Zero-Percent, Fee-Free Credit Card Balance Transfers Are Back

The bird-watching world was set ablaze in 2005, when a team from Cornell University claimed to have spotted an Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, which were thought to be extinct. Likewise, in late 2011, credit card watchers like me were excited to rediscover another seemingly vanished species – the credit card with no balance transfer fee and zero-percent interest on that transfer.

Zero-percent balance transfer offers with no fee used to be a common sight throughout North America. Blame the credit crisis, the prolonged economic downturn, or credit card reform legislation, but these offers disappeared over the past few years. Until recently, all balance transfer offers on the market required a fee of 3 percent or more of the amount transferred – even if they offered a zero-percent promotional rate. That meant that in order to receive the promotion, you had to pay at least 3 percent of your balance up front. Until now.

Here are the cards that have this rare offer. You can sign up for them at no charge with the Money Talks News credit card tool

The Slate card from Chase

In late 2011, Chase made a bold move. It offered a version of its Slate card with a zero-percent promotional APR for up to 12 months on balance transfers – with no balance transfer fee.

Chase gives the best deal – a 12-month, zero-percent promotional rate for new purchases and balance transfers – to applicants whose credit qualifies them for “Elite” or “Premium” pricing. Those who receive their “Standard” pricing will still have the opportunity to transfer balances with no fee, but they’ll only receive a six-month promotional financing period.

With all pricing plans, only transfers made during the first 30 days your account is open are eligible for the no-fee terms. After the zero-percent promotional financing expires, the interest rate on both purchases and balance transfers will be equal to the prime rate plus 8.74 percent, 13.75 percent, or 18.74 percent – depending on which pricing you qualify for. So it will obviously behoove you to pay the card off during the zero-interest period.

Beyond the promotional terms, there are several other good reasons to get this card. First, it’s eligible for Chase’s excellent Blueprint program, which allows customers to pay some charges in full while carrying a balance on others. The Blueprint program also features powerful budgeting and financial planning tools. When properly used, customers can reduce their interest payments with this system.

There’s no annual fee for this card, but there is a 3 percent foreign transaction fee on all purchases processed outside of the United States. (We hate those fees. Check out How to Avoid Credit Card Foreign Transaction Fees.)

Discover’s More card

So promising was the zero-fee offer from Chase that the appearance of more of these offers was one of my 5 Credit Card Predictions for 2012. Right on schedule, Discover released a new zero-fee, zero-percent balance transfer offer on its More card last month.

While this may appear to be a copycat offer, there are some key differences between the two products…

First, all applicants who qualify for this offer will enjoy the full 12 months of zero-percent financing on both purchases and balance transfers – not just those who qualify for a particular pricing plan.

Second, cardholders also have several months to make a qualifying balance transfer without incurring a fee. The Discover card also provides 1 percent cash back on all purchases, with 5 percent back on “bonus categories” of spending that change each quarter.

After the promotional financing period ends, cardholders will receive a standard interest rate equal to the prime rate plus 7.74 to 16.74 percent depending on their credit history. There’s no annual fee for this card, and there are no foreign transaction fees in the limited number of foreign countries where Discover cards are now accepted.

Which card is right for you?

For those drowning in credit card debt, accepting a no-fee, zero-percent balance transfer offer can be a lifeline – but only when used as part of a plan to pay off debt.

In this respect, I consider the Slate card from Chase to be the better offer, since its Blueprint program includes powerful budgeting and goal-setting capabilities. Although the Discover More card offers cardholders some cash back on purchases, I feel strongly that those who struggle with credit card debt should never seek credit card rewards – it’s clear that the potential cash-back rewards are miniscule compared to the interest they’ve been paying.

Those struggling to get out of credit card debt can rejoice at the sighting of these two rare offers. Hopefully the Chase Slate and the Discover More cards will become a breeding pair – and, like the woodpeckers, we’ll spot more of them in the wild.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
7 Deadly Health Mistakes People Make After Age 50
7 Deadly Health Mistakes People Make After Age 50

Simply avoiding these actions, or lack thereof, can improve the odds of a longer, more healthful life.

5 Memberships That Offer Car Insurance Discounts
5 Memberships That Offer Car Insurance Discounts

These discounts may save you hundreds — even thousands — of dollars a year.

11 Foods That Can Keep for Years
11 Foods That Can Keep for Years

These are some of the longest-lasting groceries you can buy.

10 Common Ways Seniors Get Scammed
10 Common Ways Seniors Get Scammed

Here’s what to watch for to make sure you don’t fall prey to some of the biggest rip-offs targeting seniors.

26 States That Won’t Tax Your Social Security This Year
26 States That Won’t Tax Your Social Security This Year

These states don’t tax any residents’ Social Security income whatsoever.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership
How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership

The warehouse club often has some of the cheapest gas in town. Here’s how you can get it as a nonmember.

10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home
10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home

If you like to keep things simple, avoid these purchases.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

Vacuums from this brand can last a half-century, if not longer — and they’re hot on the resale market.

A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today
A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today

A few steps can keep your phone from ringing when a spammer calls.

This Company Makes the Best Tires in America
This Company Makes the Best Tires in America

Driver satisfaction with tires is at an all-time high, but one brand stands out.

This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance
This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance

One type of pain is especially associated with cognitive decline.

Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?
Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?

Knowing when to claim can help you maximize benefits.

Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs
Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs

Don’t let these health care expenses catch you off guard in retirement.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

This iconic dinnerware is prized for everyday use as well as reselling for profit.

8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon
8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon

The giant retailer shines when it comes to these things, from basics to hard-to-find specialty goods.

Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken
Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken

Something foul may lurk in those delicious, ready-to-eat birds.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food
5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food

Anyone can take advantage of these resources.

5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees
5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees

All of these states are located in the same region of the nation.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home
6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home

Stashing money around the house is anything but harmless.

12 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday
12 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday

These items are steeply discounted — but the deals won’t last long.

7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make
7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make

Sometimes a big-ticket purchase is nothing more than a big waste of money.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.