If you only need a short period of time to clear your credit card balance you should look out for the best credit cards with 0 balance transfer fees. Cards with 0% fees on balance transfers will typically offer shorter periods of 0% APR on the balance you transfer.
Assuming you can pay off your card within that period you could get a fantastic deal by paying 0% transfer fees and 0% APR through the period you clear the balance. Do this and your credit card loan could effectively cost you nothing at all. Let’s take a look at your options.
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Can you pay off your balance quickly? Choosing a card with a 0% interest period and 0% transfer fees is your best option:
Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express. With this attractive offer from American Express you can enjoy up to 15 months of 0% interest on balances you transfer to the card, and you won’t be charged a balance transfer fee. In effect, your card balance won’t cost you anything in interest and charges as long as you make at least minimum payments every month and pay the balance off within 15 months.
Edward Jones Mastercard. If you don’t like the idea of an American Express card or can’t get one, consider the Edward Jones Mastercard which offers you 12 months of 0% interest on balance transfers while also waving balance transfer fees. You must be an Edward Jones client to apply for this card. Edward Jones offers a range of other banking service including savings and investment accounts.
If you’re not sure that you will be able to pay off your balance within the 15 months available on the best 0% fees offer you should consider paying a balance transfer fee in order to get a longer 0% period on the balance itself. Consider one of these cards:
Discover it® Balance Transfer. We start with the Discover card because it offers a lower than average transfer fee of 3% on the balance you transfer, while giving you a total of 18 months of 0% in interest on your balance transfer. Compared to the American Express EveryDay Credit Card you get a little longer to pay off your balance, but you need to factor in the 3% transfer fee.
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card. Currently the longest balance transfer deal we know about, this Citi card offers you 21 months of 0% interest on your balance transfers. That gives you a fairly long time to pay off your balances, but note that you need to pay 5% on the initial balance you transfer which can make it more expensive than the fee-free cards we mentioned earlier.
A couple of cards offer a decent balance transfer introductory period combined with ongoing APRs that are lower than average. The ongoing APR matters if you are not sure that you will be able to repay your card balance before your balance transfer deal runs out. Consider:
US Bank Visa® Platinum Card: With 15 months of 0% interest on qualifying balance transfers this card can save you big on interest, especially considering it offers ongoing APRs as low as 10.74%, though some customers may get an APR as high as 22.74%. Also note the 3% fee on balance transfers.
Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard. Barclaycard is issued by UK-based Barclays Bank but Barclaycard has been active in the US for years. This Mastercard from Barclaycard offers an ongoing APR starting at 13.74%, and also includes a 0% balance transfer period of 12 months with a 3% charge on balances you transfer.
If your credit is not in good shape you may find it difficult to get a balance transfer card. Some providers offer cards for people with below-average credit, but you won’t get fee-free transfers and the balance transfer period is typically quite short. There is one card we can recommend for people with fair credit (a score of 580 or above):
Aspire FCU. The Aspire Credit Union offers the Platinum Mastercard® from Aspire FCU which comes with a 0% intro APR offer for balance transfers, the offer lasts for six months. The balance transfer fee is quite reasonable at 2% of the balance, or $5, whichever is greater. The card is a good option if you cannot get access to mainstream cards.
For applicants with very bad credit the only credit card option would be a secured credit card, which requires you to pay a deposit up front before the card is issued. You would be better off simply paying off your existing credit card balance with this deposit.
If you have bad credit the best option is to make sure you manage your credit in a way that improves your credit score. Always make repayments on time and apply with providers that consider applicants with bad credit. Over time your score will improve, and you will stand a better chance at access to more attractive balance transfer offers.