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The best balance transfer credit cards with 0% APR for March 2024

We've put together a list of the best credit cards for balance transfers that can help you pay down debt without immediately accruing more interest.

When's the perfect time to work on your credit card debt? Now. February 2024 presents an opportunity to forgo paying interest for up to 21 months using a balance transfer offer. Many financial institutions offer introductory rates of 0% APR when you sign up for a balance transfer credit card. In your personal finance journey, a long introductory period can significantly affect your credit repayment plan.

Read on to learn about the best balance transfer credit cards available to help determine which is the best for you.

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card is an impressive financial tool, especially for those seeking an all-in-one solution to manage their purchases and balance transfers.

Annual fee: $0

Intro offer: 0% APR for 18 months on balance transfers and purchases

Rewards: Unlimited 2% cash back

More details: Beyond its introductory 0% APR, the card has a balance transfer fee of 3%. This is relatively standard and should be factored into decisions about transferring balances to this card. The card also allows for a straightforward redemption of rewards, adding to its user-friendly appeal.

Why we like it: What makes the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card a standout option is its generous 0% introductory APR offer, which extends for 18 months on both purchases and balance transfers. This feature is particularly beneficial for those planning significant purchases or looking to consolidate debts without accruing additional interest during this period.

The straightforward 3% balance transfer fee is also competitive, making it a cost-effective option for transferring balances from other high-interest cards. These features make the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card a top contender for anyone seeking a balance transfer card that offers both savings and simplicity.


Discover it® Balance Transfer

The Discover it® Balance Transfer card is an exceptional choice for individuals prioritizing an extended introductory APR period for balance transfers, coupled with a unique cash-back match feature in the first year. This card stands out for its dual benefit of assisting with debt management through the 0% introductory APR offer and maximizing rewards on purchases.

Annual fee: $0

Welcome offer: 0% APR for the first 15 months on balance transfers and purchases

Rewards:

  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases in various categories that change each quarter, up to a quarterly maximum upon activation

  • Purchases exceeding the quarterly maximum in the 5% category, as well as all other purchases, will earn 1% cash back

More details: The card offers an introductory 0% APR for the first 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, accompanied by a balance transfer fee of 3%. This is quite competitive and allows for significant interest savings during the introductory period. The cash-back rewards program is dynamic, with the categories changing quarterly, offering a refreshing way to earn rewards.

Why we like it: The Discover it® Balance Transfer card is an excellent option for balance transfers due to its significant 15-month 0% APR offer on such transactions. This introductory period provides a substantial window to pay off transferred balances without incurring additional interest, which is ideal for debt consolidation and management.

The 3% balance transfer fee is reasonable and standard, adding to the card’s appeal for those seeking to transfer from higher-rate cards. Additionally, the cash-back match in the first year acts as a bonus, effectively doubling the rewards earned on balance transfers and purchases, making this card not just a tool for debt management but also a rewarding experience for its users.


Wells Fargo Reflect® Card

The Wells Fargo Reflect® Card is particularly well-suited for individuals seeking one of the longest introductory APR periods for balance transfers and purchases. This card is a strong contender for those needing extended time to manage their existing debts or plan for large purchases without accumulating interest.

Annual fee: $0

Welcome offer: 0% APR for 21 months on balance transfers and purchases

Rewards: No cash back or points system

More details: While the card doesn't offer cash-back rewards, its primary appeal lies in the lengthy 0% APR period. However, it has a balance transfer fee of 5%, which is slightly higher than some other cards but may be justified by the extended interest-free period.

Why we like it: The Wells Fargo Reflect® Card is an excellent choice for balance transfers primarily because of its extraordinarily long 0% APR offer of 21 months. This feature allows cardholders to transfer existing balances and enjoy a prolonged period without incurring interest, providing ample time for debt management and reduction.

The 5% balance transfer fee needs to be considered, but for many, the benefit of the extended interest-free period outweighs this cost. This card is particularly advantageous for those who anticipate needing more time to pay off their balances and want to avoid the rapid accumulation of interest charges.


Chase Freedom Unlimited®

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® card is ideal for those who value flexibility in rewards, desire travel benefits, and appreciate the balance transfer incentive, all without an annual fee. This card offers a mix of generous rewards across various categories, making it a versatile option for everyday use.

Annual fee: $0

Intro offer: 0% APR for 15 months on balance transfers and purchases

Welcome bonus: Earn an extra 1.5% cash back (up to $300) on all purchases in the first year (up to $20,000 in spending). Learn more about this welcome offer.

