Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards – 2016

Brendan Harkness

Brendan Harkness | Editor's Best Card Picks

Jan 10, 2016 | Updated Jul 13, 2016

What Are Balance Transfer Credit Cards?

Many credit cards offer balance transfers as a way for you to reduce the amount of interest you’ll pay on large debts.

Instead of paying the high interest rate you’ll find on most credit cards (14% – 22% APR for many) you’ll be able to pay off your balance over a fairly long period for free, at a 0% rate. Balance transfers are subject to a separate APR than normal purchases, though the rate happens to be the same in many cases.

You can also usually transfer other kinds of debts to credit cards, like personal loans, auto loans, student loans – pretty much any loan that requires a monthly payment. Just ask your card issuer if it’s possible.

Here’s an example: say you have a $5,000 balance on a credit card, and your interest rate is 17%. If you want to pay off that balance over 24 months, you’ll end up paying over $900 in interest by the time you’re done.

Instead you could transfer that balance to another card, preferably one with a 0% interest rate. Then you can continue to make payments, but you won’t be incurring all that interest anymore. That’s an easy way to save almost a thousand bucks.

Should I Get A Balance Transfer Credit Card?

Not all balance transfer offers are equal. Most cards will charge a fee, and there are limitations on when exactly you need to make the transfer. Always read your card terms very carefully so you know what to expect from a balance transfer, or you could be in for a nasty surprise if things don’t go the way you thought they would.

We’ve picked out 3 credit cards with the best balance transfer offers available on the market. These cards were chosen for their fees – either nonexistent or low – and the interest rates you’ll get on your transfer.

These cards don’t offer rewards, like points or cash back, for the purchases you make. Instead, they’re fairly simple and are best used just to pay down a large balance at a lower interest rate than you were previously paying.

Let’s take a look at the 3 cards with the best balance transfer terms available today:

  • The Chase Slate, with no fee and 0% APR for 15 months
  • The Barclaycard Ring, with no fee and 8% APR
  • The Citi Simplicity, with a 3% fee and 0% APR for 21 months

Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards

Chase Slate

This is one of the most popular balance transfer cards, if not the most popular.

And it’s easy to see why:

  • No fee for balance transfers when made within the first 60 days (3% fee after that, $5 min)
  • 0% APR for 15 months on balance transfers and purchases
  • No annual fee
  • No penalty APR
  • Free FICO® Score

You’ll get pretty much the best deal available with this card: a no-fee balance transfer, and a full 15 months to pay off the balance. The amount of money you can transfer will depend on the credit limit you are issued, with a maximum of $15,000.

This card should be completely free to use for those 15 months because there’s no annual fee. You also won’t have to worry about a high penalty APR if you make a late payment (though you’ll still be charged for late payments).

You’ll also be able to easily check your FICO Score for free whenever you’d like. This is a nice benefit to have, especially if you have enough debt that you need to do a balance transfer. If that’s the case, this service lets you monitor your credit to see it improve as you pay off your debt.

Want to learn more? Check out our Review of the Chase Slate Credit Card!

Chase Slate®

For People with
Good Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 13.24% - 23.24% *Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • Chase Slate named "Best Credit Card for Balance Transfers" two years in a row by Money Magazine
  • $0 Introductory balance transfer fee for transfers made during the first 60 days
  • 0% Introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • New Free Monthly FICO® Score and Credit Dashboard
  • No Penalty APR - Paying late won't raise your interest rate (APR). All other account pricing and terms apply
  • $0 Annual Fee

The information for Chase Slate® has been collected independently by Credit Card Insider. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Barclaycard® Ring® MasterCard

This is a very unique credit card. Instead of being passive users, cardholders can actually discuss the card terms and vote to make changes, with some limits.

We won’t get into that here, but you should know that the card terms are subject to change by the vote of the community. If you’re interested in this card, you can check out our Review of the Barclaycard Ring MasterCard.

This card has:

  • No fee for balance transfers
  • 8.25% APR (Variable) for balance transfers, purchases, and cash advances
  • No annual fee
  • No penalty APR
  • Free FICO Score
  • The potential to earn rewards

Like the Chase Slate above, you won’t be charged a fee for your balance transfer. However, that balance will then be subjected to the 8.25% APR, so you’ll end up paying some interest. Just make sure that this 8.25% rate is lower than the one you had before, and you’ll be saving money compared to your old account.

You can only transfer a balance that is less than your credit limit.

