Things to Know About Balance Transfer Credit Cards
- Credit cards with 0% APR introductory periods typically require applicants to have good or excellent credit. Even then, you might not receive a sufficient credit line to transfer all of your outstanding balances.
- You can’t transfer balances between two cards issued by the same bank or credit union. That’s because these offers are designed to attract new customers, and banks don’t want to lose out on interest payments owed by existing account holders.
- To get the most out of an intro APR on balance transfers, you should always try to pay off your entire balance before the promotional financing expires.
- You should never rely on an interest-free balance transfer offer to postpone repayment of your balances. You also shouldn’t count on perpetually avoiding paying interest by receiving additional 0% APR balance transfer offers in the future.
How We Evaluated
I’ve been writing about credit cards, travel rewards, and consumer credit since 2008. As the market for balance transfer cards is constantly changing, I looked at the latest offers from all of the major credit card issuers.
When selecting a balance transfer credit card, key factors include the duration of 0% APR financing and the balance transfer fee. You might also want to consider the regular APR, which will apply after the promotional rate ends. While less important in this instance, we also looked at rewards earned from spending and any bonuses offered to new applicants.
Please note: The offers mentioned above are subject to change at any time and some may no longer be available.
Reviewed has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Reviewed and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.
More Credit Card Reviews
How many credit cards should you have in your wallet?
- We hate to break it to you, but there’s no one-size-fits-all answer here. The right number of credit cards for you depends on what you can responsibly manage.
- Does having a piece of shiny plastic an arm’s length away often encourage you to spend money you don’t have? Be honest. Credit cards offer great benefits, but they also present an opportunity for overspending. You may want to think twice before applying for more credit. Carrying a balance you can’t afford contributes to interest charges, and in the long run costs you more money—money that you could’ve used for that air fryer you've been eyeing.
- If you’re financially responsible and stick to making purchases that you can pay off, there may be some upsides to adding another card to your arsenal. If you’re a jet-setter without a card that rewards you for hitting the road, or one that skips foreign transaction fees, a travel credit card may make sense for you.
- There are a few other things to consider before opening a new account, like adding a different payment processing network, or taking note of any annual fees.
Should you consider closing a credit card account?
- We’re not big fans of clutter sitting around and taking up space, either, but there’s a few things to know before you pick up the phone to call your bank and chop up that credit card into bits and pieces. First, your credit score is based partly on the length of your credit history. Closing an older account will knock your score.
- Saying goodbye to a card also means you’ll have less credit available. And that means your credit utilization ratio will likely go up. (If you need a refresher: That’s the balance you carry divided by your credit line—and finance pros recommend keeping this at 30% or less.) Your utilization ratio is also a major factor in calculating your score. You can, however, ask another issuer to increase your credit limit to help out a little.
- Keep in mind, if you’re a responsible credit user, your scores will eventually rebound. But there are a few other factors to consider when deciding to close an account, such as whether you’re close to hitting a rewards milestone.
What else should you know about credit cards?
Long introductory period APR rates are only a short-term incentive. Potentially high APR rates snap into effect after the card’s intro period ends, which could cost you a lot in interest if you’ve left your balance unpaid. It’s really important—especially when getting a card for a big purchase—to keep an eye on your finances, and keep an eye on the calendar.
APR rates and credit limits vary based on your individual credit. Credit limits and interest rates for each card are determined based on each cardholder's personal situation, so we did not take that information into account when evaluating this card. Remember to pay your card off in full every month, so you will not be charged interest.
Banks have final say on who they accept for a credit card. These recommendations were put together with the assumption that applicants would have average credit or above. That being said, banks decide who they will issue credit cards to using criteria including, but not always limited to, an individual's credit score when evaluating each applicant.
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Meet the tester
Jason Steele has been writing about credit and credit cards for over 10 years, giving insight and advice on family travel, loyalty programs, and destinations in outlets such as Business Insider, Forbes, Smarter Travel, and The Points Guy. He is also the founder of Card Con, a conference that brings together writers and bloggers in the credit card and consumer credit industries.
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We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.
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