Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards

Advertiser Disclosure

What are balance transfer credit cards and how they save you money?

balance-transfer-cards

Simply put, a balance transfer card is a credit card that allows you to transfer an existing balance from a high-APR credit card onto itself, and in most cases offers an introductory 0% APR for a limited period of time, thus giving you a breather from the hefty interest payments, allowing you to become debt-free over a period of time. Such a card may or may not feature a balance transfer fee (usually 3%-5% or $5, whichever is higher).

Let’s say you carry a credit card balance of $ 10,000 and are presently paying an interest of 15.99% on it. With this type of debt, your monthly minimum due would work out to $ 232 (please note, the actual figure may vary from card to card since different credit card issuers may use different calculation methods). Even if you pay twice that amount each month, it would take you a minimum of 26 months to clear your debt. And when you’re done doing that, you’d have paid a total of $ 1867 in interest.

However, you don’t follow the path that a large majority of credit card holders take!

Instead, you transfer that $ 10,000 balance to a balance transfer credit card, offering an introductory 0% APR for a period of 15 months. What more, you continue paying two times the minimum due each month. This way, you’ll pay off your entire credit card balance in 22 months and would end up paying only $ 162 in total as interest. That’s a massive saving of around $ 1700! Even if you were to pay a 3% balance transfer fee, your savings would still be considerable to opt for the balance transfer facility.

how-balance-transfer-works

But things are slightly more complicated in the real world as consumers make fresh purchases with their balance transfer cards and hence marginally/excessively increase their credit card balances. Regardless, the math works out the same, and you can still take advantage of the introductory APR period and spend more money on reducing your debt, rather than paying interest charges with it.

Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards

The best balance transfer credit cards normally provide long 0% APR periods, have low fees and are lenient about late payments. Many even offer attractive rewards on purchases to the card holders.

We’ve carried out thorough research and shortlisted the five best balance transfer cards of this year. Let’s go over each one of them in good detail as follows:

Chase Slate Credit Card

Chase Slate credit card was one of our first few picks for the best balance transfer credit cards! It comes with an attractive introductory 0% APR period of 15 months, meaning that you don’t pay any interest on your transferred balance for that much time.

However, what sets this card truly apart from its competition is that it doesn’t charge any balance transfer fee if you opt for the balance transfer facility within the first 60 days of account opening. Not having to pay any balance transfer fee can be a great money saver for people, especially when they need to transfer large amounts of money.

chase-slate-credit-card

Standout features of the Chase Slate credit card

  • Zero balance transfer fee on balance transfers done within the first 60 days
  • Extra perk in the form of purchase and price protection for card holders looking to save more money

Where it falls short

  • Introductory 0% APR period of 15 months isn’t the best in the industry

What makes it an overall good balance transfer credit card?

Chase Slate credit card is by far the best balance transfer credit card for people wanting to transfer large card balances. There isn’t a better card in the market when it comes to transferring sizeable chunks of money. Why this is so is because even though other balance transfer cards, for instance Citi Diamond Preferred or Citi Simplicity, provide longer introductory 0% APR periods (18/21 months), they also charge a fee for moving card balances. Card holders are normally charged anywhere from 3% to 4% of the transferred amount as a balance transfer fee. Since this fee is in terms of percentage of the transferred amount, moving over large balances can turn out to be pretty expensive.

By doing away with such fee for transfers done within the first 60 days of account opening, Chase Slate provides great value and plenty of savings to its customers.

Obviously, there are cons too. Although you won’t pay any transfer fee if you move any balance during the first two months, you’d not get a very long time to enjoy the 0% APR offer. The Citi Simplicity credit card on the other hand offers its introductory 0% APR period for 21 months, which is 6 months longer than the Chase Slate card. If you think you won’t be able to pay off your balance in full within the 15 months’ time, it’d be better for you to buy a card like Citi Simplicity instead. If you do so, you’d need to weigh the benefit of 6 extra 0% APR months against the zero balance transfer fee.

Another area where the Chase Slate credit card scores handsomely over its competition is that its utility goes much beyond the balance transfer facility. One of the main reasons why a large number of balance transfer cards don’t do very well is because their utility ends with the expiry of their introductory 0% APR period. However, in case of the Chase Slate credit card, customers continue using the card long after the expiry of introductory period, because of its purchase protection benefits. There are several other perks of this card, making it the most favorite balance transfer card of a large majority of customers.

