13 Best No-Interest Credit Cards for 2019

13 Best No-Interest Credit Cards for 2019

credit card advice

Brittney Mayer
By: Brittney Mayer
Updated: June 28, 2019
Opinions expressed here are ours alone, and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by any issuer. Our articles follow strict editorial guidelines and are updated regularly.

As any gardener knows, weeds are capable of multiplying exponentially in a matter of weeks if left to grow in the garden untended. The very same thing can happen, as many cardholders learn, if you allow your credit card’s interest fees to grow without interference.

But, the same way a good bit of mulching can help keep weeds in check without constant supervision, so, too, can a solid introductory 0% APR offer help keep interest fees from accumulating on your credit card without needing to pay your balance in full each month.

However, while any gardener with a few bucks can pick up a bag of mulch, only cardholders with good credit or better can typically qualify for a quality no-interest credit card. Our favorite offers include exceptionally long promotional periods as well as extras like purchase rewards or cellphone protection.

Overall | New Purchases | Balance Transfers | Rewards | Student | Business | FAQs

Top Overall Cards for No Interest Fees

The reasons for seeking out a no-interest credit card are just as varied as the cards themselves, so the best card for any given consumer will depend on what they really want out of the card. For example, if your only concern is having a 0% APR, then you may pick a card with a longer promotional period but no perks.

On the other hand, if you want to both earn rewards and save on interest, then you may be willing to exchange a few months of 0% APR for cash back or points. With these differences in mind, our top overall cards with no-interest offers include both exceptionally long promotional periods as well as an option for consumers seeking rewards.

  • New Offer! Double Cash Back: Earn 3% cash back on all purchases in your first year up to $20,000 spent. After that earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 17.24-25.99%. Balance transfer fee is 3% 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℠
  • No annual fee
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
17.24% - 25.99% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

Although the promotional period for this card’s 0% APR offer is shorter than the others in this section, the unlimited 1.5% cash back means cardholders can earn solid rewards on their new purchases while enjoying the ability to pay 0% interest on those purchases. The card also offers an attainable signup bonus, and it charges no annual fee.

2. Wells Fargo Platinum Visa card

The Wells Fargo Platinum Visa card is a solid options for saving on interest thanks to its 18-month 0% APR introductory offer good on both new purchases and balance transfers (balance transfers must be made within 120 days of account opening; transfer fee applies).

Wells Fargo Platinum Visa card

  • Receive 0% APR on new purchases and balance transfers for 18 months
  • Receive up to $600 in cellphone protection
  • Pay $0 annual fee

In addition to a competitive introductory offer, this card comes with a number of Wells Fargo and Visa benefits, including up to $600 in cellphone protection when you pay your bill with your card, as well as free FICO credit scores and $0 liability protection.

(The information related to Wells Fargo Platinum Visa Card has been collected by CardRates.com and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product or service.)

CITI® RATING

★★★★
4.0

OVERALL RATING

0.0/5.0
  • Get 0% intro APR on new purchases and balance transfers for 18 months. Balance transfers must be made within the first 4 months of account opening
  • Citi® Price Rewind searches for lower prices online for 60 days for your registered purchases
  • $0 liability on unauthorized purchases and Citi® Identity Theft Solutions.
  • Experience great benefits like VIP packages to concerts, sporting events and more with access to Citi® Private Pass®
  • No annual fee
  • Free access to FICO® Scores
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 18 months
0% for 18 months
15.99% - 25.99% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good

Another card with a full year and a half of no interest, this option allows you to make qualifying balance transfers up to four months from the date of account opening. The balance transfer fee is on the high side, but the long promotional period can be well worth the fee for big balances, and the card charges no annual fee that will add to your costs.

Honorable Mentions: While our top three cards are good overall picks, if you have a specific use in mind for your card, you may want a more specialized option. The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card is worth a mention if a balance transfer is your goal, while the Capital One® SavorOne℠ Cash Rewards Credit Card can help you earn while you save.

Top Cards for No Interest Fees on New Purchases

Before 0% APR offers were common, financing a big purchase for six months or so would have meant a costly installment loan. Now, consumers with good credit can get 12, 15, or even 18 months with no interest on new purchases with the right introductory 0% APR credit card offer.

