If you’ve checked your FICO credit score recently and haven’t been happy with the results, one of the factors that could be bringing your credit score down is your used to available credit percentage. When creditors see that your credit cards have been maxed out, it implies that you’re in need of more credit and that you’re having trouble meeting your financial needs. One way to alleviate the burden is to apply for a 0% balance transfer credit card, and reduce the amount in interest being paid every month.
Choosing which 0% balance transfer credit card best suits your needs can be tricky. Some offer a low balance transfer fee while others have extended 0% intro offers beyond 12 months. Whether it’s a long balance transfer term or cash up front to help you out, we’ve compiled a list of the best 0% balance transfer credit cards. They come from a variety of issuers and if you have any experience with these cards, we’d love to hear about it in the comments section below.
PT’s Pick for Best 0% Balance Transfer Credit Card
Citi Simplicity® Card – No Late Fees Ever – In my opinion, one of the best balance transfer credit cards continues to come from our partner Citi; the Citi Simplicity MasterCard – No Late Fees Ever as it has the longest intro offer of 0% intro APR during the first 21 months, after that the variable APR will be 13.24%, 16.24%, 19.24%, 21.24%, and 23.24% (based on credit worthiness).
The balance transfer fee for this card is at 3% ($5 minimum). That’s just straight up awesome for anyone new to credit who needs almost two years to make interest free payments! Unfortunately, the rewards program on this card is almost non-existent (as it only provides discounts on special purchases) but the Citi Simplicity Card – No Late Fees Ever has no late fees or over limit fees, and does not carry an annual fee.
Slate from Chase – If you’re looking for the cheapest balance transfer method available, then the Slate from Chase is your go to credit card. For a limited time, new cardholders will be given a 0% intro APR on both purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, with NO balance transfer fee (balance transfers made in the first 60 days).
Imagine you had $10,000 to transfer … you would end up paying an additional $300 immediately by using any of the other cards on this list. However with the Slate from Chase, the balance transferred would only be the initial $10,000 and 15 months would be given to pay it down (interest free).
The standard APR after the intro period expires is 13.24%, 18.24% or 23.24% variable and there is no annual fee. However, just like the Citi Simplicity Card above, there is no rewards package included, so the card should be used for balance transfers or emergencies only.
Discover it® – A very close second, the Discover it Card includes a wide ranging amount of benefits the Citi Simplicity does not. The Discover it Card opens up with a 0% into APR on balance transfers for 12 months, (and on purchases for 14 months) and also includes 5% cash back on rotating categories each year.
The standard cash back rate on all other purchases is 1% and a recently new perk added; every monthly statement will include a free FICO credit score. You must make at least 1 purchase each month to receive a statement (and your FICO credit score) and if you take Discover up on it’s balance transfer offer; the fee is 3%. There is no annual fee on the Discover it Card, as well as no late fees or over-limit fees.
Barclaycard Ring MasterCard® – Another credit card that offers no balance transfer fee, the Barclaycard Ring MasterCard® doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, just two very good ones.
This card comes with a low, everyday APR of 8.25% and carries no BT fee. So while you won’t find a 0% introductory APR like other cards on this list, your balance also won’t be inflated when you transfer money over, and the 8.25% APR is most likely lower than any current rate on another card.
There is no annual fee to own the Barclaycard Ring MasterCard® and no foreign transaction fees when it’s used abroad.
BankAmericard® Credit Card – The BankAmericard Credit Card starts off with a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for a full 18 billing cycles (for balance transfers made within the first 60 days). Once that expires, the everyday APR on both purchases and balance transfers is 11.24% – 21.24% variable and there is no annual fee.
The balance transfer fee on the BankAmericard Credit Card is 3% of the amount of the transfer or $10 (whichever is greater), which you’ll find to be pretty standard in today’s card market. Like all other (sans the Discover it) BT cards, there is no rewards program associated with this card, so the smart play would be keep this card for emergencies after you’ve paid off your balance transfer.
Lending Club – While not a credit card, you might also consider Lending Club as a balance transfer or loan consolidation option. Lending Club is currently the largest peer-to-peer network with over $13 billion in loans as of September of 2015. Peer-to-peer lending provides the ability to borrow from individuals versus banks. Doing so lowers cost and provides better rates than you would get through a traditional bank. Lending Club has a simple 4 step loan process. Check out our review, or visit LendingClub.com to learn more about the options that may be best suited for you.
Payoff – Another alternative you might consider is Payoff. Payoff’s mission is to help people payoff high interest credit card debt. With a payoff loan you can pay off balances between $5,000-$25,000 in 2-5 year terms. Payoff is not a bank and the loan process will not hurt your credit score because they only do a soft check. That said, this loan isn’t for everyone. For example, you’ll need a credit score of 660 or higher, debt to income ratio (unsecured) of less than 50%, credit history of at least 3 years old, no delinquencies, etc. Check out our review to learn more and visit Payoff.com to see if this is the right option for you.
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