Are you reeling from the holiday season — wondering how you racked up so much in credit card debt? Time to bring it back under control.
The best thing to do is pay off card balances immediately to avoid paying insane interest rates. But if you can’t do that, pay down as much as you can reasonably handle right away and transfer the rest of the balance to a card that offers a zero percent 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 can 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 of zero percent interest. 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 percent 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 zero percent 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 percent, 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 percent cash rewards for purchases on this card plus 1.8 percent 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.
Important note: After the introductory period on most cards, the interest rates you are charged typically skyrocket. For instance, on the Wells Fargo Platinum, above, the new rate will be a 13.74 percent to 27.24 percent 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!
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.
- Get a 30,000 point welcome bonus after spending $3,000 within the first three months.
- Pay zero percent introductory APR for 12 months on balance transfers (made within the first 120 days) and purchases; pay introductory fee of $5 or 3 percent, whichever is greater, on balance transfers for 120 days
- Earn 3 rewards points per dollar on dining out or ordering in on this card.
- Earn 3 points per dollar spent on travel, including flights, hotels and home shares such as Airbnb
- 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 zero percent introductory APR for 15 months on purchases, and a solid cash-back program, offering 1.5 percent on every purchase. After spending just $500 within the initial three-month period, you get $150 cash back. 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 on purchases of everything from eating out to paying utility bills and buying baby shoes on this card.
- Get $150 cash back after spending $500 within the first three months.
- Zero percent introductory APR on balance transfers for 15 months; introductory fee of 3 percent on amounts transferred in first 15 months
- 1.5 percent cash back on purchases
- No annual fee.