What’s more, if you select a card that offers both an introductory 0% APR and purchase rewards, you can both save on interest and earn rewards on your new purchases at the same time. Pick a card with no annual fee for even more savings.

0% INTRO APR RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • New Offer! Double Cash Back: Earn 3% cash back on all purchases in your first year up to $20,000 spent. After that earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 17.24-25.99%. Balance transfer fee is 3% 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℠
  • No annual fee
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
17.24% - 25.99% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

This card is also one of our top overall picks — and for good reason. Not only does the card have a long promotional period and no annual fee, but it also provides an unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, with no categories to track or activate. Plus, if you happen to have a card that earns Ultimate Rewards® points, you can turn that cash back into points, allowing you to get extra value from your rewards.

0% INTRO APR RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • 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; 16.24%-26.24% variable APR after that
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months; 16.24%-26.24% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
16.24% - 26.24% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

On the surface, this card offers most of the same features as the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, including the same promotional period and the same unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase. However, what this card has going for it is that it isn’t subject to Chase’s strict 5/24 Rule, which makes this card much easier to get for anyone with more than a handful of credit cards.

Honorable Mentions: If your new purchases will fall into a common rewards category, then the Discover it® Cash Back and the Chase Freedom® could be good picks. If you’re just interested in a long promotional period for a big purchase, the Wells Fargo Platinum Visa card and the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card are well worth a mention.

Top Cards for No Interest Fees on Balance Transfers

When you’re carrying expensive credit card debt, a good balance transfer offer can easily save you hundreds of dollars in interest fees. And that’s even after you include the 3% to 5% balance transfer fee charged by most credit cards.

The main downside to a balance transfer interest rate offer is that most will require you to make your transfers within a few months of opening your account, so be sure you’re ready to transfer your debts when you apply for your new card.

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 and more 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.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 6 months
0% for 18 months
14.24% - 25.24% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

This card is designed for balance transfers, and it offers a nice long promotional period for its 0% APR offer on transfers. The card does charge a balance transfer fee, but it doesn’t have an annual fee. And, while you won’t earn rewards on balance transfers, the card’s cash back purchase rewards mean it can still be useful long after your introductory offer expires.

7. Amex EveryDay® Credit Card

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card easily competes in the balance transfer battle, offering not only a long 15-month promotional period but also waiving the balance transfer fee on eligible transfers. The card charges no annual fee.

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 $0 annual fee

Balance transfers must be requested within the first 60 days to qualify for the reduced rate and fee. In addition to the introductory interest rates, this card offers solid purchase rewards, a modest signup bonus, and a 20% points bonus for billing periods with 20 or more card purchases.

Honorable Mentions: If you’re really concerned about paying a balance transfer fee, the BankAmericard® Credit Card and the Chase Slate® may be worth a look, though neither card is known for high credit limits. Credit unions also can be a good place to find cards without balance transfer fees. The Citi® Diamond Preferred® Credit Card and the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card charge transfer fees, but they offer really long promotional periods.

Top Rewards Cards with No Interest Fees

One of the best things about the introductory 0% APR deals that come with most open-loop credit cards is that you can still earn rewards on all of your new purchases while the no-interest offer is active. So, you can both earn cash back and carry a balance without fees with the right card.

That being said, don’t expect the top-tier rewards cards to come with intro-APR offers; none of the big-budget points cards will offer you a no-interest deal. However, you can still find a range of cards that offer good rewards, no annual fee, and additional cardholder benefits, all while giving you well over a year of 0% APR on your purchases.

Discover it® Cash Back Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

0% INTRO APR RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • 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 and more 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.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 14 months
0% for 14 months
14.24% - 25.24% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

One of the quintessential cash back cards, you’ll get both a long intro-APR period and the potential for lots of rewards if you can align your interest-free purchasing with the card’s bonus categories. Each quarter you activate, you’ll earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in eligible bonus purchases, and the categories change each quarter.

