Updated February 09, 2020

7 Best 0% APR Balance Transfer Cards February 2020

Credit Cards

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Balance transfer credit cards provide users the opportunity to transfer a balance from another credit card to the balance transfer card.

The balance transfer card typically offers an introductory 0% APR for a certain period of time, typically between 12 and 21 months.

This introductory APR is also good on purchases made on the card in addition to the balance transfers.

Of course, the credit card company has to make money somehow, and you will be charged a balance transfer fee of typically three percent, though some cards charge more.  Note that this fee only applies to balance transfers; purchases made on a balance transfer card are not subject to this fee.

Why would you want to do this?  Why would you want to open a balance transfer card?  I’ll discuss this briefly before getting into my list of the best balance transfer cards at the end of this article.

When Balance Transfer Makes Sense

There are people out there (like Dave Ramsey) who will tell you that you should never get a credit card, never borrow any money whatsoever, and always pay in cash.

And you know what?  Maybe for some people, heeding that kind of advice helps them avoid falling into financial snares.

For others, though, financial products like credit cards can be incredibly useful in reaching one’s financial goals.

And a solid balance transfer credit card is yet another tool in your financial arsenal.

The most common situation in which a balance transfer card makes sense is when you’re paying a lot of interest on another credit card.

You Have Credit Card Debt

Let’s say you have $20,000 in credit card debt at 18% annualized interest, and you’re only making the minimum payments.

You will be accruing about $3,600 of interest per year.

You can save this $3,600 per year if you were — somehow — able to get an interest-free loan of $20,000 and pay off your high-interest credit card.

Well, with a balance transfer credit card, that’s essentially what you’re able to do: you’re able to transfer your balance on your high-interest credit card to a balance transfer card that charges you no interest on the balance for a certain period of time.

Yes, you will have to pay a fee, typically three percent, but three percent is a lot less than 18%.  So if you transfer $20,000 in credit card debt, you would pay a balance transfer fee of $600.  Sounds like a lot, but which would you rather pay: $3,600 in interest or a $600 balance transfer fee?

Anyway, the trick, of course is for you to actually pay off the balance at the end of the introductory APR period. If you don’t you’re going to be in a world of interest.

Minimum Payments

During the introductory APR period, you will still have to make minimum payments on your credit cards.  Failing to do so may cause you to incur late fees and, more importantly, cause you to lose the introductory APR rate and subject your transferred balance and purchases to the card’s normal APR.

You Like Arbitrage

And even if you don’t have credit card debt, a balance transfer card can still make you money.

The S&P 500 was up 29% in 2019.  Imagine if you were able to charge all your living expenses to a balance transfer card with a 0% introductory APR and you were able to instead invest that money into the stock market.

Of course, this is a risky strategy and not one you should undertake if you don’t have adequate cash reserves to cover the balance on your balance transfer card in case the market drops when the introductory APR period ends.

Or, if you’re more conservative, you can simply place the money that you would have applied toward paying off your monthly balance into a high-yield savings account and earn upwards of 2% on your money.  Then when the balance transfer period is over, you can pay off the balance on the card with the money in the savings account, and you will have earned a bit of interest.

7 Best Balance Transfer Cards

As with most things in personal finance, when discussing balance transfer credit cards, it’s almost impossible to state unequivocally which one is the “best” because different people value different things.

Some people will care more about how long that introductory APR period is, while others will be more concerned with the additional perks or cash back percentages on the card.

The balance transfer card that’s best for me may not be the balance transfer card that’s best for you.

But all is not lost.  I did some research into the balance transfer cards on the market today and came up with seven different “awards” for balance transfer cards (for example, the Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card is “Best for Dining and Entertainment”).  Hopefully one of these award categories I came up with will resonate with you so you can find the perfect balance transfer card for your situation.

Confirm the Payoff Date

As stated previously, the key with balance transfer cards is that you actually pay off the balance.  Otherwise, you defeat the purpose of having the card in the first place.  It’s absolutely essential that you know the exact date by which you need to make your payment after the introductory APR period ends.  So get written confirmation from the credit card company of exactly when you need to pay off the balance to avoid any interest or other finance charges.  You can easily do this by emailing your credit card company’s customer support department or even by chatting with a customer support representative — just make sure that those chats are stored somewhere.

Amex Blue Cash Everyday

  • Blue Cash Everyday Card: Best for Typical Spenders
    • Basics: The Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express currently offers an introductory APR of 0% on both purchases and balance transfers for 15 months and a welcome offer of $150 with $1,000 spend within the first three months from opening the account. There is no annual fee, and the balance transfer fee is 3%.
    • Perks: You earn 3% cash back on your first $6,000 in purchases at U.S. supermarkets per year and 2% cash back on all your purchases at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores. You also earn 1% cash back on all other purchases, including spending at grocery stores beyond the first $6,000 per year.
    • Bottom Line: While not offering as long an introductory period as other cards, the Amex Blue Cash Everyday provides significant rewards on everyday spending categories with no annual fee. Keep in mind that the Blue Cash Everyday's sister card, the Blue Cash Preferred, offers even higher cash back rates but comes with an annual fee.
    • Welcome Offer

