Rated 4/5 stars by our editorial team
Click the stars to submit your rating.
Thanks for rating!
3.8/5.0 from 1,513 Offer Ratings
Over the Past 60 Days!
What's the best way to pay down a credit card balance as quickly as possible, while paying the least in interest, and without hurting your credit? What follows is a powerful method recommended by the most astute personal finance experts to achieve exactly those objectives. It's extremely effective, completely legal, and leverages programs created by credit card issuers to your advantage. Follow these steps and start to become credit card debt-free.
Think of someone carrying a credit card balance like a patient who enters an emergency room bleeding badly. The first thing a doctor will do is stop the bleeding. It's no different when attacking a credit card balance; the first thing you do is stop the interest charges.
There's a simple way to do this, and it's brilliance is that it actually uses the banks' marketing offers to your advantage: find a card offering a long "0% intro APR balance transfer" promotional offer, and transfer your balance to it. These are cards which offer new customers a long period of time (often as much as 18 months) during which the card charges no interest on all balances transferred to it. We constantly track all the cards in the marketplace in order to find the ones currently offering the longest 0% intro periods.
If you need more motivation, just think of this: on a $10,000 balance, $150 of a $200 monthly payment would get vacuumed up by interest charges.* That leaves only $50 of your $200 that actually reduces your balance, the rest vanishing into bank pockets. That's just brutal. Use our reviews to find a card which offers the longest possible no-interest period while charging low, or even no fees. Moving your balances to the card you choose will stop the bleeding, allowing you to move on to step two.
Once you've transferred your balances and put a stop to the interest charges, it's time to capitalize on the interest-free period to really break free of the debt. The best part of this is how simple it is: just keep making the payments you used to make when you had to pay big interest payments, except now 100% of your payment will go to reduce your balance.
Going back to the $10,000 example above. (just be aware that we're using the $10,000 number as an example to demonstrate how the process works. You may be approved to transfer an amount greater or less than $10,000). If you transferred that balance onto a card which offers 15 months of 0% intro APR with no transfer fee, and maintained the same $200 monthly payment, you can see how much faster you'll be reducing your balance in the chart below.
As you can see, without using the 0% card, the same $200 monthly payments barely make any headway. It's like swimming upstream, or walking while taking a step back for every two steps forward. That's no way to swim or walk, and attempting to pay off your cards while paying high card interest rates is no way to manage your finances. Move your balances onto one of the cards below, stop getting crushed by interest, and start making real progress toward getting rid of your card debt.
Take control of your finances with the Wells Fargo Platinum card. This no-annual fee card gives you a long 0% for 18 months on qualifying balance transfers on balance transfers.
If you only make the minimum payments on high-interest credit card debt, it could take years to pay it off. Using a card like this means every cent you pay during the intro period will go toward paying down your balance. Wells Fargo is one of the few card issuers to offer generous cell phone protection. This card offers up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Platinum card. If you need breathing room on upcoming purchases before interest kicks in, this card also gives you a very long purchase intro rate of 0% for 18 months. There is a typical balance transfer fee of 3% for 120 days, then 5%.
The Verdict: This is the total debt fighting package all wrapped up in one offer. This card gives you all the tools you need to get out of debt, plus unique cell phone protection that make this card shine. If you are budget-conscious, having $600 protection on your cell phone could make a big impact if your cell phone is stolen or damaged.
Most Appropriate For: This card is perfect for people looking to get out of debt and want to pay it off over time with no interest and no annual fee.
Credit Required: Excellent/Good
Start out with a generous Welcome Offer: $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 or more in purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Lengthy 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers with $0 annual fee vault this card to the top of the balance transfer pack.
Transfer your balance and whittle away at debt faster with intro APR 0% on balance transfers for 15 months then 12.99%-23.99% variable. Every penny of your payment will trim your balance during the 0% intro interest period, with no monthly interest charges piling up. Get unlimited 1.5% cash back on your purchases. Use the steady stream of cash back on new purchases to help pay down your balance faster.
Finance new purchases with intro APR 0% on purchases for 15 months then 12.99%-23.99% variable.
There is a long list of benefits for cardholders. You’ll enjoy legendary American Express customer service and perks that include extended warranty, car rental loss and damage insurance and purchase protection.
The Verdict: This card comes with a nice cash Welcome Offer on top of generous on-going cash back. Add in the lengthy 0% intro APR and this balance transfer card is hard to pass up. While other banks are pulling back on extra coverage and perks, the Amex Cash Magnet rolls just about everything you could hope for into one incredible card.
Most Appropriate For: TheAmerican Express Cash Magnet® Card – $150 Welcome Offer is perfect match for anyone who wants to do a balance transfer and earn generous cash back without rotating categories or quarterly sign-ups.
Credit Required: Excellent/Good
Over a year of 0% interest on purchases and balance transfers! High cash rewards at gas stations and restaurants AND no annual fee makes this card offer special.
The Discover it® chrome credit card comes with everything you wish all credit cards came with – no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, no overlimit fee, and a free pass the first time you miss a payment! Cardholders also get an intro APR of 0% for 14 months on both purchases and balance transfers, then 11.99% - 22.99% Variable. If you misplace your credit card, freeze your account in seconds with an on/off switch on the mobile app and website. No late fee on first late payment. No foreign transaction fees. Free FICO® Credit Score. $0 Fraud Liability. Redeem your rewards for cash in any amount, at any time and your cash back never expires. That means extra cash in your pocket to spend any way you want. Plus, Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched. The list of features seems endless on this Discover card.
