pay approximately $1,830 a year in interest on their credit card debt.

Thankfully, those with good to excellent credit can take advantage of balance transfers to avoid forking over thousands in interest fees. A balance transfer does exactly what it says: it transfers your balance from one credit card to another credit card.

When you transfer your balance to a balance transfer credit card with a 0% APR introductory offer, you can carry that balance interest-free for the length of the introductory terms.

Given the variety of balance transfer card offers, selecting the best one for you may come down to the fringe benefits more than the specific intro offer. Many of the best balance transfer cards also offer rewards, and while you won’t earn rewards on your transferred balance, you can still earn cash back, points, or miles, for every qualifying purchase you make with your card.

0% Intro APR | Cash Back | Miles | Points

Best Balance Transfer Cards with 0% Intro APRs

If your primary concern is finding the best balance transfer offer, regardless of perks and rewards, you’re likely more concerned with the length of the card’s introductory period than its cash back rate. At the same time, since so many great balance transfer intro offers will also apply to new purchases (to varying extents), you may want to consider the purchasing power of your card.

Regardless of the specific nature of your card, you should look into any applicable fees before you apply. The vast majority of credit cards charge a flat-rate balance transfer fee, typically 3% to 5% of the total transferred balance. Many cards will also charge an annual fee, particularly if the card offers valuable rewards.

Our top-rated picks for balance transfer cards include a number of annual-fee-free options.

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.7/5.0
  • No Late Fees, No Penalty Rate, and No Annual Fee... Ever
  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 21 months from date of first transfer. All transfers must be completed in first 4 months. After that, the variable APR will be 14.74% - 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • 0% Intro APR on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening. After that, the variable APR will be 14.74% - 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • If you transfer a balance with this offer, after your 0% Intro purchase APR expires, both new purchases and unpaid purchase balances will automatically accrue interest until all balances, including your transferred balances, are paid in full
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • 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 (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
0% for 21 months
14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 21 months from date of first transfer. After that, the variable APR will be 13.74% - 23.74%, based on your creditworthiness. All transfers must be completed in first 4 months.
  • 0% Intro APR on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening. After that, the variable APR will be 13.74% - 23.74%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • If you transfer a balance with this offer, after your 0% Intro purchase APR expires, both new purchases and unpaid purchase balances will automatically accrue interest until all balances, including your transferred balance, are paid in full.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 5% 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.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
0% for 21 months
13.74% - 23.74% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn cash back twice. 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.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
0% for 18 months
13.99% - 23.99% (variable)
$0
Excellent/Good

+See More Balance Transfer Cards

Another thing to investigate before you apply is the default balance transfer interest rate, which is what you’ll be charged for any remaining balance after the introductory period has ended. These default rates tend to be fairly high (especially when compared to 0%) and can catch you unawares if you’re not careful to repay your transferred balance in time.

On the plus side, most non-store credit cards offer real 0% interest financing instead of charging deferred interest, which means you only accrue interest on your remaining balance after your promotional period ends.

Best Balance Transfer Cards with Cash Back

Your options for cash back programs will include cards that offer only a flat-rate cash back percentage, or programs that offer bonus cash back for purchases in specified categories. While programs with bonus categories tend to have relatively low rewards rates for non-bonus purchases, these programs can be very valuable if your spending falls into the right categories.

4

Discover it® Balance Transfer

This card is currently not available.

0% Balance Transfer Rating

★★★★★
N/A

OVERALL RATING

N/A
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
  • No annual fee
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% 15 Months
N/A
14.99%–23.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent
6

Discover it® Cash Back

This card is currently not available.

0% Balance Transfer Rating

★★★★★
N/A

OVERALL RATING

N/A
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

+See More Cash Back Cards

Another thing to keep an eye out for are lucrative signup bonuses, which can earn you hundreds in bonus cash back. Signup bonuses are the quickest way to earn a boatload of rewards from the start, especially if you have a big purchase coming up that can help you easily reach the amount needed to receive the bonus.

Remember, though, that balance transfers do not qualify for rewards or count toward your signup bonus spending threshold.

Best Balance Transfer Cards with Airline Miles

Whether you like sandy beaches or snow-capped peaks, the only thing that can really top a destination vacation — is a free destination vacation. Enter the magic of travel miles.

As with other types of credit card rewards, cards offering miles allow you to earn a specific number of miles for each dollar spent on your card. Miles are often redeemable for airline fare, hotel stays, and a variety of other travel expenses.

Although some credit card programs that use miles limit you to specific airlines or partners, our favorites come with flexible redemption options (in addition to awesome balance transfer offers). When comparing cards that come with travel rewards and a balance transfer offer, you will likely need to choose between having a higher balance transfer APR or paying an annual fee.

7

Discover it® Miles

This card is currently not available.

0% Balance Transfer Rating

★★★★★
N/A

OVERALL RATING

N/A
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

+See More Airline Miles Cards

Many cards offering travel rewards will also come with signup bonuses, which can be worth tens of thousands of points if you can meet the spending requirement. But remember not to make purchases you can’t pay off simply to earn a signup bonus, as you can quickly end up in the red once interest fees start piling up.

Best Balance Transfer Cards with Rewards Points

The best of both rewards worlds, credit cards that offer rewards points tend to have the most flexible redemption options. In many cases, points can be redeemed for cash back and gift cards, or for travel-related expenses — or for something else entirely. Most points programs provide a flat-rate point-per-dollar earnings system, though some will award bonus points for specified categories, such as gas station or restaurant purchases.

Although the per-point value of your rewards will vary by issuer, it may also vary by how you redeem your rewards. For instance, redeeming for cash or gift cards may provide more per-point value than redeeming for merchandise through the issuer’s redemption portal.

Choosing between our top picks will be a matter of deciding which points program you prefer, as both offer similar balance transfer terms and annual-fee-free card use.

CITI® RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • The Citi Rewards+℠ Card - the only credit card that automatically rounds up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase - with no cap.
  • Earn 15,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for $150 in gift cards at thankyou.com
  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.49% - 23.49%, based on your creditworthiness. Balance transfer fee — either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Earn 2X ThankYou® Points at Supermarkets and Gas Stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1X Points thereafter. Plus, earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 13.49% - 23.49%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
13.49% - 23.49% (Variable)
$0
Good/Excellent

+See More Rewards Points Cards

Perhaps the most important thing to remember about your rewards points is that you need to spend them to get the value out of them. While this may seem like an obvious part of the process, nearly one-third of cardholders don’t redeem their card rewards, which simply wind up back in the pockets of the issuers.

Save a Fortune with the Right Balance Transfer

No matter how well-balanced the budget, most of us can definitely use an extra $1,830 a year to put toward paying off debt or to save for retirement. So, rather than spend that money on those high-interest credit cards, qualified consumers can enjoy a year or more interest-free with the right balance transfer credit card offer.

The key to successfully using balance transfer offers to avoid interest fees is to pay off your balance before the end of your introductory period. This will ensure you aren’t stuck paying inflated interest fees when the default interest rate kicks in.

Another option is to transfer the balance to a new balance transfer credit card with a 0% APR offer. Just remember that each balance transfer will likely incur a new balance transfer fee.

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CardRates.com is a free online resource that offers valuable content and comparison services to users. To keep this resource 100% free, we receive compensation from many of the offers listed on the site. Along with key review factors, this compensation may impact how and where products appear across the site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CardRates.com does not include the entire universe of available offers. Editorial opinions expressed on the site are strictly our own and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by advertisers.