2018’s Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards

Kate Williams, Editor | Updated September 4, 2018

When looking at the options that are on the market today, we asked, “what are the best credit cards for balance transfers?” The best card for a balance transfer charges the lowest interest and the fewest fees, while offering the most long-term value in the form of rewards.

Many balance transfer credit cards offer 0% intro APR promotions. With these deals, you won’t pay interest on the transferred balance for the first 12-24 months after the card is opened. Use these deals to save money as you pay down your debt.

Guide Contents
  1. Our balance transfer card picks by category
  2. Compare card features
  3. How to pick the right balance transfer card
  4. Seven things to know before transferring
We maintain strict standards of editorial integrity when writing our guides to help you make decisions with confidence. To help support our site, some of the products we highlight below are from our partners and we may receive compensation when you visit their sites.

Our Picks for Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards

Best for Low Interest and Rewards Potential
LEARN MORE
at Discover.com

Discover it® Balance Transfer

This card has one of the shorter interest free periods, but offers up to 5% cash back on purchases in certain categories, giving you a reason to use it after you’ve paid off the balance transfer. If rewards aren’t important to you and you’re more focused on paying down your balance, look elsewhere.
My three cents:
  • Good intro APR: 0% for 14 months
  • Reasonable 3% transfer fee
  • Offers good rewards
Best for No Fees and No Interest
LEARN MORE
at AmericanExpress.com

Amex EveryDay Card from American Express

The Amex EveryDay card is a great all around card, offering no balance transfer fee and a reasonable 0% APR introductory period. It’s a great choice for anyone who will be able to pay off their balance within the next fifteen months.
My three cents:
  • Good intro APR: 0% for 15 months
  • No balance transfer fee
  • Earn bonus rewards when you use the card regularly
Best for Long Interest-free Period
LEARN MORE
at Citi.com

Citi Diamond Preferred Card

The Citi Diamond Preferred card gives you nearly two years to pay off your balance before interest is charged, so it’s a great choice for people who need time to pay their loans off. Just make sure the extra time is worth the hefty balance transfer fee you’ll pay.
My three cents:
  • Great intro APR: 0% for 21 months on balance transfers
  • Expensive balance transfer fee: 5% of the balance
  • Access to other Citi cardholder benefits
Best for Long Interest-free Period and Phone Insurance
LEARN MORE
at USBank.com

U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card

The U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card strikes a good balance between a long 0% interest introductory period and a low balance transfer fee. If you need a long time to pay off your balance, this is a good card to choose. You’ll be hard pressed to find a card with a lower transfer fee and as long a 0% interest period.
My three cents:
  • Great intro APR: 0% for 20 months
  • Reasonable 3% balance transfer fee
  • Get free cell phone insurance by paying your phone bill with the card
Best for No Foreign Transaction Fees
LEARN MORE
at CapitalOne.com

Capital One Quicksilver Card

The Capital One Quicksilver Card isn’t a strong contender when compared to similar cards with short intro APR periods. You should be able to find a card with a similar 0% APR period and no balance transfer fees. The real draw of this card is the fact that you can use it when you travel after you’ve paid down your balance, thanks to its lack of foreign transaction fees.
My three cents:
  • Good intro APR: 0% for 15 month
  • Reasonable 3% balance transfer fee
  • No foreign transaction fee makes it great for future travel use
Best for Good Rewards
LEARN MORE
at Chase.com

Chase Freedom Unlimited

The Chase Freedom Unlimited’s balance transfer fee is too high to make it a good card to consider. If you’re willing to pay 5% of your balance as a balance transfer fee, choose a card that offers a longer 0% APR introductory period.
My three cents:
  • Good Intro APR: 0% for 15 months
  • Expensive balance transfer fee: 5% of the balance
  • Redeem cash back rewards without a minimum

Compare Card Features

Card Best For 0% APR Period Transfer Fee Standard APR Annual Fee
Discover it Balance Transfer Low interest and rewards potential 14 months 3% 13.74% - 24.74% $0
Amex EveryDay Credit Card No fees and no interest 15 months 0% 14.74% - 25.74% $0
Citi Diamond Preferred Card Long interest-free period 21 months 5% 14.74% - 24.74% $0
U.S. Bank Platinum Visa Card Long interest-free period and phone insurance offer 20 months 3% 11.74% - 23.74% $0
Capital One Quicksilver Card Average interest-free period and fees, no foreign transaction fees 15 months 3% 14.74% - 24.74% $0
Chase Freedom Unlimited Average interest-free period and good rewards 15 months 5% 16.74% - 25.49% $0