Chase Slate balance transfer card – Other features and benefits

Annual Fee – $0

APR on purchases after the introductory 0% APR period – 13.24% to 23.24% Variable depending on credit worthiness

Main features

  • No balance transfer fee charged if transfer made within the first 60 days. Thereafter, a fee of 5% or $ 5 (whichever is higher) is charged on all balance transfers.
  • Introductory 0% APR for the first 15 months on both balance transfers and purchases
  • Zero annual fee
  • No provision for penalty APR. Making late payments won’t spike up your APR. The pertinent account related terms and pricing apply.
  • Free of cost credit dashboard and monthly FICO score
  • Sophisticated real-time fraud monitoring that keeps a close watch on all purchases and constantly looks for signs of possible fraudulent activity. Instant fraud alerts are sent out in case of any unusual activity.
  • All Chase Slate credit cards come equipped with an extra security layer in the form of an embedded chip, which when read by a chip card reader, produces a one-time code for transaction validation.

Chase Blueprint

Anyone who requires assistance with management of his/her credit card finances and payments can make use of the Blueprint service of Chase, which is provided to all the Chase Slate card holders. This service features a wide variety of tools that can help you in clearing your card balance and enable you to better analyze your spending patterns. Following are some important benefits provided by the Blueprint service:

  • All Chase Blueprint users can select the ‘Split’ option to pay off any purchase in a certain specific number of payments. Alternatively, you can decide the exact payment amount you wish to commit to a particular item each month.
  • The ‘Full Pay’ feature of Chase Blueprint enables you to identify spending categories that you should pay off in full every month. Hence, if your spending is highest in a particular category, you can avoid paying large sums of interest on those set of items and ensure that those specific purchases are paid off first every month.
  • The ‘Finish It’ option allows you to calculate and ascertain the amount of time it will take you to pay off a particular item, depending on the amount you’re willing to pay for it each month. This feature also enables you to keep track of your interest payments, allowing you to see the long-term cost impact of a specific minimum payment plan.
  • The ‘Track It’ feature of Blueprint service allows you to analyze your past spending patterns and find out the items that you’ve been spending on the most. It can go a long way in helping you closely monitor your budget, by creating visualizations that are grouped based on spending categories.

Why Chase Slate’s Blueprint service proves to be highly useful is because it helps you stay on top of the interest component of your balance. Interest is compounded on a daily basis, meaning that once it kicks in, it’s calculated on daily balances. So, if you’re really tight on finances, you can save a lot of money by paying off items that can cost you the most. Although such savings may/may not be huge, they can be a lifesaver for people who’re running on tight finances.

Warranty, purchase and price protection

The Chase Slate card not only helps you clear away your old balances, it also protects the new purchases you make with it. The worst thing that can happen to you while shopping is buying an item today and seeing it on sale somewhere else tomorrow or day after.

All Chase Slate card members can avoid such mishaps because of the price protection feature of the card. It covers the card holders for a price difference of up to $ 500 (maximum of $ 2500 per annum) if the purchased items/services are found advertised at a lower price within 90 days of purchase.

The purchase protection feature on the other hand protects you from any loss of or damage to the purchased item inside the first 120 days of purchase. You can claim damages of up to $ 500 per item and up to a maximum of $ 50,000 per account.

All Chase Slate card holders are provided a warranty extension for purchases made with the card. An extra year is added to all the regular manufacturer warranties, as long as the warranty isn’t over 3 years.

Citi Simplicity Card

The next card in our best balance transfer credit cards list is the Citi Simplicity card. This card can be a very good tool for people who wish to overhaul their credit card debt. It comes with a pretty long introductory 0% APR period of 21 months (among the best in the industry) on balance transfers and purchases.

citi-simplicity-credit-card

This card is ideal for anyone who feels he/she will take at least that long for clearing away his/her credit card debt. It also works very well for people who forget to make their credit card payments every now and then.

On the other hand, this card may not be the best suited for anyone looking for long-term value in his/her credit card. It doesn’t offer any rewards program and loses its sheen after the expiry of its introductory 0% APR period. In addition, it’s not the ideal card for transferring big balances as you’re charged 3% balance transfer fee.

