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 as of December 2013. If you have a favorite balance transfer offer not included on this list, let me know and I’ll add 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 late fee on your first late payment, 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. 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 in rotating categories upon enrollment. 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.
Slate® from Chase. If you have good to excellent credit, the Slate from Chase 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 between 12.99% to 22.99% variable, depending on your credit history.
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 Slate from Chase 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® 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, however, the standard variable APR will apply, which is currently between 11.99 and 21.99 percent for purchases and balance transfers. Also keep in mind that a 3 percent balance transfer fee of each balance transfer (with a minimum of $5) will apply.
Citi 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 APR, currently between 12.99 percent and 21.99 percent, will apply on purchases and balance transfers. 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.
Updated December 2, 2013 and originally published March 15, 2012. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @flexo on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.