(Updated 5/9/2013) Would you believe me if I told you one of the easiest ways to eliminate your credit card debt is to open a new credit card? It sounds a little crazy, but it’s true. Using 0% balance transfer credit cards to move your credit card balance from your current interest rate to a 0% interest rate can save you hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars in interest over the duration of the zero percent balance transfer offer. But there is a catch – you have to stop using your old credit card and commit to paying off your balance. Do this, and you can cut months off your journey to eliminating your credit card debt.
Let’s take a look at some of the balance transfer credit card options available on the market, some of the things to look for to help you choose the best card for your needs, and some pitfalls to avoid.
Best 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards
The following list represents the best consumer offers for transferring your credit card balance to a 0 percent credit card. You can click on each respective card for more details or see the following list for more balance transfer offers. We have the a Citibank card rated number 1, since they offer by far, the longest balance transfer offer in the industry. However, Chase currently offers a 15 month balance transfer card without a transfer fee. If you need the longer time to pay off your debt, then Citi is a great opportunity. If you can pay off your debt within 15 months, then the Chase may be a better card for you. All of these cards are solid options, and have no annual fees. Be sure to click through and visit the credit card issuer’s site for more details and current terms and conditions.
(18 months). The Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card is also among the leaders for the longest balance transfer offers: Get 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 18 months. After that, the APR will be 11.99%-21.99% based upon your creditworthiness.* There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer. This card also features 24/7 access to personalized concierge service, special access to unforgettable live entertainment experiences through Citi Private Pass®, $0 Liability on unauthorized purchases, Citi® Identity Theft Solutions, and no annual fee. Apply for the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card.
(18 Months). The Citi Simplicity® Card features a 0% Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 18 months. This is among the longest balance transfer offers around, which makes this an attractive card for consolidating credit card accounts. There is a a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater. However, there is no annual fee. Perhaps the most unique feature with this card is the lack of late fees or penalty rate hikes if you miss a payment. The interest rate is a variable APR of 12.99%-21.99% after the intro 0% APR expires. Apply for the Citi Simplicity® Card.
(14 months). The new Discover it® card features a 0% Intro APR* on purchases and balance transfer for 14 months, in addition to an excellent cash back program that features 5% cash back in select categories, and 1% cash back on all other purchases. For example, you can earn 5% Cashback Bonus on up to $1,500 in purchases at Home Improvement Stores now through June with free and easy sign-up. And 1% cash back on all other purchases.* There is no annual fee, no overlimit fee, no foreign transaction fee & no pay-by-phone fee. Please visit the Discover website to learn more. Apply for the Discover it®.
(18 months). This version of the Discover it® card is very similar to the above card, with one major exception. It features a 0% Intro APR* on balance transfers for 18 months, and 0% Intro APR* on purchases for 6 months. After the intro periods, the variable purchase APR applies, currently 10.99% – 22.99%. Please visit the Discover website to learn more. Apply for the Discover it®.
How to evaluate 0% balance transfer credit card offers
0% balance transfer credit cards are a great way to save a lot of money on interest and repay your credit card debt more quickly. When used correctly, you can save hundreds, or even thousands of dollars in interest payment. However, not all offers are created equally, as you will see below. You will want to evaluate each card individually and make sure you understand the credit card offer before applying for a balance transfer card. Some important things to look out for include:
- Duration of balance transfer offer. Most cards offer 12-18 months at 0%.
- Balance transfer fees. Most fees range from 0% – 3%, or a fixed price, such as $75. There is usually a minimum fee as well.
- Interest rate. This only matters if you plan on using the card after you pay off your balance, but it is something to keep in mind.
- Rewards and cash back. Depending on your needs, you may want to consider credit cards with sign up bonuses, rewards bonuses, cash back cards, points cards, or special features, such as travel cards or gas rebates.
Compare all features before applying. Just because one card has a longer balance transfer duration doesn’t automatically make it the best card. You should first evaluate how much debt you have,the interest rate, how much it will cost for you to transfer your balance, how much you will save with a particular card (including balance transfer fees), and an estimate of how much you will save over the duration of the balance transfer offer. Then consider additional benefits of the card, such as cash back, sign up bonuses, rewards programs, etc. As you can see, most of these cards offer some form of cash back or rewards, which makes them a nice option to use after you pay off your balance transfer.
* See the online credit card application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. When you click on the “Apply Now” button, you can review the credit card terms and conditions on the issuer’s website.
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