Excellent for reducing your interest outgo

This card serves as an excellent option if you’ve accumulated a hefty balance on some high-APR card, and wish to get rid of it quickly (without paying a lot in interest). The average interest charged on credit card debt hovers around 18% these days and if you’re running a $ 10,000 balance and making regular $ 500 monthly payments, transferring that balance to Citi Simplicity card can save you in the vicinity of $ 1750 in interest. Furthermore, you’ll also be able to get rid of your card debt 3 months earlier than normal (if you had continued with the 18% APR card).

While majority of credit cards charge up to $ 35 as late payment penalty and can increase the APR to 29.99% in such instances, there is no penalty or late fee ever charged in case of Citi Simplicity card. However, you may still face other consequences related to the missed payments, for example, damage to the credit score. Hence, you should treat this Citi Simplicity benefit solely as a cushion in times when you genuinely forget to pay your credit card bill. In addition, although you aren’t charged any penalty APR on missed payments, the applicable interest rate after the expiry of introductory 0% APR period can be as high as 23.24%, depending on your credit score at that time. Therefore, if you ever get late in making your card payments, and your credit score takes a hit because of that, Citi will be in a position to increase your APR to the maximum. However, it’ll give you an advance notice before doing that.

One particular area where this card falls short is rewards. It doesn’t really offer a lot of value if you make monthly payments on time and pay in full. There are several rewards credit cards that can earn you plenty of cash back and/or reward points on your purchases under similar circumstances. If you’re okay with slightly less-desirable terms, you can even opt for a hybrid rewards and balance transfer card, like the Chase Freedom or the Barclay CashForward World MasterCard. Although they have comparatively shorter 0% APR periods, they offer rewards that make them very good long-term options.

Citi Simplicity balance transfer card – Other features and benefits

Annual Fee – $0

APR on purchases after the introductory 0% APR period – 13.24% to 23.24% Variable depending on credit worthiness

Main features

  • Car rental insurance
  • No late fees and no penalty APR
  • Purchase protection
  • Citi identity theft solutions
  • Travel insurance
  • Zero annual fee
  • Balance transfer fee of 3% or $ 5, whichever is higher
  • $0 fraud liability in the event that card gets stolen
  • EMV chip technology that provides enhanced security and global acceptance
  • Extended warranty
  • 24/7 customer service
  • Automatic account alerts
  • Option to select one’s payment due date in the beginning, middle or later part of the month
  • Easy in-app purchases with Apple Pay
  • Travel and emergency assistance

Just like most of its competitors, Citi Simplicity card also provides a certain set of features, known as Citi Services. Majority of these are benefits that are also available with other credit cards, however, one perk that sets it apart is the Citi Price Rewind. How it works is that you register a product after purchasing it with your Citi Simplicity card, and the issuer will then look up the Internet for merchants selling the same product for a better price. In the event that it does manage to find a lower price within the first 60 days of transaction, it’ll refund the price difference (of up to $ 300 per product and a maximum of $ 1200 in a calendar year) to your card. You can go through this Citi Price Rewind guide to learn more. Some of the prominent products that aren’t covered in this scheme are: jewelry, mounted/stuffed animals and tickets.

About zero annual fees, no late fees and no penalty APR of Citi Simplicity card

Citi Simplicity does get pretty aggressive with its marketing strategy and goes all out to differentiate itself by highlighting how it handles late or missed payments. Its marketing tagline read ‘No late fees, No penalty rate and No annual fee – Ever!’ While majority of credit cards charge anywhere around $ 35 as late payment fee, which although isn’t a lot, but can add up to a considerable amount if collected consistently, Citi Simplicity doesn’t charge any late payment fee to its customers. It can be a huge money saver if you find yourself in this situation pretty often.

Another area where the Citi Simplicity card scores over its competitors is no penalty APR. Credit card issuers generally don’t make adjustments to the interest rate unless the card holders run into one of the few unwanted situations, for instance, exceeding the credit limit, making late payment etc. Whenever this happens, the credit card issuer is entitled to increase the applicable APR on the card, which is often a significantly higher rate. Many credit cards levy penalty APRs in the range of 29.99%, which is exorbitant to say the least! Not with Citi Simplicity card. No penalty APR is ever charged on this card.

If you’re already having a hard time managing your credit card debt, a penalty APR sword constantly dangling over your head can make matters even worse.

The fact that you don’t need to pay any annual fee on this card makes it another reason to use it as your ideal balance transfer credit card.

