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What Is a 0% Interest Balance Transfer Credit Card?

Last Updated: February 11, 2024
3 min read

Key points about: 0% interest balance transfer cards

  1. A credit card balance transfer lets you move an existing credit card debt balance to a new credit card, which may allow you to take advantage of a lower interest rate.

  2. A 0% intro APR balance transfer credit card could mean no interest on balance transfers during the introductory period.

  3. Transferring a balance from a high-interest credit card to a 0% intro APR card could help you save money and pay off debt faster.

balance transfer is when you move an unpaid balance from one lender to another. Typically, it’s done to save on interest for that balance by transferring it to a credit account with a lower interest rate. One example is transferring debt from one or more credit cards to another card with a lower interest rate offer.

Before applying for a balance transfer card, consider these guidelines and tips to help you choose if a 0% intro APR balance transfer may be able to help you save money.

How do you transfer a balance to a 0% intro APR credit card?

A 0% APR credit card balance transfer offer means that the credit card issuer offering the balance transfer pays off all or a portion of the outstanding balance on your old account, and then adds this same balance to your new balance transfer card, so you’ll now owe your new credit card issuer.

The amount transferred through a 0% intro APR balance transfer offer is often subject to a one-time balance transfer fee, which is typically a small percentage of the total transferred balance and is added to the new balance.

The introductory annual percentage rate (APR) will only last for the stated time period, and then the remaining balance will accrue interest at the new credit card company’s standard APR.

0% APR doesn’t mean a $0 balance transfer fee

Keep in mind, the APR, or interest charge, isn’t the same as a balance transfer fee, which is a fixed percentage of the amount you transfer. Before transferring a balance, make sure that the balance transfer fee won’t cost more than you’d save on interest.

To determine whether the transfer fee is more or less than you’ll save in interest, it’s important to check the terms of your balance transfer offer and calculate how much interest you’ll pay if you don’t transfer your balance, and how much you’ll save by transferring the balance.

Did you know?

Rewards credit cards with balance transfer offers may have benefits beyond no interest. While you won’t earn rewards on the balance transfer itself, you may want to look for a cash back rewards credit card, or a card that gives miles rewards on your future purchases. Then, once the balance transfer is paid off, you can use your card to earn rewards for your everyday purchases.

0% Interest on a credit card balance transfer is temporary

The duration of the introductory 0% APR balance transfer offer varies based on individual credit card company offers. After the introductory period, the remaining transferred balance is subject to the card’s standard interest rate. You should pay attention to the duration of the introductory offer because once it’s over there could be an increase in your interest rate.

It’s always important to familiarize yourself with the terms and conditions for any credit card. For example, in some cases, new purchases on cards with an active 0% intro APR balance transfer offer will incur interest at the card’s standard purchase APR, unless the 0% intro APR offer applies to new purchases as well.

Three ways to use a balance transfer

Consider these three ways you can use a balance transfer that may help you determine the best balance transfer card for you.

It can be difficult to manage debt across several credit card accounts. With each account, you’ll have a separate monthly statement, due date, and payment. You may also have multiple online banking accounts or mobile apps to track. When you have multiple payments to make each month, there’s an increased likelihood of accidentally missing a payment. You can save time and energy by transferring your balances to a single account and making just one monthly payment.

Another great way to use a balance transfer is when you’re looking to save money on interest. Keep in mind that many balance transfers include a fee, but you may still save money on interest under the offer. It can be helpful to determine your potential savings by using an online balance transfer calculator.

One of the most effective ways to utilize a credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers is to use its limited timeframe as a deadline for paying off your credit card debt.

One strategy is to divide your entire balance, plus any interest charges by the number of months of promotional financing that your card offers. You can then pay off a set amount each month so that you have no remaining balance by the end of the introductory financing period.

Before applying for a balance transfer credit card, maintain good credit habits

If you’re struggling with debt on a credit card, don’t stop making payments on it in hopes that you’ll transfer your balance to another card. Missed payments can negatively impact your credit score. It’s important to remember that you should try to continue making all of your payments on time to maintain your credit score, as a higher credit score may increase your chances of qualifying for low APR credit card offers.

Discover has low intro APR balance transfer credit cards

Discover offers low intro APR balance transfer credit cards. Review each card’s features to find the best credit card for you. All Discover credit cards have no annual fee.

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