Money

The Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards to Help You Get Out of Debt

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If you’re struggling to pay off credit card debt, you’re not alone. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reported in 2017 that roughly 170 million Americans have at least one credit card, and our collective amount of credit card debt is continually piling up — particularly if you’re a woman.

A recent survey National Debt Relief in 2015 found that 66 percent of women between the ages of 55 to 64 have some amount of credit card debt, while only 33 percent of men in the same age bracket do.

One smart way to pay down credit card debt faster — and save on interest charges? Apply for a balance transfer card.

What are balance transfer cards?

A balance transfer card is a regular credit card that offers cardholders the opportunity to transfer a high balance from a current card to a new one, usually at a significantly lower interest rate. Often, there is a small fee to make this transfer, but it’s usually far less than the amount of interest you would otherwise pay if you didn’t transfer your balance.

Here’s how it works: Simply apply for a new credit card with a balance transfer offer. Once you’ve been approved, you’ll be able to call the customer service number for your new credit card company and request the transfer. (You can also do this online by going to your new credit card’s website.) Essentially, you’ll be using your new plastic to pay off your old one.

Once the balance has been transferred from one card to the other, you will continue to pay the amount due each month on the new card, at the lower, promotional interest rate.

Why apply for a balance transfer card?

“Balance transfers can be a savvy debt management strategy if used wisely,” explains Kristen Euretig, CFP, Founder and CEO of Brooklyn Plans.

The best balance transfer cards will offer a long promotional period at a 0 percent interest rate, with no transfer fee. But if your current card has a high-interest rate, transferring it to a lower-rate card will still save you money — even if you pay a transfer fee.

“It’s not uncommon for credit cards to have interest rates in the 20 percent range,” says Euretig. “A balance transfer can cost from 0 to typically 4 percent upfront, but comes with no interest during the promotional period. That can amount to a savings of 20 or more percent in interest, which is huge.”

The Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards

Ready to get out of debt and save money while doing it? Keep reading for FIRST for Women’s picks for the six best balance transfer cards out there!

1. Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards

Capital One

No annual fee, 3% fee for balance transfers, 0% APR for 15 months

For the first 15 months you have this card, you’ll pay no interest on any balance you transfer from another card. That’s more than a year of interest-free payments! If you’re not sure how much savings that will translate to, take a look at your last credit card statement and check out the interest charges. Now multiply that by 12 for a rough idea of what you can save with the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards card.

Even after your balance is paid off, you’ll be glad you have this card in your arsenal, as it will give you 1.5 percent cash back on all your purchases — and has no annual fee.

  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3% on balances transferred within the first three months.
  • Interest Rate for Balance Transfers: 0% for the first 15 months, then 15.49% to 25.49% variable APR.
  • Annual Fee: None

2. Chase Freedom Unlimited

Chase

No annual fee, 3% fee for balance transfers, 0% APR for 15 Months

Like the Capital One Quicksilver card above, this card has no annual fee and offers a 0 percent interest rate on balance transfers and purchases for the first 15 months post-switch. The balance transfer fee is also 3 percent of the total amount transferred.

The Freedom Unlimited has some other distinct elements that make it special, though. Chase’s Credit Journey feature, for instance, will allow you to check your credit score at any time, at no extra cost. This is incredibly useful if you’re trying to improve your credit because it allows you to keep tabs on how your score increases over time.

You’ll also receive $200 cash back on the first $500 you make in purchases on this card in the first three months, making it a great choice if you’re planning on using your card for more than just a balance transfer. After that, you’ll earn 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases.

Better yet, products you buy with the card will be protected against damage and theft for 120 days after purchase, up to $5,000 per claim.

  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3% on balances transferred within the first 60 days of card ownership. Any additional balance transfers will made at 5%.
  • Interest Rate for Balance Transfers: 0% for the first 15 months, then 16.49% to 25.24% variable APR.
  • Annual Fee: None

3. Chase Freedom

Chase

No annual fee, 3% fee for balance transfers, 0% APR for 15 months

The Chase Freedom and the aforementioned Chase Freedom Unlimited offer similar terms for balance transfers: 15 months interest-free on both balance transfers and purchases after paying a 3 percent fee for transfers.

The difference between these two cards comes down to how you’ll earn rewards on your purchases. With the Chase Freedom Card, you can earn 5 percent cash back on the first $1,500 you spend in designated categories each quarter, such as online purchases, dining, hotels, department stores, and more. After that, you’ll get 1 percent back on all purchases.

  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3% on balances transferred within the first three months.
  • Interest Rate for Balance Transfers: 0% for the first 15 months, then 16.49% to 25.24% variable APR.
  • Annual Fee: None

4. Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards

Capital One

No annual fee, 3% fee for balance transfers, 0% APR for 15 months

A credit card practically designed for people who love food, the Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards card gives you an unlimited 3 percent cash back on dining and entertainment. Your grocery store purchases will earn 2 percent back, and everything else will earn you 1 percent.

There’s no annual fee for this card, and if you spend $500 or more in the first three months, you’ll be rewarded with a one-time $150 early spend bonus.

  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3% or $5 on amounts transferred within the first 15 months, whichever is greater.
  • Interest Rate for Balance Transfers: 0% for the first 15 months, then 15.49% to 25.49% variable APR.
  • Annual Fee: None

5. Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa

Wells Fargo

No annual fee, 3% fee for balance transfers, 0% APR for 15 months

Another card that gives you a 0% interest rate for the first 15 months is Wells Fargo’s Cash Wise card (learn more). It also boasts 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases, has no annual fee, and rewards you for making purchases via your digital wallet.

For example, when you pay with your Google or Apple Pay account that’s hooked up to your Wells Fargo card, you’ll get 1.8 percent cash back during the first year of use, giving you another ultra-convenient incentive to make the switch.

  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3% on transferred within the first 120 days of card ownership. , Any additional balance transfers will made at 5%, with a minimum of $5.
  • Interest Rate for Balance Transfers: 0% for the first 15 months, then 15.49% to 27.49% variable APR.
  • Annual Fee: None

6. Blue Cash Everyday

American Express

No annual fee, 3% fee for balance transfers, 0% APR for 15 months

Rounding out our picks for best balance transfer cards is this American Express choice, which, like the other cards found on this list, has no annual fee and gives you 15 months to pay down your transferred balance free of interest.

In addition, the Blue Cash Everyday will give you a $150 statement credit when you spend $1,000 within the first three months, plus 3 percent cash back on every US grocery bill you charge to the card.

The ongoing APR, after the promotional period ends, is also the lowest of the bunch here, starting at 13.99 percent. Terms apply.

  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3% on amounts transferred within the first three months.
  • Interest Rate for Balance Transfers:0% for the first 15 months, then 13.99% to 24.99% variable APR.
  • Annual Fee: None

This story originally appeared on our sister site, Woman’s World.

See more of our best product recommendations.

FIRST for Women has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. FIRST for Women and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

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