There’s no annual fee to pay for this card, no penalty APR to worry about, and you’ll be able to see your FICO Score for free whenever you’d like. This is a great asset for people paying off large balances because you can easily see how your debt is affecting your credit (which is good motivation to pay).

You’ll also have the potential to earn some rewards with this card, depending on how responsibly the community as a whole pays its debts. This would be a nice treat for a card you’re using to pay down a balance, but you can’t count on being able to earn this every year.

Barclaycard Ring™ MasterCard®
Apply Now

Barclaycard Ring™ MasterCard®

For People with
Excellent Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 8.25% Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • A low, variable APR on balance transfers and purchases
  • No Annual Fee
  • No balance transfer fees
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Share in the community profits through our Giveback™ program
  • Vote on product changes and share your ideas in Barclaycard Ring's community
  • Free online access to FICO® Credit Score lets you keep an eye on your credit and get alerts when we learn that your score has changed

Citi Simplicity® Card

The Simplicity Card lives up to its name. There isn’t much to it, other than some very good interest rates and terms.

Take a look:

  • 0% APR on balance transfers and purchases for 21 months (for balance transfers made within the first 4 months)
  • 3% fee for balance transfers ($5 min)
  • No annual fee
  • No late fees
  • No penalty APR

You’ll pay a 3% fee for your balance transfer, but after that you’ll have an incredible 21 months to pay off that balance at zero interest. This is the longest 0% APR period you’ll be able to find (aside from the Citi Diamond Preferred® Card, also at 21 months).

You won’t have to worry about the usual fees with this card, so it should be completely free to use, other than the balance transfer fee (there is a fee for returned payments, but you should be able to avoid those easily).

Want to learn more about what the Simplicity Card has to offer, including shopping and traveling perks? Click here to read our Review of the Citi Simplicity Card!

Citi Simplicity® Card

For People with
Excellent Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 12.99% - 22.99% (Variable)
Quick Card Facts
  • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 21 months. After that, the variable APR will be 12.99% - 22.99% based on your creditworthiness.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • No late fees - Ever
  • No penalty rate - Ever
  • No annual fee - Ever
  • Save time when you call with fast, personal help, 24 hours a day.

Applying For A Balance Transfer Credit Card

Want to apply for these cards or learn more? Just click the name below.

Chase Slate®

For People with
Good Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 13.24% - 23.24% *Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • Chase Slate named "Best Credit Card for Balance Transfers" two years in a row by Money Magazine
  • $0 Introductory balance transfer fee for transfers made during the first 60 days
  • 0% Introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • New Free Monthly FICO® Score and Credit Dashboard
  • No Penalty APR - Paying late won't raise your interest rate (APR). All other account pricing and terms apply
  • $0 Annual Fee

The information for Chase Slate® has been collected independently by Credit Card Insider. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Barclaycard Ring™ MasterCard®
Apply Now

Barclaycard Ring™ MasterCard®

For People with
Excellent Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 8.25% Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • A low, variable APR on balance transfers and purchases
  • No Annual Fee
  • No balance transfer fees
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Share in the community profits through our Giveback™ program
  • Vote on product changes and share your ideas in Barclaycard Ring's community
  • Free online access to FICO® Credit Score lets you keep an eye on your credit and get alerts when we learn that your score has changed

Citi Simplicity® Card

For People with
Excellent Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 12.99% - 22.99% (Variable)
Quick Card Facts
  • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 21 months. After that, the variable APR will be 12.99% - 22.99% based on your creditworthiness.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • No late fees - Ever
  • No penalty rate - Ever
  • No annual fee - Ever
  • Save time when you call with fast, personal help, 24 hours a day.

Have you used any of these cards for a balance transfer? How did it go for you? Let us know in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you!

Was this helpful?

The Insider

John Ganotis
Two free rides from 11 US airports from Uber and American Express
John Ganotis | Nov 16, 2016

Read More
Brendan Harkness
Review of the Best Western® Rewards MasterCard®
Brendan Harkness | Oct 21, 2016

The Best Western Rewards MasterCard provides 13 points for every dollar you spend with Best Western, along with a variety of extra perks and benefits.

Read More
Brendan Harkness
Review of the Upromise® World MasterCard®
Brendan Harkness | Sep 28, 2016

The Upromise World MasterCard offers up to 10% cash back at select retailers, and you can redeem your rewards directly to your college fund or student loan.

Read More

Trusted Credit Information

Putting People First, Always.

We are advocates of the responsible use of credit, building and managing your credit history, and making informed decisions when selecting a credit card.