Ask an Expert: How Do I Get a No-Fee Balance Transfer?

Photo (cc) by Bunches and Bits {Karina}

A Money Talks News reader recently wrote me with the following question…

I need a credit card with zero interest rate and no transfer fee to pay down my $9,000 credit card balance with Bank Of America. My current interest rate is 11 percent.
Thanks,
Sara

Thanks for the question, Sara. Unfortunately, your situation is all too common, as so many people are still in credit card debt. And while there are many credit cards out there that offer 0 percent APR promotional balance transfers, it seems that you have discovered that nearly all of them charge a 3 percent balance transfer fee.

Earlier this year, I was able to discover two rare examples of the nearly extinct no-fee balance transfer cards: the Discover More and the Slate from Chase. Today, the Slate remains as the only card with a 0 percent APR promotional balance transfer offer and no fee. Their current terms offer 15 months of 0 percent APR financing on both new purchases and balance transfers.

So if you decide to go with the Slate card, what else should you know?

  • You can only transfer balances at the 0 percent APR rate and no fees within the first 60 days of opening an account. After that, the 3 percent balance transfer fee applies, as well as standard interest rates.
  • Although this doesn’t apply in Sara’s situation, you cannot do a balance transfer between two different credit cards issued by the same bank.
  • No-fee balance transfer offers should not be used just to postpone repayment of your debt. Instead, use this break from interest payments to undertake a concerted effort to pay off your debt before the interest begins to accrue again.

Note: While we attempt to be completely objective when reporting on credit cards, this site may be compensated by issuers when a reader applies for a credit card through the links within credit card stories or on our credit card search page.

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