Tag: BALANCE TRANSFERS

Balance Transfer, Best of, Pay Down My Debt

9 Best 0% APR Credit Card Offers – June 2017

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Advertiser Disclosure

There are a lot of 0% APR credit card deals in your mailbox and online, but most of them slap you with a 3 to 4% fee just to make a transfer, and that can seriously eat into your savings.

At MagnifyMoney we like to find deals no one else is showing, and we’ve searched hundreds of balance transfer credit card offers to find the banks and credit unions that ANYONE CAN JOIN which offer great 0% interest credit card deals AND no balance transfer fees. We’ve hand-picked them here.

If one 0% APR credit card doesn’t give you a big enough credit line you can try another bank or credit union for the rest of your debt. With several no fee options it’s not hard to avoid transfer fees even if you have a large balance to deal with.

1. Barclaycard Ring™ MasterCard® – 0% Introductory APR for 15 months, $0 Introductory Balance Transfer FEE

BarclaycardThis card is available if you have excellent credit. Be aware that you have 45 days to complete this transfer after opening the account.

You can also nominate and vote on charity partners to donate card profits each year and there are no foreign transaction fees if you use the card abroad.

Learn More

2. Chase Slate® – 0% Introductory APR for 15 months, $0 Introductory Balance Transfer FEE

ChaseSlateScreenThis deal is easy to find – Chase is one of the biggest banks and makes this credit card deal well known. Save with a $0 introductory balance transfer fee and get 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and $0 annual fee. Plus, receive your Monthly FICO® Score for free.

You can get this offer if you complete the balance transfer within 60 days of opening the account. So it’s worth a shot to see how big of a credit line you get. If it’s not enough, move on to the other options below.

Learn More

Tip: The remaining no fee cards on this list are deals for 12 months or less. You might be better off paying a standard 3% balance transfer fee for a longer deal, like 0% for 18 months from the Discover It, one of the better deals with a balance transfer fee of 3%. If you’re trying to transfer from Chase, consider a deal from Bank of America with similar $0 introductory terms.

3. Alliant Credit Union Credit Cards – 0% APR for 12 months, NO FEE

Alliant is an easy credit union to work with because you don’t have to be a Alliant Visa Platinum Credit Cardsmember to apply and find out if you qualify for the 0% APR deal.

Just choose ‘not a member’ when you apply and if you are approved you’ll then be able to become a member of the credit union to finish opening your account.

Alliant Credit Union

Anyone can become a member of Alliant by making a $10 donation to Foster Care to Success.

If your credit isn’t great, you might not get a 0% rate – rates for transfers are as high as 5.99%, so make sure you double check the rate you receive before opening the account, and they might ask for additional documents like your pay stubs to verify the information on your application.

Go to site

4. Edward Jones World MasterCard – 0% APR for 12 months, NO FEE

edwardjonesYou’ll need to go to an Edward Jones branch to open up an account first if you want this deal. Edward Jones is an investment advisory company, so they’ll want to have a conversation about your retirement needs.

But you don’t need to have money in stocks to be a customer of Edward Jones and try to get this card. Just beware that you only have 60 days to complete your transfer to lock in the 0% rate. This deal expires 11/30/2017.

Go to site

5. First Tech Choice Rewards – 0% APR for 12 months, NO FEE

firsttechrewardsAnyone can join First Tech Federal Credit Union by becoming a member of the Financial Fitness Association for $8, or the Computer History Museum for $15. You can apply for the card without joining first. This introductory 0% for 12 months on balance transfers with no fee deal is for the First Tech Choice Rewards World MasterCard, and you also get 10,000 points after you spend $2,000 on the card in your first 3 months. The points don’t expire as long as you have the card, and 6,000 points is enough for $50 cash back, while 11,000 points is enough for $100 cash back, which can help you pay down your card.

Go to site

6. La Capitol Federal Credit Union – 0% APR for 12 months, NO FEE

La Capitol Federal Credit UnionAnyone can join La Capitol Federal Credit Union by becoming a member of the Louisiana Association for Personal Financial Achievement, which costs $20. Just indicate that’s how you want to be eligible when you apply for the card – no need to join before you apply. And La Capitol accepts members from all across the country, so you don’t have to live in Louisiana to take advantage of this deal on the Prime Plus card.

Go to site

7. Quorum Federal Credit Union – 0% APR for 12 months, NO FEE

Quorum Federal Credit UnionQuorum is a New York based credit union anyone can join by joining the Select Savers Club during the application process – just choose ”I would like to join through an association” on the application page. All of Quorum’s credit cards offer the 0% for 12 months with no fee deal.

Just be aware the 12 months starts from when your account opens, not when you make the transfer, so if you wait a month to do the transfer, you’ll only get the zero deal for 11 months.

And the 0% deal isn’t prominent on the Quorum site, you’ll see it buried in the fine print. Look for the sentence “The introductory purchase and balance transfer APR is 0% for 12 months from account opening and applies to ALL Quorum MasterCard credit cards” at the very bottom of their page.

Go to site

8. Purdue Federal Credit Union – 0% APR for 12 months, NO FEE

purdue-credit-union-visaThe Purdue Federal Credit Union doesn’t have open membership, but one way to be eligible for credit union membership is to join the Purdue University Alumni Association as a Friend of the University. Anyone can join the association, but it costs $50. The minimum credit line on the Visa Signature card offering 0% is $5,000, so if approved the $50 would be like a transfer fee of 1% or less. The good news is you can apply and get a decision before you become a member of the Alumni Association.

Go to site

9. Logix Credit Union Credit Card – 0% APR for 12 months , NO FEE

If you live in AZ, CA, DC, MA, MD, ME, NH, NV, or VA you can join Logix Credit Union and apply for this deal. Some applicants have reported credit lines of $15,000 or more for balance transfers, so if you have excellent credit, good income, but a large amount to pay off (like a home equity line), this could be a good option.

Go to site

10. First Tennessee Bank Credit Card – 0% APR for 12 months, NO FEE

If you want to apply online for this deal, you’ll need to live in a state where First Tennessee Bank Credit CardFirst Tennessee has a branch though. Those states are: Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

You need to have an existing First Tennessee account to apply online, but if you don’t have one, you can print out an application and mail it into their office to get a decision. You’ll find a link to the paper application when the online form asks you whether you have an account or not.

Go to site

11. Money One Credit Union – 0% APR for 6 months, NO FEE

Anyone can join Money One Federal by making a $20 donation to Gifts of Easter Seals. And you can apply without being a member. You’ll see a drop down option during the application process that lets you select Gifts of Easter Seals as the way you plan to become a member of the credit union. Credit lines for the Platinum card are as high as $25,000.

Go to site

12. Andigo Credit Union – 0% APR for 6 months, NO FEE

You’ll have a choice to apply for the Andigo Visa Platinum, Platinum Rewards, or Platinum Cash Back. The Platinum without rewards has a lower ongoing APR, starting as low as 10.15%, compared to 12.15% for the Platinum Rewards card, so if you’re not sure you’ll pay it all off in 6 months the Platinum without rewards is a better bet.

Anyone can join Andigo by making a donation to Connect Vets for $15, and you can submit an application for the card without being a member yet.

Go to site

13. Aspire Credit Union Credit Card – 0% APR for 6 months, NO FEE

You don’t have to be a member to apply and get a decision from Aspire. Once youAspire Credit Union Credit Card do, Aspire is easy to join – just check that you want to join the American Consumer Council (free) while filling out your membership application online.

Make sure you apply for the regular ‘Platinum’ card, and not the ‘Platinum Rewards’ card, which doesn’t offer the introductory deal. Aspire says people with fair credit can apply for its card.

Go to site

14. Elements Financial Credit Card – 0% APR for 6 months, NO FEE

Elements Financial Credit CardTo become a member and apply, you’ll just need to join TruDirection, a financial literacy organization. It costs just $5 and you can join as part of the application process.

Go to site

15. Justice Federal Credit Union – 0% APR for 6 months, NO FEE

Justice Federal Credit UnionIf you’re not a Department of Justice, Homeland Security, or U.S. court employee (or a few others), you need to join a law enforcement organization to be a member of Justice Federal. One of the eligible associations for membership is the National Native American Law Enforcement Association. It costs $15 to join.