The Verdict: This is a great choice if you want to consolidate debt, make a large purchase or eat out often. Discover will reward you with the ability to earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
Most Appropriate For: People who like to earn cash back with no annual fee and lengthy APR offers.
Credit Required: Excellent/Good
Intro APR of 0% on purchases for 15 months on purchases and 0% on balance transfers for 15 months on balance transfers. Rewards rate of 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores. 1% cash back on other purchases. $0 annual fee.
Big grocery spenders and commuters take notice! If you spend a lot on groceries and gas, this card offers you a smart way to tackle your high-interest debt, while scoring exceptionally high cash-back rewards. Take advantage of an intro APR of 0% on purchases for 15 months on purchases and 0% on balance transfers for 15 months on balance transfers with this $0 annual fee card. You'll get well over a year to chip away at your high-interest debt when you transfer your balance to this card, while earning serious cash-back along the way. Many cards with long 0% intro periods don't offer sign-up bonuses or rewards. With this card, you will get a welcome offer of a $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months. Fashionistas also get a cash-back boost from this card that offers 2% cash back at select U.S. department stores.
The Verdict: This is an outstanding choice if you are looking to hit the brakes on high-interest debt, while earning a big rewards rate on your grocery and gas spending. It's hassle-free earning, no rotating bonus categories. The $0 annual fee means you won't pay more to tackle your high-interest debt.
Most Appropriate For: This card is a winner for big grocery and gas spenders, with one of the highest rewards rates for those categories with no annual fee. Use the generous 0% introductory interest APR period to power through your debt.
Credit Required: Good, Excellent
New! Wells Fargo is making waves with this innovative offer that offers up to a year of 0% interest on balance transfers and includes one of the most generous sign-up bonuses available on a $0 annual fee card.
Transfer your high interest debt to this card and take advantage of 0% for 12 months on qualifying balance transfers APR on balance transfers. Get flexibility with 0% for 12 months APR on purchases. That gives you up to a year to pay down your balance with no interest piling up! What makes this card standout from other low interest offers are the rich rewards that come with $0 annual fee. Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months - that's a $200 cash redemption value! Earn 3X points on eating out, ordering in and popular streaming services, 3X points on gas stations, rideshares and transit, and 3X points on travel including flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals. Earn 1X points on other purchases.
The Verdict: The valuable makeover on this offer make this card an easy choice for anyone who wants to maximize spending on everyday purchases, while saving up to hundreds of dollars on interest.
Most Appropriate For: If you want to earn rewards and save on interest without paying an annual fee, this card is a perfect match for you.
Credit Required: Excellent/Good
This card shines from the start. Get a solid cash sign up bonus (with a relatively low spend requirement to get it) on top of long 0% intro APR.
You can earn earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on purchases and take home a $150 cash bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months. This card offers generous intro APR
0% for 15 months on qualifying balance transfers then 13.99%-25.99% (Variable).
Take advantage of intro 0% for 15 months on purchases then 13.99%-25.99% (Variable). You’ll also get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card. The Wells Fargo card cash rewards won't expire as long as your account remains open. Never worry about rotating categories when you earn rewards on all purchases with this card in your wallet.
The Verdict: If you’re looking for an easy to use balance transfer card with cash back rewards, a sign-up bonus, plus unique cell phone protections, this is a great option for you.
Most Appropriate For: This card is aimed at people with excellent credit.
Credit Required: Excellent/Good
Get long 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers, plus, it comes with a valuable sign-up bonus and rewards and you don't need excellent credit to qualify.
There’s a ton of value tucked inside this under the radar card which offers long 0% intro APR on purchases and even longer on balance transfers. Plus, it comes with a valuable sign-up bonus and rewards that aren’t always offered on cards aimed at those with Excellent/Very Good credit. Take advantage of intro APR 0% for 12 months to finance purchases then 14.40% - 24.40% Variable APR. Stop high interest charges with a balance transfer intro APR 0% for 18 months then 14.40% - 24.40% Variable APR. You could save hundreds of dollars on interest payments when you transfer a balance transfer to this $0 annual fee card. Start off with a generous sign-up bonus $150 Statement Credit after you spend $1,200 on purchases within the first 90 days from account opening. Earn 5x rewards on up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter in popular categories such as dining, groceries, travel, and automotive.
The Verdict: What makes this card unique is that you don’t need excellent credit to qualify. Unlike other cards with rotating quarterly 5x categories, you don’t have to register each quarter with this card. Simply register for an ABOCRewards account and you’ll automatically earn the 5x rewards. There’s a lot to like about this $0 annual fee card.
Most Appropriate For: Even if you don’t have excellent credit, you can earn valuable rewards alongside ultra-long 0% intro APR.
Credit Required: Excellent/Very Good
* Savings calculation: Credit Card Balance * (1+Average Card Rate/365)^639 days – Balance Transfer Fee - Average Household Credit Card Balance Balance transfer fee is minimum of 3% or $10. Monthly interest calculated on $10k balance at 18% as: 10000*(1+(0.18/360))^365-10000)/12
*Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.