Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards

Credit card debt is something we all try to avoid.

No one wants to give their hard-earned money to the bank in interest charges and late payment fees.

But sometimes, our spending gets the best of us, and we end up with a credit card balance that is a little more than we can handle.

Thankfully, there are credit cards that will give you a break from those soul-crushing interest rates, and help you see the light at the end of the tunnel.

How do balance transfer credit cards work?

Using a credit card to pay off another credit card is never a good idea.

...Unless you're taking advantage of a balance transfer offer.

Balance transfers allow you to take pre-existing credit card debt from one card and transfer it to another to take advantage of a lower interest rate.

If used correctly, balance transfers are a great way to get your card balance paid off faster and help you save big on interest charges.

How much money could a balance transfer save you?

Why don't we look at some specific numbers?

Let's say you have $2,000 in credit card debt, on a card with 20% APR, and you're paying $200 a month towards your balance. Not only will it take you 12 months to pay off your credit card, but you will be paying $206 dollars in interest.

Over $200 of your hard-earned money going straight to the bank – not cool.

This is where a balance transfer credit card comes in handy. If you transfer your $2,000 balance to a credit card that has a 0% APR, not only will you save your $200 in interest, but you'll also pay off your credit card in only 10 months. Who wouldn't want that?

Credit card interest calculator

Curious to know how much a lower interest balance transfer offer could save you in interest charges?

Enter your current balance and monthly payment into our interest calculator below. Set the "Current Rate" to the APR of your current credit card, and the "New Rate" to the balance transfer APR you're considering to see how much you could save.

Pros and cons of balance transfers

While offers like this may seem too good to be true, there are definitely both positives and negatives you should be on the lookout for.

Pros – why you want it

  • Depending on your balance and your dedication to paying it off, a balance transfer offer could save you a lot of money.
  • You'll be able to pay off your credit card balance faster.
  • Paying down your debt will help with your credit score.

Cons – things to watch out for

  • Adding another credit card to your wallet could encourage overspending.
  • Balance transfer offers are limited time offers, so your low rate won't last forever.
  • You'll need a decent credit score to be approved for another credit card.
  • Most credit cards will charge you a fee for transferring a balance. Be sure to read the fine print so you'll know what types of fees you'll be looking at (they typically charge around 3% of the total amount being transferred, but it varies by card).

How do our rankings work?

If you're looking for a balance transfer credit card, chances are you're looking for maximum savings, and we want to bring you that.

In order to find the best balance transfer credit card for you, we track balance transfer promotions in our database, along with 50+ other credit card features, and give credit cards a genius ranking out of 5.

The "Annual Savings" that you see in our table is based on a credit card balance of $8,000. If you owe more than that, you'll be looking at even more savings.

Curious to know more about how our Genius Rating works? Check out our FAQ page.

Tips on using balance transfer cards

Balance transfer offers can give you a leg up if you're trying to get your head above the choppy water of credit card debt.

But there are important things to know if you want to get the best out of these offers.

Pay off as much of your balance as you can

Sadly, that low rate balance transfer offer you scored won't last forever. If you don't get your balance paid off in the predetermined amount of time, your interest could jump up even higher than you were originally struggling to pay, leaving you in an even worse position.

So be sure to pay off as much of your balance as you can during your intro period.

If you still have a balance at the end of that period, you could always consider applying for another credit card, to take advantage of an additional balance transfer offer.

But be careful – applying for and having too many credit cards could negatively affect your credit score.

Do not use your balance transfer credit card to make purchases

Beware of making purchases on a card you transfer a balance onto.

Depending on the fine print of your card, any payments you make could go towards the portion of your credit card balance that has the lower interest, meaning you could end up paying high interest on any purchases you make until your balance transfer portion is paid in full.

Make your credit card payments on time

With these offers, you need to keep up your end of the bargain.

Even though you're signing up for an 18 month 0% APR balance transfer offer, if you're not making your payments on time, the credit card company will put your APR up to the normal balance transfer rate.

Compare Balance Transfer Credit Cards

The creditcardGenius algorithm calculates an estimated dollar value for all rewards and bonuses by using a typical point value a person can realistically achieve by redeeming their rewards in a reasonably optimized way. The "Welcome Bonus" is the dollar value obtained by combining of all one-time bonuses available to new cardholders within the first year. To qualify for the full bonus you may need to make purchases, meet minimum spending requirements, or complete special actions. Terms and conditions apply.

* Conditions apply.