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If you’re like different Americans, you might have racked up a sizable quantity of debt in the previous couple of years. Even now, you might be discovering it laborious to maintain up with your month-to-month credit card funds. But reasonably than falling additional behind, it is best to contemplate consolidating your debt with a balance transfer credit card.
Balance transfer credit cards supply an introductory 0% annual proportion price (APR) on present balances that you simply transfer over from different credit cards. This introductory price applies to the transferred debt for wherever from 12 to as many as 21 months from whenever you first open the cardboard. That means for those who transfer your balance now, you may pay no curiosity in your debt till 2024.
Some balance transfer credit cards additionally supply nice rewards in your on a regular basis purchases, and a few even have helpful perks akin to cellphone safety or journey insurance coverage. So if it is advisable to get your credit card debt underneath management, take a look at our record of the best balance transfer credit cards to resolve which one best suits your wants.
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card: Best general for balance transfers
U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card: Best for lengthy balance transfers
Citi® Double Cash Card: Best for flat-rate money again
Chase Freedom Flex℠: Best for rotating bonus classes
Citi Rewards+® Card: Best for small purchases
Why did we choose these cards as our best balance transfer credit cards for April 2023? CNN Underscored’s complete credit card methodology compares each side of every balance transfer credit card to our “benchmark credit card” to find out which cards can doubtlessly carry you most worth. So dive into the main points of every card with us, and see how they stack up.
Why it’s nice in one sentence: If your fundamental focus is to decrease your curiosity funds, the Citi Diamond Preferred provides a 0% APR for a full 21 months on balance transfers accomplished in the primary 4 months after you open the cardboard (the rate of interest rises to a variable 17.49% to twenty-eight.24% after the introductory interval ends).
This card is correct for: People who need an prolonged time-frame to consolidate their debt, with 21 months on the introductory price in addition to a prolonged interval to finish any balance transfers and nonetheless get the introductory supply.
- 0% introductory APR for 21 months on balance transfers made in the primary 4 months after you open the cardboard (17.74% to twenty-eight.49% variable afterward).
- 0% introductory APR on all purchases for the primary 12 months (17.74% to twenty-eight.49% variable APR afterward).
- No annual payment.
Sign-up bonus: None
What we like in regards to the Citi Diamond Preferred: This is a nice card for those who want an prolonged period of time to get your funds in order. It provides a prolonged introductory price on balance transfers, which suggests you could possibly simplify your life by consolidating all of your debt onto one credit card after which paying down what you owe by means of 2023 and even into 2024.
You have a four-month interval after you first open the Citi Diamond Preferred to make any balance transfers and nonetheless have them qualify for the introductory APR supply. Just maintain in thoughts that the 21-month clock begins from the date of your first transfer, so when you have a couple of transfer, it’s best to get all of them carried out at roughly the identical time.
The Citi Diamond Preferred card additionally comes with a free FICO credit rating on-line and means that you can select your cost due date, which is extraordinarily useful for many who pay their credit card payments round their paycheck schedule and want most flexibility.
One factor that may very well be higher: Unfortunately, the Citi Diamond Preferred doesn’t supply any rewards. This means you gained’t earn any ThankYou Rewards factors for journey or money again on purchases. This is a missed alternative, as there are a lot of credit cards that earn money again on all the things you spend, which you’ll be able to then apply towards your credit card balance.
You’ll additionally pay a 5% payment (with a $5 minimal) on any balance transfers made to the Citi Diamond Preferred, which is greater than common for a balance transfer payment. However, the additional time you’ll get with no curiosity in your balance transfers could make the upper payment value it.
Where it beats our benchmark card: An introductory rate of interest on balance transfers for a longer 21 months and an introductory rate of interest on purchases for 12 months.
Where our benchmark card is healthier: The Citi Double Cash earns easy-to-redeem money again on all purchases.
Learn more and apply now for the Citi Diamond Preferred.
Why it’s nice in one sentence: The U.S. Bank Visa Platinum has a lengthy introductory balance transfer interval of 18 billing cycles and is likely one of the few balance transfer cards that comes with cellphone insurance coverage as certainly one of its advantages.
This card is correct for: People on the lookout for cellphone safety alongside with further time to repay their balance transfers.
- 0% introductory APR for 18 billing cycles on balance transfers made in the primary 60 days after you open the cardboard (19.24% to 29.24% variable afterward).
- 0% introductory APR on all purchases for the primary 18 billing cycles (18.99% to twenty-eight.99% variable afterward).
- Cell telephone safety protection.
- No annual payment.
Sign-up bonus: None.
What we like in regards to the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum: One of the best advantages of the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum is that it comes with cellphone safety. This means for those who use your card to pay your cellphone invoice, you’ll be protected towards injury to or theft of your telephone, as much as $600 per declare with a $25 deductible, and as much as two claims in a 12-month interval.