Balance transfer fee: $5 or 3%, whichever is greater

Rewards:

  • 5% on travel purchased through Chase Travel

  • 3% on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services

  • 3% on drugstore purchases

  • 1.5% on all other purchases

Why we like it: The Chase Freedom Unlimited® card stands out for balance transfers due to its introductory 0% APR offer for 15 months. This feature provides a substantial period for cardholders to manage their transferred balances without accruing interest, making it a suitable choice for those looking to consolidate and pay down debt. The balance transfer fee of $5 or 3%, whichever is greater, is a standard rate in the industry.

Coupled with the card's diverse rewards program and travel benefits, it becomes an appealing choice for users who want to combine the advantages of a balance transfer card with the perks of a rewards card. This combination makes the Chase Freedom Unlimited® a comprehensive option for those seeking financial flexibility and reward benefits.


Chase Freedom Flex

The Chase Freedom Flex card is an excellent choice for Chase Bank users seeking a versatile primary or secondary credit card. It combines the benefits of a balance transfer card with a robust cash rewards program, all without an annual fee. This card is especially suited for those who want to maximize their rewards across various spending categories.

Annual fee: $0

Welcome bonus: $200 cash back after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

Intro offer: 0% APR for 15 months on balance transfers and purchases

Balance transfer fee: $5 or 3%, whichever is greater

Rewards:

  • 5% on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate (like gas stations, grocery stores & select online merchants)

  • 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

  • 3% on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services

  • 3% on drugstore purchases

  • 1% on all other purchases

Why we like it: The Chase Freedom Flex shines in the balance transfer category with its 0% APR offer for 15 months on balance transfers and purchases. This introductory period is ideal for users who need time to manage and pay off their transferred balances without incurring additional interest. The balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3%, whichever is greater, is a competitive rate in the market.

In addition to its balance transfer benefits, the card's comprehensive rewards program, including high cash-back rates in rotating categories and on travel purchases, makes it a multifaceted option for those who want the dual benefits of managing their debts and earning significant rewards. The Chase Freedom Flex is particularly appealing to those who are already Chase customers and are looking to maximize their relationship with the bank through an additional banking product.


Citi Double Cash® Card

The Citi Double Cash® Card is a standout choice for users who prioritize high cash-back rewards for the long term, in addition to seeking balance transfer benefits. With no annual fee and a robust rewards program, this card is ideal for those looking to maximize their cash-back earnings beyond the initial balance transfer period.

Annual fee: $0

Welcome bonus: Earn $200 cash back after spending $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening

Intro offer: 0% APR for the first 18 months on balance transfers only

Balance transfer fee: 3%

Rewards: Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.

More details: This card stands out with no caps on cash-back earnings and no categories to track. Your rewards can be redeemed as a statement credit, direct deposit, or a check.

Why we like it: The Citi Double Cash® Card is an excellent option for balance transfers because of its introductory 0% APR offer for the first 18 months on balance transfers. This extended period allows cardholders to manage their debts more effectively, providing ample time to pay off transferred balances without accruing interest. The balance transfer fee of 3% is a standard rate, offering a fair trade-off for the lengthy interest-free period. Beyond the balance transfer features, the card’s 2% cash-back reward structure on all purchases makes it an attractive option for long-term use.

Users benefit from consistent rewards accumulation without the need to track specific categories or worry about earning caps. This combination of balance transfer benefits and a robust rewards program makes the Citi Double Cash® Card particularly appealing to those seeking a comprehensive credit card solution.


Citi Custom Cash® Card

The Citi Custom Cash® Card is an excellent option for those seeking a balance transfer credit card that also offers rewarding cash back, all without an annual fee. This card adapts to your spending habits, making it a flexible choice for various users.

Annual fee: $0

Intro offer: 0% APR for 15 months on balance transfers and purchases

Welcome bonus: Earn $200 cash back after spending $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening

Balance transfer fee: $5 or 5%, whichever is greater

Rewards:

  • Earn 5% cash back on your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to $500 spent

  • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases

Why we like it: The Citi Custom Cash® Card is particularly advantageous for balance transfers due to its 0% APR offer for the first 15 months on balance transfers and purchases. This introductory period provides a significant window to manage and pay down transferred balances without worrying about accruing interest. While the balance transfer fee is slightly higher at $5 or 5%, whichever is greater, the benefits of the interest-free period can outweigh this cost for many users.

