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Why Transferring Credit Card Balances Is Brilliant

Credit card issuers are in such fierce competition these days to attract new customers that most have started offering sweetheart deals to win you over, like ultra-long 0% introductory APR interest periods. By transferring your balance onto one of these cards, you immediately stop all interest charges during the introductory period.

For example, the Chase Slate offers 15 months at 0% APR, so during that entire 15 month intro period, you pay nothing in interest on any balance transferred. That could literally result in thousands of dollars in savings, and is simply a no brainer. With these offers out there, it just makes absolutely no sense to continue to pay credit card interest on your current balances.

Well, without further ado, here are the cards offering great balance transfer specials...

The Ultra-Long 0% APR Card

All the other cards we reviewed make you choose between a long 0% Intro APR for balance transfers OR a top-flight cash back program. The Discover it®- 18 Month Balance Transfer is the only one that delivers both, featuring a staggeringly long 18 -month 0% Intro APR on balance transfers AND a cash-back program paying up to 5%. It also has a big first year bonus: after your first 12 months using the card, Discover will add up all the cash back you earned during the year, then double it as a thank you bonus. That means the cash back rate of this card tops out at an insane 10%. Just note that while the Discover it offers 6 more months of 0% interest compared to the Slate, the card does charge a 3% balance transfer fee.

The Verdict: Needless to say, between the cash back program that pays up to 10% and the long 18 -month 0% intro APR term, we're very impressed with this card. 

Most Appropriate For: Those who want a no-fee way to stop paying interest, AND also could see themselves using the card to make new purchases. This way you'll get a full 18 months of 0% intro APR and the high cash back rate.

Least Appropriate For: If you don't plan on using your new card to make any new purchases, then the cash back program isn't as important. In that case, you'll want to carefully evaluate whether you need the extra 6 months of 0% interest (and are willing to pay the 3% fee in order to get them) the Discover it offers compared to the Chase Slate.

Credit Required: Good/Excellent

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The Balance-Transfer Card with 1.5% Cash Back

Pros: Chase's new Freedom Unlimited card is essentially an improved version of the old Freedom. They bumped the base cash back rate all the way up to an industry leading 1.5%, and pay that full 1.5% on all spend, with no limit or spend category restrictions. Unlike most other high paying cash back cards, you don't have to worry about categories or have to activate anything. You'll receive the full 1.5% back as you make your spend, on all spend, automatically. In addition, Chase  is temporarily offering a cash bonus to new card-members. If you charge $500 on it in the first 3 months, you'll earn a $150 cash bonus. Finally, Chase is also offering new card-members 15 months of 0% Intro APR on Purchases interest for the first 15 months of using the card to make new purchases. So during that period, you can use the card without paying any interest on balances you tally, while still earning cash back. The card requires good, not excellent credit, making it easier to get in.

Cons: Charges a 5% balance transfer fee. This is on the high side, so we recommend looking at the BankAmericard if your goal is to transfer a balance. The Freedom Unlimited should be viewed as a cash back card.

The Verdict: One of the strongest cards available to those with good (but not perfect) credit. The card combines industry leading cash back rates (1.5% on everything) with a strong 15 months of 0% Intro APR on Purchases interest on new purchases combined with a $150 cash bonus when you use the card to make $500 in spend in the first 3 months.

Most Appropriate For: Those with good credit seeking a daily-use card offering great cash back rewards and 0% Intro APR on Purchases intro APR. Best for new charges.

Least Appropriate For: Balance transfers, as it charges the 5% fee.

Credit Required: Good to Excellent

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With so many issuers competing to offer such great introductory incentives, it seems smart to make use of them in the right way! We hope our reviews of these cards was helpful, and if you have any comments, please don't hesitate to let us at the LendingTree Credit Card Review Team know!

Card Name Purchase APR Annual Fee Balance Transfer APR Credit Needed Features Our Rating & Bottom Line  
Discover it® Balance Transfer Card
0% intro APR for 6 months, then 11.99% – 23.99% (variable) $0 0% intro for 18 months, then 11.99% – 23.99% (variable) Good/Excellent Earn 5% cash back in rotating categories each quarter, up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. Our Rating:
5 out of 5
Ultra long balance transfer term at 18 months, plus great cash back on purchases.
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Chase Freedom UnlimitedSM
 0% Intro APR on Purchases for the first 15 months, then 15.99% - 24.74% Variable$00% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
            fee of either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
Good/Excellent$150 bonus after spending $500 in first 3 months; 1.5% cash back on all purchases with no limits or category restrictionsOur Rating:
4 out of 5
Excellent combination of cash back rewards and 0% intro APR; $150 bonus opportunity
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* Savings calculation: Credit Card Balance * (1+Average Card Rate/365)^639 days – Balance Transfer Fee - Average Household Credit Card Balance Balance transfer fee is minimum of 3% or $10