Santander Bravo® Credit Card Balance Transfer Review

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Updated on Monday, May 4, 2015

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Santander Bank, N.A. is not accepting credit card applications at this time.

Enjoy a long introductory rate of zero percent APR on balance transfers for the first 18 months with the Santander Bravo® Credit Card. If you’re looking to buy some time to pay off your high interest debt, transferring the balance to the Santander Bravo® Credit Card can give you an extra year and a half to pay it off without accruing interest- all for a nominal 3 percent (or $10 minimum) fee. Be aware this card is only available to people who live in: CT, DC, DE, ME, MD, MA, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, or VT.

In addition to the attractive introductory APR, the Santander Bravo® Credit Card also comes with rewards- offering 3 percent cash back on gas, groceries, and restaurants on up to $5,000 worth of qualified purchases each quarter. Unlike other rewards cards, you don’t have to keep track of rotating cash back categories to enjoy the high reward rate. With gas, grocery, and restaurant spending always earning 3 points for every $1 spent (up to the $5,000 cap), and all other purchases rewarded with 1 point per dollar spent, this card offers a convenient way to leverage your day to day spending while also paying down your existing debt.

Santander Bravo® Credit Card Pros

  • Get 0% intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers.
  • Enjoy a top rewards rate on gas, groceries, and restaurants with simple redemption and no expiration dates.
  • Bonus offer: Earn $100 cash back via statement credit after you spend $1,000 on new net retail purchases in your first 90 days of opening your account.
  • World MasterCard perks: travel benefits and concierge services.
  • Price protection and extended warranty coverage.

However, we don’t encourage you to be spending on your balance transfer card. It’s best to transfer the balance and then lock it away until you’ve paid down as much of the debt as possible.

Santander Bravo® Credit Card Cons

  • $49 annual fee (waived for the first year).
  • Balance transfer fee: 3 percent (minimum of $10).
  • Foreign transaction fee: 3 percent.
  • Caps on bonus cash back- 15,000 points per quarter.

What Do I Need To Qualify?

  • Excellent credit required.

Who Is It Best For?

The Santander Bravo® Credit Card is best for those with a strong credit history looking to buy some extra time to fulfill their consumer debt obligations. While the zero percent intro APR period lasts for a full 18 months, the annual fee of $49 is only waived for the first year. If you can’t get your debt paid off before the 12-month mark, sticking with the card through the $49 fee may not be worthwhile.

Take a look at your balance and make an assessment of your estimated debt pay off timeline, the potential savings, and the potential costs. The rewards of the Santander Bravo® Credit Card can provide some additional allure, but staying focused on the primary objective of reducing amounts owed can help ensure that value assessments remain objective and grounded in the ultimate goal of getting to zero balance.

[Use our debt repayment calculator.]

Looking Out for the Fine Print

  • Balance transfers at Santander must be completed within the first 90 days to benefit from the 18 month zero percent APR offer.
  • The balance transfer fee is 3 percent (or a minimum of $10).
  • After the introductory 0 percent APR period, purchases are subject to a variable APR based on creditworthiness.
  • There is a penalty APR
  • There is no grace period on balance transfers, so if you take the balance transfer offer and fail to pay the balance in full by the payment due date, you will have to pay interest on new purchases from the date of purchase.
  • Cash advance fee: 5 percent ($10 minimum).
  • Foreign transaction fee: 3 percent.
  • Annual fee: $49 (waived for the first year). You can continue to waive the annual fee after the first year by maintaining a Santander Select Checking account. Note that this checking account comes with its own set of fine print fees.

How It Compares to the Competition

While 18 months to benefit from the intro 0 percent APR is a long time to enjoy interest free debt payoff, the annual fee that kicks in at the 12 month mark and a balance transfer fee of 3 percent are reason alone to consider fee free alternatives to the Santander Bravo® Credit Card.

Chase Slate® has an excellent balance transfer offer. You can save with a Intro $0 on transfers made within 60 days of account opening. After that: Either $5 or 5%, whichever is greater. You also get 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months and 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months (16.74% - 25.49% Variable APR, afterwards), and $0 annual fee. Plus, see monthly updates to your FICO® Score and the reasons behind your score for free.

The information related to the Chase Slate® has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

If you want to stay with Santander or prefer the flexibility of a longer interest free debt payoff period, consider the Sphere® Credit Card from Santander. There is a $0 annual fee and a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 billing cycles if taken within the first 90 days of account opening (after, 14.74% to 24.74% Variable).

An introductory balance transfer offer paired with a decent rewards program is admittedly hard to come by, but when trying to buy time to get to zero balance, your focus should remain on that top priority. Don’t get stuck paying for the privilege of additional spending rewards when what you really need is to be from debt. With that objective in mind, the Santander Bravo® Credit Card may not be your best option.

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