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Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards: 2018

Brendan Harkness

Brendan Harkness

Updated May 11, 2018

Ibis Consultants receives compensation from some credit card issuers as advertisers. Advertiser relationships do not affect card ratings or our Best Card Picks.

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We’ve considered hundreds of credit cards available today, bringing you our picks for the best balance transfer offers. If you want to transfer a balance onto a new credit card at 0% APR, these should be your first options.

Ibis Consultants’s Top Balance Transfer Credit Card Picks

Best for Card
Earning Rewards Amex EveryDay Credit Card (Review)
No Transfer Fees Chase Slate Card (Review) and BankAmericard Credit Card
Long 0% APR Period Citi Diamond Preferred Card (Review)

Is A Balance Transfer Card Right For You?

Balance transfer credit cards can potentially save you a lot of money and help get you out of credit card debt. If you’re carrying a balance on almost any account with an interest rate, you may be able to transfer some or all of it to a credit card and pay it off at 0% APR.

Say you have a $5,000 balance on a card with an APR of 20%. If you make a $300 payment every month, it will take 20 months to pay off. And you’ll end up having to pay over $900 in interest charges.

A balance transfer card provides a better way to pay the debt off. Transfer that $5,000 to a card with a 0% introductory balance transfer interest rate. Then it will only take 17 months to pay off, making $300 monthly payments. You’ll save over $900 by avoiding the interest charges, and the debt will be cleared up more quickly which is good for your credit.

When considering a card’s offer, look at how many months at 0% APR you’ll get. Divide your total debt by that number, and that will give you the monthly payment you’ll need to make. If you have a $1,000 balance and 10 months to pay it off, for example, you’ll need to make monthly payments of $100 to pay it off in time. We typically recommend aiming to pay off the debt one month early, just to be safe.

Are you carrying a balance on a credit card with an interest rate over 0%? If so, you should consider moving it to a card with a 0% APR to save money and improve your credit. If you have installment loans that you’re thinking about transferring, this may not be necessary because they tend to have low interest rates and don’t hurt your credit very much.

Balance transfers can be a great tactic in your fight to reduce debt. Whether you use the snowball method or the avalanche method, it’s always a good idea to try to reduce the amount of interest you end up paying.

Consider a card with a balance transfer offer if you:

  • have credit card debt at an APR above 0%, which you won’t be able to pay off within the next few months
  • have a plan to pay off the debt without accumulating more debt on a different card
  • don’t have major negative items on your credit reports (since you may have trouble getting approved for a new card)
  • don’t mind the impact the new account will have on the account age of your credit scores (generally a small impact, and it may be worth the hit to get out of debt sooner)

Selection Criteria: What Makes A Great Balance Transfer Card?

When considering a balance transfer offer, look at these three features:

  • The balance transfer interest rate, or APR: get one with that’s lower than what you have now
  • The time period for which the APR will last: longer is better
  • The balance transfer fee: lower is better

The balance transfer APR will be separate from the purchase APR. In many cases they’ll be the same rate, but not always. A 0% APR is the best you can get for balance transfers, so look for these offers. Many credit cards allow balance transfers, but they aren’t always at zero interest. You’ll want to choose a 0% offer to save the most money.

The balance transfer APR period is the amount of time you’ll have to pay off the balance at the specified APR. Longer is better, of course, because you’ll have more time to pay it off.

The balance transfer fee is the fee you’ll be charged for making the transfer. Lower is better, though most cards charge a fee of around 3%.

Sometimes you’ll get a balance transfer offer for a credit card that you already have. For example, our editor’s BankAmericard Cash Rewards (Review) recently gave him a balance transfer offer of 0% for 12 months or 1.99% for 15 months. There was a 3% transfer fee for each offer. Card issuers might do this occasionally to encourage you to carry a balance on one of their cards again.

You won’t be able to transfer a balance between two cards from the same issuer. So you can’t transfer from one Amex card to another, for example, or one Discover card to another. You’ll have to transfer from a different credit card issuer or bank.

This makes balance transfer offers pretty easy to assess, because you only have a few factors to look at. Just make sure the APR you’ll get is lower than what you currently have (preferably 0%). And go for the longest APR period you can find, with the lowest possible fee.

Lucky for you, we’ve rounded up the cards with the best balance transfer offers available today. You could use any of them to start making a dent in your credit card debt.

The Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards of 2018

We chose these cards because they excel in the criteria we mentioned above. They come with 0% APRs and low fees, and give you a long time to pay off the balance.

Take note that the specific terms you get for any card may vary based on your credit history. These are the card features that most people will get most of the time, but occasionally something may differ. Be sure to check the terms on the card issuer’s website carefully whenever you apply for a card.

Best For Earning Rewards

The Amex EveryDay Credit Card
  • Our Rating
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The Amex EveryDay Credit Card

For People with
Good Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 14.24%–25.24% Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • Earn 10,000 Membership Reward® points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 20% more points: Make 20 or more purchases with your Card in a billing period and get 20% extra points on those purchases less returns and credits. Terms and limitations apply.
  • 2x points at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1x); 1x points on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
  • You can use Membership Rewards® Pay with Points to pay for all or part of your flight, hotel booked and paid in advance, vacation or cruise booking.
  • No annual fee. Plus, 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, then a variable rate, currently 14.24% to 25.24%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors.
  • Terms and limitations apply.

