For cardholders ready to get out of credit card debt, there are several different strategies to help you get there. One is to take advantage of a balance transfer offer, a credit card designed to give you more time to pay off your debt without charging high interest.
With so many great balance transfer cards out there, it can be hard to decide which one is best for you. Of course, you must consider your credit score and chances of being approved, as well as any other benefits the card may have. You’ll also want to look at how many months you get with a 0 percent starting annual interest rate and determine if that’s enough time to pay off your debt.
There is one more thing that you should always pay attention to when choosing a card for transferring balance – the transfer fee. Typically 3 to 5 percent of your balance, the balance transfer fee can be very costly if you have significant debt to pay off. They may be worth it, especially if you save more on interest in the long run, but it can be a heavy price to pay.
Few proposals to transfer the balance through the COVID-19 pandemic, but recently this trend has begun to reverse. What is still difficult is to win one without a balance transfer fee. There are relatively few balance transfer fee-free cards on the market at the moment, but here are a few fee-free balance transfer options that we found:
Balance transfer cards without balance transfer fees
Navy Federal Credit Union Platinum Card
For cardholders seeking a balance transfer offer combined with low current annual interest rates, a Navy Federal Credit Union Platinum* Card is a good choice. The card offers one of the best recurring APRs on the market in addition to a limited-time balance transfer offer.
Keep in mind:
The Navy Federal Credit Union Platinum Permanent Purchase and Balance Transfer Card is only 6.47% per annum and can be used even after the initial period has expired, especially if you carry your balance regularly.
Wings Visa Platinum Credit Card
Another option is the Wings visa.® Platinum credit card* with no annual fee, balance transfer fee or international transaction fee. It also comes with a 0% APR Initial Offer that lasts for 12 months and applies to balance transfers and new purchases. Its regular annual interest rate ranges from 8.90 to 18.00 percent.
The main difference between this card and the Navy Federal Credit Union card is that joining Wings Financial Credit Union as a member can be more difficult as it depends on where you work or live or if you are in the aviation industry.
|Card||Transfer fee||0% per annum introductory period||Regular APR|
|Wings of Visa® Platinum credit card||$0||12 months||8.90% – 18.00% (variable)|
Credit card Union Bank Platinum Visa
If you are looking for a balance transfer card with a slightly longer initial annual period, consider the Union Bank® Platinum™ Visa®* credit card. Not only does it offer a 0% annual rate on balance transfers (and new purchases) for 15 months, but it also charges a $0 balance transfer fee for transfers made within the first 60 days.
After 60 days, the transfer fee increases to 3 percent (or a minimum of $10) per transfer, and after 15 months, your regular APR will range from 9.99 to 21.49 percent.
|Card||Transfer fee||0% per annum introductory period||Regular APR|
|Credit card Union Bank® Platinum™ Visa®||$0 (for 60 days)||15 months||9.99% – 21.49% (variable)|
Comparison of balance transfer offers: why it is better not to pay a commission
If you’ve been paying huge interest on a large balance for a while, it’s natural to hope for some breathing room when you choose a card to transfer your balance. While it might be tempting to upgrade to an 18-month or longer interest-free introductory offer, it’s almost always better to use a no-fee card—even if you have less time with a 0 percent APR. .
Because balance transfer fees typically range from 3 to 5 percent, you typically save more money with a card with no annual fees than paying interest with a shorter initial period.
To understand how this works, consider the Citi® Double Cash Card. While Citi Double Cash has a regular variable annual interest rate of 15.49% to 25.49%, it has one of the longer introductory annual interest rates you’ll find on a balance transfer card – 0 percent for 18 months (transfer must be made within the first four months). ). That’s six interest-free months more than the federal navy platinum card. However, Double Cash’s initial offer includes a 3 percent balance transfer fee, or a minimum of $5 (if you transfer after the first four months, the 3 percent increases to 5 percent).
The table below shows the cost of transferring and redeeming the same balance within 18 months. For Citi Double Cash, this is the cost of the balance transfer fee, and then you will have 0 percent APR for 18 months. Navy Federal Platinum does not have a balance transfer fee, but the regular APR will take effect after the first 12 months. The table shows estimates that you will pay 18 percent per annum for the last six months on the balance of the transferred balance.
Instead of doing the calculations yourself, you can use our payout calculator. In the first example, if you start with $500 in debt and pay $29 per month for 12 months, you end up with a balance of $152. By paying off the remaining balance at an annual interest rate of 18 percent, you will pay a total interest of $8. That $8 percent will still be less than the $15 you pay in Citi Double Cash balance transfer fees, despite the card’s longer annualized validity period.
|Transferred balance and monthly payments||Cost of the Citi Double Cash Card (with a minimum transfer fee of 3% or $5)||The cost of the federal platinum card of the Navy (from 18% per annum for the last six months)|
|$500 balance with $29 monthly payments||$15 balance transfer fee||$8 percent|
|$2,000 balance with $114 monthly payments||$60 balance transfer fee||$33 in interest|
|$4,000 balance with $227 monthly payments||$120 balance transfer fee||$68 in interest|
|$8,000 balance with $453 monthly payments||$240 balance transfer fee||$136 percent|
Cards to Consider Despite Balance Transfer Fees
While choosing a card with no balance transfer fees can often save you money, there are still many reasons to choose a card that charges fees, especially since there aren’t many options available with no balance transfer fees at the moment. For example, you might want to double your credit by winning a new reward credit card along with a balance transfer offer. Many of the most valuable bonus cards offer some kind of initial balance transfer period, but will not have such competitive offers (and will charge a balance transfer fee).
You can also offset the balance transfer fees with a high initial bonus if you plan on investing enough early on the card to qualify for the offer.
If you’re going to get a lot of consistent value from the card, it might be worth paying the fees up front. Here are some of our favorite cards to consider despite their balance transfer fees.
|Card||Interest rate||Introductory APR period for balance transfers||Balance Transfer Fee|
|Citi® Dual Cash Card||
||18 months||$5 or 3% (whichever is greater) for the first 4 months, then $5 or 5% (whichever is greater)|
|Citi Rewards+® Card||
||15 months||$5 or 3% (whichever is greater) for the first 4 months, then $5 or 5% (whichever is greater)|
|Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card||
||15 billing cycles||$10 or 3% (whichever is greater)|
|Discover® Cash Back||
||15 months||Introductory 3% for the first 3 months, then up to 5%|
If debt repayment is a top priority, we usually recommend a balance transfer card with no transfer fees, especially if your debt is small enough to pay off all debt before the end of the initial period. Even if your debt is not paid in full during your initial period, the amount you pay in interest may be lower than the amount you pay in balance transfer fees, so make sure you do your homework. before applying for a card.
*All information about the Platinum Card of the Federal Credit Union of the Navy, Union Bank® Platinum™ Visa® credit card andWings of Visa® Platinum credit card was independently obtained by CreditCards.com and has not been verified or approved by the issuer.