Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards
(0% Interest Credit Cards) For 2017
In an ideal world you would never carry a balance on your credit cards. But if you already have high interest credit card debt, transferring it to a 0% interest card will give you more time to pay it off interest-free, saving you hundreds of dollars or more.
The main two things to look for are a long introductory 0% interest period as well as the lowest possible balance transfer fees. With those two combined you should have a great shot at paying off your balance without the heavy cost of interest weighing you down.
These balance transfer credit cards generally require a solid credit score though, so if you don't have credit or are just getting started building your credit history, you may want to take a look at student credit cards instead.
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Citi Diamond Preferred
Best 0% Interest Credit Cards
for Balance Transfers
Over months and years of spending, sometimes credit card balances can get a bit out of hand. What started as making ends meet or a couple of small purchases grew into thousands of dollars in debt on a high interest credit card, and it feels like you just can’t dig out from all of that expensive interest you pay each month.
Did you know that some credit cards offer interest free periods on balance transfers? With up to 21 months interest free, you can stop paying 20% or higher interest. Start saving almost immediately! Here are some criteria you can use to pick the best card for your needs and how you can take advantage of 0% APR periods to save on expensive interest and get out of debt once and for all.
What is a Balance Transfer?
In the most basic sense, a balance transfer is using one credit card to pay off another credit card. This moves the balance from the original card to another card, and typically requires a fee of around 3%-5% of the total balance transfer amount.
Because of the fees involved, moving your balances from card to card to card can be very expensive. That is why it is important to only perform a balance transfer when it makes financial sense. If you can save more money than the cost of the fees, a balance transfer almost certainly makes sense.
A handful of credit cards were designed with this feature in mind. Some cards offer savings through lower interest rates. Others offer 0% introductory periods that allow you to make big progress paying off your balance without worrying about spending a dime on interest.
Stop Paying Expensive Interest on Credit Cards
If you have good or excellent credit, you can find credit cards with competitive interest rates below 8%. On the other hand, some cards charge in excess of 20% interest regardless of your credit.
0% interest credit cards allow you to pay no interest for an introductory period. These periods are typically 6 to 24 months. After paying the 3%-5% balance transfer fee, you pay no interest for the remainder of that time period. The best balance transfer credit cards offer over 12 months interest free.
For example, if you owe $5,000 on a card that charges 20% interest, you will pay around $1,000 in interest over the course of a year. A balance transfer to one of the many credit cards with 0% interest would require a one-time $250 fee. Over the course of one year, that is a $750 interest savings.
Consolidate Your Payments
If you have multiple credit cards with balances and have to make a whole slew of payments each month, it can get hard to keep everything straight. Missing a payment or two can seriously damage your credit score and trigger higher interest rates.
Take advantage of balance transfer offers to consolidate multiple credit cards into one monthly payment. Stop worrying about keeping the dates straight with every card. Instead, consolidate them into one so you only have to remember one payment each month.
Chip Away at Your Debt
Paying 20% interest, it can take years to get out of debt. However, if you can keep up making the same payments after consolidating to 0% balance transfer credit cards, your balance will drop quickly.
Keeping up making big monthly payments will help you really get out of debt. After your cards are paid off, you can stop using credit cards or switch to cards that offer cash back or travel rewards. But as long as you have credit card debt that you carry from month to month, your biggest financial goal should be paying those off.
Tips for Success After a Balance Transfer
- Stop making new purchases on credit: If you are using a 0% interest credit card to save money, you already have credit card balances you were struggling to pay off. Do not perpetuate the problem. Instead, use your balance transfer to signify a new beginning with credit. Only make purchases you can afford to pay in full, don’t use your credit card to support bad spending habits.
- Get rid of other high interest debt: Balance transfers can be used for more than just credit cards. Use your new 0% APR period to get rid of any payday loans, auto title loans, and personal loans you can. If you do not expect to be able to pay everything off by the end of the 0% APR introductory period, do not consolidate accounts with a lower interest rate than your new card offers after the introductory period.
- Track your 0% APR introductory period end date: Whether you have 6 months interest free or 21 months interest free, that introductory period will come to an end at some point. Mark that date on your calendar with big, bold, bright colored letters. That is the day you start paying interest again on your balances. To ensure you are paid off by that point, divide your total balance by the number of months you have without interest. For example, if you have 18 months interest free and owe $5,000 on your credit cards, paying $277 per month will leave you debt free by the time interest kicks back in.
- Use this opportunity to build credit: Over time, carrying debt and missing payments takes a toll on your credit. Let your new card also signify a turning point for your credit. Make 100% on-time payments going forward. Never miss a minimum payment or a due date. Over time, your credit will slowly recover as your debt levels fall and old mistakes expire from your credit report.
Actively Manage Your Cards Until You are Debt Free
The best balance transfer cards will help you simplify your finances, save money, and get out of credit card debt. Whether you open an account with no balance transfer fee or a modest one, the best credit cards for balance transfers can save you money quickly.
Stop paying high interest on your debt. Take advantage of the best 0% APR credit cards to save big on interest and put your debt to rest.