You can apply as a non-member online to get a decision before joining. And Justice is unique in that its Student credit card is also eligible for the 0% no fee deal, so if your credit history is limited and you’re trying to deal with a balance on your very first card, this could be an option.

Go to site

16. Xcel Platinum Visa – 0% APR for 6 months, NO FEE

Xcel Platinum Visa credit cardAnyone can join Xcel by becoming a member of the American Consumer Council, and you can apply for the card as a non-member of the credit union, but not everyone who is approved for the card will get the low intro rate. Xcel advises you contact them to get as sense of whether your income, credit history, and employment history will qualify for the intro rate.

Go to site

Are these the best deals for you?

If you can pay off your debt within the 0% period, then yes, a no fee 0% balance transfer credit card is your absolute best bet. And if you can’t, you can hope that other 0% deals will be around to switch again.

But if you’re unsure, you might want to consider…

  • A deal that has a longer period before the rate goes up. In that case, a balance transfer fee could be worth it to lock in a 0% rate for longer.
  • Or, a card with a rate a little above 0% that could lock you into a low rate even longer.

The good news is we can figure it out for you.

Our handy, free balance transfer tool lets you input how much debt you have, and how much of a monthly payment you can afford. It will run the numbers to show you which offers will save you the most for the longest period of time.

promo balancetransfer wide

The savings from just one balance transfer can be substantial.

Let’s say you have $5,000 in credit card debt, you’re paying 18% in interest, and can afford to pay $200 a month on it. Here’s what you can save with a 0% deal:

  • 18%: It will take 32 months to pay off, with $1,312 in interest paid.
  • 0% for 12 months: You’ll pay it off in 28 months, with just $502 in interest, saving you $810 in cash. That even assumes your rate goes back up to 18% after 12 months!

But your rate doesn’t have to go up after 12 months. If you pay everything on time and maintain good credit, there’s a great chance you’ll be able to shop around and find another bank willing to offer you 0% interest again, letting you pay it off even faster.

Before you do any balance transfer though, make sure you follow these 6 golden rules of balance transfer success:

  • Never use the card for spending. You are only ready to do a balance transfer once you’ve gotten your budget in order and are no longer spending more than you earn. This card should never be used for new purchases, as it’s possible you’ll get charged a higher rate on those purchases.
  • Have a plan for the end of the promotional period. Make sure you set a reminder on your phone calendar about a month or so before your promotional period ends so you can shop around for a low rate from another bank.
  • Don’t try to transfer debt between two cards of the same bank. It won’t work. Balance transfer deals are meant to ‘steal’ your balance from a competing bank, not lower your rate from the same bank. So if you have a Chase Freedom with a high rate, don’t apply for another Chase card like a Chase Slate and expect you can transfer the balance. Apply for one from another bank.
  • Get that transfer done within 60 days. Otherwise your promotional deal may expire unused.
  • Never use a card at an ATM. You should never use the card for spending, and getting cash is incredibly expensive. Just don’t do it with this or any credit card.
  • Always pay on time. If you pay more than 30 days late your credit will be hurt, your rate may go up, and you may find it harder to find good deals in the future. Only do balance transfers if you’re ready to pay at least the minimum due on time, every time.
Nick Clements
Nick Clements |

Nick Clements is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Nick at nick@magnifymoney.com

TAGS: ,

Balance Transfer

Chase Slate® Review: Is this Legit? An Introductory $0 Fee Balance Transfer?

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Advertiser Disclosure

Chase Slate Review

Updated April 18, 2017

Chase slateDo you have credit card debt that you can’t afford to pay off? Do you feel depressed watching all of your payment going towards interest? Are you afraid that you will be in debt for the next 30 years? Don’t just sit at home and worry: take action by transferring your debt from a high interest rate to a low interest rate with a balance transfer.

Chase Slate® has a very popular introductory balance transfer offer. You can save with a $0 introductory balance transfer fee and get 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and $0 annual fee. Plus, receive your Monthly FICO® Score for free.

The savings can be astonishingly high, and you can take years off your debt repayment. But some people worry that the offer is too good to be true. So long as you do the following 3 things, it really is a free balance transfer:

  1. Complete the balance transfer within 60 days of opening the account. Otherwise, you lose the offer and standard balance transfer fees and rates would apply.
  2. Always pay on time. If you are just one day late, you will be charged a hefty late fee. And, if you are 60 days late, you will lose the promotional interest rate.
  3. Only transfer debt from another bank. You can not use this offer to transfer debt from another Chase credit card – and that includes co-brands (like United Airlines and Southwest Airlines credit cards).

The application process is easy, and will only take a few minutes.

Learn more

The interest rates on credit cards are shockingly high, especially those store credit cards that you were tempted with during holiday shopping. Most store cards have interest rates higher than 20%, and here are some examples of particularly expensive cards:

  • Macy’s: 24.5%
  • Wal-Mart: 22.9%
  • Target: 22.9%

Store cards are obscenely expensive, but ordinary credit cards also carry a hefty interest rate. Most people who have a balance on a credit card are paying more than 15% on that debt.

If you wake up one morning with a debt hangover, you shouldn’t think of your high interest rate as a life sentence. Your debt does not need to stay on that high interest rate credit card: you can move it to a lower interest rate with an intro balance transfer. And, one of the best balance transfer credit cards out there is the Chase Slate®.

In this article, we will explain:

  • What is a balance transfer
  • How to qualify for a balance transfer credit card
  • Why Chase Slate® is an almost-perfect introductory balance transfer
  • How to complete a balance transfer with Chase
  • What to do once the balance transfer is complete

If you have any questions about this card, you can always send us an email at info@magnifymoney.com, and we would be happy to help answer any questions you might have. We always respond to emails within 24 hours, and are usually quicker than that.

What is a Balance Transfer

You have probably received many of these offers in your mail: a credit card company offers you a 0% interest rate if you transfer your existing credit card debt from another credit card company to the one offering the 0% deal.

A balance transfer is exactly what it sounds like: you can transfer your debt from Bank A to Bank B. Bank B wants your business, so they will “steal” your debt from their competition by offering a great interest rate for a fixed period of time (the promotional period). Often, a bank will charge a fee for the balance transfer. Given how high interest rates are on store cards and credit cards, the fee usually pays for itself within 3-6 months. If you can pay off your debt in fewer than 6 months, a balance transfer is not worthwhile. However, if it will take you longer than 6 months, you will almost always save money.

Banks want to steal your business from other banks: that is why the offers are only available for debt with another credit card issuer. For example, Chase is happy to take over debt from Citibank, Wells Fargo or Target. But, if you just want to transfer debt from one Chase credit card to another, you will be rejected.

Just think of cable/internet/telephone companies. They regularly give you amazing deals for the first year if you sign up for a bundle. After the year is over, the rate goes up. This is exactly the same idea: banks are competing for your debt.

How to Qualify for a Balance Transfer Credit Card

Banks will only offer balance transfers to people with good or excellent credit. That typically means that you will require:

  • A credit score of 680 or higher (700 preferred)
  • A debt burden (explained below) of less than 50% (40% or lower preferred)
  • Very few, if any, accounts that are currently delinquent

A debt burden is calculated by adding up your monthly fixed expenses and dividing that by your monthly income. The expenses should include: monthly rent or mortgage payment, auto payment, student loan payments and the monthly payment on any other credit cards or loans that appear on your credit bureau.

If your total payments are more than 50%, you will likely be declined. If it is less than 50%, you have a chance. However, banks typically want to see debt burdens below 40% (and you will likely get approved at higher debt burdens only if you have a very high credit score).

Banks do not share their underwriting criteria: instead, they keep them as carefully guarded secrets. Life would be a lot easier if they just told us what they wanted! However, at MagnifyMoney, we have done our best to reverse-engineer the underwriting criteria. If you meet the criteria above but are rejected, please let us know!

If you don’t qualify for a balance transfer, you may want to consider a personal loan. The concept is the same: you can take out a loan and use the proceeds to pay off existing credit card debt. But, unlike the credit card balance transfer market, personal loan companies tend to approve much riskier people. Just make sure the interest rate on your new loan is lower than the interest rate on your credit card before proceeding.

