Americans have $8,195 in credit card debt, according to the latest report from Experian. With that much money on a high-interest credit card, you could end up paying thousands of dollars in interest by the time you pay it off, especially if you pay only the minimum required each month.
Some credit card issuers offer balance transfer credit cards to help you pay down your debt faster. These cards usually come with a 0% APR promotion that gives you time — some up to almost two full years — to pay down your balance interest-free.
But many of these cards charge a fee, usually between 3% and 5% of the amount you transfer, to get started. With a balance of $8,195, that’s an upfront charge of between $246 and $410.
The good news is that there are a handful of credit cards on the market that offer no balance transfer fee. To help you find the right one for you, we’ve put together a list of the top four.
The 4 best credit cards with no balance transfer fee
For the most part, these get-out-of-debt-free cards are one-trick ponies. So take a careful look at all of their features to know which one is best for you.
1) Chase Slate
With this card, you can transfer up to $15,000 or the amount of your credit limit, whichever is less. The card offers a 0% APR promotion for 15 months on both purchases and balance transfers and waives the balance transfer fee for the first 60 days. After that, you’ll pay a 5% balance transfer fee.
The card has no annual fee and also doesn’t charge a penalty APR if you accidentally make a late payment. Keep in mind, however, that you should still avoid late payments at all costs.
“Not only do missed payments negatively affect your credit score,” says Matt Freeman, head of credit card products at Navy Federal Credit Union, “but you could risk losing the low introductory rate as well. Losing your intro period could mean missing your goal of becoming debt free.”
You’ll also get free access to your FICO score. This is especially helpful if you’re trying to improve your credit score. By monitoring your score, you can see how certain actions impact your score.
The biggest drawback to the Chase Slate is that it doesn’t offer rewards. As a result, the card doesn’t have as much value once the initial 0% APR promotion is over.
2) BankAmericard Credit Card
For the most part, the BankAmericard Credit Card matches up well with the Chase Slate. It offers a 0% APR promotion for 15 months on both purchases and balance transfers, and also has no balance transfer fee for the first 60 days.
You’ll also get no annual fee, no penalty APR, and free access to your FICO score.
So, why choose this one over the Chase Slate? For starters, the card’s balance transfer fee goes to just 3% after the initial 60-day period. It also doesn’t have a $15,000 limit as the Chase Slate does. So, if you have at least that much credit card debt and get a high enough credit limit, this might be a better option.
That said, this card has the same disadvantage as the Chase Slate: There’s no rewards program to speak of.
3) Barclaycard Ring
The card has no balance transfer fee and a low APR. All the other cards raise interest rates once your promotion is over. So, this might be a better option if you have a low balance and just want a card with a lower rate.
The card also has no annual fee and foreign transaction fees, so you can take it overseas without getting charged extra. You’ll also get free access to your FICO score.
4) Amex Everyday Credit Card
The Amex Everyday Credit Card has long been a decent rewards credit card. But it recently paired that rewards program with a solid balance transfer offer: 0% APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers and no balance transfer fee for the first 60 days.
Here’s how the card’s rewards structure works:
- Get 15,000 points when you spend $1,000 in the first three months.
- Earn 2 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, plus 2 points per dollar spent on AmexTravel.com.
- Earn 1 point per dollar spent everywhere else.
- Get 20% more points when you make at least 20 purchases with your card per month.
When compared side by side with the other cards we’ve discussed, this one might sound like a no-brainer. One thing to consider, however, is whether you plan to use your new credit card overseas. American Express isn’t widely accepted abroad, so consider it only if you have a backup Visa or Mastercard.
SunTrust Prime Rewards
This card does not offer 0% APR but it has a very low balance transfer APR that lasts longer than any other card we’ve reviewed. All without a balance transfer fee if you transfer within 60 days of getting the card.
Which card should you choose?
The first step to determining which of these cards is best for you is to note which bank issued your current credit card. For example, if you have a balance on a Chase credit card, you can’t transfer it to the Chase Slate. Credit card issuers offer these benefits to gain new customers, so it doesn’t make sense for your bank to offer you a break on interest if it’s already making money off you.
Second, consider your other needs and preferences. If you want a card you can hold onto for a long time, the Amex Everyday Credit Card is a clear winner. But if you have debt on an American Express card or simply want better acceptance, go with one of the other three.
The important thing is that you do your due diligence by comparing these cards and also shopping around for other credit cards that could provide you with the benefits you’re looking for.
As you do your research, you’re more likely to get the card that suits your needs, both now and in the future.