The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Monday, November 28, 2022

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

How To Transfer Credit Card Balance

credit card advice

Linsey Knerl

Written by: Linsey Knerl

Linsey Knerl

Linsey Knerl is a finance author and public speaker with a passion for helping everyday families earn more and live better. Her work can be seen in Investopedia, PC Mag, The Christian Science Monitor, TIME, Wise Bread, Next Avenue, MSN Money, and numerous other leading outlets. Her expertise lies in business economics, credit scores and reports, and saving and budgeting. Linsey has shared her financial knowledge with audiences at SXSW, FinCon, and the ASJA annual NYC convention.

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Edited by: Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian brings more than 30 years of editing and journalism experience. She has written and edited for major news organizations, including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the New York Times, and she previously served as an adjunct instructor at the University of Florida. Today, she edits all CardRates content for clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement.

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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:

Discover it® Balance Transfer Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

  • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, and gas stations, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • Discover helps remove your personal information from select people-search websites. Activate by mobile app for free.
  • Every $1 you earn in cash back is $1 you can redeem.
  • No annual fee.
  • Click "Apply Now" to see terms and conditions.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 6 months
0% Intro APR for 18 months
14.99% - 25.99% Variable APR
$0
Excellent/Good

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

  • No Late Fees, No Penalty Rate, and No Annual Fee... Ever
  • 0% Intro APR for 21 months on balance transfers from date of first transfer and 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases from date of account opening. After that the variable APR will be 17.74% - 28.49%, based on your creditworthiness. Balance transfers must be completed within 4 months of account opening.
  • There is an introductory balance transfer fee of $5 or 3% of the amount of the transfer, whichever is greater for balances transfers completed within 4 months of account opening.
  • Stay protected with Citi® Quick Lock and $0 liability on unauthorized charges
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR Period 12 months on Purchases
0% Intro APR Period 21 months on Balance Transfers
17.74% - 28.49% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good Credit

Additional Disclosure: Citi is a CardRates advertiser.

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

  • 0% Intro APR for 21 months on balance transfers from date of first transfer and 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases from date of account opening. After that the variable APR will be 16.74% - 27.49%, based on your creditworthiness. Balance transfers must be completed within 4 months of account opening.
  • For a limited time earn a $150 Statement Credit after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.
  • 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% 12 months on Purchases
0% 21 months on Balance Transfers
16.74% - 27.49% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

Additional Disclosure: Citi is a CardRates advertiser.

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

  • Start off strong with 0% Intro APR for 18 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers. A variable APR of 17.99% - 26.74% on balance transfers and purchases after the introductory period ends.
  • Lower your interest rate by 2% each year. Automatically be considered for an APR reduction when you pay on time, and spend at least $1000 on your card by your next account anniversary.
  • Raise your credit limit. Get an automatic, one-time review for a higher credit limit when you pay on time, and spend $500 in your first six months.
  • All for no annual fee - You won't have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Slate Edge℠ card
  • Keep tabs on your credit health - Chase Credit Journey helps you monitor your credit with free access to your latest score, real-time alerts, and more
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 18 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 18 months
17.99% - 26.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent
U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

  • For a limited time, get a special 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 18 billing cycles. After that, the APR is variable, currently 17.49%-27.49%.
  • Enjoy Cellphone Protection Coverage of up to $600 annually when you pay your monthly cellphone bill with your card
  • View your credit score anytime, anywhere in the mobile app or online banking. It's easy to enroll, easy to use, and free to U.S. Bank customers.
  • Fraud Protection detects and notifies you of any unusual card activity to help prevent fraud
  • Choose your payment due date
  • $0 Annual Fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 18 billing cycles
0% for 20 billing cycles
17.49% - 27.49% Variable
$0
Excellent Credit

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

  • 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 Only Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 17.74% - 27.74%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back. Intro APR does not apply to purchases.
  • 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 an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer (minimum $5) completed within the first 4 months of account opening. After that, your fee will be 5% of each transfer (minimum $5).
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
0% Intro APR Period 18 months on Balance Transfers
17.74% - 27.74% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

Additional Disclosure: Citi is a CardRates advertiser.

Chase Freedom Flex℠ Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more
  • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 17.99% - 26.74%.
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
17.99% - 26.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

  • INTRO OFFER: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!
  • Enjoy 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 3% on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year).
  • After your first year or $20,000 spent, enjoy 5% cash back on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!
  • Enjoy 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 17.99% - 26.74%.
  • No annual fee - You won't have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Freedom Unlimited® card
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
17.99% - 26.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
4.5

OVERALL RATING

  • 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 at thankyou.com
  • For a limited time, earn 5 ThankYou® Points per $1 spent at restaurants up to $6,000 in the first 12 months and 1 ThankYou® Point per $1 spent thereafter.
  • 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 17.24% - 27.24%, based on your creditworthiness. There is an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer (minimum $5) completed within the first 4 months of account opening. After that, your fee will be 5% of each transfer (minimum $5).
  • The Citi Rewards+® Card - the only credit card that automatically rounds up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase - with no cap.
  • 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.
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
17.24% - 27.24% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

Additional Disclosure: Citi is a CardRates advertiser.

Upromise® Mastercard® Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
4.5

OVERALL RATING

  • Earn $100 bonus cash back rewards after spending $500 on purchases in the first 90 days
  • Earn 1.529% Cash Back Rewards on your purchases when your account is linked to an eligible College Savings Plan
  • Earn 1.25% Cash Back Rewards on every purchase if not linked to an eligible College Savings Plan
  • Upromise Round Up lets you round up your purchases to the nearest dollar, based on the limit you set (from $1 to $500). The total Round Up Amount is considered a purchase and converted to cash back rewards.
  • 0% introductory APR for 15 months on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening (balance transfer fee applies), then a variable APR applies
  • Free online access to your FICO® Score
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
0% for 15 months
17.99%, 22.99% or 27.99%, based on creditworthiness
$0
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 for referrals for many of the offers listed on the site. Along with key review factors, this compensation may impact how and where products appear across CardRates.com (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.