What is the Best Balance Transfer Credit Card for me?
Simply put, the best balance transfer credit card is the one that will save you the most money overall. So you have to consider each card’s 0% intro period, transfer fee and regular APR when comparing offers. And you’ll need to take into account both how much you owe and how long it will take to repay.
To identify the best credit cards for balance transfers, WalletHub’s editors compared the top offers through the eyes of the average household, which owes $8,377
. For your convenience…
Here’s a quick recap of 2017’s best balance transfer cards:
All 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 big of a balance can I transfer?
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.
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.
Why aren’t there better balance transfer credit cards for fair, limited and bad credit?
Decent balance transfer credit cards are available to people with fair credit from time to time. But most, if not all, 0% balance transfer cards require good or excellent credit for approval. And the explanation is pretty simple. Lending is risky, especially in the case of a balance transfer, when a credit card company essentially assumes some of your debt. And while a credit card company may be willing to extend that favor to a borrower who has proven himself or herself trustworthy, the risk involved in doing the same for someone with little experience or a history of payment problems would be too high.
Credit cards for people with less-than-good credit also tend to have fairly low limits. So even if you get good balance transfer terms from such a card, you still won’t be able to transfer much of a balance.
As a result, the best approach at this point may be to focus on improving your credit 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.
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.