Best Pick for Long 0% Intro Period: Wells Fargo Reflect® Card
Wells Fargo Reflect® Card
Designed for transferring balances and paying off large purchases over time, the Reflect® card offers a long 0% intro APR for just that.
It has a unique feature, offering up to 3 extra months at 0% if you make at least your minimum payments on time during the introductory and extension periods.
- Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card
Best Pick for Long 0% Intro Period: U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card
U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card
With no rewards program or sign-up bonus, this card offers one of the longest 0% intro APR periods for purchases and balance transfers.
There is no annual fee, and you’ll get a rare, useful benefit: up to $600 in cellphone protection.
- U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card
Best Pick for Long 0% Intro Period: Chase Slate Edge℠
Chase Slate Edge℠
The Chase Slate Edge℠ is designed for balance transfers and paying off large purchases. The card’s long intro period applies to both. It’s a path to lowering your interest rates and automatically increasing your credit limit.
It has no annual fee. And it could be a good option to pay off debt while building credit.
Best Pick for No Transfer Fees: Navy Federal Credit Union Platinum Credit Card
Navy Federal Credit Union Platinum Card
This is a no-frills, low-interest Mastercard that’s only available to NFCU members. You won’t earn any rewards, but you will get a long 0% intro APR offer for balance transfers.
Best Pick for Earning Rewards: Discover it® Cash Back
Discover it® Cash Back
As far as cash-back cards with no annual fee go, the Discover it® Cash Back ranks among the best.
You’ll get 5% cash back in quarterly rotating categories up to $1,500 spent per quarter (then 1% – activation required). And Discover will double that for your first year!
- Discover it® Chrome Card
Best Pick for Earning Rewards: U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card
U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card
The Visa Signature® card offers up to 5% cash back in your choice of two categories every quarter and 2% cash back in your choice of one “everyday” category.
It also offers a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 12 billing cycles. At the end of the intro period, the card will adjust to the current market rate, currently 13.99% – 23.99%. The card has no annual fee.
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Best Pick for Earning Rewards: Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card
Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card
This valuable Visa has quite a bit to offer for no annual fee: unlimited 2% cash back on purchases, a welcome bonus and a long 0% intro rate for purchases and balance transfers.
It has a nice suite of benefits, including cellphone protection and Visa Signature Concierge Service.
- Wells Fargo Business Platinum Credit Card
Best Picks for Earning Rewards: Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card
Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card
The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Card provides a flexible earning experience, allowing you to choose from six different categories to earn 3% cash back.
You’ll earn 2% at supermarkets and wholesale clubs and 1% everywhere else. You’ll be able to check one of your credit scores and gain a few shopping and travel protections.
- JetBlue Plus Card
- JetBlue Card
- PenFed Pathfinder® Rewards Visa Signature® Card
- PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature® card
Best Pick for Students: Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards for Students
Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards for Students
Student credit cards target enrolled students with limited or no credit to help them get between having no credit to getting their first credit card.
However, most student cards aren’t great for paying down debt, though there are a handful of exceptions led by Bank of America. The most notable card is the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards for Students. Students get a great intro period that is longer than many consumers get with some non-student cards. And they can earn rewards on some purchases.
- Discover it® Student Cash Back
- Discover it® Student Chrome
Best Pick for Fair Credit: Discover it® Cash Back
Discover it® Cash Back
As far as cash-back cards with no annual fees go, the Discover it® Cash Back ranks among the best.
You’ll get 5% cash back in quarterly rotating categories, up to $1,500 spent per quarter (then 1% – activation required). And Discover will double that for your first year!
Best Pick for Bad Credit: Discover it® Secured
Discover it® Secured
If you’re looking to repair or build credit, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more rewarding secured credit card than the Discover it® Secured.
You’ll earn 2% cash back on gas and dining. And for your first year, Discover will double what you earn.
What’s a Credit Card Balance Transfer?
A balance transfer is when you move a debt balance from one account to another. It’s often from one credit card to another, but balances from other types of accounts can sometimes get transferred, too.
If you have a balance on a credit card with a high interest rate, you could end up paying far more than the original balance by the time you pay it off. If you could transfer the balance to a card with a lower APR (preferably 0%), paying off the balance would cost you less because the interest on the balance is lower – or nonexistent with a 0% rate.
The process is relatively simple, and the result could save you a lot of money.
What’s the Best Balance Transfer Credit Card?
You can explore a handful of great cards for balance transfers. Our favorites have 0% APRs for balance transfers, and some have no balance transfer fees:
- U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card
- Navy Federal Credit Union Platinum Credit Card
- Amex EveryDay® Credit Card
How Long Does a Balance Transfer Take?
Balance transfers don’t happen instantly. They can take at least a few days, and in some cases, a while longer.
You can usually expect to complete balance transfers within a couple of weeks. Typically, if you own the card you’re transferring the balance to, the process should be quicker than a balance transfer to a new card you opened.
Different issuers have different policies and processing times, so there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. You’ll need to research the card issuer’s policies.
Does a Balance Transfer Help Your Credit Scores?
A balance transfer can affect your credit scores in a few ways.
If you open a new card to transfer your balances to, you should know that opening a new account can reduce the average age of your accounts, which can lower your scores. And because you’re opening a new line of credit, an issuer will run a hard inquiry on your credit reports, which can also temporarily dip your scores.
On the positive side, opening a new card can reduce your credit utilization because it increases your total spending limit. And if you transfer multiple balances to one card, the number of accounts you have with balances will decrease, which can also help your credit scores.
Transferring a balance has no specific effect on credit scores – but its associated activity likely will have an effect.