Best Balance Transfer and 0% Interest Credit Cards of 2017

Best Balance Transfer and 0% Interest Credit Cards of 2017

Transfer your high-interest debt to a 0% APR balance transfer card, and you could get up to 21 months to pay it off interest-free. 0% interest credit cards give you an introductory period during which you don’t have to pay interest on your debt. When done right, a balance transfer can save you hundreds of dollars. How much you save will depend on, among other things, the length of the introductory rate period, the balance transfer fee, your current APR, and how fast you pay off your debt.

Based on that criteria, SuperMoney has audited dozens of 0% APR balance transfer cards and ranked the best offers available in 2017.

SuperMoney’s Best Balance Transfer Cards of 2017

The best balance transfer card for you will depend on how much you owe, how fast you can repay your debt, and how much you care about rewards and other credit card perks. Our analysts have created three balance transfer categories to allow for these differences. Read on for more details on each card.

Overall Best 0% APR Balance Transfer Card – Chase Slate

Balance Transfer Fee
Length of 0% APR

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Longest Intro 0% APR – Citi Simplicity

Balance Transfer Fee
Length of 0% APR

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Best Balance Transfer Card for Rewards – Citi Double Cash

Balance Transfer Fee
Length of 0% APR

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Overall Winner — Chase Slate

Chase Slate is the best $0 balance transfer fee. It has $0 annual fee, $0 balance transfer fee, and a 15-month 0% APR. If you can afford to repay your debt balance within 15 months, this is the card you should get. The only drawbacks are that it doesn’t offer rewards and you can’t transfer more than $15,000.

Pros

  • 15 months of 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers
  • No annual fee
  • No transfer fees on balance transfers made within the first 60 days
  • Free FICO score every month
  • No penalty APR
Cons

  • No rewards
  • No signup bonus aside from the 0% APR
  • Maximum debt transfer of $15,000
  • You can’t transfer debt from another Chase account
  • And you need a credit score of 690 or higher to qualify
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Longest Intro 0% APR – Citi Simplicity

Citi Simplicity is the balance transfer card for people with large debt balances.  It gives you up to 21 months to pay off your debt interest-free. It’s also one of the few balance transfer cards that doesn’t charge any late fees or penalty interest rates. There is a 3% balance transfer to keep in mind, but if you owe more than $15,000 or you can’t afford to repay your debt in 15 months, this is the card for you. As of January 2017, the card has a variable APR that ranges from 13.49% to 23.49%. See Citi Simplicity’s profile for the latest rates.

Pros

  • 21 months 0% APR intro period on balance transfers and purchases, longest of reviewed cards
  • No late fees or penalty APR
  • No annual fee
  • You can transfer other types of debt besides credit card debt, such as student loans and auto loans
  • Free monthly access to FICO scores
  • Worldwide car rental insurance
  • Travel & Emergency assistance
  • Extended warranty on purchases
Cons

  • A 3% transfer fee ($5 minimum)
  • No rewards or signup bonus
  • You need excellent credit
  • You can’t transfer debt from other Citi accounts
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Best Balance Transfer Card for Rewards – Citi Double Cash

This category was so close we included our top 3 choices. Here’s the cheat sheet on which card you should choose if you want a balance transfer card with rewards.

  • Choose the Citi Double Cash if you’re worried you may “forget” a monthly payment and you don’t care about having a 0% APR on purchases. Its 18-month 0% APR only applies to balance transfers.
  • Get the Discover it if you want an all-in-one card and you don’t mind messing with bonus cash back categories.
  • Chase’s Freedom Unlimited is a great no-hassle balance transfer credit card with 1.5% cash back on all purchases that doesn’t require applicants to have a great credit score. However, it has a 5% balance transfer fee. So, apply only if you don’t qualify for the other cards.

Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards - citi-double-cash-card_toe

Citi’s Double Cash Card offers the sweet spot between a practical (but boring) balance transfer card and a sexy rewards card. It has an 18-month 0% APR intro period on balance transfers and you earn 2% cash back on all purchases. It doesn’t have an annual fee, although it does include – as with most balance transfer cards – a 3% balance transfer fee. Standard rates range from 13.49-23.49% APR.