0% INTRO APR RATING

★★★★★
4.9

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; 16.24% - 26.24% variable APR after that
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months; 16.24% - 26.24% 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
16.24% - 26.24% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

This card not only offers a long introductory period, but it also comes with 3% cash back on both dining and entertainment purchases, making it an ideal pick for financing a family vacation or other big event. And, in addition to a no-interest offer and solid rewards, the card also charges no annual fee and comes with an attainable signup bonus.

Honorable Mentions: Another good rotating rewards card with an intro-APR offer is the Chase Freedom®, which offers categories similar to the Discover it® Cash Back. You can also find good introductory offers from cards with unlimited flat-rate rewards instead of bonus categories, including the Chase Freedom Unlimited® and the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Credit Card.

Top Student Cards with No Interest Fees

Being a student can come with a lot of expenses. And what’s worse, those expenses tend to come in waves — often right at the beginning of the semester. Student credit cards with 0% interest offers can be valuable tools for those semesters when you just need a little time to catch up on college costs.

Although you can find student cards with decent introductory offers, student credit cards are primarily designed to help build credit, so don’t expect an 18-month top-shelf interest rate deal. But, you can still get six months or more of 0% APR on your new purchases if you pick the right card.

Discover it® Student Cash Back Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

0% INTRO APR RATING

★★★★
4.0

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, Amazon.com and more 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
15.24% - 24.24% Variable
$0
Fair

This card is a good student credit card on nearly all fronts, especially when you consider it has no annual fee. New cardholders enjoy a decent promotional period for 0% APR on new purchases, with a lesser deal for balance transfers, plus Discover’s signature Cash Back Match bonus. And that’s all in addition to the card’s competitive purchase rewards.

11. Bank of America® Cash Rewards for Students

The Bank of America® Cash Rewards for Students has one of the best introductory offers for students, providing a full year of 0% APR on both new purchases and balance transfers (must request the transfer within 60 days of account opening).

Bank of America® Cash Rewards for Students

  • Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings
  • Earn 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs
  • Pay $0 annual fee

The card also offers some competitive rewards, giving users their choice of six different bonus rewards categories, plus 2% cash back on grocery store and wholesale club purchases. And the card never charges an annual fee.

Honorable Mentions: Most of the student credit cards from the major banks will come with some sort of intro-APR deal. The ones worth mentioning include the Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card, the BankAmericard® for Students, and the Wells Fargo Cash Back College℠ Card. If you’re in need of a cosigner to get your own card, you’ll need to stick with the Bank of America or Wells Fargo options.

Top Business Cards with No Interest Fees

In the modern digital era, the types of expenses faced by your typical small business have shifted; instead of countless sheets of printer paper, we now have broadband and web hosting. But, while the expenses are different, they haven’t gone away, and a good business credit card with an intro-APR offer can be just as valuable as ever.

As with the consumer card market, you won’t get promotional APR deals from the top-tier cards, but you can still find business cards with solid interest rate deals that also offer purchase rewards. Introductory 0% APR deals for new purchases are common, though balance transfer offers are rarer in the business card world.

Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

0% INTRO APR 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
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 12 months
N/A
15.49% - 21.49% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

Easily one of the best business credit cards overall, this card comes with a long intro-APR deal good on new purchases and charges no annual fee. It also has high-rate bonus rewards categories that can net cardholders extra cash back on things like wireless phone service and office supplies.

13. Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express

The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express has one of the more generous introductory offers in the business card realm, providing a long 12-month promotional period for 0% APR on both new purchases and balance transfers (transfers must be made in the first 60 days).

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 $0 annual fee

Another great thing about this card is that no matter the purchases you make as you take advantage of your 0% APR, you’ll enjoy 2X Membership Rewards® points per dollar on up to $50,000 in new purchases. Plus, there’s no annual fee to cut into your rewards.

Honorable Mentions: The only other business cards from major issuers that offer a deal on balance transfers are the U.S. Bank Business Edge™ Platinum Card and the Wells Fargo Business Platinum Credit Card. For new purchases, consider the Chase Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card or the Discover it® Business Card for no interest and unlimited cash back rewards.

What Is an Interest-Fee Grace Period?

While there’s no denying the utility of a good 0% APR interest rate deal, they do have a few downsides. For one thing, introductory offers are, well, introductory; the promotional rate will expire at some point, and the APR you’re charged will revert to the regular ongoing APR after your deal expires.