This card additionally provides a 0% APR for 18 billing cycles on balance transfers, which is likely one of the longer introductory provides presently out there (although the speed jumps to a variable 19.24% to 29.24% when the introductory supply ends). That’ll provide you with further time to pay down your debt with out incurring curiosity, saving you cash, particularly because the card additionally has no annual payment.
Even higher, the introductory rate of interest on the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum additionally extends to purchases made on the cardboard in the primary 18 billing cycles, which may very well be helpful for those who’re planning a giant buy that you simply’d wish to finance.
One factor that may very well be higher: There’s no sign-up supply or rewards program connected to the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum, which suggests you gained’t earn something by utilizing it as a common credit card. As a consequence, your major makes use of for this card ought to be the introductory balance transfer and buy provides, and the cellphone safety.
Also, you solely have 60 days from whenever you first open the account to transfer balances from different cards and obtain the introductory rate of interest. That’s shorter than another cards on our record, although not ridiculously brief. And you’ll pay a 3% payment (with a $5 minimal) on any balance transfers made to the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum, which is typical relating to balance transfer provides.
Where it beats our benchmark card: An introductory rate of interest on purchases and cellphone safety.
Where our benchmark card is healthier: The Citi Double Cash earns easy-to-redeem money again on all purchases and has a longer four-month interval to finish any introductory balance transfers.
Learn more and apply now for the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum card.
Why it’s nice in one sentence: The Citi Double Cash card is very simple, because you earn 2% money again on each buy — 1% whenever you purchase, 1% whenever you pay your assertion — all for no annual payment.
This card is correct for: People who need a balance transfer choice alongside with the power to earn money again with out having to fret about bonus classes or journey rewards applications.
- 0% introductory APR for 18 months on balance transfers made in the primary 4 months after you open the cardboard (18.74% to twenty-eight.74% variable afterward).
- Earn 2% money again on all purchases — 1% whenever you purchase, 1% whenever you pay it off — with no restrict.
- Cash again is earned in the type of Citi ThankYou journey factors after which could be transferred to journey companions when mixed with the Citi Premier℠ Card.
- No annual payment.
Sign-up bonus: None.
What we like in regards to the Citi Double Cash Card: The Citi Double Cash is simple. You don’t must maintain monitor of bonus classes and decide which credit card to make use of at which service provider. Instead, you get the identical 2% money again — 1% whenever you purchase, 1% whenever you pay it off — on all purchases, no matter the place you store.
The Citi Double Cash additionally provides a comparatively lengthy 18-month introductory 0% APR for balance transfers (18.74% to twenty-eight.74% variable afterward) — a nice solution to repay your debt. And you may have as much as 4 months after you open the account to make your first balance transfer and nonetheless have it qualify for the introductory supply.
But that is additionally a nice card to pair with one of many premium Citi ThankYou credit cards, such because the Citi Premier Card. That’s as a result of for those who even have a premium ThankYou card, you’ll be able to truly use your rewards from the Citi Double Cash as Citi ThankYou factors and transfer them to certainly one of Citi’s airline companions to doubtlessly get much more worth for them.
One factor that may very well be higher: The Citi Double Cash doesn’t come with too many perks, akin to journey or buy protections. You’re additionally charged a 3% payment for balance transfers with a $5 minimal, though that’s much like many different cards. And this isn’t the cardboard to make use of for worldwide purchases, as you’ll be charged a 3% overseas transaction payment whenever you’re abroad, which greater than offsets any rewards you’d earn.
Why it’s our “benchmark” credit card: The ease of use and easy top-of-market money again incomes price of the Citi Double Cash are why CNN Underscored presently considers the Double Cash our “benchmark” credit card. We use it as our benchmark card to match the options of different credit cards and decide in the event that they’re higher or worse general.
You can learn extra about our benchmark credit card idea in our credit card methodology information, or dig into our full overview of the Citi Double Cash.
Learn more and apply now for the Citi Double Cash Card.
Why it’s nice in one sentence: The Chase Freedom Flex comes with a stable balance transfer supply and likewise means that you can earn money again that may be transformed into journey rewards when paired with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.
This card is correct for: People who need to earn versatile rewards on their purchases whereas additionally getting their debt underneath management.
- 0% introductory APR on all purchases and balance transfers for the primary 15 months (19.49% to twenty-eight.24% variable afterward).
- Earn 5% money again in bonus classes that rotate, as much as $1,500 in purchases every quarter.
- Earn 5% money again on journey purchases made by means of Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on eating and at drugstores and 1% on all different purchases.
- Expert customers can convert the money again to versatile journey factors when pairing the Freedom Flex with a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve card.
- No annual payment.
Sign-up bonus: Earn $200 in bonus money again after you spend $500 on purchases in your first three months after opening the account.