Pros

  • 18-month 0% APR period
  • No annual fee
  • High rewards rate (2% cash back)
  • Trip cancellation & interruption protection
  • Worldwide travel accident insurance
  • Worldwide car rental insurance
Cons

  • 3% balance transfer fee ($5 minimum)
  • 3% foreign transaction fee
  • 5% cash advance fee ($10 minimum)
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Discover it

discover-it_toe
Discover it is the Swiss knife of credit cards. 0% APR for 14 months, check. Signup bonus and rotating bonus cash back categories, check. There are no annual fees, no foreign transaction fees, and your first late payment is waived ($37 after that). However, there is a returned payment fee of $37 and a 3% balance transfer fee. Standard rates on purchases range from 11.49-23.49% APR.

Pros

  • 14 months of 0% APR period
  • No annual fee
  • No penalty APR
  • 1% cash back plus a dollar-for-dollar match cash back for the first year
  • Purchase protection
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver
  • Price protection
Cons

  • Discover is not as widely accepted as Visa or Mastercard outside the United States
  • Opting in for bonus categories every three months can be a pain
  • 3% balance transfer fee
  • 5% cash advance fee ($10 minimum)
  • You need good credit score (over 690) to qualify
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Chase Freedom Unlimited

Chase’s Freedom Unlimited is another card that covers all its bases. It has a 15-month 0% APR, 1.5% cash back, and a $150 signup bonus; and yet, doesn’t charge an annual fee. If you’re a one-credit-card kind of person and you need a balance transfer card, the Chase Freedom Unlimited (or the Discover it) are your best bet. The only downside of Chase’s Freedom Unlimited is the 5% balance transfer fee (the highest in our list) and the 3% foreign transaction fee. The standard rates range from 15.49-24.24% APR.

Pros

  • 15 months of 0% APR period
  • No annual fee
  • 1.5% cash back
  • $150 signup bonus plus $25 if you add an authorized user and make a purchase within three months
  • Purchase protection
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver
  • Price protection
Cons

  • 5% transfer fee ($5 minimum)
  • 3% foreign transaction fee
  • 5% cash advance fee
Apply Now

A Word of Caution

Balance transfer cards with a 0% APR intro rate are the cheapest form of credit around. Play your cards right (pun intended) and you could repay your debt interest free while you earn rewards and receive valuable benefits. However, that doesn’t mean these cards don’t come with serious risks. Here are three things few people know about balance transfer credit cards that could cost you a lot of money.

  1. You still have to make minimum payments. 0% APR doesn’t mean $0 monthly payments. Typically, minimum payments range between 1% to 3% of your credit card’s balance. If you transfer $10,000, the minimum monthly payments will range from $100 to $300, depending on your credit card company.
  2. You can lose your 0% APR. If you don’t make monthly payments, you’ll lose your intro rate. You could even get charged retroactively for interest from the time you got your card. Missing your minimum balance transfer payments will also cancel your grace period on interest for new purchases. In other words, interest will start accruing from the day you make the purchase, instead of the 20 to 25 days grace most credit companies offer.
  3. Some cards – but none of the cards on this list – will retroactively charge borrowers for the interest waived during the intro rate promotion if they don’t pay the balance transfer in full within the introductory period.

Bottom Line

0% interest and balance transfer cards are powerful debt-reduction tools. If you time your credit card applications right, you could combine two or more cards to extend the interest-free period for years. Borrowers with good credit and large debt balances should certainly give them a try. However, if your credit is not good or your debt is larger than your credit limit, you may have to look into other options, such as debt consolidation loans or a debt settlement program.

CardRegular APR 
13.49% – 23.49%Apply
13.49% – 23.49%Apply
11.24% – 23.24%Apply
11.24% – 23.24%Apply
14.49% – 22.49%Apply