      $150 with $1,000 spend within first three months from opening account

    • Annual Fee

      $0

    • Balance Transfer Fee

      3%

Amex Blue Cash Preferred

  • Blue Cash Preferred Card: Best Welcome Offer
    • Basics: The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express currently offers an introductory APR of 0% on both purchases and balance transfers for 12 months and a welcome offer of $250 with $1,000 spend within first three months from opening the account. There is a $95 annual fee, and the balance transfer fee is 3%.
    • Perks: You earn 6% cash back on your first $6,000 in purchases at U.S. supermarkets per year, 6% back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, 3% back on transit purchases (including Uber, Lyft, parking, tolls, and train fares), and 3% cash back on all your purchases at U.S. gas stations. As is typical, you earn 1% cash back on all other purchases, including spending at grocery stores beyond the first $6,000 per year.
    • Bottom Line: Yes, the 12-month introductory period is as short as any other offer on this list, but the 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets is best in class, and that welcome offer of $250 cash back on $1,000 spend within the first three months is super easy money.
    • Welcome Offer

      $250 with $1,000 spend within first three months from opening account

    • Annual Fee

      $95

    • Balance Transfer Fee

      3%

Capital One SavorOne

  • Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card: Best for Dining and Entertainment
    • Basics: This card currently offers an introductory APR of 0% on both purchases and balance transfers for 15 months and a welcome offer of $150 with $500 spend within first three months from opening the account. There is no annual fee, and the balance transfer fee is 3%.
    • Perks: You earn 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% cash back at grocery stores, and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
    • Bottom Line: If you're a foodie, this just might be the card for you because the 3% cash back on dining and entertainment is the highest of any balance transfer card right now.
    • Welcome Offer

      $150 with $500 spend within first three months from opening account

    • Annual Fee

      $0

    • Balance Transfer Fee

      3%

Chase Freedom

  • Chase Freedom: Best for Rotating Category Rewards
    • Basics: The Chase Freedom currently offers an introductory APR of 0% on both purchases and balance transfers for 15 months and a welcome offer of $150 with $500 spend within first three months from opening the account. There is no annual fee, and the balance transfer fee is 3%.
    • Perks: You earn 5% cash back on your first $1,500 in purchases made in quarterly-rotated categories and 1% cash back on all other purchases, including spending on the rotating categories beyond $1,500 during the quarter. Examples of bonus 5% categories are grocery stores, gas stations, Uber, Lyft, restaurants, PayPal, Amazon, Target and more.
    • Bottom Line: The introductory APR period is a middle-of-the-road 15 months, but earning 5% bonus cash back with no annual fee sure feels pretty good. Of course, you don't know a quarter's bonus categories until about two weeks before the quarter begins, so the Chase Freedom can be a bit unpredictable.
    • Welcome Offer

      $150 with $500 spend within first three months from opening account

    • Annual Fee

      $0

    • Balance Transfer Fee

      3%

Chase Freedom Unlimited

  • Chase Freedom Unlimited: Best if You Have a Premium Chase Card
    • Basics: The Chase Freedom Unlimited currently offers an introductory APR of 0% on both purchases and balance transfers for 15 months and a welcome offer of $150 with $500 spend within the first three months from opening the account. There is no annual fee, and the balance transfer fee is 3%.
    • Perks: You earn an unlimited 1.5 points back on all purchases. This translates to 1.5% cash back if you redeem for a statement credit or direct deposit. However, if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you are able to redeem points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards at 1.5 cents per point, making the rewards percentage on the Chase Freedom Unlimited essentially 2.25% on all purchases if you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. This is an extremely high unlimited reward percentage on all purchases.
    • Bottom Line: The introductory APR period is nothing to write home about, but if you're big on travel and already have a premium Chase travel card, the Chase Freedom Unlimited is definitely worth a look.
    • Welcome Offer

      $150 with $500 spend within first three months from opening account

    • Annual Fee

      $0

    • Balance Transfer Fee

      3%

Citi Double Cash

  • Citi Double Cash: Best for All-Around Rewards
    • Basics: The Citi Double Cash currently offers an introductory APR of 0% on both purchases and balance transfers for 18 months. There is no annual fee, and the balance transfer fee is 3%.
    • Perks: This card essentially gives you 2% cash back on everything. You get 1% cash back when you swipe and an additional 1% when you make a payment. Citi recently allowed cardholders to convert their rewards balance into Citi ThankYou Points, which could increase your rewards percentage depending on which travel partners you transfer those points to.
    • Bottom Line: While other cards may give you more rewards in certain categories like groceries or gas, this card has you covered when it comes to the bulk of your spending, and it also comes with a higher-than-average 18-month introductory 0% APR period.
    • Welcome Offer

      None at this time

    • Annual Fee

      $0

    • Balance Transfer Fee

      3%

Citi Simplicity Card

  • Citi Simplicity Card: Longest 0% APR Period
    • Basics: The Citi Simplicity Card currently offers an introductory APR of 0% on balance transfers for 21 months and on purchases for 12 months. What's the catch? Balance transfers are subject to a 5% rather than the commonplace 3%, and all balance transfers must be made within the first four months of account opening. There is no annual fee.
    • Perks: This card doesn't give you rewards like the other cards on this list, but it doesn't charge late fees. And in certain situations, this may make more sense than getting a card that offers cash back or travel points.
    • Bottom Line: If your concern is getting the maximum introductory APR period on balance transfers, or if you're late with a payment every once in a while, the Citi Simplicity Card might be the card for you. However, the extended introductory APR period must be weighed against the 5% balance transfer fee, keeping in mind that the other cards on this list only charge a 3% fee.
    • Welcome Offer

      None at this time

    • Annual Fee

      $0

    • Balance Transfer Fee

      5%

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Logan Allec, CPA

Logan is a CPA, Certified Student Loan Professional, and founder of Money Done Right, which he launched in July 2017. After spending nearly a decade in the corporate world helping big businesses save money, he launched his blog with the goal of helping everyday Americans earn, save, and invest more money. Learn more about Logan.

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