The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Wednesday, September 22, 2021

How to Transfer a Credit Card Balance + 10 Best 0% Offers

How To Transfer Credit Card Balance

credit card advice

Linsey Knerl
By: Linsey Knerl
Updated: June 8, 2020
Advertiser Disclosure

If you’ve used credit cards for a significant amount of time, you’ve likely been presented with bigger and better card offers than what your current card gives you. One of these perks may be a credit card balance transfer offer. If used wisely, a transfer offer can lower your overall payment amount and improve your credit score.

Transferring a card balance is not as difficult as you may think. In fact, I’ve used them successfully over the years to lower my debt and monthly payment amounts. In addition, it’s been a terrific method for working my way into more exclusive cards with better protections and perks!  Read on for what you need to know before agreeing to one. We’ll dive into what level of credit is required, contacting your card issuer’s customer service department, and look at some of our top choices for balance transfer credit cards.

When Applying for a Balance Transfer Card — Good Credit Required

Balance transfer cards might seem complicated, but many consumers have used them successfully to simplify their finances. If you’ve received an offer in the mail or online for a card balance transfer, it’s likely because you have done an excellent job with your existing card. Card companies won’t take on additional risk unless they have confidence that you’ll make good on your new card’s payment terms.

A transfer requires you to open up a new card account (which means a new line of credit), usually with a completely different card company. You cannot, for example, usually transfer the balance of a Discover card to a new Discover card, Chase to Chase, etc. Once approved, you can transfer up to the limit of the new card from the old one. So, a new card with a limit of $5,000 can legally accommodate a balance transfer of that amount, but it is wise to transfer a little less than the total available credit limit for a few reasons.

How does a balance transfer work?

You will want to closely check the terms of your balance transfer offer for any transfer fees that apply. Most every card will impose a one-time fee paid as a percentage of the total you are transferring. Today’s cards usually charge between 3% and 5%. There are a few very special offers out there, however, that will charge fees as low as 1-2%. These are usually for very good credit. This fee is applied immediately upon transferring the balance and is added to the balance, a very good reason to not borrow the full amount of the new card. (You don’t want to go over the limit.)

Good credit is required to get balance transfer offers, and even better credit will get you the best offers. Some of our favorites are listed here:

Wells Fargo Platinum card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.7/5.0
  • 0% intro APR for 18 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers, then a 16.49% to 24.49% variable APR; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate and fee of 3% then a BT fee of up to 5%, min: $5
  • $0 Annual Fee
  • 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 card
  • Easy access to your FICO® Credit Score with Wells Fargo Online®
  • Monitor your spending, purchases and any suspicious activity with text and email alerts and notifications
  • Convenient tools to help create a budget and manage your spending with My Money Map
  • Select "Apply Now" to learn more about the product features, terms and conditions
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% intro APR for 18 months from account opening
0% intro APR for 18 months on qualifying balance transfers
16.49%-24.49% (Variable)
$0
Good/Excellent

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
4.7

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 and will have a fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • 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.
  • 24/7 access to customer service representatives
  • $0 annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
0% for 18 months
13.99% - 23.99% Variable
$0
Excellent/Good
BankAmericard® Credit Card Review

at Bank Of America'ssecure website

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • Earn $100 statement credit online bonus after making at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of your account opening
  • 0% Intro APR for 18 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days, then a variable APR will apply
  • An optional overdraft protection service is available to help prevent declined purchases, returned checks or other overdrafts when you link your eligible Bank of America® checking account to your credit card. Transfer fees may apply.
  • 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
  • No annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 18 billing cycles
0% Intro APR for 18 billing cycles (for balance transfers made in the first 60 days)
12.99% - 22.99% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

4.7/5.0
  • No Late Fees, No Penalty Rate, and No Annual Fee... Ever
  • 0% intro APR offers on both purchases and balance transfers (balance transfer fee applies), then a variable APR applies
  • Choose a payment due date that works best for you — beginning, middle, or end of the month
  • Stay protected against identity theft with Citi® Identity Theft Solutions
  • $0 liability on unauthorized charges
  • 24/7 access to customer service representatives - save time, just say "representative" when you call, to enjoy fast, personal help
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 18 months
0% for 18 months
14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • 0% Intro APR for 18 months on purchases from date of account opening and 0% Intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers from date of first transfer. After that the variable APR will be 13.74% - 23.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Balance transfers must be completed within 4 months of account opening.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% 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.
  • Shop with confidence knowing that you have dependable protection benefits, including $0 Liability on Unauthorized Purchases and Citi® Identity Theft Solutions.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 13.74% - 23.74%, 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% 18 months on Purchases and Balance Transfers
0% 18 months on Purchases and Balance Transfers
13.74% - 23.74% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good
Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
4.5

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • New! Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers, then a 14.99% to 24.99% variable APR; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate and fee of 3% then a BT fee of up to 5%, min: $5
  • $0 annual fee
  • No category restrictions or sign ups and cash rewards don't expire as long as your account remains open
  • Enjoy a premium collection of benefits at a selection of the world's most intriguing and prestigious hotel properties with Visa Signature Concierge
  • 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 Active Cash℠ Card
  • Select "Apply Now" to learn more about the product features, terms and conditions
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% intro APR 15 months from account opening
0% intro APR 15 months from account opening
14.99%-24.99% Variable APR
$0
Good/Excellent