Citi Diamond Preferred

Another important credit card that has made it to our best balance transfer credit card’s list is the Citi Diamond Preferred card. It’s one of the ideal credit cards for anyone having a hard time paying down his/her card balance, as it offers one of the best and longest introductory 0% APR time periods in the industry. Just like the Citi Simplicity card, you can avail the 0% APR offer for a time period of 21 months, and use it for both balance transfers and purchases. This is 6 to 9 months longer compared to majority of balance transfer credit cards offered in the marketplace today. The interest savings made during the extra 0% APR period can be very valuable for people having huge card balances, or ones who’re contemplating making a huge purchase.

citi-diamond-preferred

Citi Diamond Preferred features some additional perks as well, for instance, purchase protection and presale access to tickets, which bring a great deal of exclusivity to it. However, if you’re someone who is confident of paying off his/her existing credit card balance in around 15 months, you’d be better off opting for the Chase Slate, Citi Double Cash, Discover It or some other balance transfer card with a shorter 0% APR period and better features.

Features that differentiate Citi Diamond Preferred from its competition

  • Introductory 0% APR for 21 months on balance transfers and purchases, which is longer compared to a large majority of balance transfer cards.
  • Citi®Private Pass® that gets you access to exclusive presale tickets and VIP packages to popular sporting events, concerts, dining deals, complimentary movie screenings and more.

Where Citi Diamond Preferred Card is found wanting

  • Not the ideal card for international travelers owing to the 3% foreign exchange fee
  • Lack of rewards on credit card usage and timely payments
  • You may be charged a penalty APR of up to 29.99% if you’re late in paying your credit card bill or your payment is returned
  • Steep 25.49% APR on cash advances

Is it really worth it?

Along with the Citi Simplicity card, the Citi Diamond Preferred card is a standout balance transfer card that offers an excellent 21 months long introductory 0% APR period, which is incomparable in the industry!

If you have a large existing credit card balance or are about to make a big purchase that’ll take you some time to pay off, Citi Diamond Preferred is the ideal balance transfer card to make a switch. However, if you’re someone who regularly misses his/her credit card payments, you’d be better off moving your balance to the Citi Simplicity card instead. That one’s almost the same as the Citi Diamond Preferred, however, without the late payment penalty.

On the other hand, if all you’re looking for is an ideal rewards credit card, these aren’t the cards that fit the bill. You won’t earn any rewards points or cash back by spending with your Citi Diamond Preferred card or by paying your balances in full each month.

The closest that this card gets to rewarding its users for their purchases is through the Citi Services suite, that provides various protections and insurance on items/services purchased through this card. Feel that 15 months or less are good enough for you to get rid of your credit card debt? You’d be better served by Chase Slate instead.

Furthermore, despite being marketed as a ‘VIP’ and ‘Exclusive’ card, it’s not a very-difficult-to-get card. In fact, as per online reports, people having credit scores in the range of 630-650 have also gotten approved for this card.

Citi Diamond Preferred card – Other features and benefits

Annual Fee – $0

APR on purchases after the introductory 0% APR period – 12.24% to 22.24% Variable depending on credit worthiness

Main features

  • Balance transfer fee of 3% or $ 5, whichever is higher
  • Introductory 0% APR on balance transfers and purchases for 21 months
  • Citi®Private Pass® providing exclusive and early access to important events, movie screenings, dining experiences etc.
  • Worldwide travel accident insurance
  • Ample security through Citi Identity Theft solutions
  • Purchase protection
  • Travel and emergency assistance
  • Car rental insurance
  • $0 liability in case the card gets stolen
  • Trip rescheduling and cancellation protection
  • 24/7 access to personalized concierge service providing assistance for concert ticket bookings, flight bookings, hotel bookings etc.
  • Select your own payment due date in the beginning, middle or later part of the month
  • Automatic account alerts

The introductory 0% APR period starts immediately after opening the card account. A standard APR varying from 12.24% to 22.4% variable becomes applicable post the expiry of this introductory period, depending on the credit score of the card holder at that time. People who’re regular with their credit card payments and use their credit responsibly often find themselves at the lower end of this APR (after the introductory period).

