When you are looking to transfer your credit card debt to a 0% balance transfer card, you shouldn’t pick the first offer you qualify for. While you will get 0% with any card, you also need to look at the offer details such as fees, transfer deadlines, and how long the 0% offer lasts before increasing to the regular card rate. Applying for one of the best balance transfer credit cards will help you repay your debt faster.
Picking a Balance Transfer Credit Card
There are two primary criteria you should look at when choosing a balance transfer credit card.
The most important is the 0% interest repayment window. Most credit cards offer 0% APR for the first 12 to 18 months, although it can be as short as 6 months. After that, your remaining balance will be charged the normal interest rate which can vary from 10% to 25%. If you have a large balance, you might need the entire 18-month period to repay the balance without interest.
After finding the longest repayment window, you need to find the lowest balance transfer fee. Most cards charge 3% of the transferred balance or $5, whichever is the larger amount, to offset the 0% interest offer. These fees are almost always cheaper than continuing to pay your current interest rate.
You may also want to avoid credit cards with an annual fee as that also increases your repayment costs. Thankfully none of the best balance transfer credit cards don’t charge an annual fee.
One final note, you will want to read the fine print as some credit card issuers will not allow you to transfer the balance from one of their other credit cards to the new balance transfer credit card or applied for a similar card within the most recent 16-24 months.
Best Overall Balance Transfer Credit Card
Annual Fee: $0
Introductory Offer Length:21 Months
Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 3%
Not only does the Citi Simplicity have one of the longest introductory terms at 21 months, you also will not pay any late fees or penalty rates. You will need to transfer your balances within the first 4 months to qualify for the 0% rate.
Also, the foreign transaction fee is 3% and isn’t the best card to travel abroad with.