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Why Transferring Credit Card Balances Is Brilliant

Credit card issuers are in such fierce competition these days to attract new customers that most have started offering sweetheart deals to win you over, like ultra-long 0% introductory APR interest periods. By transferring your balance onto one of these cards, you immediately stop all interest charges during the introductory period.

For example, the Citi Diamond Preferred Card (a CompareCards advertiser) offers an astounding 0%* for 21 months on Balance Transfers*, so during that entire intro period you could stop paying interest if you transfer your current card’s balance to the Citi Diamond Preferred Card

These are the cards currently offering the best balance transfer specials:

Top 0% Intro APR Balance Transfer Cards:

The Extra-long 0% Intro APR Card

We’ve reviewed nearly 80 balance transfer cards. With an intro APR of 0%* for 21 months on Balance Transfers*, the Citi® Diamond Preferred is at the top of the pack. To put the length of this interest free period in perspective: if you transfer your existing balances to the Citi Diamond Preferred Card, you won’t pay another dime in credit card interest for well over a year. Stop spinning your wheels by transferring your balance to the Citi® Diamond Preferred® and watch as the entirety of your payment goes to the principle of you balance for the duration of the intro period.

The Verdict: Getting a loan this cheaply for this long is pretty amazing. If you’re interested in transferring a balance to a 0% card, this is the one that offers an extra-long 0% term. Period.

Most Appropriate For: Because the Citi Diamond Preferred Card has the excellent 0% intro balance transfer term, it’s our highest rated card for anyone carrying a large balance. The extra interest-free time will allow folks to make significantly more headway paying down their debt, even factoring in the transfer fee.

Least Appropriate For: Someone looking to earn rewards on new purchases. Unlike a few of the cards mentioned here, the Citi® Diamond Preferred® has no rewards program built in.

Credit Required: Good to Excellent

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The No Intro Transfer-Fee Card

The Chase Slate® is tied as our highest-rated balance transfer card, and for good reason. It charges no fee for transferring your balance to it within the first 60 days, no annual fee, and no interest on balances transferred for a full 15-month 0% intro APR period. This makes it a phenomenal tool to gain control of your credit card debt, as you can make a costless balance transfer, then use the 15-month interest grace period to pay down your balance.

The Verdict: If you don't need the entire 21 months offered by the Citi Diamond Preferred Card, this can be efficient since it doesn't have a balance transfer fee. No transfer fee and no annual fee, combined with the 0% intro APR means that this is really free money for the 15 month term, no catches.

Most Appropriate For: Those who want a no-fee way to stop paying interest, and possibly pay off the cards during that breather. Those with good rather than excellent credit.

Least Appropriate For: Those who pay off their balances every month would be better served getting a card paying high rewards. Note that the 0% transfer fee is an introductory offer, so be sure to transfer your balance in the first 60 days, or there will be a fee.

Recommended credit: Just Good. The Chase card has the most lenient credit requirements of our top balance transfer cards.

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The Cards With Long 0% Intro APR AND Cash Rewards Programs.

Pros: Chase's new Freedom Unlimited card is essentially an improved version of the old Freedom. They bumped the base cash back rate all the way up to an industry leading 1.5%, and pay that full 1.5% on all spend, with no limit or spend category restrictions. Unlike most other high paying cash back cards, you don't have to worry about categories or have to activate anything. You'll receive the full 1.5% back as you make your spend, on all spend, automatically. In addition, Chase is temporarily offering a cash bonus to new card-members. If you charge $500 on it in the first 3 months, you'll earn a $150 cash bonus. Finally, Chase is also offering new card-members 15 months of 0% Intro APR on Purchases interest for the first 15 months of using the card to make new purchases. So during that period, you can use the card without paying any interest on balances you tally, while still earning cash back. The card requires good, not excellent credit, making it easier to get in.

Cons: Charges a 5% balance transfer fee. This is on the high side, so we recommend looking at the Slate or BankAmericard if your goal is to transfer a balance. The Freedom Unlimited should be viewed as a cash back card.

The Verdict: One of the strongest cards available to those with good (but not perfect) credit. The card combines industry leading cash back rates (1.5% on everything) with a strong 15 months of 0% Intro APR on Purchases interest on new purchases combined with a $150 cash bonus when you use the card to make $500 in spend in the first 3 months.

Most Appropriate For: Those with good credit seeking a daily-use card offering great cash back rewards and 0% Intro APR on Purchases intro APR. Best for new charges.

Least Appropriate For: Balance transfers, as it charges the 5% fee while offering no more free term than the Slate (which has no transfer fee).

Credit Required: Good to Excellent

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Pros: Capital One's Quicksilver card makes things simple: you earn 1.5% cash back on all your purchases, with no limit and no category restrictions or games. We included the card in our balance transfer list because it offers 0% intro APR 9 months on all balances transferred.

Cons: Does charge a 3% balance transfer fee. Requires good credit to get in.

The Verdict: If you're looking to transfer a balance and make some purchases, you can use this card to avoid paying interest during the intro period AND earn cash rewards.

Most Appropriate For: Anyone who might make some large purchases in the near future, or regularly charges a lot on their cards. Making the charges on the Quicksilver would earn cash back but not require any interest during the intro period.

Credit Required: Good to Excellent

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Comparing The Best Intro APR Cards

Card Name Purchase APR Annual Fee Balance Transfer APR Credit Needed Features Our Rating & Bottom Line  
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card – 21 Month Intro Offer on BT and Purchases
13.49% - 23.49%* (Variable) $0* 0%* for 21 months on Balance Transfers* Good/Excellent
  • 24/7 access to Citi® Concierge for help in booking hotels, flights and more.
  • $0 liability on unauthorized purchases and Citi® Identity Theft Solutions.
  • Free access to FICO® Scores*

Our Rating:
5 out of 5

This card is a great choice for those looking to save by avoiding considerable interest rate expenses on high card balances.

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Chase Slate®
15.74% - 24.49% Variable $0 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months Good/Excellent $0 introductory balance transfer fee during first 60 days your account is open; 0% intro APR on purchases and transfers

Our Rating:
5 out of 5

A great card for less than excellent credit, while offering solid features like $0 transfer fee & 15 months 0% intro APR

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Chase Freedom Unlimited℠
0% Intro APR on Purchases for the first 15 months, then 15.74% - 24.49% Variable APR on purchases $0 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months fee of either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater Good/Excellent $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening; Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase

Our Rating:
4 out of 5

Excellent combination of cash back rewards and 0% intro APR; $150 bonus opportunity

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Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card
0% intro on purchases for 9 months, then 13.74% - 23.74% (Variable) APR on purchases $0 0% intro on balance transfers for 9 months, then 13.74% - 23.74% (Variable) fee of 3% of the amount of each transfer Good/Excellent 1.5% Cash Back on every purchase, every day with no limits or category restrictions

Our Rating:
4 out of 5

This is a great card for making purchases. Simple cash rewards program comes out among tops in industry

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