cheatgame.info’s Best Balance Transfer Cards of 2018

Claire Tsosie

Last updated on December 12, 2018

At cheatgame.info, we adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

A balance transfer allows you to move high-interest debt onto a credit card with a lower rate — often 0% for well over a year. Transferring a balance to one of these cards can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in interest, money you can apply toward getting out of debt sooner.

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Our pick for

Long intro 0% APR period

Citibank Simplicity Credit Card

on Citibank's secure application

on Citibank's secure application

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

15.99% - 25.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% on Purchases for 12 months and 0% on Balance Transfers for 21 months

recommended credit score

Our pick for

Long-term value

Discover it Credit Card

on Discover's secure website, or call (800) 347-0264

Rates & Fees

on Discover's secure website, or call (800) 347-0264

Rates & Fees
Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

13.99% - 24.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% on Purchases for 6 months and 0% on Balance Transfers for 18 months

recommended credit score

Our pick for

Purchases and transfers (excellent credit)

US Bank Visa Platinum Credit Card

on US Bank's secure website

Rates & Fees

on US Bank's secure website

Rates & Fees
Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

11.99% - 23.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

0%* on purchases and balance transfers for 20 billing cycles*

recommended credit score

Our pick for

Purchases and transfers (good credit)

Wells Fargo Visa Platinum Card Credit Card

on Wells Fargo's secure website

on Wells Fargo's secure website

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

13.49% - 26.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 18 months

recommended credit score

Our pick for

Purchases and transfers (good credit)

Bank of America BankAmericard® Credit Card Credit Card

on Bank of America's secure website, or call (800) 322-7707

on Bank of America's secure website, or call (800) 322-7707

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

14.99% - 24.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% on Purchases for 18 billing cycles and 0% on Balance Transfers for 18 billing cycles for balance transfers made in the first 60 days

recommended credit score

Our pick for

Purchases/transfers and late-fee waiver

HSBC Gold Mastercard

on HSBC's secure website

Rates & Fees

on HSBC's secure website

Rates & Fees
Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

12.99%, 16.99% or 20.99% variable APR

Intro APR

0% Introductory APR on credit card purchases and balance transfers for the first 18 months from account opening.

recommended credit score

Our pick for

Repeated transfers over time

Barclaycard Ring MasterCard Credit Card

on Barclays's secure website

Rates & Fees

on Barclays's secure website

Rates & Fees
Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

13.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable 13.99% APR will apply

recommended credit score

Summary of cheatgame.info’s Best Balance Transfer Cards of 2018

Credit CardBest ForIntro APRRegular APRAnnual FeeLearn More
Citibank Simplicity Credit Card

Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever

on Citibank's secure application

Long intro 0% APR period

0% on Purchases for 12 months and 0% on Balance Transfers for 21 months

15.99% - 25.99% Variable APR

$0

on Citibank's secure application

Discover it Credit Card

Discover it® Balance Transfer

on Discover's secure website, or call (800) 347-0264

Long-term value

0% on Purchases for 6 months and 0% on Balance Transfers for 18 months

13.99% - 24.99% Variable APR

$0

on Discover's secure website, or call (800) 347-0264

US Bank Visa Platinum Credit Card

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

on US Bank's secure website

Purchases and transfers (excellent credit)

0%* on purchases and balance transfers for 20 billing cycles*

11.99% - 23.99% Variable APR

$0

on US Bank's secure website

Wells Fargo Visa Platinum Card Credit Card

Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Card

on Wells Fargo's secure website

Purchases and transfers (good credit)

0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 18 months

13.49% - 26.99% Variable APR

$0

on Wells Fargo's secure website

Bank of America BankAmericard® Credit Card Credit Card

BankAmericard® credit card

on Bank of America's secure website, or call (800) 322-7707

Purchases and transfers (good credit)

0% on Purchases for 18 billing cycles and 0% on Balance Transfers for 18 billing cycles for balance transfers made in the first 60 days

14.99% - 24.99% Variable APR

$0

on Bank of America's secure website, or call (800) 322-7707

HSBC Gold Mastercard

HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card

on HSBC's secure website

Purchases/transfers and late-fee waiver

0% Introductory APR on credit card purchases and balance transfers for the first 18 months from account opening.

