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Five Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards

The Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards Have Low Rate, Low Fees

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Balance transfer deals may not be as widely advertised as they were a few years ago, but there are still some good deals out there. These five cards provide very low interest rates for long periods, no annual fees, and low or no balance transfer fees. But you must have excellent credit to qualify for any of these best balance transfer credit cards.

1. Citi Platinum Select MasterCard

If you qualify, this card offers a zero-percent interest period of up to 18 months; after that, the interest rate is just 9.99 percent. The balance transfer fee is just three percent, and there's no annual fee. That offer is hard to beat. But remember: you only get those terms if your credit history is super clean.

In addition, the card offers a $30 statement credit if you spend $30 in the first three months.  That will cancel out some of your balance transfer fees.

2. Simmons First National Bank Visa Platinum Card

Unless you’re hopelessly addicted to zero-percent balance transfer offers, this card is one of the best balance-transfer offers out there. The APR is 7.25 percent, and there are no annual or balance transfer fees. 

While Citi's zero percent APR for the first 18 months will clearly save you more money initially, the First Simmons card will give you some sleep insurance. The 7.25 percent APR will last as long as you carry the balance (assuming you abide by the terms) so you won't have to worry about paying off the balance or shopping for another low-rate deal after the intro period ends.

3. Navy Federal Credit Union Platinum MasterCard

If you qualify for membership in this military-based credit union and have excellent credit, this is one of the lowest long-term balance transfer rates available – 7.99 percent, just slightly higher than Simmons First. There’s also no annual fee and no balance transfer charges.  Even the penalty fees and APRs are low.

Despite the name, this credit union is open to members of all branches of the U.S. armed services and retirees, plus all civilian employees of the Department of Defense, even contractors who work on U.S. military bases.  It’s also open to family members of those people, including grandchildren, stepchildren, and adopted children. In other words, most people probably qualify for membership for one reason or another. 

4. Capital One Platinum Prestige MasterCard

After the Citi Platinum Select Card, this card has one of the longest zero percent APR intro offers: one year.  After that, the APR is a relatively low 11.99 percent. There's no annual fee, and the balance transfer fee is a relatively low three percent of the balance.

Capital One also promises it will pay off your other loan balances within 48 hours after it receives a transfer request.  I know from personal experience that Capital One makes good on that promise.  Other banks say they take several weeks to process balance transfer requests, forcing you to continue to make payments, sometimes needlessly, on your other accounts while interest accrues on them.

5. USAA World MasterCard

USAA is one of best-kept secrets in American consumer finance among the general public.  It's not a credit union, and you don’t have to be in the military to bank there. 

If you have excellent credit, you may qualify for the lowest 8.9 percent APR, which is not an introductory or limited-time rate. The balance transfer fee is a low three percent of the balance, capped at $75. And there’s no annual fee.

The card also has a good rewards program, if you prefer to use it for purchases.  You can earn up to 1.25 percent cash back on purchases or one point per dollar towards air travel, gift cards, merchandise, cash or charitable contributions. Either way you use it, it's a good deal.

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