Beating Credit Card Debt in 2021? Use the Best Balance Transfer Cards

Man making a credit card payment on his laptop
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Tackling debt is a popular New Year’s resolution, but you probably know it’s hard to accomplish any resolution without a concrete goal and a plan to get there.

If your goal is to get rid of your credit card debt this year — or at least make a big dent in it — you should consider a balance transfer credit card.

A “balance transfer” is when you move what you owe on one credit card to a new one. That might sound like robbing Peter to pay Paul, but here’s the benefit: You won’t pay interest on that transferred balance for a certain timeframe, giving you time to catch up.

There is usually a fee associated with a balance transfer, which is often around 3%. So if you’re going to try this strategy, make sure you’re committed to whittling down that debt and look for a card that offers the longest 0% APR period and a decent ongoing APR.

Here are our favorite credit cards for balance transfers right now:

Citi Double Cash

Why we like it: We’ve called this “The Best Cash-Back Credit Card for Everyday Use” since it earns 1% cash back on every purchase, then earns another 1% cash back when you pay for those purchases. If you want the peace of mind that you’re earning good cash-back rewards on everything, with no gimmicks or expiration dates, this is your card.

What to know:

Citi Double Cash
Citi
  • Get a total of 2% cash back on every purchase.
  • No limits or caps on cash back.
  • No confusing categories; everything earns cash back.
  • No annual fee.

Note: This card offers 18 months of 0% introductory APR on balance transfers.

If you’re looking to couple cash-back rewards with paying down debt — especially if you use that cash back to speed up the process — this is an excellent choice.

U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card

Why we like it: This card offers an incredibly generous introductory APR for both new purchases and balance transfers — 0% for 20 billing cycles.

What to know:

U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card
U.S. Bank
  • 0% intro APR for 20 billing cycles on balance transfers.
  • 0% intro APR for 20 billing cycles on new purchases.
  • Up to $600 in cellphone insurance (with a $25 deductible) if you pay your phone bill with the card.
  • Flexible payment date.
  • No annual fee.

Note: This card has a balance transfer fee of 3% or $5, whichever is greater.

If you simply want as much time as possible to pay off a transferred balance, this card will give you more than a year and a half to do it.

Citi Diamond Preferred

The Citi Diamond Preferred card is a good choice for people transferring a balance, thanks to the introductory 0% APR on balance transfers for the first 21 months. You’ll also get a full 12 months of 0% APR on new purchases.

What to know:

Citi Diamond Preferred
Citi
  • 0% introductory APR on balance transfers for 21 months, with a balance transfer fee of $5 or 5%, whichever is higher
  • 0% introductory APR on new purchases for 12 months
  • Free access to your FICO Score
  • No annual fee

Note: This card has a 3% foreign transaction fee, so plan accordingly for international travel.

If you’re working on rebuilding your credit, this card includes free access to your FICO Score and an introductory offer almost as long as the one above.

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