What we like in regards to the Chase Freedom Flex: If you favor money again now however suppose that a dose of journey is in your future, the Chase Freedom Flex can provide the best of each worlds.
First, relating to debt consolidation, the Chase Freedom Flex comes with a 0% introductory APR on each purchases and balance transfers for the primary 15 months after you open the account. The price rises to a variable 19.49% to twenty-eight.24% afterward, so that you’ll need to be sure you pay down your debt earlier than the intro supply expires.
But the Chase Freedom Flex additionally earns money again in three everlasting bonus classes: 5% money again on journey purchases made through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% money again on eating — together with takeout and supply — and three% money again at drugstores.
Then you’ll additionally earn 5% money again on as much as $1,500 in purchases in bonus classes that rotate every quarter. The classes for April by means of June are Amazon and Lowe’s, however every quarter’s classes are totally different.
That’s already a fairly nice package deal for a money again credit card. But whenever you pair the Chase Freedom Flex with the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’ll be able to convert your money again to factors at a price of 1 cent per level. Then you’re capable of redeem these factors for journey at an elevated worth of 1.25 to 1.5 cents apiece through the Chase journey portal, or transfer them to any of Chase Ultimate Rewards’ 14 airline and resort loyalty companions for doubtlessly much more worth.
What may very well be higher: While the everlasting bonus classes are uncapped, you’ll be able to solely earn bonus money again on as much as $1,500 every quarter in the rotating bonus classes. After that, you’re solely getting a 1% return, so it’s vital to maintain monitor of how a lot you’ve spent in these classes over the quarter.
Also, you need to keep in mind to activate the rotating bonus classes every quarter in order to earn 5% money again on them. While you’ll be able to activate them virtually anytime all through the quarter and nonetheless get the bonus money again retroactively on purchases you’ve already made, it’s vital to not miss the deadline otherwise you’ll lose out on an vital characteristic of the cardboard.
Where it beats our benchmark card: Sign-up bonus, cellphone and buy protections, and introductory price on purchases for 15 months.
Where our benchmark card is healthier: The Citi Double Cash provides a greater general money again price.
Learn extra and apply now for the Chase Freedom Flex.
Why it’s nice in one sentence: The “round-up” characteristic of the Citi Rewards+ earns further rewards, which is good for those who use your credit card for a lot of small purchases, and its introductory balance transfer supply can decrease the curiosity in your present debt on the similar time.
This card is correct for: People seeking to earn extra factors for small purchases whereas additionally needing to consolidate credit card debt.
- 0% introductory APR for 15 months on balance transfers made in the primary 4 months after you open the cardboard (18.24% to twenty-eight.24% variable afterward).
- 0% introductory APR on all purchases for the primary 15 months (18.24% to twenty-eight.24% variable afterward).
- Earn 2 ThankYou factors for each greenback you spend at supermarkets and gasoline stations for the primary $6,000 per 12 months (1x ThankYou level thereafter).
- Earn 1 ThankYou level for each greenback on all different purchases.
- All purchases mechanically spherical as much as the closest 10 factors.
- 10% factors again for the primary 100,000 factors you redeem per 12 months.
- No annual payment.
Sign-up bonus: Earn 20,000 bonus factors after you spend $1,500 in purchases in your first three months.
What we like in regards to the Citi Rewards+: There are three options of the Citi Rewards+ that make it worthy of consideration. First, the rewards you earn for all the things you purchase with the cardboard spherical as much as the closest 10 factors. That gained’t make a enormous distinction on costly objects, however a $2 pack of gum earns 10 factors as an alternative of two factors, a 400% enchancment. Lots of those little transactions can add up shortly.
Second, whenever you redeem factors, you’ll get 10% of your factors again on as much as 100,000 factors yearly. That means for those who use 2,500 factors to redeem for a $25 reward card, you’ll quickly see 250 factors again in your account to redeem once more down the road. Since you’ll be able to rise up to 10,000 factors again annually, that’s successfully as much as an additional $100 in factors to spend on reward cards.
The Citi Rewards+ can also be the one card on our record with a sign-up bonus, and the 20,000 bonus factors you’ll earn upon assembly the minimal spending requirement can go towards reward cards that you should use at retailers, and even redeemed for straight money again.
But despite the fact that the Citi Rewards+ earns factors that may be redeemed for reward cards, money again or by means of Citi’s Shop with Points program, for those who even have a Citi Premier card, you’ll be able to transfer your factors to your different card and open up a complete new world of choices, together with redeeming factors for journey down the road or transferring them to Citi’s journey companions.
One factor that may very well be higher: The Citi Rewards+ solely has a 15-month introductory rate of interest on balance transfers, which is on the decrease finish of cards on our record. But the trade-off is that you simply’re incomes rewards in your purchases with this card, which isn’t essentially the case with many balance transfer cards.