12.99%, 16.99% or 20.99% variable APR

$0

on HSBC's secure website

Barclaycard Ring MasterCard Credit Card

Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard®

on Barclays's secure website

Repeated transfers over time

0% intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable 13.99% APR will apply

13.99% Variable APR

$0

on Barclays's secure website

Credit CardBest ForIntro APRRegular APRAnnual FeeLearn More
Citibank Simplicity Credit Card

Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever

on Citibank's secure application

Long intro 0% APR period

0% on Purchases for 12 months and 0% on Balance Transfers for 21 months

15.99% - 25.99% Variable APR

$0

on Citibank's secure application

Discover it Credit Card

Discover it® Balance Transfer

on Discover's secure website, or call (800) 347-0264

Long-term value

0% on Purchases for 6 months and 0% on Balance Transfers for 18 months

13.99% - 24.99% Variable APR

$0

on Discover's secure website, or call (800) 347-0264

US Bank Visa Platinum Credit Card

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

on US Bank's secure website

Purchases and transfers (excellent credit)

0%* on purchases and balance transfers for 20 billing cycles*

11.99% - 23.99% Variable APR

$0

on US Bank's secure website

Wells Fargo Visa Platinum Card Credit Card

Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Card

on Wells Fargo's secure website

Purchases and transfers (good credit)

0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 18 months

13.49% - 26.99% Variable APR

$0

on Wells Fargo's secure website

Bank of America BankAmericard® Credit Card Credit Card

BankAmericard® credit card

on Bank of America's secure website, or call (800) 322-7707

Purchases and transfers (good credit)

0% on Purchases for 18 billing cycles and 0% on Balance Transfers for 18 billing cycles for balance transfers made in the first 60 days

14.99% - 24.99% Variable APR

$0

on Bank of America's secure website, or call (800) 322-7707

HSBC Gold Mastercard

HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card

on HSBC's secure website

Purchases/transfers and late-fee waiver

0% Introductory APR on credit card purchases and balance transfers for the first 18 months from account opening.

12.99%, 16.99% or 20.99% variable APR

$0

on HSBC's secure website

Barclaycard Ring MasterCard Credit Card

Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard®

on Barclays's secure website

Repeated transfers over time

0% intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable 13.99% APR will apply

13.99% Variable APR

$0

on Barclays's secure website

OTHER RESOURCES

How do I perform a balance transfer?

In a balance transfer, you use one credit card to pay off another, therefore shifting the debt to a new card. Transferring a balance makes sense if you can move the debt to a card with a significantly lower interest rate. Ideally, you'll get more than a year at 0% interest, so you can pay down the debt more quickly.

Steps to completing a balance transfer:

1. Apply for a new card to move the balance to. In most cases, you can transfer balances at 0% interest only in the first few months your account is open, so you’ll need a new card. Generally, you'll need good credit to qualify for a balance transfer card.

2. Once approved, tell the new card’s issuer that you need to do a transfer. With some cards, you can do this from your online account dashboard or even the issuer’s mobile app. With others, you’ll need to call the customer service number on the back of the card.

3. Provide the information requested by your issuer. You’ll need to know the account number of the debt you want to transfer and how much you want to move. Depending on the credit limit on your new card and the card issuer’s policies (which may limit the amount of an incoming transfer), you may get approved to transfer the entire amount or just a part of it.

4. Continue making payments on the old card. This is critical. The transfer doesn't happen as soon as you ask for it. It can take days or even a couple of weeks. Pay at least the minimum until your old card account shows that the debt has been moved. The last thing you want is to incur an expensive late fee (and possibly damage your credit score).