If you want to compare the cost of a balance transfer to the cost of a personal loan, you can do that with our balance transfer and personal loan calculator.

Customize your balance transfer offers with Magnifymoney tool

Why Chase Slate® is Almost Perfect

There are two key features of a balance transfer: the balance transfer fee (charged as a percent of the balance that is transferred, and added to your bill upon completion of the transfer), and the duration of the balance transfer (number of months at the promotional rate).

Chase does not charge a balance transfer fee for the intro offer. It is absolutely free to move your debt from another credit card issuer to Chase and it’s 0% intro APR for 15 months.

So, if you move your debt from your store card and pay it off by month 15, you will not pay a dime to Chase. It will have been completely free. If you do have a balance remaining at the end of the 15 month promotional period, you will not be charged interest retroactively. In other words, the interest that would have been charged during the 15 month promotional period has been waived completely. From month 16, interest would be charged on a go forward basis.

The balance transfer offer is almost perfect. Just be careful of the following:

  • You can only transfer debt from a bank other than Chase. That includes Chase co-branded credit cards, like United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Marriott and others. Because Chase is the #1 credit card issuer in the country, it is possible that some or all of your debt is already with Chase.
  • The ongoing purchase APR (after month 15) will depend upon your credit score. The ongoing purchase APR range is 15.74% – 24.49% variable.

Chase has invested in one of the best introductory balance transfer offers out there. If you use the intro offer responsibly, you can have no interest and fees for 15 months. You should take advantage of the offer and reduce your debt as much as possible.

Chase slate

Learn more

If all of your debt is with Chase, you can find plenty of other offers on our balance transfer marketplace. Just input how much debt you have and how much you can pay each month, and we will show you the offers (updated daily) and how much you will save with each transfer. There are plenty of options out there, so there is no reason to ever pay a high interest rate on your debt.

How to Complete a Balance Transfer with Chase

Make sure you complete your balance transfer as soon as you receive your card. The introductory offer is from when you opened the card, not the date you transfer the debt. So, every month you wait is a month of a promotional balance interest wasted.

It is incredibly easy to complete the balance transfer once you receive your credit card. You can always call them. The call center employees typically receive incentives to complete balance transfers, so it is highly likely that they will want to help you.

But, you don’t need to call them. You can complete the balance transfer online. We have put together a step-by-step guide. It should take you fewer than 5 minutes. All you need is the credit card number of the account that you want to pay off.

Warning: it can take up to 2 weeks for the payment from Chase to reach your bank. Make sure you continue to make payments on your old card until you receive confirmation that the old balance is paid off.

What to Do Once the Balance Transfer is Complete

Once you complete the balance transfer, your goal is to pay off your debt as quickly as possible. In a best case scenario, you divide the total balance by 15 months, and make sure you pay that amount each month. That way, you know that you will be debt free by the time the promotional period expires.

During the promotional period, make sure you:

  • Try to avoid spending on the credit card. Remember: the purpose of this 0% is to help you pay off your debt faster, not to get into more debt.
  • Make sure you make your payments on time, every month. If you pay late, you will be charged late fees. If you are 30 days late, it will hurt your credit score. And, at 60 days late, you will lose your 0% interest rate – and could be charged the penalty interest rate

At the end of the promotional period, don’t close the credit card. Closing credit cards can hurt your score, and Chase Slate® does not have an annual fee. So, it is a nice card to keep.

If you have debt sitting at a high interest rate, you should move it now. There is no reason to drown in high interest rate debt, and there is no reason to work hard only to pay interest to the bank.

Nick Clements
Nick Clements |

Nick Clements is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Nick at nick@magnifymoney.com

TAGS: , ,

Personal Loans

Where to Get the Best Personal Loan Rates Online

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Advertiser Disclosure

Where to Get the Best Personal Loan Rates Online

Updated April 12, 2017

If you want a personal loan to pay off credit card or other debt, the absolute fastest and most effective way to lower the interest you pay is to apply for a balance transfer, with a 0% rate. You can read our guide to balance transfers to learn about their pros and cons.

But a balance transfer isn’t for everyone, especially if your credit score isn’t perfect or if you need to borrow cash.

A personal loan with a set payoff period a few years from now is often the next best thing with these advantages:

  • One monthly payment
  • A set rate
  • You don’t need absolutely perfect credit
  • You can check your rate without touching your score

There are more attractive deals than ever thanks to some new online lenders and you can see sample rates below for excellent credit and good credit.

Tip: Apply for several loans to check rates. You can apply to each personal loan company separately, or use the tool created by MagnifyMoney to do it all at once.

Some personal loan providers let you check the rate you’ll get without impacting your score, unlike credit cards.

They’ll do a ‘soft pull’ with your Social Security Number so your best plan is to give your information to several of them and see who gives you the best rate. You can use our new personal loan tool to compare interest rates from multiple companies at once, or start by inputting your information below:

Get A Pre-Approved Personal Loan

$

Won’t impact your credit score

Once you get rates, put them in our Balance Transfer vs Personal Loan calculator to see how they compare on interest paid and time to paying off your debt.

Why is this a good way to save?

Banks don’t care much for personal loans because the lower rates earn them less profit than credit cards.

Fortunately, some new companies believe you should be able to get a competitive rate without dealing with credit card intro offers, even if your credit isn’t perfect.

They’re doing it by lending online only without the overhead of branches.

They pass the savings on to you through better rates, and you can check up on them below.

Personal loans for Excellent Credit

The following providers are for you if you want the absolute lowest possible rates that reward a record of no late payments and good income, even though you have some high rate debt you want to clean up.

Unless you get a rate of 5% or less, you’re probably better off with balance transfer deals, but the convenience of a fixed payment and walking away from credit cards makes personal loans appealing.

SoFi

SofiSoFi offers some of the lowest interest rates available if you’re looking to refinance your credit card debt or borrow cash. You’ll need to have a good record of paying your bills on time, but they’re willing to offer rates that are very competitive without an origination fee.

Sofi’s believes if you’ve graduated college or went to grad school you’ll be a more responsible borrower, so they may be more likely to give you a better rate, even if your credit history is limited.

For example if you have $10,000 in credit card debt, good income, and great credit, their best rate could save you as much as 0% balance transfer deals once you factor in the fees for each.

What we like best about SoFi is that they offer no origination fee and no prepayment penalty. If you think you may be able to pay off your loan earlier (or want the flexibility to do that), SoFi is the only lender we reviewed that charges no fee at all. Given their very low rates, we think anyone with good credit should start with SoFi first, and then compare their offer to the rest of the providers.

Rates: 5.49% -14.24%, fixed*, with AutoPay. You can also select a variable interest rate. With AutoPay, the variable rates are from 4.99% – 11.14%*. Rates are based upon 1-month LIBOR.

Upfront fee: 0% – No origination fees, no prepayment fees and no balance transfer fees

Amount: $5,000 – $100,000

Period: 3, 5 or 7 years

Available states: All states except Tennessee and Nevada.

Apply Now


BestEgg

bestegg11BestEgg is an online personal loan company that offers low interest rates and quick funding. BestEgg is one of the fastest growing personal loan companies in the country, largely because it has been able to provide one of the best combinations of interest rate and loan amount in the market.

You can check to see your interest rate without hurting your score, and they do approve people with scores as low as the mid-600s. If you have an excellent credit score, BestEgg will be very competitive on terms.

Upfront fee: 0.99% – 5.99%

Amount: up to $35,000

Period: up to 5 years

Apply Now


Lightstream

lightstream2Lightstream is a great choice for people with excellent credit. It is actually part of a bank you might have heard of, SunTrust Bank. They were recently set up to offer some of the best personal loan rates available, and they are delivering. The interest rate you are charged depends upon the purpose of the loan. Interest rates can be as low as 1.99% for a new car purchase (and Lightstream does not put their name on your title. They just put the cash in your bank account, and you can shop around and pay cash for the car). Home improvement loans start at 3.99%, making them cheaper and easier than a home equity loan.

They’ll also approve and deposit your money fast, often the same day, and give extra consideration if you have money in your 401K or equity in your home.

LightStream has created an exclusive offer, just for MagnifyMoney readers. (This offer went live in January 2016). Credit card consolidation loans for MagnifyMoney readers are now as low as 4.19%. The highest rate is 14.49%. Just beware: LightStream does a hard credit pull.