Additionally, the card’s unique rewards structure automatically adjusts to earn 5% cash back on your top spending category each billing cycle (up to $500 spent), adds significant value. This feature ensures that you maximize cash back in the categories where you spend the most, making it a smart choice for those who want a balance transfer card that continues to be rewarding in the long term. The combination of balance transfer benefits and dynamic cash-back rewards makes the Citi Custom Cash® Card a well-rounded option for cardholders.


Citi Simplicity® Card

The Citi Simplicity® Card is ideal for those looking for one of the longest 0% APR introductory periods in the market, specifically for balance transfers, with a separate introductory period for purchases. This card is particularly appealing for its focus on simplicity and affordability, given its lack of an annual fee and straightforward terms.

Annual fee: $0

Intro offer: 0% APR for the first 21 months on balance transfers and 12 months on purchases

Welcome bonus: None

Balance transfer fee: $5 or 3%, whichever is greater

Rewards: No cash-back rewards

Why we like it: The primary appeal of the Citi Simplicity® Card for balance transfers lies in its extended 0% APR offer, lasting an impressive 21 months. This length of time is one of the longest available, providing cardholders with a substantial period to manage and pay off transferred balances without accruing interest.

The 0% APR offer for 12 months on purchases also adds flexibility, allowing cardholders to make new purchases without immediate interest concerns. While the card does not offer cash-back rewards or a welcome bonus, its strength is its simplicity and the potential for significant interest savings.

The balance transfer fee of $5 or 3%, whichever is greater, is a standard rate and should be considered when evaluating the overall benefit of transferring balances to this card. The Citi Simplicity® Card is particularly well-suited for those prioritizing a lengthy interest-free period for their balance transfer needs, offering a straightforward and cost-effective approach to managing debt.


Additional balance transfer credit cards to consider

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

  • 0% APR on balance transfers and purchases for 21 billing cycles

  • Balance transfer fee: $5 or 3%, whichever is greater

Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • 0% APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 billing cycles

  • Balance transfer fee: 3%


How a balance transfer credit card can help you save

Not only is credit card interest expensive, but it’s as high as it’s ever been. Today’s average credit card interest rate is around 21% — higher than at any other point since the Federal Reserve began tracking rates in the 1990s.

Compared to those double-digit interest rates, it’s not difficult to see how even a limited-time 0% APR can help you save on debt payoff.

You can maximize your balance transfer savings by planning to pay your balance in full before the intro period ends. But even if that’s impossible, you can still shave months and potentially thousands of dollars of your total amount paid. How much you save depends on a few details, including the length of your intro period and how much you can pay each month.

Balance transfer example

Let’s say you have a credit card balance of $5,500 today — about average, according to a report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — on a card earning 21%. Here’s what your journey to pay down debt could look like over a few different scenarios:

  • Minimum payments: This is by far the most costly option. Making only minimum payments, you would add nearly $9,000 in interest over more than two decades before paying your balance off in full. Total paid: $14,499

  • Fixed monthly payment: You can minimize costs by paying more than your monthly minimum, even if you cannot pay your balance in full. Maybe you can afford to contribute a fixed payment of $200 each month toward your debt. In this case, you’ll pay your balance in full after three years, but still add more than $2,000 to your total balance. Total paid: $7,566

Now, let’s see how a balance transfer credit card could make a difference in your $5,500 debt. This card comes with an 18-month 0% introductory APR and a 3% balance transfer fee (more on that below). After the intro period, you’ll take on the same 21% APR.

  • Pay in full: If you can put at least $314 toward your credit card bill each month, you could wipe out your balance in full by the end of the intro period, without paying any additional interest. The only payment added to your principal is the 3% fee, equal to $165. Total paid: $5,665

  • Fixed monthly payment: If the amount you need to pay in full is out of your budget, you can still save with a balance transfer offer. Maybe you can still afford the same $200 monthly payment as before the transfer. Over the introductory period, you would pay down $3,600 of your principal balance, lowering your debt to $2,065. Once the APR starts to accrue, you could cover the remainder in one year with only $235 in added interest. Transferring your balance would allow you to pay your balance in full over 30 months and with about $400 in added interest and fees. Total paid: $5,900

Factors to consider when choosing a balance transfer credit card

There are many factors to consider for a balance transfer credit card, most notably whether this is right for your credit journey. Make sure you're considering your credit history and reading what terms apply. Don't get caught up in bonus offers, rewards bonuses or promotional periods until you ensure opening another credit card is right for you.

Introductory APR: Usually set for a certain period, an introductory rate is the percentage your account charges if you carry a balance. Often, this is 0% APR when you open a new account.

