Imagine being able to start paying off your credit card debt in as little as a week at 0% APR instead of the typical 7%-20%. How do you do that?
It’s elementary – you have to get a balance transfer card with 0% APR and send all or part of the debt from your other loans. Then, you will have 6-15 months to pay off your credit and not need to pay one dollar in interest!
However, it’s essential to consider the APR and all fees when making your choice. For example, you may pay between 3% and 5% to send funds from one card to another. So you can spend that money to pay off debts, we’ve selected several variants for you with 0% APR and no extra fees. Check the descriptions of each one and choose the one that works best for you.
Wings Visa Platinum Card
We’ll start our review with one of the best balance transfer cards, which has a $0 fee and 0% APR for the first 12 months. When that period ends, the APR rises to 9.65%-18%, depending on your credit account.
What else you need to know about this offer:
- You can send a balance from another card to this anytime, not within 60 days as banks usually limit it.
- The maximum transfer amount is equal to your credit limit.
Remember that the trial period does not start from the day you transferred the balance but from the day you opened the account. If you share debt on the 6th month of using the card, you can only use 0% APR for six months.
This card gives you access to all Visa benefits, including Visa checkout. However, you’ll need to join Wings Financial Credit Union to get it. This may be the only downside to this offer, as you only qualify if you or a family member works in the aviation industry, airport, air transportation, or airlines. In addition, you must live in Orlando, Detroit, Atlanta, or Seattle-Tacoma to be eligible for the offer.
If you fit the credit union criteria, this is an excellent choice, as Visa offers one of the most extended periods of the intro APR and has no transfer windows.
Choice Rewards World Mastercard®
Another variant with 0% APR for the first 12 months but with a 90-day transfer window is the Choice Rewards World Mastercard®. You can send as much debt to it as your credit limit allows and pay 0% if you manage to pay it off in the first year. After that, the regular APR will be 9.75% to 18.00%.
One of the advantages of this option is the bonus system and additional rewards. For example, you will get 2 points for every $1 spent on everyday expenses (medical supplies, electronics, communications, groceries) and 1 point for all other categories.
The balance transfer fee on this one is $0. However, you must join First Tech FCU to get it. This credit union only accepts employees of certain companies who live or work in Oregon. If you do not fit these criteria, you can join the Financial Fitness Association ($8 value of membership) or the Computer History Museum ($15 worth of admission). That way, you will become eligible for the credit union as well.
Navy Federal Credit Union GO REWARDS® Credit Card
The offer from Navy Federal CU will allow you to pay off debt faster and earn $200 from its rewards system if you spend $2,000 in the first 90 days of opening your account. You’ll earn points for paying checks at restaurants, gas stations, and all stores, and then you can redeem them for cash or merchandise.
This variant has a $0 balance transfer fee and a $0 foreign transaction fee, but it does not have a 0% APR. From day one, the interest rate on the debt will be 10.49% – 18%, so calculate carefully and think about whether it will be profitable for you to use this option. But the good news is that the transfer window is not limited to 60 or 90 days; you can send funds at any time.
To apply for this offer, you must be a Navy Federal Credit Union member. This option is only available to veterans serving in the armed forces, working for the Department of Defense or National Guard, or having a close family member of the union.
Navy Federal Platinum Credit Card
Unlike the previous one, this Platinum card has 0% APR on all purchases for the first 12 months of account opening. Plus, if you have an excellent credit account, you can still use the money at a 7.49% APR after that period. The maximum regular APR on this variant is 18%.
The transfer window on the Navy Federal Platinum card is 60 days, but you can only get 0% APR on the amount you spend within the first 30 days of opening your account. Besides, the balance transfer fee is $0, and you can send as much debt as your credit limit allows.
The requirements to get a Platinum card are the same as the previous option – you must be a Navy Federal Credit Union member. If you’re not and don’t qualify, you may want to consider another alternative.
Edward Jones World Mastercard®
Another card with a $0 annual fee has a very generous rewards system – you can earn up to 6 points for every dollar you spend on different product categories. However, it has a significant disadvantage – the $0 balance transfer fee is only valid for the first 60 days from when you open your account.
In addition, this option is less profitable than the previous ones because of the very high APR – from 17.24% to 28.24%. Also, the bank does not withdraw money if you make a foreign transaction.
The main advantage of this option is that many more people are eligible for this offer. In addition, you don’t need to be a credit union member or the military to take advantage of this offer, just a good credit account. However, is it worth it? Carefully consider whether it is beneficial for you to send your debts to this card. Generally, if you have good credit, taking out an installment loan over several years is more advantageous.
What is a No-Fee Balance Transfer?
A balance transfer is a great way to pay off your debts faster without spending too much money. All you have to do is choose the right balance transfer card and have time to pay off the credit you send to it while the intro APR period is in effect.
Usually, financial experts say that there are two disadvantages to this procedure: if you repeat it often, it can lower your credit score, and if you choose the wrong variant, it will make using it unprofitable and create even more debt for you. However, if you sign up for one of the options we wrote about above, you don’t have to worry about the second point, as many of them have 0% APR and absolutely no fees. The only exception is the fee for transferring money from banks in other countries because it is a foreign transaction.