Please note, the introductory 0% APR offer can only be availed if you choose to transfer your credit card balance within the first 4 months of opening your account. Transfers done after 4 months are subject to the regular average APR applicable on purchases. Please also keep in mind that you’ll need to pay a balance transfer fee of 3% or $ 5, whichever is higher. So, if you wish to move a large balance from your existing credit card, you’d be better served by a balance transfer card like Chase Slate, that doesn’t feature any balance transfer fee and provides an introductory 0% APR period of 15 months (if you move over your balance within first 60 days of account opening).

Extended warranty, travel insurance, theft protection and damage protection

Whenever you purchase a product having a warranty of 5 years or less, using your Citi Diamond Preferred card, the warranty will automatically get extended by one year. This feature provides you a coverage of a maximum of $ 10,000 per annum in claims.

Furthermore, any product purchased with this card is automatically covered by the damage & theft purchase protection feature, which covers you for refund or repairs if the item is reported as stolen or damaged within 120 days of making the purchase (90 days in case of New York residents). This coverage is provided for a maximum of $ 1000 and has a cap of $ 50,000 in each card member year.

Coming to its travel insurance feature, if any trip booked using the Citi Diamond Preferred card, is rescheduled or cancelled due to some reason, Citi will reimburse any non-refundable fees to the card holder. This works very well for people who need to regularly make last-minute flight changes, and pay huge sums of money in rebooking fees (unless they’ve purchased expensive ticket insurance). Paying for hotel and/or airline ticket bookings using the Citi Diamond Preferred card can help tremendously in this regard. This benefit can be availed for up to a maximum of $1,500 per year.

Other prominent features of Citi Diamond Preferred card

All Citi Diamond Preferred cards come equipped with the EMV (EuroPay, MasterCard, Visa) smart chip which is indispensable if you’re travelling to anywhere in Asia and Europe. Merchants at all these places use new age chip enabled terminals for credit card transactions, as they are more secure compared to the conventional magnetic strip technology.

However, you can avoid this card if you’re a frequent international traveler, as it imposes a 3% foreign transaction fee on all international transactions. So, if you’re travelling to UK and purchase a £ 100 item, you’d actually be charged £ 103 for it (after taking foreign transaction fee into account). Although it may not seem a lot, it can add up to quite a bit at the end of every trip. Please also note that any online international purchases made with it, from within the US, would also attract such foreign transaction fee.

Last but not the least, Citi PrivatePass is another major not-to-be-missed feature of Citi Diamond Preferred card. Using this feature, you can purchase normally-unavailable tickets to sold-out shows and events, via the Citi PrivatePass portal. The shows and events could be related to family entertainment dining, sports, like music and more. There is no special signup required at the Citi PrivatePass website, and all you need to do is purchase these tickets using your Citi Diamond Preferred credit card.

Discover It

This is easily one of the better balance transfer credit cards as it offers an attractive introductory 0% APR for 18 months on balance transfers (6 months on purchases). However, what sets this balance transfer card truly apart from others is the 5% cash back you can earn through it, on its rotating bonus categories (that change every quarter). Rather than offering the regular signup bonus which many cards do, Discover It doubles the cashback earned by you in your first year with the card. This offer makes the Discover It the best balance transfer cum cash back credit card in the market today.

discover-it-card

It’s available in two different variants, differing in terms of the length of the introductory 0% APR balance transfer and purchase periods. You can avail the introductory 0% APR offer in two different arrangements as follows:

  • 0% APR for 18 months on balance transfers and 6 months on purchases or
  • 0% APR for 12 months on balance transfers and 12 months on purchases

Is it really one of the best balance transfer cards?

This particular balance transfer card, like others offering 5% cash back on rotating categories, is all about when and how you put it to use. Else, you can always benefit from the 1% cash back on non-bonus categories, which is commonplace when it comes to $0 annual fee rewards credit cards.

You can make the most of this card if you closely follow its 5% cash back calendar. You stand to earn a handsome 5% cash back on a maximum of $ 1500 spent by you at the applicable category retailers every quarter. It implies that you can potentially save up to $ 75 per quarter with this card.

Discover takes its cashback offer to an altogether different level as it matches the entire cash back earned by you (dollar for dollar) in your first card member year, providing all new card members with lots of incentive. So, if you earn a total cashback of $ 300 in your first year with Discover, the card issuer will double it to $ 600! Hence, the effective cashback earned by you during your first card member year would be anywhere from 2% to 10%! This makes Discover It easily one of the best rewards and balance transfer credit cards in the marketplace today.