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
4.5

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • Earn 20,000 bonus points after you spend $1,500 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for $200 in gift cards
  • The Citi Rewards+® Card - the only credit card that automatically rounds up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase - with no cap.
  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months from date of first transfer and on purchases from date of account opening. 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 ThankYou® 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.
  • No annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR Period 15 months on Purchases and Balance Transfers
0% Intro APR Period 15 months on Purchases and Balance Transfers
13.49% - 23.49% Variable
$0
Excellent, Good
TD Double Up℠ Credit Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
4.5

OVERALL RATING

4.1/5.0
  • Earn up to 2% Cash Back Rewards when you redeem into an eligible TD Bank Deposit Account
  • Bonus Cash Back: Earn $150 Cash Back in the form of a statement credit when you spend $1,000 within the first 90 days after account opening
  • 0% introductory APR balance transfers for the first 15 billing cycles after account opening. After that, 14.99%, 19.99% or 24.99% variable APR based on your creditworthiness.
  • $0 Annual Fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
0% for 15 months
14.99%, 19.99%, or 24.99%
$0
Good/Excellent
NFL Extra Points Credit Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
4.5

OVERALL RATING

4.0/5.0
  • Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $500 on purchases in the first 90 days
  • Earn 2X points on NFL and team purchases and 1X points on all other purchases
  • 0% introductory APR for 15 billing cycles on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening, then a variable APR applies
  • Special ticket financing: 0% promotional APR for 6 billing cycles on eligible NFL ticket purchases, then a variable APR applies
  • Enjoy 20% off at NFLShop.com
  • Redeem points for exclusive NFL experiences, game tickets, NFLShop.com purchases, gift cards, or cash back
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
0% for 15 billing cycles
15.99%, 20.99%, or 25.99% variable, based on your creditworthiness
$0
Good
FRONTIER Airlines World Mastercard® Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
4.5

OVERALL RATING

4.0/5.0
  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $500 on purchases and paying the annual fee in full, both within the first 90 days
  • Earn 5X miles on eligible purchases at flyfrontier.com, 3X miles on restaurant purchases, and 1X miles on all other purchases
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening (3% balance transfer fee applies), then a variable APR applies
  • Earn a $100 flight voucher every account anniversary after spending $2,500 or more on purchases with your card during your card membership year
  • Cardmembers enjoy Zone 2 priority boarding
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year; $79 annual fee thereafter
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
0% for 15 billing cycles
15.99%, 19.99%, or 24.99% variable, based on creditworthiness
$0 intro; $79 thereafter
Good

+ Compare More Balance Transfer Offers

Dr. Penny Pincher recommends consumers “avoid being dazzled by a great interest rate that distracts you from noticing a higher fee compared with other balance transfer offers.” Zero-percent transfer fees are available to select cardholders, but are usually very limited and don’t offer as good of interest rates.

In addition to the transfer fee, you’ll have a balance transfer interest rate (or APR.) This is usually lower than the rate your card will charge for purchases. It is also usually a special offer for new cardholders and may also be lower than future balance transfer rates. For this reason, it’s very important to know how long that special balance transfer rate is good for. You’ll need all of your transfers to start and end by that date to get the special rate. Most transfers take place within 7-14 business days, but your specific card can give you details on what to plan for.

Call Customer Service on Your Existing Card

When you initiate the balance transfer, whether online, over the phone, or by mail, your new credit card will need the information from your existing card.

Image of credit card customer service number

The customer service phone number can easily be found on the back of your card.

The new card will then handle dispersing the funds to your existing balance. It is sometimes necessary to contact your old card, however. This may be required when you need additional information on the exact payoff balance, or you wish to put your old card on hold for future charges. You should have access to contact info for your existing credit card either on the back of your card or on your statement.

If you can’t find this information or need the most up-to-date info, you can see credit card company contact info here. You will be asked to verify your identity before being allowed to discuss your account with the customer service rep.

Don’t Make Balance Transfers a Habit

Using balance transfers wisely can help reduce interest rates and expand your credit card options. Remember, the more credit you have available to you, the higher your credit score can go over time! The important thing to remember is not to charge up your old card once the balance has been transferred — you want to be making payments toward reducing your overall debt while keeping the lines of credit from both cards open.

According to Joshua Caucutt at MoneyCrashers.com, you’ll also want to keep those old lines open. “An unused line of credit helps keep your credit usage percentage low. If you have $10,000 worth of unused credit on one card and then open a 0% balance transfer of $10,000 on another card, your credit usage will show up as only 50%, even though you may never plan to use the existing card ever again. It’s a simplistic example, but the principle remains the same.”

Balance transfer offers are usually for a limited time, so that great rate you got when you first transferred is only temporary. Whether you have 12, 18, or even 24 months to take advantage of that low rate, you’ll want to pay it off by then. Not paying it off may tempt you to open another card to transfer the balance yet again; this is a trap that many credit users fall into, and it can be dangerous! Too many cards with balances can cause your credit score to drop sharply.

As long as you are making payment to reduce your total debt, balance transfers are a wonderful tool for those with good credit.

“Credit cards with 0% introductory rates can be taken advantage of to save money, provide flexibility with your monthly budget, or both. But, it’s important to read the terms of the offer and do the math to ensure it’s really going to be the right choice.” —CleverDude.com.

Make sure you know all of the details of your current offer and don’t forget to shop around! One of your existing cards may also have an offer available to you that you don’t want to overlook.

To see these offers, log into your credit card account online and check for any incoming messages or special offers. New cards usually offer the best terms, but it is important to know all your options before making a decision. When utilized correctly, balance transfers can save you significant amounts of interest payments in the long run, but be careful not to let this approach land you in a situation that is worse than where you were to begin with.

Advertiser Disclosure

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.