5. Watch your accounts. You’ll see the debt disappear from the old card and show up on the new one. Now it’s time to pay it down.

6. Stash the old card, but keep the account open. It may be tempting to cut up the card and cancel the account for the sake of catharsis, but closing a paid-off credit card account can damage your credit score. If the card doesn't charge an annual fee, keep it open.

» Learn more: What is a balance transfer, and should I do one?

How to choose a balance transfer card

1. Understand whether you can qualify. With a few exceptions, balance transfer credit cards require good or excellent credit. Generally, that means a credit score of about 690 or better. (You can get your credit score for free on cheatgame.info.)

2. Look at the issuer that holds your current debt. In most cases, you can't transfer balances among cards from the same issuer — from one Chase card to another Chase card, for example. This is important to know because it will save you from getting a card you can’t use. Be especially careful with store-branded credit cards, which often do not clearly identify the issuer.

3. Compare 0% APR periods for balance transfers. The longer the 0% period, the better, since you’ll have more time to pay down your debt without interest.

4. Compare balance transfer fees. Transfer fees on most credit cards range from 3% to 5%. That’s equivalent to $30 to $50 for each $1,000 you transfer. A handful of cards do not charge transfer fees or waive them for an introductory period. Such offers have been getting harder to find, however, and cards that don’t charge a transfer fee generally have shorter 0% APR periods than balance transfer cards that do.

One final note: A good balance transfer card will not charge an annual fee.

» Learn more: Our guide to choosing a balance transfer card.

How to make the most of your balance transfer credit card

  • Use your balance transfer credit card only for debt. The cards that save you the most while paying off debt generally don’t offer the best rewards. That's why it's better to use two cards: One for paying off debt, and one for making new purchases. If your card offers 0% APR only on balance transfers — not purchases — this practice could also help you stave off unexpected interest charges.
  • Know when the promos end. Your card’s introductory 0% APR and balance transfer fee promotions don’t last forever. Pay off your balances within the promotional period, if possible, to avoid interest and fees. To find out when these periods end, read your credit card statements. Or, call your issuer and ask.
  • Pay on time. If you’re late on a payment, poof! — your card’s 0% balance transfer APR will probably disappear. That’s because promotional terms often get voided if your account isn’t in good standing. Aside from losing the card’s most valuable feature, you might also have to pay a late fee (of up to $38, typically) and a penalty interest rate (often about 30%). Avoid this basket of bad news by setting up auto-pay, if you’re confident you’ll have enough money in your account to cover at least the minimum. Make extra payments throughout the month, as your budget allows. 
  • Make a plan. To make the most of your card, take stock of your debt and figure out what you’ll have to do to become debt-free. Calculate how much extra money you can put toward your credit card payments each month, and track your progress as you chip away at those balances.

HOW THEY COMPARE

Card Our pick for... 0% intro period for transfers Transfer fee
Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever Long intro 0% APR period 21 months 5% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.
U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card Purchases and transfers (excellent credit) 20 months 3%
Discover it® Balance Transfer Long-term value 18 months 3%
Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Card Purchases and transfers (good credit) 18 months 3% intro for 18 months, then 5% ongoing
BankAmericard® credit card Purchases and transfers (good credit) 18 billing cycles Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.
Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard® Repeated transfers over time • 15 months on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening
• No 0% period on transfers made after 45 days
• 2% (minimum $5) on transfers made within 45 days of account opening
• No fee on transfers made after 45 days

Methodology

cheatgame.info's credit cards team selects the best cards in each category based on overall consumer value. Factors in our evaluation include fees, promotional and ongoing APRs, and sign-up bonuses; for rewards cards, we consider earning and redemption rates, redemption options and redemption difficulty. A single card is eligible to be chosen in multiple categories.

Last updated on December 12, 2018

To recap our selections...

cheatgame.info's cheatgame.info’s Best Balance Transfer Cards of 2018