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How much you can save with a balance transfer will depend on a few factors including:

  • The interest rate on your card with a balance
  • The amount of your balance
  • The balance transfer fee
  • The APR on the new card
  • The amount you transfer

Average Credit Card Interest Rates

The amount that you can save with a balance transfer will depend on the interest rates that you’re paying on your existing balances and how long your new card would provide a lower rate. The average APR across all credit cards that are tracked by Forbes Advisor’s database has been 27.91% since January 2024.

Below are the average credit card interest rates by card type. Note that the average rates in this table are for standard APRs which don’t kick in until after any 0% introductory period that a card may offer.

Calculate Your Estimated Balance Transfer Savings

Use our balance transfer calculator to determine how much you can save by transferring your balance using a card on our list. You’ll need the APR of your current credit card, the balance you intend to transfer and the fees, APRs and intro period length of the card you wish to transfer the balance to.

For example, let’s assume you have a $2,000 balance on a credit card that currently charges 28.00% APR and you’re making payments of $100 per month. Without making any changes, it would take you 28 months to pay off your balance and you’d pay $726 in interest over that time for a total cost of $2,726.

Now let’s assume that you decide to transfer the entire balance to a card that offers 21 months of 0% intro APR with a 3% balance transfer fee. If you continued to make $100 monthly payments, you’d pay off your balance in exactly 21 months which means you’d pay no interest at all. After accounting for the $60 balance transfer fee, your total cost would be $2,060. In this example, your estimated balance transfer savings is $666.

How To Choose a Balance Transfer Credit Card

When looking for the right balance transfer card for your circumstances, here are a few key factors to consider:

  • Length of introductory APR offer on balance transfers. The longer it is, the more time you’ll have to pay off your debt before interest piles up, but the cards with the longest 0% APR offers may also have higher balance transfer fees.
  • Balance transfer fee. Search for a balance transfer card with low or no balance transfer fees to minimize the cost when you do a transfer.
  • Introductory APR offer on purchases. Will you be putting new charges on this card? If so, may want to look for a card that offers 0% intro APR on purchases too. Several of the best balance transfer cards do, but not all.
  • Regular APR. If there’s a chance that some of your transferred balance will be remaining after your promotional period ends, it’s wise to compare the standard APR that would kick in afterward for each card you’re considering. While credit cards as a whole are considered a high interest form of debt, some cards have lower regular APRs than others.

Also, keep in mind that banks won’t let you move debt from one of their cards to another, so you’ll need to pick a card from a different issuer than the one you’re transferring from. To learn more about balance transfer credit card offers with different institutions, browse through the offers below:

Finally, you’ll want to consider the credit card’s long-term value. Some cards with balance transfer offers come with rewards and other perks, while others offer little value beyond the intro APR offer.

Pros and Cons of Balance Transfer Credit Cards

While a balance transfer card can be an appealing option to help pay down debt, it’s important to consider the pros and cons of balance transfer offers before opening up a new card.

Pros of Balance Transfer Cards

  • Save on interest. Generally, balance transfer cards offer an enticing 0% APR offer when you move debt to the card, giving you an opportunity to save on interest charges for an introductory period of time.
  • Consolidate credit cards. If you have debt on multiple cards and want to simplify, transferring multiple balances to one card can make it easier to keep track of payments.
  • Switch to a card with better terms. Some credit cards with balance transfer offers may offer better terms or perks than your current card. If the overall profile of the card you’re considering is a better fit for your needs than what you currently have, you can benefit from both a break on interest and the benefits of the new card with a balance transfer.

Cons of Balance Transfer Cards

  • Balance transfer fees. Most credit cards will charge you a balance transfer fee for when you move debt to another card. This fee is typically 3% to 5% of the total amount being transferred, which can pile on to your existing debt load.
  • Transfer limits. Just because you want to transfer $5,000 to a card with a 0% APR balance transfer offer doesn’t mean you’ll get approved for a limit that high. As with most credit cards, you won’t find out your credit limit until you’ve already applied and gotten approved for the new card.
  • Strong credit is usually required. Just like the best rewards cards, the best balance transfer offers are typically reserved for those with good to excellent credit. If you’re still in the process of building up a strong credit profile, you may not qualify for the balance transfer card you want.

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