Balance transfer credit cards are a flexible financial tool that can help you save a lot of money. Finding the right card for your situation can help you consolidate credit card debt, better manage your account and save on interest if you pay off balances before the end of the introductory period. You get the most from those benefits when you have the best balance transfer card.
If you’re wondering which balance transfer card to get in 2020, you’ve come to the right place. Check out some of our team’s favorite balance transfer cards below to help find the right card for you.
A Quick Look at Credit.com’s Top Choices for Balance Transfer Cards
A quick note before we start—there really isn’t a “best” balance transfer card for everyone. Ultimately, the best credit card for balance transfers is the one that works for you. To find that card, you’ll have to do some research to find out about credit score requirements, the length of introductory periods and other benefits each card might have.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, here are our top picks for the best balance transfer cards of 2020:
- Citi Simplicity Card: Right off the bat, you’ll get an intro APR of 0% for 12 months on Purchases. The ongoing APR is 16.24% - 26.24% (Variable). Plus, there aren’t any late or annual fees.
- Chase Freedom Unlimited: This credit card offers an intro APR of 0% for 15 months on purchases . The ongoing APR is 16.49% - 25.24% Variable . To make things better, it offers 1.5% cashback.
- TD Cash Credit Card: This credit card offers major cash back rewards and a 0% Introductory APR for the first 15 billing cycles after Account opening. The ongoing APR is 14.49%, 19.49% or 24.49%, based on your creditworthiness .
- USAA Rate Advantage Visa Platinum: Sure, this card doesn’t have an introductory offeror a major rewards program. But creditworthy, eligible applicants can get an APR as low as 8.4% while paying an annual fee. That’s nothing to scoff at. The ongoing APR is 8.40% - 25.40% Variable .
The Best Credit Cards for Balance Transfers in 2020
Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever
- No Late Fees, No Penalty Rate, and No Annual Fee... Ever
- 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 21 months from date of first transfer. All transfers must be completed in first 4 months. After that, the variable APR will be 16.24% - 26.24%, based on your creditworthiness.
- 0% Intro APR on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening. After that, the variable APR will be 16.24% - 26.24%, based on your creditworthiness.
- If you transfer a balance with this offer, after your 0% Intro purchase APR expires, both new purchases and unpaid purchase balances will automatically accrue interest until all balances, including your transferred balances, are paid in full
- There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
- The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 16.24% - 26.24%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
- Stay protected with Citi® Quick Lock and $0 liability on unauthorized charges
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Benefits: The Citi Simplicity Card offers a an intro APR of 0% for 21 months on Balance Transfers and a separate intro APR of 0% for 12 months on Purchases on purchases, with an ongoing APR of 16.24% - 26.24% (Variable). Couple that with no late fees, penalty rates or annual fees, and you have an easy-to-manage balance transfer card that can help you get out of debt.
Drawbacks: Approval for the card requires good or excellent credit scores. You’ll also pay a fee to transfer any balance from another card. The Citi Simplicity balance transfer fee is on the higher end of the industry scale with either $5 or 5% of the total amount transferred.
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
- Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
- Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
- 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.49 - 25.24%.
- 3% intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open, with a minimum of $5.
- No annual fee
- No minimum to redeem for cash back
- Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
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Benefits: The Chase Freedom Unlimited card offers an intro APR of 0% for 15 months on purchases . The balance transfer fee is only 3% of the total transferred—or $5 minimum—as long as you make the transfer in the first 60 days after opening the card. The ongoing APR is 16.49% - 25.24% Variable . You’ll also get 1.5% cashback on all purchases and a $150 sign-up bonus if you spend $500 within the first three months of your account opening. There’s also no annual fee.
Drawbacks: A good or excellent credit score is required for approval, and 15 months is on the lower end of introductory period offers.
TD Cash Credit Card
- Earn $150 Cash Back when you spend $500 within 90 days after account opening
- Earn 3% Cash Back on dining
- Earn 2% Cash Back at grocery stores
- Earn 1% Cash Back on all other eligible purchases
- $0 Annual Fee
- $0 Foreign Transaction Fee
- Visa Zero Liability
- Instant credit card replacement
- Digital Wallet
- After introductory period, balance transfer APR will be 14.49%, 19.49% or 24.49%, based on your creditworthiness
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Benefits: Your wallet will love the TD Cash Credit Card. Eligible cardholders will get a 0% Introductory APR for the first 15 billing cycles after Account opening. Plus, you can earn cashback for 1% on all purchases, 2% on grocery store purchases and 3% on dining purchases. No annual or foreign transaction fees and an easy-to-earn sign-up bonus round out the top perks of this card.
Drawbacks: You do need a excellent or good credit score for approval. And once the introductory APR period is over, your APR depends on your creditworthiness. This card has an ongoing APR of 14.49%, 19.49% or 24.49%, based on your creditworthiness .
USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card
- Enjoy USAA's lowest rate card
- No annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, no penalty APR
- USAA membership is available to active and former military and their eligible family members
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Benefits: This card comes with USAA’s lowest rates for creditworthy applicants, which means the APR can be as low as 8.40%. The ongoing APR is 8.40% - 25.40% Variable . The card has no annual or foreign transaction fees and you aren’t charged a penalty APR.
Drawbacks: There’s no introductory APR period, though you can still potentially lower the cost of credit card debt if you transfer a higher-rate balance. This card requires a good or excellent credit score.
Understand Your Credit Before Applying
To get the best balance transfer credit card for your situation, you need to know what your credit score looks like. The best deals and longest introductory periods often go to people who have good or better credit scores. Find out more about your credit with the Credit Report Card, which you can get free at Credit.com.
Do Balance Transfers Affect Your Credit Score?
Yes, balance transfers might impact your credit score. Each time you apply for a credit card, a hard inquiry hits your credit report. That can bring your score down a few points each time. Minimize this risk by doing the research first and choosing a card you’re fairly certain you can qualify for.
If you transfer a balance from an old credit card to a new one and close the old account, you lose the age of that account. Part of your credit score is based on the age of your credit accounts, so that could bring your score down short term. However, if you’re worried about overspending now that you have multiple credit cards to use, this might be a good move.
Finally, credit utilization—or how much of your available credit limit you use—has a big impact on your credit score. If you can keep an old card open and never use it, you lower your credit utilization. Consider this math:
- You have a credit card with a $5,000 credit limit and a $3,000 balance. That’s a 60% utilization rate, which is bad for your score.
- You apply for a balance transfer card and get a $5,000 credit limit on that card. You move the old balance over. Now you have two credit cards with $5,000 credit limits, or $10,000 total in available credit. You’ve only used $3,000 of it, which is a 30% utilization rate and much better for your credit score.
Again, whether you choose to take the temporary potential hit to your score by closing the old card is up to you. It’s much better to do that than to run up both cards and not be able to make your payments.
How Do You Transfer Balances on Credit Cards?
To transfer balances on credit cards, you need a credit card that accepts balance transfers. Do the research, starting with the list above and the other options in the Credit.com credit card marketplace. Or choose one of the credit cards above, if you’ve found the right one for you! Once you find a card that checks as many of your boxes as possible, apply for it.
Once you’re approved, you can contact the new credit card company. Have the old credit card information, including a statement, on hand. Representatives of the new company will help you complete a balance transfer.
Editorial disclosure: Reviews are as determined solely by Credit.com staff. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the reviewers and aren’t reviewed or approved by any advertiser. Information presented is accurate as of the date of the review, including information on card rates, rewards and fees. Check the issuer’s website for the most current information on each card listed.