Are you reeling from credit card debt? Don’t feel bad. Most of us have been there at some point — and wondered how we managed to get there. That’s worth figuring out to avoid doing it again, but first, it’s time to bring it back under control.
Of course, the best thing to do is pay off card balances immediately to avoid paying insane interest rates. But if you’re past that point, pay down as much as you can reasonably handle right away and transfer the rest of the balance to a card that offers a 0% interest rate for a long introductory period. Then make a schedule of regular payments so you can eliminate the balance before the introductory period is over and the interest rate goes up.
Here are some of the best offers we could find to help you make this move:
Wells Fargo Platinum Visa card
Why we like it: This no-frills card offers a generous introductory period of 18 months at 0% APR. Balance transfers made within 120 days of opening the account and all purchases will get this introductory rate. The fee to make a balance transfer during the first 120 days is either $5 or 3% of the total balance — which is on the low side for transfer fees. So, for instance, if you transfer $2,000 to this Visa, your one-time fee will be $60, and then you have 18 months to pay it off. That’s a fraction of what you’d pay in interest if you continued to carry the balance on most high-interest cards.
- Get up to $600 protection for your cellphone in case of theft or damage if you pay your bill with this card.
- No annual fee.
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa card
Why we like it: During a 12-month introductory period, you pay 0% interest on purchases and balance transfers. Assuming that one year is enough for you to pay down your balance, this card is a great one because it also offers a $200 cash rewards bonus (details below) and a cash-back program for ongoing purchases. The introductory balance transfer fee for this card is either $5 or 3%, whichever is greater,of the total balance during the first 120 days of opening the account.
- Get a $200 bonus after spending $1,000 within the first three months of opening the account.
- Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards for purchases on this card plus 1.8% on qualified mobile wallet purchases.
- Up to $600 protection for damage or theft for your cellphone if you pay your bill with this card.
- No annual fee.
Wells Fargo Propel American Express card
Why we like it: This card combines a strong rewards program for travel, transport and dining, featuring a 30,000-point welcome bonus. This is in addition to a 0% introductory APR for 12 months on balance transfers and purchases.
- Get a 30,000-point welcome bonus after spending $3,000 within the first three months.
- Pay 0% introductory APR for 12 months on balance transfers (made within the first 120 days) and purchases; pay introductory fee of $5 or 3%, whichever is greater, on balance transfers for 120 days.
- Earn 3 rewards points per dollar on dining out or ordering in with this card.
- Earn 3 points per dollar spent on travel, including flights, hotels, homestays such as Airbnb and car rentals.
- Earn 3 points per dollar on transportation, including gas, public transit and ride-sharing services.
- Earn 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.
- Pay no annual fee.
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards card
Why we like it: This card has a generous 0% introductory APR for 15 months on both purchases and balance transfers. If you’re really trying to pay off debt from other high-interest cards, that’s a nice long runway. Meanwhile, you can get cash-back when you use the card for everything from eating out to paying utility bills and buying baby shoes with a solid cash-back program that offers 1.5% on every purchase.
- Get $150 cash back after spending $500 within the first three months.
- 0% introductory APR on balance transfers for 15 months.
- 1.5% cash back on purchases, with no limit on how much you can earn.
- No annual fee.
Important note: After the introductory period on most cards, the interest rates you are charged typically skyrocket. For instance, on the Wells Fargo Platinum Visa, above, the new rate will be a 13.74% to 27.24% variable APR after the introductory period of 18 months. This is typical, so make sure you are not carrying a balance once you get to that point!