A balance transfer credit card has a fixed introductory period, usually between 12 and 21 months, which is helpful for paying down interest.
The catch: Most balance transfer cards charge a transfer fee -- typically between 3% and 5% -- which can be a big step in the wrong direction if you're trying to pay your debt. The trade-off? A shorter introductory APR period.
If a credit card with no balance transfer fee makes sense for you, we've highlighted our top partner offers below.
The highest 0% intro APR with no balance transfer fee
The Union Bank PlatinumTM Visa Credit Card offers a 15-month introductory APR on both purchases and balance transfers, with $0 in balance transfer fees. This is a safe card for someone who wishes to transfer their balance without incurring additional expenses.
APR with 0% starting price, with no balance transfer fees.
You can apply for the Wings Visa Platinum Credit Card*, which provides no annual or balance transfer charges, and includes 12 months of 0% introductory APR on balance transfers and purchases (8.15% to 18.00% variable APR thereafter).
Another 0% introduction APR with no balance transfer fee
First Tech Federal Credit Union is based out of San Jose, California, and catered to tech companies in the Pacific Northwest. Today, you can if you work for one of their partners companies or become a member of the Computer History Museum ($15 for an annual membership) or the Financial Fitness Association ($8 for an annual membership).
The First Tech Platinum Mastercard* credit card also offers 12 balance transfer billing cycles of 0% introductory APR (66.99% to 18.00% variable APR thereafter), without credit card balance transfer fees.
The APR in intro is low, and there is no balance transfer fee.
- 1% unlimited cash back on all qualifying purchases
- 1% unlimited cash back on all qualifying purchases
If you pay down your balance, the SunTrust Prime Rewards Credit Card does not pay a balance transfer fee per se ($0 for balance transfers in the first 60 days, then 3% or $10 minimum). Rather, it comes with three years of a relatively low APR -- 3.25% variable
Bottom line: If you are looking for more time to pay off your debt, the SunTrust Mastercard Prime Rewards offers a balanced combination of a low interest rate and a long payback period.
How do balance transfer credit cards work?
Balance transfer credit cards are a debt-financing tool when used correctly. They can help you pay down existing high-interest credit card debt faster and for less.
The best balance transfer cards offer low or no interest for a specific period, allowing you to pay down your debt without worrying about high accruing interest. This introductory APR period usually lasts between 12 months and 21 months, giving you a considerable period to pay off your balance before the interest rate increases.
While a few credit cards offer no-fee transfers, most balance transfer cards charge you between 3% and 5% of the balance transferred. Typically, cards without a balance transfer fee have shorter introductory APR periods, and those with transfer fees have shorter introductory APR periods.
Where can I find credit cards with no balance transfer fee?
Both cards come with introductory APR offers, but you will have to pay between $5 to $15 to become a member. This isn't the case with a card with a 3% fee.
If you're already a member of a credit union, it may be worthwhile to ask if it offers a balance transfer card with an initial APR period and no balance transfer fee.
What are the benefits of a credit card with no balance transfer fee?
A credit card with no balance transfer fee lets you transfer a balance from one account to another without paying an upfront transfer fee, generally between 3% and 5%. The trade-off is a shorter introductory APR period for balance transfers.
If you need more time, consider a credit card with a balance transfer fee that offers a way to pay off high-interest credit card debt without paying a dime in interest or fees.
How do I decide if a credit card with no balance transfer fee is appropriate for me?
The first step is to consider how big of a monthly payment you can afford each month. Then, calculate how much you'll pay in interest and fees with two or three different balance transfer credit cards.
If you pay off your debt in around 12 to 15 months, the 3% you save with a credit card with no balance transfer fee will be worth it. Despite the 3% transfer fee ($5 minimum) you may be able to lock in a for a lower interest rate than the SunTrust Mastercard Prime's introductory 3.25% variable APR on balance transfers (11.24% to 21.24% thereafter.
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Our methodology is different.
CNET evaluates credit cards by comparing them across set criteria for each major category, including cash-back, welcome bonus, travel rewards, and balance transfer. We take into consideration the typical spending behavior of a variety of consumer profiles -- with the understanding that everyone's financial situation is different -- and the designated function of a card.
The cash-back credit cards, for example, are assessed as a base factor, including the annual fee, the "welcome bonus," and the cash-back rate (or rates) if they differ by spending category. And with balance transfer credit cards, we analyze specs such as the duration of the introductory 0% APR period and the balance transfer fee, while acknowledging secondary factors such as the standard APR and the length of time you have to make a balance transfer.
More credit card recommendations
All information regarding the Wings Visa Platinum Credit Card, First Tech Platinum Mastercard, and the SunTrust Prime Rewards Prime Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by CNET and has not been reviewed by the issuer.
The editorial content on this page is based on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, you may receive compensation when you click on links to our products or services.