Upfront fee: None

Amount: $5,000 – $100,000

Period: 2 – 7 years

Available states: All

Apply Now


Personal Loans for Good Credit

These providers may be able to help you out if you’re not approved for the very best rates or a 0% balance transfer offer. Check those deals first, there’s no real harm to do that, but if they fall through, give these a try.

LendingClub*

LendingClub logo
You might not have heard of LendingClub yet, but they are a big player in online loans. And they offer a wide range of rates and terms based on your credit profile and needs. Generally you’ll need a score of about 600 or higher to get approved.

Rates: 5.99 – 35.89% APR

Upfront fee: 1 – 6%

Amount: up to $40,000

Period: up to 5 years

Available states: All except Iowa and West Virginia

Apply Now


BestEgg

BestEgg (reviewed earlier in this post) will approve people with credit scores as low as the mid-600s. If you have good credit and are looking for a loan, you should consider BestEgg.

Apply Now


Upstart*

Upstart logo
Upstart offers loans that look a lot like the ones from the bigger online lenders like LendingClub or Prosper.

They’ll let you borrow up to $35,000 for 3 years. But the key is they will take into account the schools you attended, your area of study, the grades you earned in school, and your work history to see if you can get a better rate.

So while the range of rates Upstart offers is similar to the bigger guys, if you did well in school, you might find the rate you actually get is lower than what the others will offer you, so it’s worth trying.

You’ll need a 640 or better FICO and your monthly payments can’t be more than 55% of your monthly income.

Rates: 8.69% -29.99%

Upfront fee: 2.8% – 8%

Amount: $5,000 – $50,000

Term: 3 & 5 year loans available

Available states: All

Apply Now


PenFed

Previously, PenFed offers a fixed rate of 9.9% interest rate for 5 years. Veterans get extra special attention so it’s worth checking this online only offer. You have to be a member of the PenFed credit union, but that’s easy and anyone can do that online as part of the process.

Rates: 9.99%

Upfront fee: None

Term: 5 years

Available states: All

Apply Now


Personal Loans for Minimal Credit

Avant*

APRs range from 9.95% – 35.99% and there is no prepayment fee. You can check to see your interest rate without hurting your credit score. Just one warning: if you are willing to borrow money at 35.99%, then you really need to step back and think about building a longer term financial plan. You can download our free Debt Guide, which will help you put together a plan so that you never have to pay interest rates this high again.

Avant’s platform offers access to loans from $1,000 to $35,000, with terms from 2 to 5 years. The minimum credit score varies, but we have seen people with scores as low as 580 get approved.

The good thing about Avant is that these loans are amortizing. That means it is a real installment loan, and you will be reducing your principal balance with every payment.

Rates: 9.95%-35.99%

Upfront fee: 0.95% – 4.75%

Amount: up to $35,000

Period: up to 5 years

Available states: All except Colorado, Iowa and West Virginia.

For Example: A $6,500 loan with an administration fee of 3.75% and an amount financed of $6,256.25, repayable in 36 monthly installments, would have an APR of 29.95% and monthly payments of $265.40.

Apply Now


Springleaf

 

Springleaf offers personal loans through its branch network to people with less than perfect credit. You can start your application online. If you qualify, you will have to visit a branch to complete the application. Once in the branch, if you have all of the required documents, you can receive you loan proceeds immediately via check.

You can borrow from $1,500 to $25,000. The interest rates are not low, and can go up to 36%. They will also charge an up-front origination fee that is not refundable. You should definitely shop around at other lenders first, given the high cost of the loan and the need to visit a branch.

Rates: 25.10%-36.00%

Upfront fee: varies

Amount: up to $25,000

Period: up to 5 years

Apply Now


As these new companies evolve, expect even more attractive options to emerge, so when you think about lowering your rates, don’t just look to the banks you know.

Give an online lender a chance. You may be rewarded with lower rates, good service, and faster freedom from debt.

promo-personalloan-wide

We’ll receive a referral fee if you click on offers with this symbol. This does not impact our rankings or recommendations You can learn more about how our site is financed here.

Got questions? Get in touch via TwitterFacebook or email (info@magnifymoney.com) 

Brian Karimzad
Brian Karimzad |

Brian Karimzad is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Brian at brian@magnifymoney.com

TAGS:

Get A Pre-Approved Personal Loan

$

Won’t impact your credit score

Balance Transfer, Featured, News, Pay Down My Debt

Can a Balance Transfer Hurt Your Credit Score?

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Advertiser Disclosure

 

Can a Balance Transfer Hurt Your Credit Score?

When you are carrying a balance on a high-interest credit card, receiving a 0% balance transfer offer can be enticing. After all, shifting the balance from a high-interest credit card to a no-interest card means saving money on interest and paying down the balance faster.

But how will the balance transfer impact your credit score?

First, you should understand three crucial elements that go into determining your credit score: inquiries, credit utilization, and length of credit history.

  • Inquiries – How many new accounts have you opened lately? Whenever you apply for new debt, the lender performs a “hard inquiry” to determine whether they will approve your application. According to FICO, hard inquiries account for about 10% of your credit score.
  • Credit utilization ratio – How much do you owe? Your credit utilization ratio is calculated based on your total outstanding balances compared to your total credit limit. It is calculated both per card and across all of your credit accounts and makes up about 30% of your credit score.
  • Length of credit history – How long have you been using credit? This factor looks at the age of your oldest account as well as the average length of all of your credit accounts. The longer your history, the higher your score. According to FICO, the length of your credit history accounts for about 15% of your credit score.

How balance transfers can hurt your credit score

Balance transfer applications count as a hard credit inquiry

When you open a new account for a balance transfer, the lender will perform a hard inquiry. One hard inquiry is unlikely to have a large impact on your credit score. If you have excellent credit and haven’t applied for a card in the last six months, one hard inquiry may not impact your score at all. Inquiries could have as much as a ten-point impact, but that would be very rare. The typical impact of one hard inquiry is about five points. However, if you apply for several cards at once, the applications could have a big impact.

Balance transfers lower the average length of your credit history

Opening a new credit account will lower the average age of your credit accounts, which can negatively impact your credit score in the short term.

For example, if you have one 5-year-old credit card, one 3-year-old credit card, and one 10-year-old credit card, the average age of your cards is 6 years.

When you open a new credit card for a balance transfer, you now add a less-than-one-year-old account to your balance. At the most, your average credit age will drop down to 4.75 years.

How balance transfers can improve your credit score

All in all, the benefits of balance transfers can far outweigh the negatives.

You will likely lower your utilization rate

Opening new credit accounts decreases your overall credit utilization ratio, which positively affects your credit score over time. For example, if you have one credit card with a $5,000 limit and a $2,500 balance, your credit utilization ratio is 50%. When you open a second account with a $5,000 limit and transfer the $2,500 balance to the new card while leaving the old account open, your total available credit is $10,000 ($5,000 + $5,000), and your outstanding balance is still just $2,500. You’ve reduced your credit utilization rate to 25%.

What happens if the new account’s limit is just $2,500 and you transfer the full $2,500 balance? You’ve still reduced your overall credit utilization ratio. Now you’re using 33% of your available credit ($2,500 / $7,500). However, the negative is that there are still some points taken away if you max out one card. You didn’t have any maxed out cards before, and now you do. Credit scores are very sensitive to people who max out their credit cards as they’re seen as high risk. Maxing out a new card could reduce your credit score by about 30 points in the short term.

You will be paying off debt faster, improving your score dramatically

Where balance transfers get exciting is that more of your money is going to paying off the balance of your debt as opposed to interest. Ultimately, the best credit score comes from carrying as little debt as possible.

Using our previous example of the $2,500 balance on one card, assume that card had a 21% interest rate and you could afford to pay $220 per month toward paying it off. According to MagnifyMoney’s balance transfer calculator, if you did not take advantage of a balance transfer, the card would be paid off in 13 months, and you would pay $309 in interest. If you transferred that balance, even with a 3% balance transfer fee ($75), you could pay off that balance one month sooner and save $234.

In the end, your goal should be to pay off your debt as quickly as possible. Over the course of a year, as long as you stick to your strategy, you can eliminate that debt in a year, and your score will go up a whole lot faster than it otherwise would.

