Balance Transfer and APR Rewards Cards

Balance Transfer and APR Rewards Cards

Balance Transfer and APR Rewards Cards
Balance Transfer and APR Rewards Cards

Balance Transfer and APR Rewards Cards

Transferring high-interest credit card balances to a card with a lengthy 0% intro APR period minimizes interest fees as you pay down debt. Some balance transfer cards even offer rewards on purchases during the intro period.

In this guide, we’ll highlight popular balance transfer credit cards that also provide cashback, points or miles as you work to become debt-free. We’ll compare rewards structures, intro 0% term lengths, balance transfer fees, and additional benefits.

How Do Balance Transfer Cards Work?

Balance transfer credit cards allow you to:

  • Transfer high rate balances from other credit cards onto the new card
  • Take advantage of a 0% introductory APR for a set period (typically 12-21 months)
  • Save significantly on interest by pausing payments during the intro period
  • Consolidate multiple credit card payments into one simple monthly bill

Now let’s look at balance transfer cards that also allow you to earn rewards.

Citi Diamond Preferred® Card

  • 0% intro APR for 21 months on balance transfers (13.74% – 23.74% variable APR after)
  • 0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases (13.74% – 23.74% variable APR after)
  • 2% back or 2x ThankYou® Points at grocery stores and gas stations for the first $6,000 per year (then 1%)
  • $150 signup bonus after spending $500 in 3 months
  • No annual fee
  • No penalty APR

Citi provides an exceptionally long 0% term for both new purchases and transferred debt.

Amex EveryDay® Credit Card

  • 0% intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers (13.74% – 25.74% variable APR after)
  • 3% back at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%)
  • 2x Membership Rewards® points at US gas stations
  • $0 balance transfer fee when transferring in the first 60 days
  • $200 signup bonus after spending $2,000 in 6 months
  • No annual fee
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Amex is rare in offering 15 months 0% APR with no balance transfer fee.

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

  • 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and qualifying balance transfers (16.99% – 26.99% variable APR after)
  • 2% cash rewards on all purchases with no limits or categories
  • $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • No annual fee
  • Good for consolidating non-Wells Fargo credit card debt

Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards as you pay down transferred balances interest-free for over a year.

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards

  • 0% intro APR for 18 billing cycles on balance transfers (13.99% – 23.99% variable APR after)
  • 3% cashback in one category you choose each month like gas, online shopping, etc
  • Unlimited 1% cashback on other purchases
  • $200 online cash rewards bonus after making $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days
  • No annual fee

Factors To Consider in a Balance Transfer Card

Key factors to evaluate include:

  • Length of 0% intro APR period – aim for at least 15 months
  • Balance transfer fee – 3% is common but some cards offer no-fee transfers
  • Ongoing purchase APR after intro period ends – avoid huge rate spikes
  • Rewards structure – maximize value from bonuses during the 0% term
  • Other benefits like no late fees, 0% financing on new purchases, etc
  • Balance transfer limits and minimums – make sure you can consolidate high enough amounts

A long 0% term paired with rewards for new spending helps accelerate payoff.

Tips for Maximizing Value

Follow these tips to maximize a balance transfer card with rewards:

  • Make a payoff plan to finish paying all debts before the 0% APR expires
  • Take advantage of 0% financing on new purchases if offered as you repay old balances
  • Use card responsibly for regular spending categories to earn rewards
  • Avoid late fees or missed payments that could trigger penalty APRs
  • Pay down highest rate debts first when you have extra cash flow
  • Set up autopay for at least the minimum due to avoid issues
  • Contact issuer if financial hardship may prevent making minimum payments
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Things to Know About Balance Transfers

Here are some key considerations when transferring balances:

  • Balance transfers don’t erase debt – focus on repayment
  • Interest savings only help if you avoid new debt after transfers
  • Transferring debt between cards can impact your credit score if not done responsibly
  • Transferring balances close to your credit limit can increase overall utilization
  • Transferring debt to meet bonus requirements only makes sense if you can pay off in full during the intro period
  • Transferring balances between accounts with the same issuer often doesn’t qualify for intro offers

Who Do 0% APR Balance Transfer Cards Benefit?

These types of cards are best for those who:

  • Carry high-interest credit card balances paying excessive interest fees
  • Have good credit and income to qualify for top 0% offers from major issuers
  • Want to consolidate multiple card payments into one monthly bill
  • Are motivated to become debt-free and willing to budget for repayment
  • Appreciate earning some rewards while in the process of paying down debt

If you know you can pay off balances in full during the 0% term, transferring high-rate balances to a rewards card can provide short term savings. Just don’t take it as an invitation to incur more avoidable debt.

Closing Thoughts

The right balance transfer card lets you minimize expensive interest for an intro period while consolidating debts into one place. Opt for the longest 0% term possible from a major issuer you trust.

While any bank will gladly collect balance transfer fees or finance charges from customers carrying rolled over debt, approach a balance transfer responsibly as a structured opportunity to repay and reform habits for good. Don’t waste it.

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