Another major benefit of purchasing the Discover It card is that you get to access the Discover Deals program, which is their online shopping portal. Here you can enjoy exclusive offers through your Discover It card, save plenty of money and even earn extra cash back bonus. Some of the popular merchants you can buy from here are Macy’s, Walmart, Apple, Papa John’s, Groupon, Sam’s Club, AVIS Rentals, Abercrombie & Kent and many more. You can shop with all these merchants and earn gift cards, percentage discounts and/or cashback bonus ranging from 5% to 20%. Majority of these merchants don’t ever come under the rotating bonus categories, except during the holiday season. Hence, Discover Deals is another excellent avenue where you can get instantly rewarded for using this card.

Where it falls short?

  • There’s a 3% balance transfer fee associated with the card, which can be substantial if you wish to move large balances to it.
  • Cash advances are discouraged as you are charged a fee of $ 10 or 5% of the cash withdrawn (whichever is higher). Furthermore, an APR of 25.24% is charged on cash advances, which is substantial.
  • Although there is no late payment fee for the first time you pay late, you’re charged $ 37 penalty every time you make a late payment after that.
  • Just like American Express, Discover has its own payment processing network, which is very different from the MasterCard and Visa (that are accepted just about everywhere). Hence, Discover credit cards don’t enjoy as wide acceptability as their leading competitors. It isn’t uncommon to see brick and mortar establishments refusing Discover credit cards. However, that’s not the case with online transactions. Therefore, apart from being an excellent balance transfer and rewards credit card, Discover It can be actively used as a supplemental card. You can use it actively for the earning bonus rewards. But, please remember to keep some other primary card handy, just in case.
  • If you wish to make the most of the rewards offered by this card, you’ll need to opt into new bonus categories every quarter, on the Internet.
  • You’ll need a FICO credit score of 690 to 719 to qualify for the Discover It card.

Discover It card – Other features and benefits

Annual Fee – $0

APR on purchases after the introductory 0% APR period – 11.24% to 23.24% Variable depending on credit worthiness

Main features

  • 100% U.S.-based customer service
  • Constant monitoring of card activity to ensure maximum security
  • $0 fraud liability, providing comprehensive coverage for unauthorized transactions
  • Free of cost FICO credit score on monthly statements, online and mobile
  • You can even transfer most of the non-credit card debts to this card, including many types of loans
  • Quick freezing and unfreezing of account (from website or mobile app) to prevent any balance transfers, cash advances are new purchases after card gets lost or stolen.
  • Zero annual fee
  • No change in APR in case of late payments
  • No late fee charged for the first late payment.
  • Attractive 5% cash back on quarterly rotational categories
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Free of cost overnight shipping for card replacements, available for any US address
  • Discover matches the entire cash back earned by you, dollar for dollar, at the end of your first year with the card
  • Easy redemption of rewards for cash
  • Rewards can be instantly redeemed Amazon.com during checkout
  • Zero foreign transaction fee. So, this card will be the right pick for you if you frequently travel to a country where it’s widely accepted
  • No over limit fee
  • Free FICO credit score on the Internet and monthly statements

About the 5% bonus cashback

The following table details the applicable 5% bonus categories for the present and the next quarter. You can easily lineup your expenditures with this calendar and maximize your rewards earnings. Any purchase that doesn’t fall under the applicable category can be made using a different credit card.

October – December 2016                           Amazon.com, Department Stores and Sam’s Club

January – March 2017                                    Gas Stations, Ground Transportation and Wholesale Clubs

On the whole, the Discover It balance transfer credit card is one of the very few credit cards that comes with a long 18 months introductory 0% APR period. If that wasn’t good enough, it offers highly competitive rewards and a substantial signup bonus. Provided that you make the most of the quarterly bonus categories, you can easily earn $ 600 in rewards in your very first year, while continuing paying off your credit card debt without any APR. However, Chase Slate would be the ideal card if you wish to move a huge balance, and don’t wish to incur a hefty balance transfer fee.

