Top 3 Balance Transfer Credit Cards

By: Melanie Ferguson

Credit cards are a necessity. They make purchases convenient and allow cardholders to purchase items on credit and pay for them later. However, this convenience can sometimes turn into a burden because some individuals tend to get carried away with their purchases.

Since there is no cash exchange involved with credit cards, and one can also purchase items online, it is elementary to lose track of how much money is being spent. This is one of the main reasons credit cardholders accumulate credit card debt that keeps on piling over time.

Credit cards tend to have high-interest rates in general, which is why it is never a good idea to leave any debt outstanding on your credit card. Any outstanding debt on a credit card can quickly multiply if not paid off fast enough.

The collective credit card debt of cardholders in the USA is close to $900 billion, with average credit card balance ranging between $6000 – $8000. This is a significant amount because not everyone has a credit card, and then not every credit cardholder has a debt.

From the economic perspective, this shows that almost $900 billion of economic activity in the last year or so happened on credit card debt, making credit cards a vital economic activity source.

From a personal financial management perspective, however, this is an alarming trend. Because this astounding amount of credit card debt means that your average credit cardholder does not follow personal financial management practices. Having up to $8000 as outstanding debt on a credit card is merely terrible from a financial perspective.

If you have other debts such as a mortgage, student debt, car lease, then having credit card debt on top of it will make it very difficult to pay off the debt. Although it is incredibly convenient to use credit cards, the worst thing about them is the high-interest rate or APR they carry on the outstanding balance.

There are many stories of cardholders recklessly racking up credit card debt and then defaulting on payments. This damages their credit score and the credit report and makes them ineligible to get unsecured credit cards till the credit score is improved.

This is why credit cards have to be used in a very responsible manner. You cannot afford to mess your credit score and report up with your credit card’s careless usage.

Balance Transfer Cards

Credit cards come with many features, and one such part is called “Balance transfer.” This feature is beneficial for individuals who have got outstanding debts on their credit cards.

What this feature does is that it allows cardholders to transfer the outstanding balance from a high interest-bearing card to a balance transfer card that charges a shallow rate on balance transfers and outstanding balances.

If therefore, you have an outstanding balance on your card along with a high APR, then you may want to look for some good balance transfer cards. Transferring your due balance to a balance transfer card can significantly reduce the interest payable on the outstanding debt, thus generating much-needed savings.

Let us now look at some of the best balance transfer cards in the market right now.

Citi Double Cash Card

Citi Double Cash Card

Pros

Cons

●      No annual fee

●      High rewards earning rate

●      0% introductory APR on balance transfers

●      Purchases must be paid off in full before cash back can be earned.

●      Not a lot of additional perks.

●      Foreign transaction fee

Features
● No annual fee
● Credit score required to be between 670 – 850
● Regular APR: Variable between 13.99% and 23.99%
● 2% unlimited cash back on every purchase
● 3% foreign transaction fee
● 0% introductory APR for first 18 months on balance transfers
● The balance transfer fee, greater of $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer.

The Citi Double Cash card is one of the best balance transfer cards on offer. It offers a very long 18 months introductory 0% APR on balance transfers, which should allow cardholders enough time to transfer a balance from their high-interest cards to the Citi Double Cash card.

The only caveat on a balance transfer is the fee, which is greater than $5 or 3% of each transfer amount. Thus if you have a balance of $4000, which you want to transfer from some other card to the Citi Double Cash card, then you will have to pay $120 for the transaction. This can be a one-time fee if you transfer the whole balance in one go. However, even if you break down the transfer into smaller amounts, the total cost would be the same. Paying the transaction fee may not be such a bad idea if the transfer results in a lower interest rate.

Once the 18-month introductory period is over, variable APR applies on balance transfers, which depends on the cardholder’s creditworthiness.

The cashback offer on the Citi Double Cash card is also straightforward. The cashback reward program is specific compared to some of the other cards. Users get 2% unlimited cashback on any purchase, not just grocery and fuel. The cashback feature makes it a perfect card for cardholders looking to create savings. It must be remembered that cashback only applies if the cardholder pays the minimum balance due each month on time.

U.S Bank Visa Platinum Card

US Bank Visa Platinum Card

Pros

Cons

●      No annual fee

●      0% introductory APR on purchases

●      Lengthy 0% introductory APR on balance transfers

●      Cell phone protection

●      Foreign transaction fee

●      No rewards program

●      Balance transfer fee

Features
● No annual fee
● Credit score required to be between 720 – 850
● Regular APR: Variable between 13.99% and 23.99%
● 3% foreign transaction fee
● 0% introductory APR for first 20 months on balance transfers
● 0% introductory APR on purchases
● Balance transfer fee, greater of $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer.

The U.S Bank Visa Platinum card is another good card for cardholders looking for a balance transfer. This card has a very lengthy balance transfer period of 20 months. For the first twenty months, the cardholders can transfer their balance from a high interest-bearing card at 0% APR by paying only the transfer fee.

As discussed above, the transfer fee does not amount to much when you look at the savings generated through the transfer of balance to a low-interest bearing card. In addition to no APR on balance transfer for the first 20 months, this card also offers 0% introductory APR on the first 20 billing cycles.

This card allows the cardholders to choose their billing dates, which adds to the convenience. In addition to this, the U.S Bank Visa Platinum card enables the cardholders to access to 1 free TransUnion credit score and email alerts whenever there is a significant change in the credit report.

Other features such as fraud protection and autopay are also available with this card. This card also comes with the cell phone protection feature if the card users pay their monthly phone bills with the card. The cell phone protection covers damage and theft for up to $600 with a $25 deductible for up to 2 claims.

There is, however, one downside of there being no cashback rewards on this card. This makes the Platinum card focused on balance transfers.

Wells Fargo Platinum Credit Card

Wells Fargo Platinum Credit Card

Pros

Cons

●      No annual fee

●      0% introductory APR on purchases and qualifying balance transfers

●      Cell phone protection

●      Foreign transaction fee

●      No rewards program

●      Balance transfer fee

Features
● No annual fee
● Credit score required to be between 690 – 850
● Regular APR: Variable between 16.49% and 24.49%
● 3% foreign transaction fee
● 0% introductory APR for the first 18 months on purchases
● 0% introductory APR for the first 18 months on qualifying balance transfers.
● Balance transfer fee, more generous of $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer.


The Wells Fargo Platinum Card is an ideal card for balance transfers. The 0% introductory APR allows cardholders to benefit from the balance transfer window. The balance transfer fee is the greater of $5 or 3% for the first 120 days, and then it becomes the greater of $5 or 5%. Once again, the balance transfer fee may add a bit of cost, but the overall savings may still be more than the interest payments on a high interest-bearing card.

Other cardholders’ features include a cell phone protection plan if the cardholders pay their phone bill through the card. The program provides coverage for damage and theft for up to $600, with $25 as the deductible for up to 2 claims.

Apart from this, the cardholders can also track their FICO score through Wells Fargo Online. Cardholders can also benefit from budgeting tools provided by the My Money Map, offered by Wells Fargo.

According to our research, one can find many balance transfer cards in the market, but the ones discussed above are the best. Keep checking back because, over time, new cards with better features replace old ones.

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