Credit card debt, especially with its exorbitant fees, can be crippling. Ideally, you would never carry a balance on your credit card, but sometimes the situation is unavoidable. Consolidating your credit card debt through a balance transfer is not ideal but can save you thousands of dollars in interest. This list includes some of the best balance transfer credit cards available on the market with perks like long introductory 0% periods, cash-back earnings and sign-up offers.
- 2% Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
If you’re unsure which balance transfer card to get, the Citi Double Cash Card is a great all-around pick. It offers a long, introductory APR period for balance transfers along with a solid cash-back earning rate. The Citi Double Cash is the best all-around balance transfer card for card members who don’t want to sacrifice cash-back earnings just because they’re consolidating their debt. Read our full review of the card here.
- 3% Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases).
- 2% Earn automatic 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases).
- 1% Earn unlimited 1% on all other purchases.
The Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card is a great balance transfer card, offering 0% introductory APR on balance transfers (made in the first 60 days) and purchases for 18 months. Then a variable APR of 18.24% – 28.24% variable APR will apply. A 3% fee (min $10) applies to all balance transfers. This is one of the longest intro APR periods available for balance transfers on the market. In addition, the card offers earning potential with up to 3% cash-back on the cardmember’s chosen bonus category, and members of Bank of America Preferred Rewards earn even higher rates. New card members can also earn a cash rewards bonus, all without an annual fee. Read our full review of the card here.
- 6% 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%)
- 6% 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions
- 3% 3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more
- 3% 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations
- 1% 1% Cash Back on other purchases
The Blue Cash Preferred Card is one of the best cash-back credit cards on the market. You’ll get a great return across a wide range of bonus categories, a solid welcome bonus and a low annual fee. Read our full review of the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express.
- 2X Earn 2X ThankYou® Points at Supermarkets and Gas Stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1X Points thereafter.
- 1X Earn 1X ThankYou® Points on All Other Purchases.
The Citi Rewards+ Card is the only card on this list that earns Citi ThankYou points, which means you can pay off your debt while still earning points toward your next vacation. In addition to an impressive 15-month, 0% introductory APR for purchases and balance transfers (a variable APR of 17.74% to 27.74% will apply after), the Rewards+ also has an introductory balance transfer fee of $5 or 3% (whichever is greater) on transfers in the first four months (5% on all following balance transfers, minimum $5). The card also offers a solid welcome bonus and earn 2 points per dollar on up to $6,000 in combined purchases each year at supermarkets and gas stations. Read our full review of the card here.
- 3% 3% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%.
- 3% 3% Cash Back on U.S. online retail purchases, on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%.
- 3% 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%.
- 1% 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
The Blue Cash Everyday card is a good option for people who want a simple cash-back structure with no annual fee. You’ll earn bonus cash-back on popular bonus categories, including U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations. Read our full review of the card here.
The Citi Diamond Preferred Card is not full of perks like the other cards on this list, but it has another appealing attribute: the longest 0% APR period available on the market for a balance transfer. For people looking to consolidate their debt, this could be the card for you. The card offers 21 months of 0% APR for balance transfers and 12 months of 0% APR for purchases. A variable APR of 17.24% to 27.99% will apply after. No other card features almost two years of 0% APR on balance transfers. Read more about the Citi Diamond Preferred card here.
There’s no annual fee, and you’ll enjoy a 0% introductory APR on purchases and qualifying balance transfers for 18 months from account opening, with the potential of an extension of up to three months, given that you make on-time minimum payments in the introductory period. After the introductory period, you’ll face a variable APR of 17.24% to 29.24%, depending on your creditworthiness.
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|Card||Best for||Welcome Offer/Sign Up Bonus||Earning Rate||Annual Fee|
|Citi® Double Cash Card||Best all-around balance transfer card||N/A||
|Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card||Best for Preferred Rewards members||$200||
|Citi Rewards+® Card||Best for earning Citi ThankYou Points||20,000 points||
|Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card||Best for the longest 0% APR period on balance transfers||N/A||N/A||$0|
With ongoing news of inflation and an impending recession, it can seem hopeless if you’re crushed with existing credit card debt. With the help of balance transfer cards, you can navigate your high-interest debt and minimize excessive interest costs while helping your credit score. You can use balance transfer credit cards to avoid high-interest charges while you pay off your debt and even earn travel rewards at the same time.
What is a balance transfer?
A balance transfer is when you move an existing credit card balance to another card, ideally with a lower interest rate. In practice, this can allow you to pay off your credit card debt more quickly. While there is a one-time fee associated with making a balance transfer (generally 3-5% of the total transfer), you could save much more in the long run by subjecting that balance to a lower interest rate — especially if you transfer your balance to a card that offers 0% APR for a specified period of time.
These offers are like standard sign-up bonuses in that they extend a potentially valuable benefit to encourage new applicants to open a credit card account. However, instead of (or occasionally, in addition to) earning rewards for opening a new card, you receive interest-free financing on an existing balance you transfer to your new account. In addition, most of these offers also feature 0% intro APR financing on new purchases.
To get the most out of a promotional financing offer, you must combine it with a sound plan to pay off your debt by reducing your expenditures, maximizing your income and making regular payments to pay off the balance. As long as the 0% APR promotional financing offer is in effect, you won’t pay interest charges on your balance, allowing you to save money while eliminating your debt as quickly as possible.
Things to consider
Generally speaking, balance transfers can be a good idea if you want to get out of debt as quickly as possible. That being said, they do come with some drawbacks. In most cases, you’ll need to pay a fee to transfer your balance.
Additionally, many of these cards are not considered top-tier travel rewards cards, and by signing up for them, you may be limiting your options for future credit cards. Of course, if you’re overwhelmed with debt currently, sacrificing a future card is far superior to incurring massive interest charges.
By law, these balance-transfer offers with promotional financing must be valid for at least six months. Some of the top offers currently available extend for as long as 18 months. However, keep in mind that you can’t transfer a balance between two cards from the same issuer.
Finally, it’s worth noting that transferring a balance to a card with a 0% APR offer will not have any impact on the interest charges you’ve already accrued — it will only affect future interest on the balance.
How much can I save with a balance transfer card?
Because credit card debt is unsecured, it has a higher interest rate than other secured lending products, such as a home mortgage or a car loan. Credit card debt is also more costly than a home mortgage or a student loan because it’s never tax-deductible.