15 Best Credit Cards for Consolidation in 2018

15 Best Credit Cards for Consolidation in 2018

credit card advice

Ashley Dull
By: Ashley Dull
Posted: June 15, 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.

Once upon a time, you could get a full barrel of whiskey for just five bucks. (Of course, those were actual bucks — as in deer.) Nowadays, five bucks — of either kind — doesn’t buy what it used to, and it seems like prices go up every year.

Whether you’re having trouble keeping up with the cost of everyday living or just have a hard time saying no to a good sale, it’s all too easy to swipe and click your way into more debt than you can manage.

When that happens, consolidation may be a good option for getting your debt back under control. And, helpfully, there are a number of solid options for consolidating credit card debt, including balance transfer cards with low fees and 0% interest offers.

0% APR | No Fee | Fair Credit | Business | Loans

Best “0% APR” Balance Transfer Cards for Consolidation

With credit card interest rates as high as 30% not uncommon, it can be easy to get overwhelmed by interest charges while trying to pay down debt. In these cases, reducing your interest rate can be a huge step toward making your debt more affordable.

One of the best tools for (temporarily) eliminating interest fees is to transfer your balance to a credit card with an introductory 0% APR offer. Many of the best offers, like our top-rated picks below, are good for 0% interest for 12 months or more.

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 earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • 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
13.74% - 24.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent
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, then a 16.90%-26.74% variable APR; balance transfer fees apply
  • 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® 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
16.90%-26.74% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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 for 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
16.74% - 25.49% Variable
$0
Excellent/Good

There are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind when using an intro-APR offer, of course, including the fact that introductory offers tend to expire. Once your promotional period is over, any remaining balance will be subject to the regular APR, which is typically much higher.

Additionally, most credit cards charge balance transfer fees of 3% to 8% of the transfer amount. So, while you may not be charged interest on a transferred balance with an intro-APR deal, you’ll still likely need to pay the balance transfer fee.

You should also remember that balance transfers don’t earn rewards, even when transferred to a rewards credit card. Transfers also won’t generally count toward the spending requirement for a signup bonus or other rewards promotions.

Best “No Fee” Balance Transfer Cards for Consolidation

While balance transfers can be a great way to lower your interest rate and make paying down your debt easier, there’s one catch with most cards: the balance transfer fee. These fees typically range from 3% up to 8% of the total transferred amount.

Thankfully, there are a number of balance transfer credit card options that offer solid intro-APR offers and won’t charge you a balance transfer fee. Many of these options come without annual fees, as well.

Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard® Review

at Barclays'ssecure website

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.5

OVERALL RATING

4.5/5.0
  • 75,000 miles each year if you spend $25,000 on purchases
  • After that, keep earning unlimited 2X miles on every purchase
  • Global Entry – $100 automatic statement credit for the cost of one Global Entry application fee every five years
  • Book the best travel deal, no airline, seat or hotel restrictions, and redeem your miles for travel statement credits
  • Access to over 850 lounges worldwide with Mastercard® Airport Experience provided by LoungeKey, fees apply
  • No foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.74%, 21.74% or 24.74% variable based on your creditworthiness
$150 (waived first year)
Good/Excellent
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)
13.49% - 23.49% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good

While there are only a few credit cards from major banks that offer deals on balance transfer fees, many credit unions have competitive balance transfer credit cards that come without any balance transfer fees. Note that credit unions require you to be a member to qualify for their products.

6. Alliant Visa® Platinum Card

The Alliant Visa® Platinum Card never charges a balance transfer fee, plus it comes with an introductory 0% APR offer good for 12 months from account opening.

Alliant Visa® Platinum Card

  • 0% introductory APR on new purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months
  • Standard 10.74% to 22.74% APR, depending on creditworthiness
  • 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.

In some cases, the balance transfer fee waiver may only apply to transfers made within a set window after opening your account. Check the card’s terms and conditions to determine when you need to transfer your balances to avoid paying a fee.

Best “Fair Credit” Balance Transfer Cards for Consolidation

Although unfortunate, one reality of credit card debt — and debt in general — is that help is the least available to those with the lowest credit scores who likely need it the most. And this sad pattern extends to the world of balance transfer credit cards.

In general, finding a 0% APR balance transfer offer with fair credit (or worse) will likely require some digging, especially if you prefer to stick with major banks. Student credit cards and secured credit cards are the most likely to provide a good balance transfer offer.

