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 interest periods. While these types of offers can be great (switching from paying something like 15% interest to 0% is obviously a smart move), so many cards are offering so many varying offers that sifting through them to find the better ones can become a little confusing.
Like most things, there's no single answer for everyone, yet in our research, we found that four cards in particular each offered appealing features that beat out other similar cards. One offers a solid 15-month 0% term, yet charges no balance transfer fee. Two more offer nice 0% intro terms together with attractive cash back rewards programs.
If you want to transfer a balance without paying a transfer fee
The Facts: No balance transfer fee. No annual fee. Pros: The Chase Slate® does not charge a transfer fee while still delivering 15 months interest-free on any balance transfered in the first 60 days. It's a compelling combination, and the reason the Slate is tied as our highest rated balance transfer card. Normally you have to go to family in order to get a free "loan" like that! You only need good credit to be approved as opposed to excellent, so it's a bit easier to get in than most cards offering this level of incentive. Cons: No significant rewards program. The Slate is all about the balance transfer features. The Verdict: If you don't need the entire 18 months offered by the BankAmericard, the Slate can be your best bet since it doesn't have a balance transfer fee. No transfer fee and no annual fee, combined with the 0% intro APR means that this is free money for the 15 month term, no catches. Most Appropriate For: Those who want a no-fee way to stop paying interest, and possibly pay off the cards during that breather. Those with good rather than excellent credit. More Details >
If you want to maximize the interest-free intro period on your transfer
The Facts: 18 billing cycles (months) of 0% Intro APR. No annual fees. Pros: If you transfer your current balance onto the BankAmericard® Credit Card, you won't have to pay any further interest on that balance until well into 2017. The card features an unbelievable 18 billing cycles (months) 0% APR period, which is the longest interest-free intro period here. If your goal is to stop paying interest for as long as possible, then this is your card. Cons: The card does charge a 3% balance transfer fee. The Verdict: Getting a loan this cheaply for this long is pretty amazing. If you're carrying a balance, and realistically you know you will have to carry that balance for a while, this card becomes a no-brainer. As an example, assume you have a $10,000 balance on your current cards at a 15% rate. Over the 18 billing cycle term, you would have paid $2,522 in interest.* Switching to this card would cost $300 in fees, but then nothing the rest of the way, for a net savings of $2,222 making the transfer. Not bad, you could do a lot with that extra cash. Most Appropriate For: Those who have large balances and coudl use some extra time with which to pay them down. More Details >
If you want cash rewards with a shorter interest-free transfer period
The Facts: 0% on balance transfers for 9 months, 1.5% cash back rewards program. $100 cash bonus. No annual fee. Pros: While neither the Quicksilver or the Freedom (below) top out our balance transfer list, both offer an intriguing combination of a longish 0% balance transfer period and a top of class cash rewards program. This is good if you want to consolidate your credit card balances, save through the balance transfer, but also earn rewards on any new spending you make. The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Card card makes things simple: you earn 1.5% cash back on all your purchases, with no limit and no category restrictions or games. We included the card in our balance transfer list because it offers 0% intro APR for 9 months on all balances transferred. Cons: Does charge a 3% balance transfer fee. Requires good credit to get in. The Verdict: If you're looking to transfer a balance and make some purchases, you can use this card to avoid paying interest during the intro period AND earn cash rewards. Most Appropriate For: Anyone who might make some large purchases in the near future, or regularly charges a lot on their cards. Making the charges on the Quicksilver would earn cash back but not require any interest during the intro period. More Details >
The Facts: 15 Months of 0% Intro APR, 1% Cash Back Rewards Program, $150 bonus. No annual fee. Pros: The Chase Freedom® is temporarily offering a fantastic deal to new card members; If you charge $500 on it in the first 3 months, you'll earn a $150 bonus. Combine that with the 1% standard cash back feature, plus 5% cash back in certain rotating spending categories per quarter (at the time of this writing it includes gas and local commuter transportation) and this card really starts to pay. All this and you get 15 months of 0% intro APR, and it requires good, not excellent credit, making it easier to get in. Cons: Charges a 5% balance transfer fee. The Verdict: A great combination of 0% intro APR, solid cash-back rewards, an attractive limited-time bonus offer while only requiring good credit. Most Appropriate For: Those with good credit seeking a daily-use card offering great cash back rewards and 0% intro APR. Best for new charges. More Details >
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!
Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This content was accurate at the time of this post, but card terms and conditions may change at any time. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.
*Savings calculation: Credit Card Balance * (1+Average Card Rate/365)^639 days – Balance Transfer Fee - Average Household Credit Card Balance