Regular APR: APR stands for annual percentage rate, the percentage you get charged by the credit lender each payment period you carry a balance. This will most likely be different than your intro rate. Sometimes, cards have variable APR, which means your rate goes up and down over time.

Annual fees: The financial institution might charge an annual fee for having your account with the company. Annual fee cards are often tied to traveling or points programs.

Balance transfer fees: If you want to transfer debt to an existing balance from one credit card to another institution, the lender can charge you a fee. This is usually a percentage of your transfer amount. It's a common occurrence to be charged when you transfer your balance.

Your credit score: A credit score is a number that represents your credit health, which determines what cards you're eligible for. This can sometimes be referred to as a FICO score. There are multiple credit reporting agencies where you can request a free credit report that details your credit history, like how many credit card accounts you've had. Credit scores range from 300-850. Above 700 is considered good credit, and above 800 is considered excellent credit. By paying your cards on time, accumulating less interest, and not carrying a balance, you can move your credit from good to excellent.

Balance transfer costs and fees

You can save a lot of money with a balance transfer credit card, but you should still prepare for the potential costs you’ll incur.

Balance transfer cards don’t typically carry an annual fee. However, there is often a fee for transferring your balance. Balance transfer fees can range from 3%-5% of your overall balance, usually with a minimum of around $5.

Say you want to transfer a $3,000 balance to a card with a 0% intro APR and a 3% balance transfer fee. The balance transfer would cost you $90 in total. The larger your balance, the more you’ll pay for the balance transfer. Still, these fees are likely only a small fraction of the interest you would otherwise pay.

Some balance transfer credit cards waive this fee. If you have a very high balance that could lead to a costly fee — or you want to avoid any added cost altogether — you may want to focus on balance transfer cards with no fee.

3 ways to maximize your balance transfer credit card

Take advantage of your new card. Not only is a balance transfer credit card a great way to pay down debt, but it can also set you up for a better financial future. Here are three things you should do when you open up a new card:

1. Make the most of your introductory 0% APR

The introductory period on your balance transfer card only lasts so long. Take full advantage by transferring your balance as soon as possible after approval. If your new card offers an 18-month 0% APR intro period, but you wait two months to make your transfer, it’ll only be more difficult to pay down your debt in that shorter time frame.

Some balance transfer cards even require you to transfer your balance within a specific timeframe. For example, your card agreement may specify that the 0% APR offer applies to transfers made within the first 30 days of account opening. Alternatively, you could take on a more significant balance transfer fee the longer you wait. For example, there may only be a 3% fee for balances transferred within 60 days of account opening, but a 5% fee for balances transferred after that time.

2. Focus on debt payoff

Throughout the intro period, prioritize only paying down your debt — without making new purchases that increase your balance. You’ll leave yourself with more to pay off before the intro period ends.

Instead, focus on buying only what you can afford to pay off in full. Whether you make purchases with another credit card or use your debit card or cash, ensure you have enough money in the bank to cover your spending.

This may also help you become more aware of any spending habits that led to taking on the debt in the first place so you can avoid ending up in the same place again.

3. Think about the long-term

If debt payoff is your priority, long-term rewards or benefits may not be the biggest concern when choosing your balance transfer card, but they are worth considering.

Balance transfer credit cards with the longest introductory 0% APR periods (up to 21 months) typically offer few ongoing benefits. They are designed for cardholders looking to pay off as much debt as possible over a more extended period.

On the other hand, credit cards with balance transfer offers and ongoing rewards or other benefits tend to have slightly shorter intro periods of around 12 to 15 months. Even after you pay down your debt, these cards can offer long-term value on your everyday purchases. Just make sure you plan to avoid overspending and taking on debt again.

Balance transfer pros and cons

There are both pros and cons of balance transfers. While benefits include the intro APR period or intro APR offer, cons include balance transfer fees and lower credit limits.

Pros

  • 0% introductory APR: When you use a balance transfer card with an introductory 0% APR offer, any payments you make throughout the intro period will go directly toward your principal balance. Instead of interest making it more challenging to pay off your debt, you can use this tool to eliminate the underlying balance.

  • No annual fee: The best balance transfer cards available today have no annual fee, so you don’t have to worry about any additional cost of owning the card.

  • Debt consolidation: If you have balances spread across multiple credit cards, you may be able to consolidate them onto a single balance transfer card. Not only can you benefit from the period of interest-free payments, but you’ll also minimize the number of individual monthly payments you need to remember (make sure the total transferred balance is less than your card’s credit limit).

