If you’ve been carrying debt on your credit card that you can’t seem to pay off because of the monthly interest charges, you should consider using a balance transfer credit card to help you eliminate your debt once and for all.
A balance transfer credit card offers an ultra-low promotional interest rate (for example, 0%) for a set period (for example, six months). When you transfer a balance onto this credit card, you’ll pay only this low interest rate for the promotional period. Balance transfer credit cards are a good way to pay off debt because you won’t have high interest charges adding to your balance every month.
After the promotional period ends, your credit card’s interest rate will rise back to normal levels, so it’s important that you pay off all of your debt before that happens. Some balance transfer credit cards also charge a fee to transfer a balance, usually in the range of 1 – 3%, but this is still lower than normal credit card interest rates.
Below, we’ve compiled our top picks for the best balance transfer credit cards in Canada for 2019. Many of the cards on this year’s list also ranked among the best balance transfer cards for 2018, and they’re back again because they continue to offer ultra-low interest rates to Canadians.
Best balance transfer credit cards in Canada for 2019
|Credit Card||Balance Transfer Offer Rate||Annual Fee|
|MBNA True Line® Mastercard® (VIEW)||Cardholders could get 0% promotional annual rate||$0|
|MBNA True Line® Gold Mastercard® (VIEW)||Cardholders could get 0% promotional annual rate||$39|
|PC Financial Mastercard – VIEW DETAILS||0.97% for first six months||$0|
|Scotiabank Value Visa (VIEW)||0.99% for first six months||$29|
|American Express Essential Credit Card (VIEW)||1.99% for first six months||$0|
|BMO Preferred Rate MasterCard (VIEW)||3.99% for first nine months||$20|
True Line® Mastercard®
The MBNA True Line Mastercard is a no-fee balance transfer card offering 0% interest for ten months on balances transferred in the first 90 days for eligible new cardholders. There is a 3% balance transfer fee (minimum of $7.50) that you’ll pay when you transfer your balance. After the ten-month promotional period ends, the interest rate on the remaining balance increases to 12.99%. When you make purchases on this credit card, you’ll pay 12.99% interest and cash advances are subject to a 24.99% interest rate.
Why we like it:
The MBNA True Line® Mastercard® is an excellent choice to transfer a balance because of the super low interest rate and lack of an annual fee. The only fee you’ll pay to transfer your balance is the 3% setup fee. For example, if you were to transfer $3,000 onto this credit card, you would pay $90, and that’s it for ten months. In contrast, if you kept this balance on a credit card charging 19.99% interest, you would pay up to double that in interest charges if you paid off the balance during the same period.
The MBNA True Line® Mastercard® offers 24/7 fraud protection and around-the-clock customer service. You can also take cash advances at over 1 million ATM’s internationally – although, at an interest rate of 24.99%, we can’t recommend this that.
True Line® Mastercard® Gold
The True Line® Gold Mastercard® is very similar to the balance transfer credit card we mentioned above – except for a few key differences. The first big difference is the 0% promotional interest rate is available for six months as opposed to ten months. The second big difference is it has an annual fee of $39. Lastly, this card has a rock-bottom purchase interest rate of just 8.99%.
Why we like it:
While this credit card does have a $39 fee, the 8.99% purchase interest rate is the lowest you’ll find in Canada. This low interest rate may not seem like it matters for a balance transfer credit card, but it does. If you transfer a balance and use the 0% interest rate for six months to pay off a large portion of your debt, but you don’t quite pay it off in full during the promotional period, your remaining balance will be subject to the credit card’s standard interest rate – or 8.99%. The 8.99% interest rate is eleven percentage points lower than standard credit card interest, which will help you as you continue to pay off your debt.
PC Financial Mastercard World Elite
The PC Financial Mastercard World Elite credit card has no annual fee and a very low balance transfer rate of 0.97% for the first six months with no balance transfer fee. There is a minimum income requirement of $80,000 per year for individuals or $150,000 per year for families. The purchase interest rate on this credit card is 19.97% and the cash advance rate is 22.97%.