When to avoid balance transfers

The short-term impact of a balance transfer on your credit score should only concern you if you are planning on applying for a mortgage in the next six to nine months. During this period, every point on your score counts. Just a 0.2% difference in your interest rate can cost a ton of money over the life of your mortgage. In that case, wait until after you get the mortgage to do the balance transfer.

The bottom line

People are so programmed to think about their score that they sometimes lose sight of what they want the high score for. A higher score saves you money and gets you out of debt faster. Don’t focus on short-term fluctuations of 10 to 20 points. Use your good credit score to save money. That’s what it’s there for.

Janet Berry-Johnson
Janet Berry-Johnson |

Janet Berry-Johnson is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Janet here

TAGS:

Balance Transfer

How to do a Balance Transfer with Chase

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Advertiser Disclosure

How to do a Balance Transfer with Chase

Chase offers one of the best balance transfer products in the market: Chase Slate®. You can save with a $0 introductory balance transfer fee and get 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and $0 annual fee. Plus, receive your Monthly FICO® Score for free.

If you want to take advantage of the intro offer, you can click on “Go To Site” below. If you already have a Chase card and want to complete your balance transfer, keep reading and we will explain exactly how to get it done. Just make sure you complete the transfer within 60 days of opening the account.

Haven’t applied for your balance transfer with Chase? Just click below 

chase slate

learn more

Make sure you complete the transfer as soon as you receive your card in the mail and never more than 60 days after you apply, because you can lose the introductory offer. Completing a balance transfer is easy. You can do it on the phone or online, and it should only take a few minutes.

What you need

You will need the account number and balance of the credit card that has the debt.  These cards will be referred to as the “transfer from” account. If you have a $3,000 balance at Citi, and you want to transfer it to your new Chase account, then you will need the account number and balance of the Citi account.  And, in this example:

  • The transfer from account is Citi.
  • The transfer to account is Chase.

Once you have that information, you are ready to go.

Call

You can call the customer service number on the back of your credit card, and they will be more than happy to help you complete the balance transfer. The phone representative will go through security checks and then ask for the credit card number and amount of debt that you want to transfer. Call center employees often receive a bonus to complete a balance transfer, so you will usually find a very eager person on the other side of the telephone line.

The bank makes the payment to your credit card for you.  If you are close to your due date, I recommend making the minimum payment to your card to ensure that you do not have any late fees. The payment (in this example, from Chase to Citi), can take up to 3 weeks. It is usually faster, but you should not take any chances and want to avoid being hit with a late fee.

Online

Most banks make it easy to complete a balance transfer online. Once you receive your credit card, you will need to sign up for online banking. Below, we will show you how to complete an online balance transfer with Chase. Click on these names if you’re looking for a step-by-step guide for these banks: Discover, Capital One or Barclaycard.

1. Login to your account.  On the “My Accounts” page, you will see the option to complete a balance transfer. Click on Transfer Balances.

 

Credit Card Slate

 

2.  Select an Offer. You should see the introductory offer listed. (In this example, you are looking at my credit card – which I have had for a while. No intro offer is listed)

 

Transfer Balance

 

3.  Input the following:

  • The account number of the credit card that has your debt right now.  This is the account number of the transfer from account.
  • The amount that you want to transfer

Most banks have a limit on the total amount that you can transfer.  At Chase, you can transfer no more than $15,000 from other accounts in any 30-day period.

 

Transfer Balance

 

4.  You will then be shown the terms and conditions of the balance transfer offer, which you will need to accept.

Here are the most important items:

  • Make sure the terms of the balance transfer match the terms of the offer when you applied. If you are expecting a 0% fee and a 0% interest rate for 15 months, make sure that is what you see. If there are any issues, call the bank directly.
  • Make sure you pay on time.  If you go 60 days late, you will lose your balance transfer offer

5.  You will then receive your confirmation.  Chase will pay your existing credit card bill to roll the debt over to their bank.  But, it can take up to 3 weeks.  So, we recommend that you make the minimum payment if your bill is due in the next 3 weeks.

Here is what the screen looks like confirming you transfer:

 

Confirmation

 

Once you see this screen, then you are in good shape.

Remember:

  1. Make sure you pay on time.  Paying late (60 days) can lead to a loss of your 0% interest rate.  And it would go to the penalty rate.
  2. Take full advantage of the balance transfer period to pay down as much of your debt as possible.

Still have questions? Email us at info@magnifymoney.com or tweet us @Magnify_Money

Customize best balance transfer credit cards offers

Nick Clements
Nick Clements |

Nick Clements is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Nick at nick@magnifymoney.com

TAGS: , ,

Balance Transfer

Capital One Improves Balance Transfer Offers

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Advertiser Disclosure

review-cc-full

Balance transfer offers on credit cards can be an excellent way to reduce the cost of expensive credit card debt, helping you can get out of debt faster. Capital One balance transfer offers are now two months longer. You can now have a 0% interest rate for 17 months (with a 3% fee), compared to 0% for 15 months before. Balance transfers are usually offered only to people with excellent credit, however Capital One does approve people with average credit score, making these offers potentially appealing to people with weaker scores.

In this article, we will:

  • Review the new balance transfer offers from Capital One
  • Provide details on who can be approved for the offer
  • Decode the fine print, so that you know how to avoid tricks and traps that could cost you

Note: If you are looking to get out of debt, you should consider downloading our free Debt Free Guide. It will show you how to slash your interest rates, boost your credit score, negotiate hard with creditors and become debt-free fast and forever. Balance transfers can be a great tool in your debt-free strategy, but everyone should have a strategy. And this guide can help you build one.

Offer Review

The 0% balance transfer offers have been extended on the Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card, and the Platinum Prestige Card. We will talk about the offers on both cards.

Quicksilver Cash Rewards

 Quicksilver Cash Rewards

Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 5.05.24 PM

Quicksilver is best known for having no annual fee, and providing unlimited 1.5% cash back on all of your spend. Unlike many cash back credit cards, there are no rotating categories, no caps, and no minimums for getting your cash back. They really raised the bar on cash back credit cards, until Citibank created the Double Cash Rewards card does the same thing, except it pays 2%.

Quicksilver used to offer 0% for 9 months on balance transfers, with a 3% fee. They have now increased that duration to 11 months. While 11 is certainly better than 9, this is still a bad balance transfer offer when compared to the rest of the market. We list all of the balance transfer options here.

Platinum Prestige Card

Capitalone

Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 5.05.24 PM

Platinum Prestige has no annual fee and no rewards. The card used to offer 0% for 15 months, with a 3% fee. But now the offer is for 17 months, with a 3% fee.

This can be a good offer, particularly if your credit score is less than 700. If your score is above 700, you can get a better deal. Here are some great options:

If your score is below 700, your options are much more limited. In fact, we recommend considering a personal loan to get a lower rate on your debt, where you will have a better chance of getting a higher loan amount.

Approval Criteria

It is easier to be approved for the Platinum Preferred than for Quicksilver.

Quicksilver usually will not approve below a score of 640, and will the average is in the mid-700s. This is a rewards card for people with good credit – and not a good card for people looking to pay down debt.

However, Platinum Preferred will accept people with scores as low as 620. However, here are a few considerations:

  • If your score is below 700, your credit line will likely be small. Expect to receive between $500 – $1,000. Although that can still represent good savings, you will likely have difficulty transferring all of your debt if you have a lot of it.
  • Capital One does not use the FICO score alone in determining whether or not you are approved. They have their own underwriting rules. Just because you have that score does not mean you are guaranteed approval. We have a guide that can help you determine if you are pre-approved for credit cards.

 Fine Print Alert

Balance transfers can save you a lot of money. However, there are certain traps out there, and if you fall for those traps it could end up costing you a lot of money. Make sure you do the following:

  • If you are approved for your balance transfer credit card, complete the balance transfer right away. The 0% promotional offer is not tied to the date of your transfer. Instead, Capital One will say 0% until May 2016. The longer you wait to transfer the balance, the shorter your promotional offer. And, after 60 days, you lose the chance to transfer at that rate completely.
  • Set up automatic payments so that you are never late. Even being late by one day can result in a steep late fee. And, if you are late by 60 days or more, you can see a big spike in your interest rate.
  • Don’t spend on the credit card. Although Capital One does offer 0% on purchases, they do that as a temptation. They want you to spend, so that you don’t use the promotional period to pay down your debt. If you are using a balance transfer, you should be doing it to get out of debt faster.