However, for those who’re not pairing the cardboard with one of many premium Citi ThankYou cards, probably the most worth you will get in your factors is 1 cent apiece when redeeming for reward cards. If you redeem factors for money again, the worth is just 0.5 cents per level, in which case you’d be higher off with the flat-rate money again of our benchmark Citi Double Cash card.
Where it beats our benchmark card: Sign-up bonus, 10% factors again on redemptions as much as 100,000 factors per 12 months and 15-month introductory supply on purchases.
Where our benchmark card is healthier: The Citi Double Cash has a longer introductory rate of interest interval of 18 months on balance transfers.
Learn more and apply for the Citi Rewards+ Card.
Not everyone seems to be acquainted with how and when to make use of a balance transfer credit card, so we’ve assembled a number of the extra widespread questions and solutions in regards to the course of.
When you get accredited for a credit card with an introductory balance transfer supply, you’ll have a set time interval — normally someplace between 60 days and 4 months — to transfer any present debt from one other credit card that you have already got. By transferring the balance in the required time-frame, you’ll be able to reap the benefits of the decrease rate of interest offered by the introductory supply, thereby reducing your month-to-month credit card cost.
The most vital characteristic of a balance transfer credit card is the size of the introductory curiosity interval. The longer it’s, the extra time you’ll have earlier than the rate of interest jumps to a price that’s extra typical for credit cards.
You’ll additionally need to maintain a watch out for the payment charged for balance transfers. Balance transfer charges are sometimes 3% of the balance with a $5 minimal, however some cards can have greater or decrease charges.
Other features of a balance transfer credit card to search for embody whether or not the cardboard earns rewards, akin to money again or journey factors, whether or not the cardboard has any further protections and whether or not the cardboard additionally provides an introductory supply for brand spanking new purchases alongside with balance transfers.
Typically, when you submit a balance transfer (which is normally best carried out on-line) it will probably take as much as a week in your debt to be transferred out of your outdated credit card to your new one. So it’s vital to proceed to make the minimal month-to-month cost in your outdated card till the debt has formally been transferred so that you simply don’t get charged a late payment.
Even although you gained’t be paying curiosity in your transferred debt at first, finally the introductory interval ends, and it’s important to both have your debt solely paid off by then or be prepared to maneuver it to a different credit card with a new introductory balance transfer supply. Otherwise you’ll be caught paying extraordinarily excessive rates of interest in your remaining debt.
Also, don’t overlook to proceed making the minimal month-to-month cost due on the cardboard every month even when you’re in the center of your introductory balance transfer interval. If you miss a cost, you may lose the remaining time in your supply and your rate of interest may soar instantly, costing you future curiosity financial savings.
Finally, maintain in thoughts that you simply usually can’t transfer the balance from an present credit card on the similar financial institution to a different credit card at that financial institution. So, for instance, when you have a balance on certainly one of your U.S. Bank cards that you simply need to transfer in order to get a decrease price, don’t select a U.S. Bank balance transfer supply, as you gained’t have the ability to transfer that balance from one U.S. Bank card to a different.
Transferring debt from one credit card to a different gained’t harm your credit rating in any respect. In truth, you may doubtlessly enhance your credit rating by opening a new credit card with a balance transfer supply. That’s as a result of one vital issue when calculating credit scores is how a lot debt you may have versus how a lot credit you may have, which is called your “credit utilization ratio.”
When you open a new credit card, you’re growing your general credit, but you’re not growing your general debt simply by transferring it from one card to a different. As lengthy as you don’t add extra debt after transferring your balance, your credit utilization ratio ought to enhance and can proceed to enhance over time because you’ll be accumulating much less curiosity, because of the introductory APR in your new card.
While balance transfer credit cards are a superb device for decreasing the quantity of curiosity you’re paying in your debt so you can begin making a dent in it, an alternative choice is a private mortgage. Personal loans are usually simpler to qualify for, although additionally they come with greater rates of interest than balance transfer credit cards. But for those who can’t get accredited for a balance transfer credit card, you’ll be able to learn our information on get a private mortgage to see if it could be a good choice for you.
If you’re paying an exorbitant quantity of curiosity in your credit card debt or having hassle making your month-to-month credit card funds, a balance transfer credit card may make sense for you by serving to you get your debt underneath management.
However, you’ll must have a first rate credit rating to qualify for a new credit card, and even for those who’re accredited for a balance transfer credit card, it’s not assured that the credit restrict in your new card will probably be giant sufficient to transfer all of your present debt.
Looking for a new credit card however don’t want a balance transfer? Check out CNN Underscored’s record of the best credit cards presently out there.
Get all the newest private finance offers, information and recommendation at CNN Underscored Money.