Do You Know What the Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards Are?
When it comes to paying off debt, high interest is your worst enemy. You could save hundreds or thousands of dollars — and become debt-free much faster — by shifting all your debt to one zero-interest card.
Not only do balance transfers make good financial sense, but they eliminate hassle and stress. With just one monthly payment to keep track of, you’re less likely to fall behind and incur late fees. You might even pay less per month than you’re paying on several cards.
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Discover it Cash Back
The Discover it Cash Back card is one of the most generous cards out there. Even better, there’s no annual fee.
When signing up, you pay zero interest on balance transfers for 18 months. Although interest is voided for 18 months, the initial transfer fee is three percent of the balance. After that, additional transfers cost five percent of the balance.
Another bonus for signing up is that purchases are interest-free for six months. When this introductory offer expires, the variable annual percentage rate is 14.24 to 25.24 percent.
One last introductory offer to highlight is the biggest. Discover will match every penny you earn in cash-back rewards at the end of your first year of membership.
You’ll earn five percent cash back in specific categories like restaurants, grocery stores, online purchases, and ridesharing. All other purchases automatically earn one percent cash back. There are just two limitations: you must activate the reward program each quarter, and cash back is capped at $1,500 in purchases per quarter. However, you can redeem the rewards whenever you like and they never expire.
Additional perks include access to your FICO score and other information from your credit report. You’ll be alerted if your Social Security number shows up on the dark web.
That’s a lot to like.
U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card
Although the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum card is not a rewards card, it does come with several benefits. Chief among them is that there’s no annual fee.
Once you enroll in online banking, you can access your TransUnion credit score for free. Credit monitoring get alerts to any big changes on your report. The fraud protection service will notify you of suspicious activity on your account.
One unusual feature is cellphone protection for damage or theft if you use the card to pay your monthly phone bill.
Best of all, the zero-interest, 18-month introductory offer applies to both transfers and purchases. After that period, the variable APR is 14.49 to 25.49 percent, and the transfer fee is the greater of three percent of the balance or $5.
Bank of America BankAmericard
With the BankAmericard, take advantage of zero percent interest on purchases and balance transfers for 15 billing cycles. Transfers must be completed within 60 days, but they’re free within that time frame.
Monthly FICO score updates, along with a breakdown of the factors that are affecting your score, are free with online or mobile banking. Additionally, BankAmericard provides access to credit education resources.
Protections include zero liability for fraudulent transactions. You can also opt-in for overdraft protection on a linked Bank of America checking account.
There’s no annual fee and the current APR is 15.24 to 25.24 percent. Moreover, a late payment won’t automatically raise your APR.
Like the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum, there are no incentives such as cash back. Still, given the no-fee initial transfer and zero percent interest on purchases for 15 months, the BankAmericard is worth looking into.
Amex EveryDay Credit Card
Carrying an American Express card comes with considerable benefits. In a 2018 customer satisfaction study conducted by J.D. Power, Amex ranked a close second after Discover.
With the Amex EveryDay credit card, transfer a balance for free and enjoy zero interest for 15 months. That goes for purchases too.
As for rewards, if you spend at least $1,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months, Amex will chip in 10,000 points. If you make 20 or more qualifying purchases in any billing cycle, you’ll boost your points by 20 percent.
Points are normally awarded at a rate of one for every eligible dollar, but you’ll earn two points at U.S. grocery stores for up to $6,000 in purchases a year. You can redeem points for merchandise, entertainment, gift cards, and travel. You can even transfer points to Amex’s selection of frequent traveler programs.
Added perks include purchase protection, extended warranties, and free two-day shipping from more than 100 online retailers. Plus, if any retailer won’t let you return a purchase within 90 days, Amex will refund the full price less shipping.
Outside of the perks, this card has no annual fee and the variable APR after the introductory period is 14.99 to 25.99 percent.
Choosing the Right Balance Transfer Card
According to Consumer Reports, the average interest rate on credit card balances hit a record high of 17.11 percent in 2018. Happily, 82 percent of applicants for balance transfer cards are approved.
Each application results in a hard inquiry into your credit history. As a result, your score could temporarily drop. It will bounce back as you make payments on time and steadily reduce the balance you transferred. However, to minimize damage to your current score, apply to only one card.
Considering you’re only applying to one card, thoroughly research and compare several offers, read the fine print, and do the math before deciding. For instance, make sure that the transfer fee doesn’t exceed the amount of interest you’d save. Make sure that you can live with the interest rate or miscellaneous fees after the introductory period expires. Consider your lifestyle and choose a card with the most relevant rewards.
With offers like these, getting out of debt has never been easier.
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