Two of the least popular words in the credit card aficionado’s lexicon are “debt” and “fees.” Of course what’s really bad is when you experience both of those things at once… which is exactly what happens when you carry a balance on your credit card.
I can’t help you with the “debt” part, but I can make some suggestions to alleviate the latter by using credit cards with no balance transfer fee. But be warned: these offers only come along once in a blue moon. This list is constantly updated with the best offers for 2014.
After you open your account, for the first 60 days you can transfer balances to it without any fees! For any transfers made after the first 60 days, the BT fee will be $5 or 3% of the amount, whichever is greater.
And right now, this promotion will also give you 0% interest for the first 15 months on both transfers AND purchases. Most credit cards only give you one or the other, so to get both and avoid paying a BT fee is a really sweet deal. After the introductory period the regular APR is 12.99%, 17.99% or 22.99% (V).
Although Chase doesn’t publicly disclose the credit score requirements for their credit cards, it’s widely known that the Slate is easier to qualify for than some of their other cards… so you should give it a shot.
Other Honorable Mentions
The offers below also charge a balance transfer fee. However they have long 0% APR incentives. The reason I’m listing them is in case you:
(a) Already have the above card. If that’s the case, then you won’t qualify for the above promotion.
(b) To take advantage of a 0% signup offer, you need to transfer your balance to a different bank. So the above deals won’t work for everyone.
So below are the next best options available…
There are a number of things to like about this card: (1) it has a very long 0% offer, (2) a great rewards program, and (3) Discover is constantly praised for having 100% US-based customer service reps. If your credit card debt is currently with Chase or Citi, then this is an excellent card to transfer it to.
The current sign-up offer gives you 0% for a full 18 months on balance transfers and 0% for 6 months on purchases. After that the variable APR will depend on your credit and it can range from 10.99% to 22.99%. This card also gives you a full 5% cash back on rotating categories, up to the quarterly limit.
This card offers a 0% APR on balance transfers made within the first 60 days of account opening and provides that rate for a full 12 months. You also get 0% APR on purchases made during the first 12 months, not to mention a $100 cash bonus if you spend $500 during the first three months. After the introductory period the regular APR on purchases and transfers is 12.99% to 22.99% variable. Ongoing rewards of 3% on gas and 2% at grocery stores along with 1% on all other spending is icing on the cake.
What do banks normally charge for transfers?
Ever since the Credit CARD Act was passed a few years ago, banks have been relying heavily on higher fees to offset the new regulation. As a result, balance transfer fees are higher now than ever before.
Here is a run-down of what each major lender charges. However please note that some of them have cards that are exceptions (being either higher or lower). Also as you will see, there is one credit card company with no balance transfer fees, but since they’re a credit union I left them off the above list.
- American Express: 3% or $5, whichever is greater (note: You can’t do transfers with all of their cards).
- Barclaycard: 4% or $10, whichever is greater
- Bank of America: 3% or $10, whichever is greater
- Capital One: varies by card
- Chase: normally it’s at least 3% or $5, whichever is greater
- Citi: 3% or $5, whichever is greater
- Discover: 3% of the amount
- First National Bank of Omaha: 5% or $10, whichever is greater
- Navy Federal Credit Union: none
- PenFed Credit Union: 3% or $10, whichever is greater
- PNC: 3% or $5, whichever is greater
- USAA: 3% of the amount
- US Bank: 4% or $5, whichever is greater
- Wells Fargo: 5% or $5, whichever is greater
Please note that I can’t guarantee accuracy for the above fees by bank/issuers. These should be accurate as of March 2014 but they can change at any time without notice. This page is updated on a regular basis with any no fee balance transfer credit cards that come onto the market.
Here are some other resources you may find useful:
- What is a balance transfer? (the definition)
- Should I transfer my balance or not? (Q&A)
- How to calculate the average daily balance on a card
This post was written or last updated March 25, 2014