What is the Best Balance Transfer Credit Card for me?
The best balance transfer credit cards are The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express and Chase Slate® because both offer the chance for a free balance transfer: one without any fees or interest. But their terms won’t suit everyone’s needs, so it’s important to shop around. In general, the best balance transfer credit card is whichever will save you the most money when all is said and done. And to find it, you have to consider each card’s 0% intro period, transfer fee and regular APR when comparing offers. You’ll also need to take into account both how much you owe and how long it will take to repay. A balance transfer calculator
can help you crunch the numbers for your situation.
Fortunately, there are a number of attractive offers to consider. WalletHub’s editors identified the best credit cards for balance transfers by comparing 1,000+ offers through the eyes of the average household, which owes $8,377
. You can learn more about the top options below.
Here are the best balance transfer cards:
Most of the best transfer credit cards require at least good credit for approval. So if you’re not sure where you stand, you may want to check your latest credit score for free on WalletHub
before you apply.
Finally, it’s worth noting that the very best balance transfer credit card you can get is none at all. So once you’ve paid off what you owe, turn your focus to budgeting
and making sure you don’t get into debt again.
How much can you balance transfer on a credit card?
The rule of thumb is that you should be able to transfer a balance equal to your largest credit line. For example, if you have three credit cards, one with a $3,000 credit line and two with $1,500 credit lines, you may be able to transfer as much as $3,000. But it all depends on your credit history, income and current debt obligations.
You’ll also need to consider how much you can afford to pay each month and what terms you can expect to be approved for. For example, is your credit good enough for you to get a 0% balance transfer credit card? And if it is, can you afford to repay your entire balance during that 0% intro period? If not, what balance will remain, and how long will it take you to pay that off?
The answers to these questions will help you figure out not only how much to transfer, but also which balance transfer credit card is best for your needs.
How many balance transfers can you do?
There’s no hard-and-fast rule about how many balance transfers you can do. But individual issuers may have their own policies. For instance, you can request up to three balance transfers when applying for the BankAmericard Credit Card.
Your credit line will also limit the number of balance transfers you’re able to do. The total dollar amount that you can transfer to a credit card can’t exceed the credit limit you’re approved for. You won’t be able to transfer a $10,000 balance to a credit card with a $5,000 limit, for example.
It’s also worth noting that even the best balance transfer credit cards offer money-saving terms only for a limited time. Zero percent transfer deals, and other low introductory APRs, expire after a certain number of months following account opening. And fairly high regular APRs tend to take their place. Some cards have promotional balance transfer fees, too, requiring you to transfer your balance within the first 60 days to maximize your savings. So you don’t want to space out your balance transfers too much because the longer you wait, the less you’re likely to save.
Finally, you can’t count on another 0% balance transfer credit card being available to bail you out at the end of your current card’s interest-free intro period. That means you should only transfer an amount that you can afford to pay off before regular rates kick in.
What types of debt can you transfer to a balance transfer credit card?
Each credit card company has its own policies about the types of debt that you can transfer to its credit cards. For example, you can only transfer credit card debt to a Chase credit card. But nine major issuers – including Bank of America, Barclaycard and Citi – allow you to transfer any type of debt, according to WalletHub research
. That includes auto loans, student loans, mortgages, payday loan, etc.
All major credit card companies have at least one restriction in common, however: You can’t transfer a balance from one credit card to another card from the same issuer. Allowing the practice wouldn’t make much sense for the credit card companies. They wouldn’t get any new business out of the transaction. Rather, they’d just be allowing existing customers to refinance their credit card debt.
Finally, it’s worth noting that just because you can transfer a certain type of debt doesn’t mean you should. It’s best to transfer only what you can afford to repay during a card’s 0% intro period. Balance transfer credit cards tend to have high regular APRs, and another 0% transfer card won’t always be there to bail you out.
What are the best balance transfer cards for fair credit?
Unfortunately, you’re unlikely to have much luck looking for the best balance transfer credit cards for fair credit because there aren’t many options to choose from. Most, if not all, 0% balance transfer cards require good or excellent credit for approval. And while decent balance transfer credit cards are available to people with fair credit from time to time, you typically need to be a college student to qualify.
Most general-purpose credit cards for folks with fair credit simply don’t allow balance transfers because issuers want cardholders to prove themselves before assuming their debt. Students generally get better terms than other people with the same level of credit experience due to their youth and above-average earning potential. In any case, credit cards for people with less-than-good credit tend to have fairly low limits. So even if you get good terms, you still won’t be able to transfer much of a balance.
That means the best approach at this point may be to focus on credit improvement
while paying off
as much of your debt as you can afford each month. You can track your progress for free on WalletHub
, the only site that offers free credit scores and reports updated daily. And when your credit improves enough for you to qualify for a good balance transfer card, you can deal the finishing blow to your remaining debt.
What are the best balance transfer credit cards for bad credit?
“Best” and “balance transfer credit cards for bad credit” don’t really go together, unfortunately. Some secured credit cards
may offer decent balance transfer rates and fees, but using one for that purpose doesn’t make much sense. You can’t transfer an amount in excess of your spending limit. And a secured card’s spending limit usually equals the amount of the refundable security deposit that you’re required to place. So you can’t transfer more than you can already afford without borrowing. And if you already have the money, why not pay the creditor you owe directly instead of transferring the balance and paying interest?
Unsecured credit cards for bad credit
aren’t much help, either. Most don’t even allow balance transfers, for one thing. Plus, due to extremely high rates and fees, such cards only let you borrow very small amounts. So you’re unlikely to be able to transfer much of a balance, anyway.
Does WalletHub have a balance transfer calculator?
Yes, WalletHub’s balance transfer calculator
is free to use. And we highly recommend giving it a try. Using a balance transfer calculator will help you figure out how much you can afford to transfer and which card will save you the most money.