For another thing, the majority of credit cards with no-interest deals are marketed to consumers with at least good credit, which often puts them firmly out of reach of anyone with less-than-ideal credit. And, even if a so-so score doesn’t keep you from making it through the door, it will likely prevent you from obtaining a credit limit that allows you to take full advantage of an introductory offer.

In either case, you may not need a 0% APR offer to avoid paying interest on your credit card purchases. That’s because the vast majority of credit cards offer an interest-fee grace period on new purchases that can give you at least a few weeks of interest-free financing.

So, how does it work? Basically, credit cards with a grace period won’t charge you interest on your balance so long as you pay the balance in full before the due date. This means you have the time from when a purchase posts until the due date for that billing cycle to pay off your purchases without being charged interest.

Screenshot of Sample Terms & Conditions

Your credit card’s grace period can be found on your cardholder agreement or terms and conditions documentation.

Generally, the due date for any given billing period must be at least 21 days from the end of the statement period, but some cards offer 25 days or more. This means that, depending on when you make your purchase, you could potentially gain six weeks or more of interest-free financing without needing a special deal.

The caveat here is that you really do need to pay off the full balance to avoid interest. If you only make a partial payment, you’ll still be charged interest on your balance. And, of course, if you don’t pay at least the minimum, you’ll be charged both interest and, likely, a late payment fee.

Do No-Interest Cards Hurt Your Credit?

Maintaining a positive consumer credit history has become a key part of good personal finances, but few schools offer a comprehensive education on how to establish and build good credit. As a result, there is a lot of confusion around what can impact credit scores.

In the case of credit cards with 0% APR offers, the answer is a little complicated. Technically, the new cardholder offer that allows you to pay no interest on your purchases or balance transfers won’t impact your credit by itself. It’s just like the signup bonus or the annual fee — it has no direct impact on your credit.

FICO Credit Score Factors

That being said, if you open a new credit card account (with or without an intro-APR offer), that action can impact your credit in a few ways, starting with the application. Each time you apply for new credit, the card issuer will check your credit profile to determine your credit risk. This results in a hard credit inquiry on your credit report.

One or two hard credit inquiries at any given time won’t have much impact on your credit scores. However, multiple hard inquiries in a short period of time can cause your credit score to noticeably decrease, as lenders and scoring algorithms consider it a sign that you may be trying to take on debt.

A new credit card account can also impact your average account age, which is a part of your credit history factor and can be worth up to 15% of your credit score. Creditors like to see long credit histories and prefer your average account age to be at least two years.

One potentially positive way opening a new card can impact your credit scores is by improving your credit utilization. Your credit card utilization rate is how much credit you are using over how much you have available; boosting your available credit — without taking on more debt — can improve your utilization and, in some cases, boost your credit score.

How Do 0% APR Credit Card Offers Work?

Using your typical 0% APR introductory credit card offer won’t generally require much work on the part of the cardholder once the application process is over.

Basically, you just need to find a card with an intro-APR offer and apply. If you’re approved, you’ll activate your new card as you would any other credit card and start swiping. Your promotional APR should be applied automatically, allowing you to carry a balance from month to month without accruing interest for the duration of the promotional period.

Example Card Terms for Introductory Offer

Introductory offers providing 0% APR will revert to a higher APR at the end of the offer terms.

Keep in mind that you’ll still need to make at least your minimum required payment each month the same as you would if you didn’t have a promotional APR — “no interest” is not the same as “no payments.” If you miss a payment or make a late payment, the issuer can (and usually will) terminate your promotional offer and start charging you interest at the regular APR.

So long as you keep your account in good standing, you’ll enjoy the 0% APR for the length of the promotional period. At the end of that time, your APR will revert to the regular or ongoing APR that is listed in your cardholder agreement. Any balance that remains past the end of the promotional period will start accruing interest at that rate.

One thing that’s important to understand is that there is a big difference between a regular, open-loop credit card with an introductory 0% APR offer, and a store-branded credit card that offers special financing. While both types of deals can mean you pay no interest on your purchases, the special store financing likely has a potentially expensive addition: deferred interest.