To learn more about balance transfers, you can visit our learning center.

Balance transfers, when used properly, can take years off your debt repayment. We are happy to see this move by Capital One, and hope that offers continue to improve during 2015 as competition continues to heat up.

promo-balancetransfer-wide

Nick Clements
Nick Clements |

Nick Clements is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Nick at nick@magnifymoney.com

TAGS: , , ,

Balance Transfer, Best of

The Best 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards of 2015

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Advertiser Disclosure

Woman using credit card and laptop

Updated 6/2/15

Credit card debt can be depressing. If you feel overwhelmed, you are not alone. Americans have over $850 billion of total credit card debt, and the interest rates are incredibly high. You are probably paying more than 15% interest on your credit cards, and if you have a store credit card you are most likely paying more than 20%.

We did a survey, and found that families with credit card debt have an average balance of $10,000. At a 15% interest rate, that means nearly half of the country is paying more than $1,500 of interest alone on their credit card every year. And if you only make the minimum due, if will take you more than 30 years to pay off your debt, and you will end up paying more interest than you originally borrowed. If you want to see how long it will take you to pay off your debt, you can use our debt repayment calculator.

But don’t let those calculations scare you. You don’t have to continue paying high interest rates. If you have a good credit score (which means a FICO of 700 or higher), and if you have a debt burden below 40%, you can qualify for some amazing offers. (Note: debt burden is defined as the monthly payments of debts reported to the credit bureau divided by your monthly income). If your score is below 700, you may want to consider a personal loan. And if you want more help, download our free Debt Guide.

 

Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 1.30.44 PM

There is a good balance transfer option for people with mediocre credit (score above 640) from PenFed, an excellent credit union. We have a review of that offer below.

We all feel comfortable re-financing our mortgages when interest rates drop. Yet, for some reason, we tend to stick with our credit card companies even though the interest rates may be shockingly high. There is good news: you can complete a balance transfer and dramatically reduce the cost of your debt, taking years off debt repayment. Applying for a card and completing a balance transfer only takes a few minutes. And we will share with you the best balance transfer credit cards of 2015.

Why The Best Deals are at MagnifyMoney

When you search for the best balance transfers, you usually find the same 3-5 products at all of the other price comparison websites. Why? Because these are the products that pay commissions. At MagnifyMoney, we do not take commissions from banks. That is why you will not see an “Advertisers Disclosure” on our website. And that is why you will see all of the best offers, including credit unions, community banks and other offers.

We have a team that reviews all the best products every day. Nothing makes us happier than finding a new offer and sharing it with you. If you work for a bank or credit union, and you believe you have a better offer, just email us at info@magnifymoney.com and we will write about it.

What Is A Balance Transfer?

A balance transfer is a special offer that a bank or credit union will give you to transfer the debt from another bank or credit union. For example, imagine you have debt at Bank A. Bank B, a competitor of Bank A, would like to steal business from Bank A. So, they give you a special offer. If you transfer the debt from Bank A, Bank B will charge 0% interest for X period of months. That is a great deal for you, because you will dramatically cut the cost of your debt. And it could be a great deal for Bank B, if you fall into the traps of a balance transfer.

How To Avoid the Traps of a Balance Transfer

Banks don’t like making loans at 0% interest. They offer balance transfers, because they believe you are going to make some of the following mistakes:

  1. You will spend on the credit card. Whenever people are given new plastic, they tend to use it. That means they give into the temptation of spending money they don’t have. There are two problems with spending on the card. First, it increases the likelihood that you will not have paid off the balance when the promotional period expires. And, second, on many credit cards you will not have a grace period when you make purchases. Instead, you will be charged interest from the day the purchase is made. In order to avoid this trap, we recommend putting the credit card in the freezer once the balance transfer is complete.
  2. You will make a late payment. If you pay even just one day late, you could be charged a big late fee. If you are 30 days late, your credit score will get punished. And, if you pay 60 days late, you will lose the special promotional rate. In order to avoid any risk, sign up for automatic payments.
  3. You will keep your balance at the credit card company after the promotional rate expires. After the introductory period, the interest rate will jump to a very high rate. There is good news: most balance transfers (and none of the balance transfers recommended by MagnifyMoney) do not charge interest retroactively. But the go-forward interest rate can be high. And banks hope that you don’t pay off the balance during the promotional period, and end up paying high interest rates. In order to avoid this trap, make sure that you either pay the balance off completely during the promotional period, or have a plan to transfer the balance again at the end of the period.
  4. You don’t complete the transfer within 30-60 days. If you are approved for the credit card and do not complete the transfer within 30-60 days (depending upon the bank), you would lose the promotional offer. There is an easy solution to this problem: complete the transfer the day you are approved. 

If you don’t spend on the card, pay on time, and make sure that you transfer the debt again at the end of the promotional period, you will end up cutting your interest cost by 90% or more. And that means you can take years off your debt repayment.

The Best Balance Transfers as of September 2015

We update our database every day. You can see the full database in our balance transfer marketplace (where we will also do the math to show you how much you can save). In this article, we want to highlight the best offers out there today. And many of these offers can not be found on any other review site.

  • Best No Fee Balance Transfer Credit Cards
  • Longest Balance Transfer Credit Cards
  • Best Runner Ups
  • Best Balance Transfer Credit Card for Bad Credit

Best Introductory $0 Fee Balance Transfer Credit Card: Chase Slate

The Chase Slate has an intro offer for 0% intro APR for 15 months, with $0 intro fee for balance transfers. This is literally a 100% reduction in the cost of your debt.

151_card_Chase_Slate

Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 5.05.24 PM

Best Long Duration Balance Transfer Credit Cards: Santander Sphere, Citi Simplicity and Citi Diamond Preferred

You can have 0% for a full 2 years. You will have to pay a 4% fee up-front, but will then enjoy no interest for 2 full years. It will be difficult to find a longer deal out there.

79_card.79_card.Sphere_Credit_Card

Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 5.05.24 PM

 

Citi Simplicity and Citi Diamond Preferred both offer 21 months at 0% with a 3% fee. Just remember: you can only transfer debt from another bank.

241_card.241_card.Citi_Simplicity_Card

Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 5.05.24 PM

 

240_cardCitDiamond (2)

 

Apply Now

 

Best Balance Transfer for Bad Credit

If your credit score is between 640 – 700, you may want to consider the PenFed Promise Card. PenFed is an excellent credit union, which you can join by making a donation to support our troops. The Promise Credit Card was recently awarded an A+ by MagnifyMoney, because it has eliminated virtually every credit card fee ever invented.

PenFed Promise offers 4.99% for 12 months, which is the best low-rate promotional offer for people with credit scores below 700. If you work hard and pay down your debt during those 12 months, your score will most likely have a dramatic improvement. You can then look for even better deals in month 13.

132x81-Promise

Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 5.05.24 PM

In Summary

You can save a lot of money by transferring your debt from a high interest rate credit card to a low interest rate balance transfer. Even more importantly, you can get out of debt faster. Any one of these options could be a great choice. Just make sure you don’t fall for any of the bank tricks. And, make sure you complete the balance transfer within 60 days of being approved for the credit card, otherwise you will lose the offer.

Nick Clements
Nick Clements |

Nick Clements is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Nick at nick@magnifymoney.com

TAGS: , ,

Balance Transfer

New No-Fee 0% Citizens Bank Balance Transfer

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Advertiser Disclosure

review-cc-full

UPDATE:  THIS DEAL HAS EXPIRED, CHECK HERE FOR THE LATEST BALANCE TRANSFER CREDIT CARD OFFERS.

Good news for consumers with credit card debt: the balance transfer credit card market has just become more competitive. Citizens Bank has launched an excellent balance transfer option: 0% for 15 months, with no balance transfer fee. They have matched Chase Slate, which also offers an introductory 0% APR for 15 months, with no balance transfer fee. Hopefully this is a sign of increased competition in 2015, as banks fight hard to steal balances from their competitors. And, if you have already taken advantage of the Chase Slate offer, you now have the ability to keep your no-fee, no-interest period for another 15 months.