Cons

  • Risk of not paying your balance off in full: You may not be able to maximize your balance transfer if you cannot prioritize your monthly payments over the intro period. These cards work best if you can commit to paying down a significant portion of your balance over the 0% APR offer. Otherwise, you’ll be left with a growing balance once again when your regular interest rate begins.

  • Balance transfer fees: The fees issuers charge to make your transfer can add to your overall balance. But for most cardholders, a 3% or 5% fee will still be far less than the amount you would otherwise accrue in interest charges.

  • Credit limits: Make sure you know your balance transfer credit card’s credit limit before you attempt to make your transfer. If your existing debt is more than the limit, you won’t be able to transfer the entire balance.

Should you open a balance transfer card?

Only you can decide if opening a new account is right for you. This type of credit card can help if you're in debt or have high-interest debt. But you should consider how this card will affect your credit journey or if you might need to research other options. Think about these things before you make your decision:

Alternative options

It’s important to remember that a balance transfer isn’t your only option for debt payoff. Consolidating debt with a personal loan may be a better option for some people.

If your debt far exceeds the credit limit on a new balance transfer card or you need more time than you can find among 0% APR offers today, opting for a personal loan with a fixed APR lower than your current credit card could be a good solution.

Credit impact

Not only do you need good credit to qualify for a balance transfer card, but a balance transfer itself can also potentially affect your credit.

For one, when you open any new credit card (including a balance transfer card), the required hard inquiry on your credit could lead to a small, temporary credit score drop. To keep multiple applications from sinking your score, only apply for cards you’re confident you’ll qualify for or get prequalified before applying.

Another potential credit impact involves your credit limit. If you transfer a debt balance that makes up nearly your entire credit line, you could increase your credit utilization ratio — the amount of credit you’re using compared to the amount you have available. This is one of the most influential factors in your credit score; the lower it is, the better. However, if you can keep up with your payments and begin to quickly bring down your balance over the intro period, you can mitigate the negative effect and balance the ratio.

Develop a plan

A good plan is the most important thing you can have before deciding to pay down debt with a balance transfer credit card.

Using your card details (length of intro period, balance transfer fee, etc.), determine precisely how much you need to pay each month to eliminate your balance in full before the 0% APR period ends. If necessary, look at your budget and spending before you apply to find areas where you can reduce spending to dedicate more toward your monthly payments.

If you can't pay off your balance completely, think about what next steps you’ll take once interest kicks in to keep the remainder from growing out of your control.

And don’t forget to rethink your spending over the long term to ensure you don’t wind up with another debt balance in the future. Practicing good credit habits and spending only what you can afford is the best way to take advantage of the rewards and benefits of credit cards without paying the price tag of high interest.


Our methodology

In our endeavor to identify the best credit cards for balance transfers, we follow a thorough and unbiased evaluation process, ensuring our recommendations are focused solely on benefiting our readers. Our analysis is independent, free from external financial influences, and credit card issuers do not influence our reviews. This ensures our editorial integrity and the trustworthiness of our advice, aimed at maximizing your financial gains.

Our methodology begins by pinpointing key factors critical for balance transfer cards: transfer fees, penalty APRs, the length of 0% APR introductory periods, and the card's long-term value. We conducted an exhaustive comparison of multiple balance transfer cards, analyzing them across over 110 distinct data points. This comprehensive approach allows us to assess each card's specific features and benefits in detail. Our evaluation covers the cost-effectiveness of transfer fees, the implications of penalty APRs, the advantages of the 0% APR introductory periods, and the overall long-term value of each card.

Our proprietary scoring system is instrumental in this process, enabling us to quantitatively and qualitatively analyze each card against these critical factors. The system ensures a balanced assessment, considering both immediate financial relief provided by the card and its potential benefits or drawbacks in the long run.

After scoring each card, we refined our choices to those that stand out in terms of offering exceptional value, minimal fees, and favorable terms. Our selection includes cards that not only meet but exceed industry standards, providing the best options for managing and reducing debt.

This continuous and dynamic review process ensures our recommendations remain current and genuinely advantageous, reflecting the latest offerings and changes in the credit card market. By following this comprehensive and impartial methodology, we aim to present our readers with a carefully curated list of the best balance transfer credit cards, empowering you to make informed financial decisions tailored to your debt management goals.


Editorial Disclosure: The information in this article has not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The details on financial products, including card rates and fees, are accurate as of the publish date. All products or services are presented without warranty. Check the bank’s website for the most current information. This site doesn't include all currently available offers.