The main thing you need to know before deciding to use a balance transfer is that you are making a big commitment this way. You will either pay your loan on time and save hundreds of dollars in interest or have even more debt because the APR becomes very high when the intro period ends.
Read More: Best Credit Cards for You in 2023
How to Choose a Credit Card With No Balance Transfer Fee
As we said before, the most important thing you need to do to use this method successfully is to choose the right variant. Of course, many of the options we listed above have 0% APR and virtually no fees, but there is still a difference between them that you need to consider.
One of the leading indicators of any credit card is the APR, so try to choose one that offers the longest possible 0% intro APR. In addition, pay attention to the regular interest rate and the following factors, which we will discuss briefly.
Check Your Credit Score
Banks are reluctant to issue such cards because the APR is their income, your payment for using their money. That’s why they often present good or excellent credit as a requirement for those who want to take advantage of this offer.
Before you apply for such a card, check your credit score and make sure it is above a 670 FICO score. To do this, you can contact any credit bureau and request a copy of your credit report – once a year, you can get it free.
If your credit score is lower than 670, try raising it. To do this, look at your report and see if there are any negative marks on it (late payments, bankruptcy, etc.) that can be removed. You can also apply for less favorable options with a 3%-5% fee but 0% APR. But only do that if it will help you pay off your debt faster.
Review the Time Frame for Completing a Balance Transfer
Many cards have a so-called transfer window – a single period when you can send your debts from your old credit cards to this new one. Usually, this period equals to the first 60 days of the offer, but some banks make it unlimited.
How do you choose a suitable option based on this criterion?
- If you realize you can’t send all the debt from all your old best balance transfer cards no transfer fee at once, look for a bank that offers an unlimited transfer window. Then you can pay off one loan and send the next at any time, preferably in time to do so during the intro APR.
- You can ignore this criterion if your credit limit is enough to send all your debt at once.
As always, the most important thing is to correctly calculate the most advantageous option for you to pay off your debt as quickly as possible.
Consider How Much Time You Need to Repay Debt
It is essential to understand that the main benefit of such offers is that you can save money due to the 0% APR. Using such a card after the intro APR period is much less profitable, and if you want to open a balance transfer card again after 6-15 months, your credit score could drop significantly.
That’s why choosing an offer that allows you to pay off all of your debt during the intro APR period is essential. Consider installment loans if you realize that you need more than 21 months to handle the entire amount. These loans are for several years at a low APR of up to 10% if you have good credit and will allow you to pay off debt on several cards at once.
Read More: 5 Steps to Consolidate Credit Card Debt
How to Use a Balance Transfer Card
Let’s say you have three credit cards with a combined debt of $4,500, $1,500 on each one. The first bank offered you a 9% APR, the second a 15% APR, and the third only a 5% APR. How can you make life easier for yourself in this situation and lower your APR? First, use a balance transfer card.
How it works:
- You check the rates and debts on your credit cards and realize that you would be better off consolidating all your loans into one.
- You find a balance transfer card that allows you to take the amount of your debt (or at least most of it). Its APR must be favorable to you, ideally if it is 0% for at least the first 6-15 months.
- You get a new card and request a balance transfer from your old cards to it. This is how you consolidate all the loans into one under a more favorable APR.
- Now your main goal is to pay off the new credit card debt as quickly as possible, ideally, before the low introductory APR period ends.
Remember that you can’t do this often because it will negatively affect your credit score. In addition, it is essential to calculate not only the APR on all cards but also any fees for sending money or using the bank’s services.
The bottom line is to be careful and considerate when choosing a new card because if you do it wrong, you won’t get an opportunity to get out of debt but a further heavy liability.
Who Should Apply For Balance Transfer Credit Cards With No Fee?
First, these offers are not available to everyone – they are only issued to people with a credit score of 670 or more. If you have a low rating, try contacting credit repair first or improve it by removing the negative marks from your credit report.
The second criterion for those who want to use a card like this is the amount owed because it usually has a limit of about $1,000. If that amount only covers a portion of your debt, calculate it carefully and ensure it is beneficial for you to open a new card.
The third criterion is the most profitable option for you. You should understand that if you are not prepared to pay back your debt for the first 6-15 months while your APR is still 0%, it makes sense to take out a longer-term installment loan and use it to pay off your credit card debt.
If you have already made up your mind to use a balance transfer card, try to apply for one with 0% APR and no fees. This way, you can save a few thousand dollars and improve your credit score by reducing your credit in just 6-12 months.
Sources Used in Research for the Article:
- GO REWARDS® Credit Card, Navy Federal Credit Union, https://www.navyfederal.org/loans-cards/credit-cards/go-rewards.html
- Choice Rewards World Mastercard®, First Tech, https://www.firsttechfed.com/borrow/credit-cards/choice-rewards
- Visa® Platinum Credit Card, Wings Credit Union, https://www.wingsfinancial.com/credit-cards/platinum-card