We really like this deal. A balance transfer can take years off debt repayment. And when you have the chance to transfer your debt with no fee and no interest for 15 months, you are literally cutting your interest expense over 15 months by 100%.

card_cashback

Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 5.05.24 PM

In this post, we will:

  • Offer a review of the new Citizens Bank balance transfer offer, including who is most likely to be approved
  • Provide tips on how to make a balance transfer work for you (including how to avoid the traps)
  • Discuss the trade-off between a no-fee strategy, and a strategy of maximizing the length of the balance transfer

Review: Citizens Bank Balance Transfer Offer

This is a simple offer: 0% interest and no balance transfer fee for 15 months.

You will need to have excellent credit to take advantage of the offer. That typically means a credit score of at least 700, a debt burden below 40% and no recent missed payments. If you do not meet this criteria, you may want to consider a personal loan.

Also, Citizens Bank tends to favor people who live in states that it operates, so your chances are best if you live on the East Coast or in the Midwest.

There is no fee for transferring a balance from another credit card company to Citizens Bank, so long as you complete the transfer within 60 days of opening the account.

  • If you transfer between 60 days and 4 months after opening the account, you will end up paying the greater of $10 or 3% of the balance transferred.
  • If you wait more than 4 months, you will pay $10 or 4% for the transfer.
  • In other words – get the transfer done right away!

You will be charged 0% interest for the first 15 billing cycles, NOT the first 15 months after the transfer. So, you really should complete the balance transfer the day you are approved, so that you can take advantage of the full 15 billing cycle promotional offer. If you wait a month to complete the transfer, then you only get 14 months at 0%.

This offer is available on 3 credit cards:

  1. CashBack
  2. Platinum
  3. GreenSense

Warning: none of these cards offer 0% interest rate on purchases. That means you will have no grace period on purchases if you complete a balance transfer. Interest will be charged from the date of the purchase.

For example: if you transfer $5,000 to the credit card, and then make a purchase of $200, you may think that you can make a payment of $300 and be charged no interest (because you covered your purchases + some of the balance). However, that is not true. You would be charged interest on the $200 worth of purchases unless you paid the balance in full ($5,200). There is a simple way to avoid these interest charges: do not spend on the card, and you can avoid all interest charges.

1. CashBack

card_cashback

Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 5.05.24 PM

There is no annual fee on this card.

This is a 1% cash back credit card (earn 1% on all purchases). They have put a bonus offer on spending in the first 90 days.

  • 10% cash back on up to $1,000 of gas spend, and then 5% on all gas spend above $1,000
  • 5% cash back on grocery and drug store purchases.
  • 1% on all other purchases

You can make a mathematical case for earning the increased cash back during the first 90 days. The interest rate on the card will be between 14.99% – 20.99% (depending upon your credit score). That is a range of 1.2% and 1.7% per month. Remember: you will be charged interest on these purchases, because there is no grace period (if you complete a balance transfer). During the intro period (first 90 days), in the bonus categories (gas, grocery and drug store), you technically would earn more cash back than you would spend on interest.

However, for all other purchases – and all purchases after 90 days – you would end up spending more interest than you would earn in cash back. To keep things simple (and because your goal is to get out of debt with these cards), just don’t use the card for spending and focus on paying down your debt. And, if you want to earn high rates of cash back on gas, consider the PenFed Cash Rewards card. On this card, you will always earn 5% on gas. And you can pay the balance in full every month, so that you will avoid paying any interest at all.

2. Platinum MasterCard

card_plat

Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 5.05.24 PM

There is no annual fee on this card, and there are no rewards.

The interest rates are supposed to be lower than a cash back card. However, they are still high. They range from 13.99% – 19.99%.

3. GreenSense Platinum MasterCard

card_greensense

Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 5.05.24 PM

There is no annual fee.

This is an odd card. You earn $0.25 per purchase, so long as you make 10 qualifying purchases each month. You can earn $20 per month, and $240 annually.

The only time this card would make sense: small value transactions. For transactions that are less than $12.50, you will be earning more than 2% cash back on each of those purchases.

However, the interest rates are high (14.99% – 20.99%), and if you complete a balance transfer there will be no grace period.

Balance Transfer Tips

Your goal with a balance transfer credit card offer is to pay down your debt more quickly, and get out of debt. The savings can be dramatic (easily close to $1,000 of savings each year). But, to get the most out of your balance transfer, make sure that you:

  1. Do not spend on the credit card. Your goal is to pay down the debt, not to use the credit card to get further into debt
  2. Complete the balance transfer as soon as you are approved for the card. The introductory offer disappears after 60 days – but the sooner you complete the transfer, the more you save.
  3. Set up an automatic payment so that you are never late. Being late means that you could be charged a late fee, and at 60 days late you could lose your promotional rate.
  4. Keep paying on your old credit card until the balance transfer is complete. Don’t just assume that the payment will arrive.
  5. Don’t close your old credit card once the balance is paid off. To improve your credit score, you want to keep old credit cards open – and you want to keep your utilization low, which means keeping those old limits open.

Is No-Fee The Way to Go?

When using a balance transfer, you really have two options:

  1. Keep transferring to no-fee balance transfers, or
  2. Pay a fee and lock in a longer balance transfer period.

Today, you can get 0% for 15 months, with no fee. If you are willing to pay 4%, you could get 24 months at 0%.

Mathematically, a no-fee strategy is always the best. But, because the durations of the balance transfers are shorter, you end up having to do more work if you can pay off the balance transfer in 15 months.

It comes down to psychology. Do you think you have the discipline to make another transfer in 15 months, to make sure you don’t pay interest? If yes, then go for these offers. If not, then lock in a longer offer, like the Santander 24 month offer.

To see how much you can save on longer duration offers, with fees, you can visit our balance transfer marketplace.

promo-balancetransfer-wide

Nick Clements
Nick Clements |

Nick Clements is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Nick at nick@magnifymoney.com

TAGS: , , ,

Balance Transfer

Why You Should No Longer Avoid Bank of America Balance Transfer Credit Cards

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Advertiser Disclosure

Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 3.35.54 PM

Updated May 30, 2017

If you have credit card debt, you are most likely paying a very high interest rate. In a recent survey by MagnifyMoney, we identified that over 75% of people with credit card debt have an interest rate higher than 15%. Given that the prime rate is currently 4.00%, it is crazy to pay such high interest rates on your debt.

If you have $5,000 of credit card debt at a 15% interest rate,  you will end up paying over $700 of interest in just the next 12 months. Money is time, and the more interest you have to pay to the bank, the longer it will take for you to pay off your debt.

Many banks offer balance transfers, including Bank of America. In this article, we will discuss how a balance transfer works, and then review those offered by Bank of America.

New: Bank of America has just launched a new balance transfer deal. You can now get 0% for 15 months with no balance transfer fee – so long as you complete the transfer within 60 days of opening the account. This offer is on the standard BankAmericard. This offer is only available for people with excellent credit.

If you already have debt at Bank of America, you would not qualify for the new balance transfer offer. Instead, you might want to consider some other good options:

  • Barclaycard Ring: You can save with a $0 introductory balance transfer fee and get 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening, and $0 annual fee. You must have excellent credit.
  • Discover it® – 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer: 0% intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers with a 3% balance transfer fee and no annual fee.

In addition to these, you can shop for balance transfer offers here.

How to Lower Your Interest Rate

Americans are very good at refinancing their mortgages. When we see low interest rates (like the ones out there today), we take advantage of those rates by refinancing. However, for some reason, we often feel uncomfortable doing the same thing with our credit card debt. But we shouldn’t.

Banks will compete for your business, by offering low introductory interest rates if your move your debt from another bank. It is not uncommon to see 0% interest rates for 12, 15, 18 or even 24 months. Typically, these balance transfers have a fee that is charged up front. However, even with the fee, they will dramatically reduce the cost of servicing your debt during the balance transfer period.

Some other banks will offer low, fixed interest rate options without a fee. For example, they may charge 3.99% for 24 months on the transferred debt.

At the end of the day, the best option for a balance transfer comes down to math. Where can you save the most amount of money, when you compare the interest rate you are paying today to the combination interest and fees that you would pay for the balance transfer. In our balance transfer marketplace, we update offers daily and do the math for you.

