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Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards, September 2014

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Credit card debt is never fun, and developing a plan to get yourself out of the debt can be exhausting. Credit cards commonly charge interest rates of 20% or more, and if you miss a few payments the default rate can be even worse. Fortunately, if your credit is still decent, there is a way to make payments on your credit card with paying low interest or without any interest. That’s through a solid low or zero percent balance transfer offer.

Low and zero percent APR balance transfer offers are commonly provided by credit card issuers to attract new customers. Credit card issuers rightfully assume that if they can attract you to their product by offering to house your debt for low or zero percent interest, you’re likely to generate new debt after you’ve paid off the old debt. The trick in taking advantage of a balance transfer offer is to pay off the entire debt during the low or zero percent introductory offer, then pledging never again to get deep into credit card debt. It’s easier said than done for many.

Many top credit cards offers now have balance transfer fees, but even with a fee, you could save thousands of dollars of interest charges by taking advantage of low or zero percent APR balance transfer offers. Below you will find excellent choices for credit cards available for balance transfers. If you have a favorite balance transfer offer not included on this list, let me know and I’ll add it.

Discover it®Discover it®.
The originators of the cash back credit card have overhauled their cash back rewards card and re-emerged with a fair and simple credit card. With no annual fee, no foreign transaction fee, no overlimit fee and no APR hike for paying late,* it would be hard to find a card that offers more consumer-friendly terms. Signing up for this card can nab you a 0 percent introductory APR on balance transfers for 18 months with a 3 percent balance transfer fee for each balance transferred. After the introductory period the variable purchase APR applies, which your excellent credit could earn you one of the better APRs on a rewards card currently at 10.99 percent – 22.99 percent. Discover’s rewards program offers cardholders a straight 1 percent cash back on purchases, with the opportunity to earn 5 percent cash back on purchases in rotating categories subject to quarterly enrollment and spend cap. Plus, free FICO® Credit Score online and on your monthly statement to help you stay on top of your credit.* Discover also offers other versions of their game-changing credit cards to suit your needs: Discover it for Students, Discover it for Students with $20 Cashback Bonus and Discover it.

Chase Slate®. If you have good to excellent credit, the Chase Slate offers a 0% introductory APR on both purchases and balance transfers for fifteen months, and as an introductory offer there is no balance transfer fee on transfers made within 60 days of account opening. All other transfers will be charged 3% of the amount transferred with a minimum of $5. After the introductory period, purchase and balance transfer APR’s will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate and APR is currently 12.99%, 17.99%, 22.99% variable, based on your creditworthiness.

You’ll avoid the 3% surcharge when making a balance transfer within 60 days of account opening, so if you can pay off your credit card balance in the fifteen month time-frame, the total cost of fees and interest is zero. The Chase Slate also has the benefit of being annual-fee free, so depending on your needs, this card could represent the highest amount of savings.

Citi® Diamond Preferred® CardCiti® Diamond Preferred® Card. With its generous 0 percent introductory APR on balance transfers for 18 months, the Citi Diamond Preferred Card offers one of the industry’s longest introductory offers, giving consumers more time to pay down balances from other cards. In addition, that 0 percent introductory APR also applies to purchases for 18 months. After these introductory offers expire, the standard variable purchase APR will apply, which is currently between 11.99-21.99 percent for purchases and balance transfers, based on your creditworthiness. Also keep in mind there is a balance transfer fee of 3 percent of the amount of each transfer; $5 minimum, balance transfer fee also applies to this offer.

Citi Simplicity® CardCiti Simplicity® Card. If your ideal credit card offers great terms and few complications, you may want to have a look at the Citi Simplicity Card. Boasting a 0 percent Introductory APR on balance transfers and purchases for 18 months, this card promises to never impose a late fee, annual fee or penalty rate. After the introductory period expires, the standard variable APR, currently between 12.99 percent-21.99 percent, will apply on purchases and balance transfers, based on your creditworthiness. There is a balance transfer fee of 3 percent of the amount of each transfer; $5 minimum, and the balance transfer fee applies to this offer as well. If your current cards have you burdened with complexities, the Simplicity Card may be just what you need.

For diligent credit card users, balance transfer cards can be efficient tools for keeping your bank account balance intact, making better use of your cash than spending your own money for a large purchase. In great economic environments, you could earn interest on your money while paying off your expenses with a low or zero percent interest rate. The proliferation of balance transfer fees makes this type of arbitrage more difficult, but with a few fee-free offers being available today, you might be able to earn interest on your card issuer’s money if you don’t fall into any traps.

Important Note! The information in this article is believed to be accurate as of the date it was written. Please keep in mind that credit card offers change frequently. Therefore, we can not guarantee the accuracy of the information in this article. Please verify all terms and conditions of any credit or charge card prior to applying.

*Click on the card name links to see rates, terms and other information.

Updated September 1, 2014 and originally published March 15, 2012. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar FUN888

BANK OF CHINA CC SCAM

Just returned from a trip from Hong Kong and China

In HK, all the charges are in HK $, thus avoiding the 3% Dynamic exchange fee. The only one that charge Dynamic exchange fee is Bank of China subsidiary that process Visa CC transactions.

In China, things gets really bad. Each time I ask to be charged in RMB, it came out to be in US$. After protest, it still come up with a statement saying that I was offer to reject the US$ option (which I did not). The bank say all I have to do is to cross out the option line and write RMB on the charge line, I will be fine. When I came home and check my statements, it all had the 3% Dynamic Exchange rated added onto my Schwab Credit card.

It is a big scam by Bank of China.. Be careful when you use credit card in China

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avatar Cass ♦0 (Newbie)

“…then pledging never again to get deep into credit card debt. It’s easier said than done for many.” – hehehehe

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avatar Anon

I have a Citi Dividend MasterCard. I took out a 2500 balance transfer with 0 interest until October of next year. What Citi (and this website) DOESN’T tell you, is that if you use your credit card for purchases, even if you pay off the amount of the purchases on the card (ie if you spend 500, bringing your total balance to 3000, and pay 500 at the end of the month, leaving you with 2500 again)… You pay interest on your 2500 balance.

So I’ll be paying at least 13 bucks a month in interest until I’ve paid off the 2500 balance transfer, which I was really hoping I wouldn’t have to worry about until summer of next year, because money is very tight.

I spoke at great length with some supervisor gentleman who told me about the 0% APR balance transfer, and at NO time did he tell me I’d be unable to use my card. I feel so lied to.

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avatar Bob S.

I have a Citi platinum mastercard and recently completed a 0 APR balance transfer with a 6 month term. I never pay interest on credit card but was faced with an unusual home repair so it seemed a prudent way to manage the expense. Also, i already had the card and simply had to select the option. The 3 percent fee was fine as I pretty much washed it out by receiving a 2 percent cash back reward from the HSBC card i used for the purchase. So far so good, right? Nooooo! I then used the Citicard for some regular (standard) purchases figuring I pay those off in full plus the minimum amount due. To my surprise, the new standard purchases started accruing interest from the date of purchase! I called Citibank and they agreed to reimburse the interest charge. Now, I no longer use the Citibank card and continue to pay the minimum each month and avoid any interest. It seems they shoot themselves in the foot as not using the card at all deprives them of any additional revenue. Word of caution, ask questions before signing up, these can work for you as long as you understand their terms and can adjust accordingly.

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avatar William

That is terrible. Even though things are supposed to be becoming more transparent, things don’t seem to change. Citi really needs to focus on their customer service and not playing games.

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