Discover it® Student chrome Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.5

OVERALL RATING

4.0/5.0
  • Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • 2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations on up to $1,000 in combined purchases every quarter - no sign-ups needed. 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.
  • Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 14.74% - 23.74%.
  • Click "APPLY NOW" to see rates, rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms, Cashback Match™ details & other information.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 6 months
10.99% for 6 months
14.74% - 23.74% Variable
$0
Fair
Discover it® Secured Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★
3.7

OVERALL RATING

3.7/5.0
  • No Annual Fee, cash back on every purchase, and helps you build your credit with responsible use.
  • Your Secured Credit Card requires a refundable security deposit up to the amount we can approve of at least $200 which will establish your credit line. You will need to provide your bank information when submitting your security deposit.
  • We will automatically begin reviewing your account starting at 8 months to see if we can transition you to an unsecured line of credit.
  • Earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, automatically. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
  • Click "APPLY NOW" to see rates, rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms, Cashback Match™ details & other information.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
10.99% for 6 months
24.74% Variable
$0
Please refer to issuer's website

Many more balance transfer credit card options exist at the local level, with credit unions and small community banks more willing to provide lower APRs — even some 0% intro-APRs — for those with at least fair credit.

9. Aspire Platinum

The Aspire Platinum has a low regular APR range of 9.65% to 18%, depending on your credit, and a generous six-month 0% APR introductory offer.

Aspire Platinum

  • 0% introductory APR on new purchases and balance transfers for the first 6 months
  • Standard 9.65% to 18% APR, depending on creditworthiness
  • 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.

Balance transfer offers available to those with fair credit are likely to be much more limited than those open to consumers with higher scores, so be sure to read the fine print carefully before signing up. Make sure you know when your intro offer expires and what APR you’ll need to pay on any remaining balance.

Best “Business” Balance Transfer Cards for Consolidation

Regardless of your industry, nearly every business has quarters that are busier than others — and periods when revenue can be sporadic at best. For new businesses, that period of instability can even extend for months.

If you’re using your credit cards to keep the business going during dry spells, your high-interest balances can add up quickly. As with consumer credit cards, however, transferring your balance to a lower-interest business card can make all the difference.

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
  • Named "Best Rewards Card for Small Business Owners" by Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2017
  • 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
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 12 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 12 months
14.99% - 20.99% Variable
$0
Excellent Credit

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 for 12 Months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 12 Months
14.99% - 20.99% Variable
$0
Excellent Credit

While both these Chase business cards come with solid balance transfer offers, they each have a lot more to offer in long-term value. Given that their balance transfer offers are similar, choose the card that will offer your business the best long-term rewards.

12. Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express

The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express comes with an introductory 0% APR offer good on new purchases and balance transfers for 15 months.

Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express

  • Earn 2X Membership Rewards® points per $1 on the first $50,000 in purchases each year
  • Earn unlimited 1X points per $1 thereafter
  • Pay no annual fee

While the Blue Business Plus has an intro-APR offer for 0% interest, it does still have a balance transfer fee of $5 or 3% of the total transfer amount, whichever is greater.

And, like the Amex card above, most business credit cards will charge some sort of balance transfer fee. In another parallel to the consumer world, those fees can sometimes be avoided by going the credit union route, though not all credit unions will offer business credit cards.

Best “Personal Loans” for Consolidation

As handy as credit card balance transfers can be, they simply aren’t the best solution for everyone. This is particularly true for those consumers who can’t qualify for a quality introductory APR offer or who have too much debt to consolidate onto one credit card.

If balance transfers aren’t a viable option, consolidating your card debt with a personal installment loan could be the next best method of getting your interest rates under control. Be sure to shop around for the lowest APR, however, perhaps by using an online lending network like our picks below.

  • Loan amounts range from $2,000 to $35,000
  • Flexible credit requirements
  • Online lending network with partners in 50 states
  • Loan can be used for anything
  • Fast online approval
  • Funding in as few as 24 hours
Overall Rating
★★★★★
5.0
  • Loan amounts range from $500 to $5,000
  • Experienced provider established in 1998
  • Compare quotes from a network of lenders
  • Flexible credit requirements
  • Easy online application & 5-minute approval
  • Funding in as few as 24 hours
Overall Rating
★★★★★
5.0
  • Loan amounts range from $1,000 to $35,000
  • Flexible credit requirements
  • Loans can be used for anything
  • Five minute application
  • Funding possible in as few as 24 hours
  • Large lending network with multiple partners
Overall Rating
★★★★★
4.8

Online lending networks partner with dozens to hundreds of lenders from across the country to help potential borrowers find the right match — all with a single online application. Qualified borrowers can receive up to four offers at a time to quickly compare rates and fees.

When consolidating credit card debt with a personal loan, be sure to determine your current interest rates and balances before starting the process. You’ll need a loan with a lower APR than you’re currently being charged on any of the balances you intend to transfer.

Lower Your Interest Rate for Easier Debt Repayment

As annoying as it is, the value of a buck seems to decrease every year — and the cost of everything seems to keep going up. Before you know it, even basic everyday expenses — let alone those inevitable emergencies — can cause your credit card balances to skyrocket.

No matter how you got your high card balances, consolidation is often the best solution for lowering your interest rate and making it more affordable to repay your debt. And while options are much more abundant for those with good credit, even fair-credit consumers can often find a decent way to reduce their interest rates.