Screenshot of Amazon Deferred Interest Policy

Essentially, special financing with deferred interest gives you a set amount of time to pay off your purchases without interest. If you pay off your entire financed balance before the special financing expires, you pay no interest. However, if you have even a penny of your balance left when the offer ends, you’ll pay interest on the entire purchase amount from the beginning.

So, in summary, a bank-branded credit card that offers an introductory 0% APR reverts to the regular APR after the offer ends, but it won’t charge you back interest if you still have a balance. A store-branded credit card with special financing will typically include deferred interest and will charge you back interest on your entire purchase if any of the balance remains after terms expire.

What Is a Go-To or Regular APR?

As with most good things, the intro-APR offer that comes with a new credit card must come to an end eventually. Once your promotional rate expires, your new purchase and/or balance transfer APR will revert back to the regular APR, also sometimes called the go-to rate or ongoing APR.

The regular APR for any given credit card should be listed, along with all other important rate and fee data, in your cardholder agreement, as well as being included on your credit card statements. In most cases, the purchase APR and balance transfer APR will be the same, but some cards may charge different rates for each transaction type.

Your regular credit card APR is determined based on a combination of the specific card’s set APR range and your individual creditworthiness. For example, a given credit card may have a potential APR range of 13% to 18%; someone with good credit may be offered a regular APR of 13%, while someone with average credit would likely be offered a rate closer to 18%.

Although not widely known, you may be eligible to receive an interest rate reduction from your credit card issuer — if you ask for it. While issuers will rarely offer unsolicited APR decreases, studies have found that asking for a lower interest rate works more than half the time, and it can be especially effective if you’ve recently improved your credit scores.

Are Balance Transfers Bad for Your Credit Scores?

Similar to the question above about no-interest credit cards, this question has no real answers. At the basic level, no, the act of transferring a balance won’t, in itself, impact your credit scores. However, that being said, the effects of transferring a balance can impact your scores in several ways.

The initial impact on your credit will be from opening a new card. When you open a new card to get an introductory interest rate deal for your balance transfer, that new card can impact your credit scores with a hard inquiry and a reduced average account age.

Additionally, a new credit card can also affect your utilization rates — effects that can become complicated once you start moving balances around.

Your utilization rate is the amount of credit you are using over the amount of credit you have available. For instance, if you have a credit card with a credit limit of $1,000 and a balance of $250, your credit utilization would be: $250 / $1,000 = 0.25 = 25%.

Example of Balance Transfer Impact to Utilization Rate

Creditors and scoring models will look at both your overall utilization rate — your total credit card debt over your total available credit — as well as the individual rates for each of your credit cards. Lower utilization is considered better for your credit scores.

So, when you open a new credit card (without taking on more debt), the credit limit for that card is added to your total available credit and your overall credit utilization rate improves. And that holds true even if you transfer some of your balances to the new card — as long as you don’t charge up any new debt, that is.

However, you need to be careful about how much debt you transfer to your new card. While it may seem like a good idea to move over as much debt as you can to take advantage of the lower rates, the more debt you put on one credit card, the higher that card’s utilization rate will climb.

A credit card with a high utilization rate — or, worse, a card that is maxed out (i.e., has a balance equal to its credit limit) — is seen as a serious credit risk. This can not only result in significant damage to your credit scores, but it may also cause you to be denied new credit lines.

On the plus side, that damage can be reversed simply by paying down your balance to reduce your utilization rate again. So, if you need to transfer a large amount of debt to a single credit card, be sure you can start paying it down quickly.

Don’t Let Interest Fees Hold You Back

In the spring and summer, leaving a garden untended can result in acres of weeds almost before you turn around. For high-interest credit cards, the potential for overgrown fees is year-round, making it necessary to always keep an eye on your balances and interest rates.

As with a good mulching, however, a good intro-APR credit card can help give you a little breathing room, making it easier to keep interest fees under control. Without worrying about interest fees taking over your balance, you can use your credit cards to affordably finance large purchases or pay down high-interest debt.

Of course, there is more to healthy credit than keeping interest fees in check. Be sure you work to keep your credit in good shape by ensuring you always make at least the minimum payment on time each month, and by keeping an eye on your credit utilization.