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How to Choose the Best Balance Transfer Credit Card

Credit card companies desperately want the opportunity to just get a place in your wallet.  In fact, they're often willing to offer free money in the form of 0 percent interest credit cards and sign-up bonuses in hopes that they can convince you it'll be worth giving their new card a try. In addition, credit issuers know that many Americans are making a continued effort to pay down high-interest credit card debt, and one of the best ways to do that is by transferring old balances to no interest credit cards in order to pay off the debt while avoiding unnecessary interest charges. That's why you will always find a significant number of competing offers when comparing 0 percent interest credit cards online. Demand is high!

So what should you be looking for when comparing the best no interest credit cards on the market?  Here are 3 steps to help guide your search and make sure you choose the perfect card for your personal needs:

  1. Compare credit cards with no annual fee first: Who wants to pay a big annual fee if you don't have to?  There are plenty of great 0% interest credit cards with no annual fee, so be sure to check those out first before moving onto other options that will cost you more up front.
  2. Compare balance transfer fees: Balance transfer fees can sometimes run up to 5%, which could make utilizing the 0% balance transfer completely worthless in many situations.  Do the simple math first and make sure that paying a balance transfer fee up front will still save you more money in the long run. I should also note that there's only one card offer at the moment that will actually waive the balance transfer fee for new cardholders, and that's the Slate from Chase Card. The 0% interest period is shorter than other competing card offers at 15 months, but completely avoiding the balance transfer fee could save you a lot of money when transferring large balances.
  3. Know exactly how long the 0% promotion lasts: 0% interest promotions could last anywhere from 6 months up to nearly 2 years, so you'll want to know exactly what you're signing up for before filling out the credit card application.  In addition, plan to develop a payment strategy ahead of time that ensures your balance will be paid off well before the 0% interest promotion ends.

Keep in mind that most 0% interest credit card offers are considered credit cards for good credit.  This means you'll need to at least have FICO credit scores in the mid 700s before applying for one of these cards. If you don't, you risk a high chance your application will be denied while negatively impacting your FICO scores with a wasted hard inquiry on your credit reports. Happy searching! Photo by Kaiyan

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Joshua Heckathorn's picture

Joshua Heckathorn is a credit expert and has been featured on CNNMoney, FOX Business, Yahoo Finance, The Street, and many other national publications during the past twenty years.  He received a Bachelor of Science in Management (Finance) from Brigham Young University's Marriott School of Business and earned his MBA from Seattle University.

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