How to Choose a Balance Transfer Credit Card That’s Right for You

Look at cards from issuers other than the card you’re transferring your balance from since you can’t transfer balances between two cards from the same issuer. Choose a card that offers a higher limit than the balance you’re transferring. There’s no point in opening a balance transfer card if you can’t transfer your full balance.

First, check your credit score to determine which cards you qualify for. From those cards, look at the 0% interest balance transfer cards and no fee balance transfer cards. Each card has its own fee structure and interest rate, so you’ll need to do some math for each card you consider to determine which one will save you the most money. Aim for the card that results in the lowest amount paid overall.

Calculate how long it’ll take to pay your balance off and how much interest you’ll pay per month. This is the cost of not transferring your balance. It needs to be higher than a card’s balance transfer fee to make the transfer worthwhile. Knowing how long it will take to pay it off will tell you how long of a 0% intro APR period you need. Use this information to decide whether a card with a longer promotional period but higher balance transfer fee will save more or less than a card with a shorter promotional period but lower balance transfer fee.

Finally, consider which card has long-term value in terms of day-to-day use. If you can get a balance transfer card that also offer rewards, you’ll have a reason to keep it once you pay the balance off.

Seven Important Things to Know Before You Do a Balance Transfer

  1. What is a Balance Transfer?

    A balance transfer lets you move the balance of one of your debts to a credit card at a lower interest rate, giving you the chance to lower your monthly bills and save on interest.

  2. What is a Balance Transfer Fee?

    Most credit cards will charge you a small flat amount or a percentage of the amount you transfer to your credit card. If you need to transfer a large balance, look for credit cards with no balance transfer fee.

    Fees for Transferring a $1,000 Balance
    Type of Fee Fee Charged Starting Balance
    Greater of $10 or 3% $30 $1,030
    Greater of $20 or 1% 20 $1,020
    Greater of $10 or 5% $50 $1,050
  3. How Much Can You Do on a Balance Transfer?

    Many people ask, “is there a limit to balance transfers?” For most cards, the limit is equal to your credit limit, but some issuers restrict balance transfers to 75% of your credit limit. Another common question is “Can you do a balance transfer twice?” So long as you have credit available, you may, though fees may apply.

  4. Can You Transfer Money from Your Credit Card to Your Bank Account?

    It is possible, but generally a bad idea to use a balance transfer to put money in your bank account. The only time you’d want to do so is if you need to pay multiple creditors. You can get one check, deposit it to your checking account, and then pay each creditor from that account.

  5. Do Balance Transfers Affect My Credit Score?

    Balance transfers will have some affect on your credit score. Opening a new account will reduce your score in the short-term. Over the long-term, as you use your balance transfer to pay down your debts, your score will increase.

  6. What is a Balance Transfer Check?

    Other similar questions are “can I deposit a credit card check?” and “can you cash balance transfer checks?” In short, you can deposit or cash balance transfer checks. You may want to do so if you plan to pay multiple creditors out of your bank account and only want to handle one check to complete the transfer.

  7. How Long Does it Take to do a Balance Transfer on a Credit Card?

    Typically, a balance transfer takes 5-10 business days once you’ve received your new card and started the process.

Let's Recap Our Selections:

Methodology:

MyThreeCents’ personal finance team carefully evaluates each credit card and ranks them based on their merit. The process involves analyzing various factors, including but not limited to, Annual Percentage Rate (APR), fees, cash back offers, airline miles and other rewards. Our team independently collects the information and carefully assesses each credit card, looking for maximum consumer value. As always, we strive to help consumers to become better educated before making a purchase.

Advertiser Disclosure:

The information we provide and the analysis we share is always free. So, how do we survive? We get compensated by our partners, which may sometimes influence the products or services we review and the order in which they appear. Our suggestions and guidance are unbiased and are based only on our thorough research.