9 Best Debt Consolidation Loans & Credit Cards in 2018

9 Best Debt Consolidation Loans & Credit Cards in 2018

credit card advice

Ashley Dull
By: Ashley Dull
Posted: July 9, 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.

Many of the most successful chess players plan their moves out several rounds in advance, with contingencies already considered should their opponent not move as predicted. This ensures they’re not making rash moves that could cost them a piece — or the game.

The same strategy should apply to most personal finances. If you have your moves planned out in advance — i.e., have a workable budget — with well-thought contingencies in place, it’s much easier to stay on track.

But, once you’re off track, of course, the whole game changes. That’s where debt consolidation comes into play; with a good consolidation loan or balance transfer offer, you can get your interest rates under control — and get yourself back into the game.

Personal Loans | Credit Cards

Top Providers for Consolidating with Personal Loans

Depending on how much debt you have to consolidate — and the state of your credit — the most affordable way to consolidate may be through a personal installment loan. Personal loans tend to have lower interest rates than regular credit cards, which can help make repayment easier.

The APR you’re offered and the amount you can borrow with a personal loan will depend primarily on your credit profile. Online lending networks, like our expert-rated providers below, can be a good resource for obtaining multiple offers at the same time so you can find the best fit.

  • 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

Personal installment loans are designed to be long-term loans that are repaid over a period of six months up to six years via monthly payments. Longer loan terms will mean lower monthly payments, but more interest costs overall.

The first step to consolidating debt with a personal loan is to lay out your debt total and APRs to get an idea of how much you need to consolidate and the rate at which you need to consolidate it. You’ll want an APR that is less than the lowest APR charged on any of your consolidated debts.

Don’t forget to include any origination fees charged by the lender when calculating your loan total. Origination fees can range from 3% up to 8% of the total loan amount and are typically taken out of the loan when it is dispersed.

Top Credit Cards for Consolidating with a Balance Transfer

Although loans are often a good way to consolidate debt, they’re not always the best way. This can be particularly true if you have good to excellent credit and can qualify for a credit card with an introductory 0% APR deal.

Both consumer and business credit cards are available with solid intro-APR deals offering 12 months or more of 0% interest on transferred balances, which means you can effectively eliminate your interest fees for a year or more with the right credit card.

One thing to note is that most credit cards will charge a balance transfer fee equal to 3% to 5% of the total transferred amount. While often worthwhile for the reduced interest rate, that fee can reduce the amount you can transfer to a particular card.

Consumer | Business

Best Consumer Balance Transfer Credit Cards

The consumer credit card market is downright flooded with good quality introductory 0% APR offers, with nearly every prime card coming with some type of deal alongside its purchase rewards and signup bonuses.

So, given the abundance of APR deals, choosing a card will first come down to the deal itself — how long will you need to repay your balance? — then to which card will have the most post-transfer value (based on the card’s rewards and your individual spending habits).

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

Although many consumer credit cards will have both an intro-APR offer and a signup bonus, be careful about putting extra spend on a card you’re using to consolidate debt that may already have a high balance.

Additionally, keep in mind that transferred balances won’t earn purchase rewards, such as cash back or travel miles, nor will they count toward the spending requirement for a signup bonus.

Some balance transfer offers may also have time limitations for when you must transfer a balance to qualify for the interest deal, so read the card’s terms and conditions carefully before applying.

Best Business Balance Transfer Credit Cards

Although nearly ubiquitous in the consumer credit card world, business credit cards with introductory 0% APR offers for balance transfers are a lot more difficult to find. However, that trend may be shifting as more small businesses turn to cards with intro-APR offers.

To make the most of a balance transfer credit card, be sure to select one without a high annual fee. And while having a rewards card can be nice for when you’ve finished paying off your transfer, remember that balance transfers don’t typically earn rewards or qualify toward a signup bonus spending requirement.

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

Both of Chase’s annual-fee-free business credit cards come with a year-long introductory 0% APR offer that’s good on both new purchases and balance transfers. However, both cards also charge balance transfer fees equal to $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

Given that both cards have the same offer, choosing between the two will generally come down to which card’s purchase rewards will be more valuable to your business after your balance transfer is paid off.

9. Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express

The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express has a lengthy introductory APR offer that’s good for both new purchases and balance transfers. Transfers will be charged a balance transfer fee of $5 or 3% of the total transfer amount, whichever is larger.

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

You’ll need to request your balance transfer within the first 60 days of opening your account for it to qualify for the introductory 0% APR offer. After that, transferred balances will be charged the standard balance transfer APR.

No matter which balance transfer credit card you choose to consolidate your business debt, be sure to pay off your transferred balance before the end of your promotional period. Any balance remaining when your offer expires will start accruing interest at the default balance transfer rate.

Tame Your Debt with Consolidation

A winning chess strategy is just that: a strategy. The game involves long-term planning and contingencies for every conceivable scenario.

And the same is true of a winning financial strategy. Of course, while chess is a game in which there are a limited number of moves, life is often full of the completely unexpected, making a sound budget and healthy emergency fund all the more important.

If your debt does get the upper hand, be sure to have a plan in place for getting it in check. Consolidation is a helpful way for many consumers to lower their interest rates and get their debt under control. But every situation is different, so do your own homework before adopting a financial strategy.