The Amex EveryDay Credit Card (Review) is a rare card because it offers a good balance transfer deal and a good rewards program too. EveryDay cardholders get:

  • 0% intro APR for 15 months for purchases and balance transfers, for transfers made in the first 60 days after account opening
  • No balance transfer fees ever
  • No annual fee

There are many rewards cards with 0% intro APR periods. But they usually have transfer fees of 3% or so, and that makes them not as good for balance transfers. This might be the only credit card to offer bonus reward categories and a 0% fee for all transfers.

Some cards will have a 0% fee offer for a limited time, like the ((Chase Slate)), but very few cards never charge a fee for transfers like the EveryDay. The 15-month 0% APR offer applies to transfers made in the first 60 days, which is pretty standard.

In addition to the balance transfer offer, this card provides:

  • 2X Membership Rewards points per dollar:
    • at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases per year, then 1 point per dollar)
    • at the Amex Travel website
  • 1X Membership Rewards point per dollar on all other purchases
  • A 20% point bonus if you make at least 20 purchases in a billing period
  • Signup bonus: 10,000 points for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months after account opening

So you’ll earn more points with this card if you manage to use it more than 20 times per month. If you do, that would mean you’d be earning 2.4X points or 1.2X points in those categories.

That comes out to the equivalent of up to 2.4% cash back, depending on how you earn and redeem your points. And if you transfer your points to a partner travel program you could get even more for them, as much as 3% back or more.

These purchases also get a 0% introductory APR for 15 months. You can pay them off over time just like a balance transfer. All that makes this a great card for shopping at grocery stores.

The Amex EveryDay has always offered points, but with this transfer offer it aims to compete with cards designed for both rewards and balance transfers. If you want a card with rewards, a 0% intro rate for both purchases and balance transfers, and no transfer fee, this might be your only option.

However, in most cases it might be better to use one card for earning rewards, and another card for balance transfers.

Best for No Transfer Fees

Chase Slate
  • Our Rating
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Chase Slate

For People with
Good Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 16.49%–25.24% Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • $0 Intro balance transfer fee for the first 60 days your account is open. After that, the fee for future transactions is 5% of the amount transferred with a minimum of $5.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After that, 16.49% - 25.24% variable APR.
  • See monthly updates to your FICO® Score and the reasons behind your score for free
  • No Penalty APR - Paying late won't raise your interest rate (APR). All other account pricing and terms apply
  • $0 Annual Fee

The information for Chase Slate has been collected independently by Ibis Consultants. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

The Chase Slate Credit Card (Review) is very simple, but excellent for balance transfers:

  • 0% intro APR for 15 months for purchases and balance transfers
  • Intro balance transfer fee of 0%, for transfers made during the first 60 days (5% after that)
  • No annual fee

There are no rewards to earn. But if you want to pay down a balance over time, you can do it at no extra cost with this card.

You’ll have to make your transfer within the first 60 days to get the intro transfer fee. After that it will be a fairly large fee, at 5%.

The Chase Slate’s extra benefits are pretty basic: mostly just shopping and travel protections. But it also offers free credit monitoring through the Chase Journey service, which provides your VantageScore 3.0 based on your TransUnion credit report. It even shows quite a bit of data from your TransUnion report, and there’s a credit simulator too.

Like most cards designed around balance transfers, there isn’t much else to this card. Its main purpose is to help you pay off a balance over time. And if you use it responsibly, making payments each month, it can do just that.

Other Option

  • The BankAmericard Credit Card is an almost identical card offer: No annual fee, 15-month 0% intro APR for purchases and balance transfers, no transfer fee for the first 60 days.

Best for Long 0% Period

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
  • Our Rating
Apply Now

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

For People with
Excellent Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 14.24%–24.24% Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • Get a 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 21 months. After that, the APR will be 14.24%–24.24% Variable based upon your creditworthiness.*
  • Get a 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 12 months.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer.
  • Citi® Easy DealsSM Get what you want for less. Earn Citi Easy Deals Points for the purchases you make with your card.
  • Redeem your points for great online deals on name-brand merchandise, gift cards and even local deals.
  • Let our 24/7 concierge service help book your hotel rooms, flights and more.
  • $0 liability on unauthorized purchases and Citi® Identity Theft Solutions.
  • No annual fee*

The Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card (Review) is another balance transfer credit card without rewards. Its most notable feature is the very long introductory period for transfers:

  • 0% intro APR for 21 months for balance transfers made in the first 4 months after account opening, starting from the date of the first transfer
  • 0% intro APR for 12 months for purchases
  • Balance transfer fee of 3% (minimum $5)
  • No annual fee

Unlike most cards, the Diamond Preferred has intro periods for balance transfers and purchases that are for different lengths of time. But otherwise this card functions like any other card with intro APRs.

You’ll have to pay a fee of 3% to transfer a balance to this card. This would be $150 for a balance of $5,000, for example. But for that you’ll get a long time to pay it off, 6 months longer than the other two cards above. This card also gives you longer than most cards to make the transfer (4 months rather than 60 days). And it even starts counting the 21 months from the date of your transfer, whereas most cards just start counting as soon as your account is opened.

That’s about all there is to this card. There are no points or cash back to earn. Just some favorable terms to help pay down a balance from a different account, over the course of nearly two years.

Runners-Up

There are quite a few cards worth mentioning for their balance transfer offers. However, some of them have fees, slightly shorter APR periods, or other terms that make them less than the best. But you could still use them to help reduce your credit card debt.

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