 

promo-balancetransfer-half

In the example earlier, I wrote about an individual with $5,000 of debt at a 15% interest rate. If that person can afford to pay about $100 per month, than a balance transfer could save someone over $2,000.

 Bank of America

Bank of America offers balance transfers on most of their credit cards. Their best balance transfer offer is on the BankAmericard. But the bank does offer balance transfers on many other credit cards.

Here are the details of their other balance transfer offers:

  • BankAmericard Cash Rewards: 0% for 12 months, with a balance transfer fee of 3% (or $10, whichever is greater)
  • BankAmericard Travel Rewards: there is no balance transfer offer on this card. There is a 0% intro-APR for 12 months on purchases.
  • Bank Americard: 0% for 15 months, with a $0 balance transfer fee, so long as you complete the transfer within 60 days of opening the account. This is the new offer – and their best balance transfer offer.
  • All other Cash Rewards cards (Susan G. Komen, World Wildlife Fund, MLB, U.S. Pride): 0% for 12 months, with a balance transfer fee of 3% (or $10, whichever is greater)
  • Their co-branded travel rewards cards (like Alaska Airlines and Virgin Atlantic) typically do not offer balance transfers
  • For students, they do have a balance transfer offer on the basic Bank Americard (which does not offer rewards). You can get 0% for 15 months with a 3% fee (or $10, whichever is higher). This is one of the best balance transfer offers for students that we have found.

So, the best balance transfer offer is 0% for 15 months with no balance transfer fee, on the basic Bank Americard.

Their best offer is a new entrant, and is now comparable to one of our favorite balance transfer offers: Chase Slate®. Save with a $0 introductory balance transfer fee and get 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and $0 annual fee. Plus, receive your monthly FICO® Score for free.

chase slate card

learn more

And, Citi Simplicity and Citi Diamond preferred provide 0% for 21 months and a 3% fee.

Fine Print Alert: What to Watch Out For 

If you do complete a balance transfer with Bank of America, make sure that you:

  1. Complete your balance transfer within 60 days of opening the account. Otherwise you will lose the introductory rate
  2. Continue to pay on your old credit card until you see that the balance transfer has been completed. It can take 2 weeks for the balance transfer to complete, and you don’t want to be hit with late fees on your old credit card while waiting for the transfer.
  3. You can only move debt to Bank of America from another bank. You can not transfer debt between 2 credit cards of Bank of America.
  4. Make your payments on time, every month. They charge a late fee of up to $35, and a returned payment fee of up to $25. Paying late can also result in a loss of your introductory APR, and a potential penalty APR of up to 29.99%
  5. Try to avoid spending on the card. Although it might be tempting to start spending on the card, try to use the card to get out of debt.
  6. Do your best to pay off the balance during the promotional period. But don’t worry: if you still have a balance remaining after the promotional period ends, Bank of America will not punish you with a fee. And there is no deferred interest.

In Conclusion

If you have a high interest rate credit card, a balance transfer can be a great way to dramatically reduce the interest that you are paying on your debt and take years off your repayment.

And the balance transfers offered by Bank of America will likely save you money. In other words, they will probably give you a deal that is better than what you have right now. Just make sure you shop around to get the right balance transfer for your needs.

Nick Clements
Nick Clements |

Nick Clements is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Nick at nick@magnifymoney.com

TAGS: , , , ,

Balance Transfer

Santander Sphere Credit Card: A Market Leading 2 Year Balance Transfer, But Beware The Fine Print Traps

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Advertiser Disclosure

review-cc-full

Santander is looking to shake up the balance transfer market by offering a 0% interest rate for 2 years. In order to get this rate, you have to apply for the Sphere credit card and transfer debt from another bank to Santander (you cannot transfer debt from another Santander product). In addition, you will have to pay a 4% upfront fee for the transfer. Given the length of the balance transfer, the 4% fee can be a good deal, depending upon the interest rate that you are currently paying. For most people, you will already be saving money (including the fee) by month six.

They also offer rewards and a bonus off for your spending, which you should avoid, because interest will start accruing right away.

If you have high interest rate credit card debt, this could be an excellent option to pay off your debt faster. Just make sure you complete your balance transfer as quickly as possible. We also recommend that you set up an automatic payment, so that you always pay on time. If you are 60 days late, you can lose your 0% rate and be subject to punitive pricing.

Sphere

Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 5.05.24 PM

Who is Santander?

Although small in the United States, Santander is an enormous bank globally. It is headquartered in Spain, and rapidly grew throughout Latin America and Europe. The bank has over $1.25 trillion of assets globally, and dominates the Spanish market. You don’t have to walk far in Madrid or Barcelona to see the bright red of Santander.

They are also a big sponsor of Formula 1, and the bank is run by a close-knit family.

Santander has a very aggressive reputation in banking circles. I used to work in Europe, and Santander was viewed as a very tough competitor. They would use very strong sales incentives, so customers would regularly be on the receiving end of a hard sales pitch. They would also take a much longer term view compared to American and English banks. Whereas most American banks want to make money within 1-2 years on a new customer, Santander would be willing to wait longer. That meant they would usually fund much more aggressive switching bonuses. At MagnifyMoney, we are not surprised to see 2 year 0% offers coming from Santander, as they look to take market share in the US.

Santander has purchased Sovereign Bank, a regional bank in the northeast. They have recently rebranded the business to the global red brand, and are looking to expand. Credit cards is a great way to grow quickly outside of their normal geographic footprint, so you can expect to see more offers coming from them.

So, Santander is a large bank that won’t be going anywhere soon. However, they are an aggressive bank with strong profit motives. So, you shouldn’t be afraid to take advantage of the sign-on bonus offers. But, you should be careful when the bonus offer ends.

The Balance Transfer Offer

The balance transfer offer is very straight-forward. You pay (at the beginning) a 4% fee. You then pay no interest for 24 months, so long as you pay on time. The interest you would have been charged is waived completely. You will never see a retroactive charge.

From month 25, your interest rate will revert to the standard interest rate, which is high.

The savings during the 2 years can be significant. If you have a $5,000 balance at a 17% interest rate and can afford to pay $200 per month, then you would save $917 of interest over 2 years by switching to Santander. That is a lot of money.

In order to be approved, you need to have good credit. You have a decent chance at 680, and an excellent chance if your score is above 700. You will also need a debt burden that can handle the debt. You calculate debt burden by taking your total monthly expenditures (mortgage + auto payment + student loan payments + credit card monthly payments + any other credit bureau debt) and divide that by your monthly gross income. Your best chance of being approved is with a debt burden below 40%. You have to tell Santander your income when you apply.

To see how much you can save, and how it compares to other offers (updated daily), visit our balance transfer marketplace.

promo-balancetransfer-wide

The Rewards

As a general rule, you do not want to spend on a credit card with a balance transfer. There are two main reasons for this.

First, the goal of a balance transfer is to pay off your debt. So, if you start spending on the credit card, there is a big risk that you won’t pay off debt during the promotional period, and you will end up in worse shape at the end of the promotional period. Just put the card in the freezer and forget about it.

The second reason is the trick played on people by the banks. If you have a balance transfer on a credit card, than you no longer have a grace period on purchases. So, interest will be charged on any purchases, at the standard purchase interest rate, from the moment you make the purchase.

If you are looking for rewards, there are better products out there. After the sign-on bonus, this is basically a 1% rewards card. To find a better cash back credit card, you can use our cash back tool.

The Recommendation

If you have credit card debt that you can’t pay off in the next 6 months, a balance transfer could be a great option. If you’re looking for rewards or to make a big purchase, there are other, better credit cards available.

If your debt is not with Chase, and you can pay off the debt in 15 months or less, you should consider Chase Slate. It has 0% intro APR for 15 months, and $0 intro fee, so it can be a better deal than Santander.

If it is going to take much longer, than this card can be a great option to dramatically reduce the cost of your debt and get out of debt faster. Just make sure you don’t spend on the card, you pay on time and you get the transfer done within the first 30 days.

Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 5.05.24 PM

Nick Clements
Nick Clements |

Nick Clements is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Nick at nick@magnifymoney.com

TAGS: , ,