[Disclosure: Cards from our partners are reviewed below.]
[Update: Some offers mentioned below have expired. You can view the current offers from our partners once they become available here — Citi Simplicity® Card – No Late Fees Ever .]
Many credit cards offer 0% annual percentage rate (APR) financing on balance transfers, but nearly all of these offers charge a 2% to 3% balance transfer fee. The one exception is the Chase Slate card, which lets you skip the fee entirely when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open. This unique feature makes the Chase Slate one of the most valuable offers for those who are trying to eliminate their credit card debt. However, after those first 60 days, you’ll pay a fee of 5% of the balance transferred (with a minimum of $5).
So, whether the Chase Slate is the best balance transfer credit card for you depends on when you’re going to transfer your balance, how long you need to pay it back and, of course, your general spending habits.
In this Chase Slate review, we’ll take a look at the card’s major terms and conditions, its pros and cons and other important details to help you determine if the card is right for you. (Note: For full terms and conditions, please read the card agreement.)
What Is the Chase Slate?
The Chase Slate credit card offers new applicants 15 months of interest-free financing on both new purchases and balance transfers, with no fee for balance transfers completed within 60 days of account opening. After the promotional financing period expires, the standard interest rate will apply, which will be a 15.74% to 24.49% variable APR, depending on your creditworthiness at the time you applied. Note: The total amount of your balance transfers — including fees and interest charges — cannot exceed your available credit or $15,000, whichever is lower.
Cardholders also receive access to Chase’s Blueprint program, which allows you to save money on interest charges by paying off some purchases in full, while carrying a balance on others. Blueprint contains budgeting and goal tools to help you pay off your debt on a schedule that you create. Slate also offers cardholders free online access to a FICO score.
There is no annual fee for this card, but there is a 3% foreign transaction fee on all charges processed outside of the U.S.
Chase Slate’s Advantages
A big advantage of this card is the promotional financing offer with no balance transfer fee. This can save you up to $50 on every $1,000 transferred, which would help you avoid a considerable expense, especially if you have thousands in credit card debt.
When you transfer your balance from your existing accounts, you stand to gain some advantages. First, you are avoiding interest charges for 15 months, which can help you pay down your balance much sooner than you could have if a portion of every payment was being devoted to interest charges. In addition, you can consolidate debts from different credit cards, so you no longer have to make multiple payments. Also, reducing the number of accounts to which you owe money can reduce your stress, as you limit the number of accounts sending you separate statements each month showing different levels of debt and interest charges.
Furthermore, cardholders can take advantage of the Blueprint program, which can help participants find ways to save money on interest charges, and come up with a plan to pay down their debt as soon as possible.
Finally, this card has no annual fee, a big plus for those who carry a balance on their credit cards — and no penalty APR (Penalty APRs typically get imposed when you are 60 days late in making your payments).
Chase Slate’s Disadvantages
Slate is not a rewards card, so you will not earn any points, miles or cash back from this card. And unlike some rewards cards that are marketed to travelers, this card has a 3% foreign transaction fee, so there will be additional costs to consider if you plan to use the card to make purchases outside of the U.S.
Most significantly, some debtors can get into trouble with the promotional financing offer if they use it to postpone debt repayment rather than facilitate it — kicking the can down the road, in effect. One bad habit you can get into is to transfer your existing balances to this card, but fail to make any progress repaying the debt, or even incur more debt.
Is This Card a Good Match for You?
This card is ideal for credit card users who are making a concerted effort to reduce or eliminate their credit card debt. The savviest applicants will understand the unique value of having a card that offers 15 months of interest-free financing, and no balance transfer fee.
Besides using this card to get a handle on your existing credit card debt, the Chase Slate is also a great card for financing large purchases you know you can pay off before the introductory period. For example, if you want to purchase an expensive bedroom set that’s $5,000, but you only have $2,500 saved up and know you can pay off the other half over the next year, this card can help you make that purchase and avoid financing and interest costs that may come with a store-brand credit card offer.
Before you apply for the Chase Slate, you’ll want to check with the issuer to be sure you meet their credit guidelines. In fact, before you apply for any credit card, it can be helpful to check your credit scores to see where you stand. There are many ways to check your credit scores for free — one way to do that is through Credit.com, which offers you two of your scores for free.
If you meet the issuer’s general credit requirements and fully understand the card’s terms, this card may be a good match for you. If you find your credit standing falls short of the requirements, you may want to consider taking steps to work on your credit (like fixing any errors on your credit reports that are bringing down your scores, for example) and apply when your scores are higher.
Some Common Questions About Slate
Do all applicants receive the same financing offer from Chase Slate?
Yes, the standard offer is for 15 months of interest-free financing, and no fee for balance transfers completed within 60 days of account opening. The standard interest rate, which applies after 15 months, will vary based on your creditworthiness.
How do you transfer a balance to Chase Slate?
There are two ways to initiate a balance transfer to Chase Slate. You can do so online by logging into Chase.com, or over the telephone by calling the number on the back of your card.
How soon can I transfer a balance to Chase Slate?
Once approved for the Chase Slate, you can call a representative to immediately begin the process. You do not need to wait until your physical credit card is mailed, received or activated. However, it may take 1-2 business days for the transfer to be processed, so you will need to allow extra time if you initiate the transfer just before a weekend or a holiday.
Can I transfer a balance to Slate from another Chase card?
No, all credit card issuers will only allow you to transfer a balance from a card issued by another institution.
What is included with Chase’s Credit Score & More dashboard?
The Credit Dashboard offers a FICO score online, as well as the reasons behind your score. In addition, you can also view a summary of your credit report information. Finally, it offers helpful information on ways to manage your credit health.
What should I do after I’ve transferred my balance?
Make a plan to take full advantage of the 15 months of interest-free financing. If you’ve transferred a balance, make a credit card payoff plan (you can use this calculator to help). Keep in mind you’ll still need to make on-time monthly payments — just because you aren’t paying interest doesn’t mean you can pay late.
An Alternative to Chase Slate
While the Chase Slate may be the only card to waive a balance transfer fee, there are a few balance-transfer credit cards that tout a longer 0% introductory APR offer. And those cards may be better for someone who knows at the onset that they’ll need more than 15-months to pay their credit card debt back. If you’re looking for a bigger window, here’s another card to consider.
Why We’re Mentioning It: The Simplicity currently touts the longest 0% introductory APR offer. Cardholders can skip interest on purchases and balance transfers for a full 21 months. After that, you’ll have a variable APR of 14.49% to 24.49%. Plus, the Citi Simplicity has no late fees and no penalty APR. (Full Disclosure: Citibank, as well as Chase, advertise on Credit.com, but that results in no preferential editorial treatment.)
Cons: There is a balance transfer fee of either 3% of the balance you’re looking to transfer or $5 (whichever is greater). You can transfer any amount so long as the total amount of your balance transfers and balance transfer fees is less than your available credit limit, which will vary depending on your credit.
Annual Fee: $0
APR: 14.49% to 24.49%, after the 21-month 0% introductory offer expires.
At publishing time, the Chase Slate and Citi Simplicity card are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.
Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.
Jeanine Skowronski contributed to this article.