The Best 0% Balance Transfer Credit Card Offers

Jordann Brown
by Jordann Brown December 13, 2017 / No Comments

If you’re carrying credit card debt, it makes sense to pay it off as soon as possible. To do this, you have a few options to accelerate the speed with which you can pay it off, including using balance transfer credit cards.

A balance transfer credit card is a credit card that offers a low promotional interest rate, usually between 0% to 11%. This interest rate is usually available for a set period, for example, six months. During that time, whatever balance you transfer to the credit card will enjoy the low interest rate, which will help you pay off your debt faster. Once the promotional rate expires, the interest rate goes back to normal.

Some balance transfer credit cards charge a fee for this service, usually between 1% and 3% of the amount being transferred.

So just how much can you save by using a balance transfer credit card? Let’s look at a few credit cards assuming you transfer a balance of $1,000 and pay $100 per month, and compare that to a typical credit card with a 19.99% interest rate. For a card with a 19.99% interest rate, it would take you one year to pay off the debt, and you’d pay $102.99 in interest.

MBNA Platinum Plus MasterCard

MBNA Platinum Plus MasterCard

  • No annual fee
  • You could get a 0% promotional interest rate on balance transfers for the first 12 months
  • Insurance coverage: car rental collision/loss damage waiver

This is currently the best balance transfer offer in Canada — you won’t pay a cent of interest for a whole year on balance transfers. If you choose the MBNA Platinum Plus MasterCard to pay off your $1,000 credit card balance, you’ll pay 0% interest for 12 months, and 21.99% interest after that. There is a balance transfer fee for this service amounting to 1% of the transferred balance, leaving you with $1,010 to pay off. If you pay $100 per month, you’ll pay off the balance in 10 months and pay no interest.

Scotiabank Value Visa

Scotiabank Value Visa

  • Annual fee: $29
  • Low 11.99% interest rate on purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers
  • Special introductory 1.99% interest rate on balance transfers within the first six months

The Scotiabank Value Visa offers a special balance transfer rate of 0.99% which expires after six months. At that point, the interest rate goes up to 11.99%. The Scotiabank Value Visa charges a balance transfer fee of 1%, bringing the total amount you’ll have to pay off to $1,010. If you pay off your $1,000 debt at a rate of $100 per month, you’ll pay off the balance in just over ten months, and you’ll pay $14.77 in interest.

American Express Essential Credit Card

American Express Essential Credit Card

  • No annual fee
  • Low interest rate of 8.99% on purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers
  • For new cardholders: special 1.99% introductory rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months (available only at time of online application)
  • Access to American Express Invites

The American Express Essential Credit Card is a good option if you can’t pay off the entire balance transfer in one go because it has a relatively low interest rate after the promotional period expires. When you use this card you’ll enjoy a 1.99% balance transfer interest rate for the first six months, and 8.99% after that. This credit card has no balance transfer fee.

If you use the American Express Essential Credit Card to pay off your $1,000 debt, you’ll pay off the debt in just over ten months and pay $15.44 in interest charges.

SimplyCash Card from American Express

SimplyCash Card from American Express

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 5% cash back on eligible purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants for the first 6 months (up to $250)
  • After welcome rate ends: earn 1.25% cash back on all purchases, with no limit on amount of cash back you can earn
  • Special introductory 1.99% interest rate on balance transfers within the first six months

The SimplyCash Card from American Express offers a 1.99% balance transfer interest rate for the first six months, after which point your interest rate will rise to 21.99%. If you use this credit card to pay off your debt, it will take just over ten months and cost you $27.57 in interest charges.

Let’s compare these credit cards side by side:

 

Typical credit card

MBNA Platinum Plus MasterCard

Scotiabank Value Visa

American Express Essential Credit Card

SimplyCash Card from American Express

Balance transfer interest rate

N/A

0%

0.99%

1.99%

1.99%

Balance transfer period

N/A

12 months

6 months

6 months

6 months

Regular
interest rate

19.99%

21.99%

11.99%

8.99%

21.99%

Time to pay off debt

12 months

10 months

11 months

11 months

11 months

Total interest charged

$102.99

$0

$14.77

$15.44

$27.57

Balance
transfer fee

No

1% of balance

1% of balance

No

No

Choosing the best balance transfer credit cards for your financial situations comes down to how much you owe and how quickly you can pay it off. In most cases, the MBNA Platinum Plus Mastercard will come out on top because that 0% interest rate for 12 months is hard to beat.

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