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5 best balance transfer credit cards

Balance transfer credit cards

A balance transfer is one of the most important tools in managing credit today. With so many promotional offers, balance transfer credit cards, especially a 0% transfer, can give you a chance to pay down the principal and get closer to debt freedom.

Not all balance transfer credit cards are created equal.

We asked credit card expert Holly Johnson of ClubThrifty.com what she looks for in a balance transfer credit card – “The best balance transfer cards come with a long introductory APR offer and doesn’t charge an annual fee. Some prefer to use credit cards that also let you earn rewards but this isn’t the best idea if you’re truly trying to pay down debt.”

With those keys in mind, here are five of the best balance transfer credit cards available now:

Citi Simplicity Card

Citi Simplicity Card is just what the name implies – simple.

It’s also one of Holly Johnson’s favorites – “The Citi Simplicity Card is one of my favorites because you get 0% APR for 21 months. That’s almost two years to pay down debt with zero interest, although you will need to pay a 3 percent balance transfer fee upfront.”

Introductory APR: 0% on balance transfers for 21 months. It’s just about the longest 0% intro offer available. But that’s not all. The 0% introductory APR also applies on purchases for 21 months as well. After the intro period is over, your APR will go to between 14.99% to 24.99%, depending on your creditworthiness.

Balance transfer fee: Citi charges the higher of either $5, or 3% of the amount of each credit card balance transferred.

Annual fee: None.

Features: The card comes with Citi Identity Theft Solutions, Travel Protection, an extended warranty on purchases, $0 liability on unauthorized charges, and automatic account alerts. They also provide Citi Cards with Apple Pay. This enables you to pay in-app or at over 200,000 stores with a simple touch, using your iPhone 6, iPad Air 2 and iPad mini3.

Special feature: The Citi Price Rewind. This feature searches for a lower price on the registered items you pay for with your card at hundreds of online merchants. If they find a lower price within 60 days of your purchase, you can receive the difference between the price you paid with the card and the lower price discovered by Citi Price Rewind.

Discover it Card

The Discover it Card offers a generous 0% introductory APR for both balance transfers and purchases.

They charge a 3% balance transfer fee like many of the cards on this list but they also offer one of the better rewards programs available.

Introductory APR: 0% APR for 14 months on balance transfers (which must post to your account no later than January 10, 2018). The 0% offer is also available for purchases over the first 14 months after opening your account. After the intro term, the variable APR goes to 11.99% to 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.

Balance transfer fee: 3% of each balance transfer.

Annual fee: None.

Features: Provides your free FICO Score, as well as the ability to freeze and unfreeze your account under suspicious circumstances.

Special feature: Earn 5% cash back on select purchases. Using rotating categories each quarter you can earn up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Categories can be gas stations, restaurants, Amazon.com, and wholesale clubs. They also provide unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Chase Slate

According to the website, Chase Slate was named “Best Credit Card for Balance Transfers” four years in a row by MONEY Magazine.

Introductory APR: 0% APR for 15 months on both balance transfers and purchases. After the intro term, it goes to a variable rate at between 15.99% and 24.74% APR.

Balance transfer fee: There is no fee for balance transfers that take place within 60 days of opening your account. After the first 60 days however, there is a balance transfer fee of 5% of the amount transferred (minimum $5) on future transfers.

Annual fee: None.

Features: The card comes with your free monthly FICO Score.

U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card

U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card offers similar balance transfer benefits as other cards on this list, but it does not give 0% on purchases.

Introductory APR: 0% APR for the first 15 months. The introductory rate applies to balance transfers, but not cash advances. Balance transfers must occur within the first 60 days of opening the account. After the intro term, the interest rate goes to a variable rate of 10.99% to 22.99% APR, depending on your credit worthiness.

Balance transfer fee: The higher of $5 or 3% of each transfer amount.

Annual fee: None

Features: The card comes with fraud protection, $0 liability on unauthorized charges, and auto rental insurance coverage.

BankAmericard Credit Card

BankAmericard Credit Card has a 0% balance transfer feature plus one of the most comprehensive security packages in the industry.

Introductory APR: 0% APR for 15 months on both balance transfers and purchases made within the first 60 days of opening your account. After that, you move to a variable rate of between 12.99% and 22.99%, depending on your creditworthiness.

Balance transfer fee: There is no balance transfer fee on balances transferred within the first 60 days of opening your account. Balances transferred after 60 days are subject to a fee of 3% of the transferred balance, subject to a $10 minimum.

Annual fee: None.

Features: Free FICO Score, account alerts, and $0 liability on unauthorized purchases.

Special feature: ShopSafe service enables you to shop online by generating a temporary credit card number so your real card number remains completely private and protected. Also No Penalty APR, which means that your APR won’t automatically increase as a result of a late payment.

So, there you have five of the best balance transfer credit cards available. Pick the one that works best for you, and offers the features that work best for your lifestyle.

Jim Wang on Twitter
Jim Wang

Jim Wang is a thirty-something father of two who writes about money at Wallet Hacks, where he shares the strategies and tactics to get ahead financially and in life. You can connect with him on Twittter @wallethacks.