Citi Double Cash Card

Offering an introductory 0% APR on balance transfers for a period of 18 months, and thereafter an ongoing APR of 13.24% to 23.24% depending on your credit worthiness at that time, Citi Double Cash card is easily amongst the best cards for balance transfers in the marketplace today. How this card distinguishes itself from its competitors is that it rewards card holders with a cashback of 1% each two times – first at the time of purchase and then when you pay for that purchase. There’s no cap on the amount of cash back you can earn with it. This offer easily puts this card amongst the most rewarding cashback credit cards, at least when it’s about the flat rate rewards.

citi-double-cash-card

Features that make it stand out

  • The unlimited 2% (1% + 1%) cashback rate trumps the usual flat 1% rate provided by the large majority of similar cards.
  • The 18 months introductory 0% APR period puts it in the company of a handful of balance transfer credit cards that provide such an offer.
  • Access to Citi Price Rewind, another useful service run by Citi wherein it searches for a lower price on any particular item you purchased using your Citi Double Cash card (and registered with Citi). It looks up hundreds of online merchants and refunds the difference to your card if it finds a merchant selling the same item at a lower price, within 60 days of purchase.
  • The card uses highly secure and new age EMV chip technology making it acceptable everywhere around the globe by merchants who use chip-enabled terminals.
  • There is no annual fee charged on this card
  • Unlike its competitors, Citi Double Cash credit card doesn’t place any restriction on the categories you can earn cash back on (like in case of Discover It card). You don’t require to enroll into or keep track of any categories and there’s no capping on the total cash back you can earn.

Where it falls short

  • The absence of a sign-up bonus makes this card slightly less attractive compared to others such as Discover It etc.
  • All balance transfers attract a fee of $ 5 or 3% (of the transferred amount), whichever is higher, making it not the best card for moving large amounts of money.
  • The cash back earned can be redeemed only if it is minimum $ 25. There is no such minimum restriction in other cards.
  • All purchases are charged an APR if you have already transferred some balance from another card. This APR becomes applicable unless you clear your entire balance (including the balance transfer amount) in full by the due date each month.

About the 2% cash back

The unlimited 2% cash back offer applicable on all purchases enables Citi Double Cash to counter some of the highest flat rate cashback cards available in the marketplace. This reward rate puts it ahead of other popular cards like Barclaycard Cash Forward World MasterCard, Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card and others. Considering that there is no annual fee charged on this card, it has every potential to be kept as a primary credit card in the wallet.

1% cashback is awarded right after you make your purchase. The remaining 1% is applied as you pay for those purchases (whether over a period of time or all at once), provided that you pay at least the minimum due each month. So, effectively the total cash back earned on every purchase works out to 2% of the total purchase amount. Anyone who believes in clearing his/her balance in full each month, would hardly notice any timing difference between the payment and purchase related 1% rewards.

Furthermore, please note that no cashback reward is applicable to cash advances, balance transfers, returned items, interest or account fees. The earned cash back can be redeemed for gift cards, statement credits or checks.

Although this card makes an excellent option for anyone looking to earn handsome rewards on his/her day-to-day purchases, its lack of signup bonus makes it falls slightly short of the competition. Majority of credit cards reward their customers with some extra cash back or bonus points for opening an account with them. However, this card lacks such upfront incentives.

On the other hand, it tries to make up for the lack of such bonus by offering ancillary benefits like late fee waiver and the Citi Price Rewind feature. Whether majority of customers ever actually use and benefit from these perks is something arguable and makes these perks not the best substitute for the signup bonus. However, anyone who does use these features effectively, can derive thousands of dollars of benefits from them.

Citi Double Cash Card – Other features and benefits

Annual Fee – $0

APR on purchases after the introductory 0% APR period – 13.24% to 23.24% Variable depending on credit worthiness