On top of being an excellent balance transfer credit card, the PC Financial Mastercard World Elite is also a rewards credit card. With this card, you’ll earn PC Optimum points at a rate of 45 points per dollar spent at Shoppers Drug Mart, 30 points per dollar spent on groceries and 10 points per dollar spent on everything else.
Why we like it:
If you’re looking for a no-fee credit card with a balance transfer option that you can also use as a daily spending rewards credit card, the PC Financial Mastercard World Elite credit card is an excellent choice. On top of the traditional rewards scheme, new cardholders will qualify for a whopping 135 PC Optimum points per dollar spent at Shoppers Drug Mart for the rest of the year. It’s worth noting however, once the promotional period on balance transfers ends, the purchase interest rate will sharply increase to 19.97%.
This credit card is also great at the pumps. You’ll earn up to 3 cents per liter in PC Optimum points at Esso stations when you pay with this credit card. Finally, if you don’t earn enough to qualify for this credit card, there are some good alternatives offered by PC Financial including the PC Financial World Mastercard and the PC Financial Mastercard. Both of these credit cards are offering the same promotional 0.97% interest on balance transfers for the first six months until the end of the year.
Scotiabank Value Visa
If you’d prefer a balance transfer credit card from a major bank, the Scotiabank Value Visa has got you covered. With an annual fee of $29, this credit card charges a flat 12.99% on new purchases, cash advances and balance transfers. As a new cardholder, you’re also entitled to a promotional balance transfer rate of 0.99% for six months.
Why we like it:
The Scotiabank Value Visa is very straightforward, offering the same low interest rate across the board. This credit card is also offered by a major bank, so if you prefer to keep your chequing accounts, savings accounts and credit cards all with one provider, you can do so with this credit card.
Cardholders who rent a vehicle at AVIS car rentals will receive a 25% discount – perfect for those holiday road trips.
American Express Essential Credit Card
The American Express Essentials Credit Card has no annual fee and a flat interest rate of 8.99% on purchases, cash advances and balance transfers. If you have a balance to transfer when you apply for this credit card, you’ll qualify for an introductory 1.99% balance transfer rate for the first six months. The minimum income required for this credit card is $15,000 per year.
Why we like it:
The balance transfer rate offered by this credit card isn’t the lowest on this list, but if there is a chance you won’t pay off the entire transferred balance during the promotional period, the American Express Essentials Credit Card is a good option. Once the promotional period expires, the remaining balance will be subject to 8.99%, which is the lowest fixed interest rate in Canada. Not having to pay any annual fees is another big advantage.
The American Express Essentials Credit Card has quite a few perks and benefits beyond the low interest rate. When you book trips with this credit card, you’ll be covered by travel accident insurance ($100,000), and when you purchase electronics and other items with this credit card, you’ll be covered by extended warranty which doubles the manufacturer’s warranty up to one year. You’ll also have exclusive access to American Express Invites which grants you access to a variety of special offers and events.
BMO Preferred Rate MasterCard
The BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard has the lowest fixed interest rate on purchases of any BMO credit card at 12.99% and offers cardholders with a strong 3.99% promotional offer on balance transfers for the first nine months. In order to qualify for this card, you’ll need an annual income of $15,000 and a credit score of 660 or more.
Why we like it:
While the 3.99% promotional rate on balance transfers isn’t objectively the lowest, the promotional rate lasts for a lengthy nine months (which is three months longer than what the other cards on this list offer). This can prove beneficial if you think that you’ll require more time to pay off your credit card debt. Plus, even after the nine-month promotional period ends, the balance transfer rate will increase to a competitive fixed rate of just 12.99%.
In exchange for a nominal $20 annual fee, this card provides a number of built-in benefits, including free extended warranty coverage and protections against unauthorized use in instances your card is stolen and used for purchases you didn’t authorize – which means you can enjoy some added peace of mind as you consolidate your debt.
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