Main features

  • Introductory 0% APR on balance transfers for a period of 18 months, provided that you make the transfer within 4 months of account opening.
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on general purchases, and another 1% when you pay for them.
  • Zero first late fee
  • Access to Citi Private Pass, an exclusive service run by Citi wherein cardholders get privileged access to thousands of events, including VIP packages and presale tickets to concerts, dining events, movie screenings, sporting events etc.
  • Round-the-clock fraud protection. You’re alerted as soon as any unusual activity is observed on your account.
  • Citi Identity Theft Solutions come to your rescue in the event that you fall prey to identity theft.
  • Citi Lost Wallet service ensures that you’re sent a new replacement card within 24 hours of losing your Citi Double Cash card. Not just that, you’re also provided some emergency cash depending on the cash advance limit applicable to you.
  • Your Citi Double Cash card also gets you worldwide car rental insurance, covering you against any damage to or theft of a rental car.
  • Provided that you paid for your trip using your Citi Double Cash card, you are covered by a worldwide travel accident insurance, which provides you financial help in the event of some tragic accident.
  • In the event that you need to cancel or change your travel plans, you may be able to get reimbursed for any non-refundable trip expenditures such as change fees etc. provided you had paid for them using your Citi Double Cash card.
  • Complete protection against any online or off-line unauthorized charges. You have $0 liability for any such charges posted to your account.
  • Your Citi Double Cash card extends the manufacturer warranty of any item that you purchase with it.
  • The Damage & Theft Purchase Protection feature of this card covers you for any refunds and/or repairs if the purchased item is stolen or damaged within the first 120 days of purchase.
  • The Citi Concierge service has highly efficient staff that readily assists you with your dining, travel, entertainment, shopping and daily needs round-the-clock throughout the year.
  • The Citi Cards with Apple Pay feature provides you a quick and easy means to make in-app payments at more than 200,000 stores.

FAQs related to Balance Transfer Cards

Is balance transfer the right way for me to go?

If you’re consistently piling up balance on a high interest credit card, it may be in your best interest to transfer this amount to another credit card with low interest rate. This type of debt consolidation can be done through the balance transfer facility. Balance transfer is an excellent tool for anyone wanting to get rid of his/her credit card debt in the quickest manner possible. However, it’s useful only if you’re able to pay off your entire balance within the 0% APR period, before the regular interest rate becomes applicable. You may need to consider some other method of reducing or clearing your debt if you feel you’ll not be able to stay disciplined about your monthly payments.

Where can I find the best deals on balance transfers?

You’ll need to shop around and look at various options. We’ve thoroughly detailed the five best balance transfer cards of this year in this write-up. Perhaps you can start your search from here!

Is it possible to shuffle credit card balance between different cards of the same financial institution?

Normally, balance transfer offers can’t be used for transferring balances between different cards issued by the same card company.

How much balance should I transfer?

Please note, you’ll not be able to transfer more debt than the credit limit available on your new card. In addition, you should keep your credit utilization ratio at no more than 30% for all your credit lines. So, try to make sure that the transferred balance is lesser compared to the credit line available on your new card. However, if the balance you need to transfer is higher than the credit limit on the new card, you can talk to the new card issuer and possibly ask for a raise in that limit. Many companies may allow you to transfer the balance higher than your credit limit for a fee.

Does the introductory 0% APR apply to new purchases too?

In most cases yes. However, the period for which such 0% APR may be applicable may or may not be different than the balance transfers. So, cross check with the card issuer before finalizing anything.

Will it actually save me money?

You can use the balance transfer calculators available at many reputed portals and calculate your total savings there. However, you’ll only be able to do this when you are aware of your present interest rate, balance transfer fees and the interest rate applicable on the new card (introductory rate and the rate after that).

Will opting for a balance transfer affect my credit score?

Although your credit score may take a minor short-term hit, owing to the hard inquiry made by the new credit card issuer, selecting the right balance transfer card can actually help you improve your credit score by increasing your credit utilization ratio. However, opting for too many balance transfers, one after the other can give a wrong impression to the lenders that you’re simply avoiding your debt and are merely shuffling high interest card debt to low APR cards without any real intention of paying it off.

How long does a balance transfer take?

Provided you’ve got everything in order, a balance transfer may not take any more than 7 to 10 business days. However, there is no guarantee. If the present creditor needs to be paid by check (instead of electronic payment), the transfer could take longer.

How do I make the most of the balance transfer facility?

Once you’ve decided to opt for a balance transfer and have finalized an offer, you should devise a proper plan of clearing your entire card debt within the introductory 0% APR period. Work out a payment schedule and ensure that you stick to it. Avoid making any fresh purchases with the balance transfer card and use it only for clearing your debt.

Is it possible to transfer the credit card balance again?

In case you aren’t able to clear your transferred credit card balance during the introductory 0% APR period, you may feel tempted to opt for another balance transfer. Although it’s possible to do that, please remember, doing so can hurt your credit score in the long term. When you continue opening back-to-back low interest accounts, while not reducing your high debt, lenders start viewing you as a high risk prospect, which might make it harder for you when you try financing bigger purchases such as a car or a house in the future.

Leave a Reply