Published on March 23rd, 2017 | by sirtheta75
Credit Cards With 0% APR & No Balance Transfer Fees
In the comments of our post “Master List of No Annual Fee, No Foreign Transaction Fee Cards”, reader Mark asked:
Originally, I thought this would be too difficult to do a post on, but I recently rededicated myself to my craft*, so here’s a big ole list to peruse. Targeted offers are not included, only publicly available ones.
* if by “craft” we mean “tediously compiling data from bank websites”.
Since this is supposed to be more of a reference list, I will not touch on whether balance transfers are right for your situation, or whether they are better than a secured or unsecured loan, or their risk, or stoozing, or etc.
Banks, whether retail or credit union (CU), make money on balance transfers in two ways*: by charging a fee for a balance transfer and/or by having an APR on the balance you’re transferring (remember: balance transfers generally do not have any grace period and start accruing interest immediately). In the most general sense (there are many exceptions), there is a dichotomy between retail banks & CUs when it comes to balance transfer promotions: retail banks will give you “lengthy” 0% APR periods but charge a hefty balance transfer fee while CUs often do not charge a balance transfer fee but apply an APR to the balance transfer. (Due to the unique structure of CUs, it is much more common to see them not charge a balance transfer fee.)
Even though banks do not make money when they hand out no balance transfer fee and 0% APR offers (for the term of the introductory APR, of course—which is the catch), there are a surprising number of such offers available, mostly from CUs (as you’d expect).
Remember to always do your own research beforehand!
* this is an intentionally simplistic explanation that doesn’t consider people that fail to pay off a balance transfer before the introductory APR ends, banks hedging risk, etc.
A minor amount of information is compiled from my own recollection & this Magnify Money post (which looks to be continuously updated). The bulk of the information—and the overarching methodology—comes from visiting the websites of all the credit unions in the US with more than ~$1 billion in assets (~285 CUs). As you might imagine, that takes quite a lot of time. I mention this specifically to segue into the fact that keeping this post up-to-date is impossible as a solo effort. If you have any updates or additions, please do drop them in the comments below! They’ll be appreciated 🙂
(Another reasonable cut-off would be CUs with more than $300 million, or maybe even $100 million, in assets. Alas, I lack the fortitude to go through ~796 or ~1,674 CUs looking for no-fee no-APR balance transfers!)
The tables below are organized by whether the balance transfer is offered by a (retail) bank or a credit union, then alphabetically. CUs have their state indicated, as CUs in different states can share names. (I originally organized the CUs by size & can re-organize it that way if readers have a strong preference for it!)
The “Months of 0% APR” column can mean different things depending on the bank (e.g. months since account opening date or number of billing cycles). Sufficient disambiguating information between different meanings is not indicated; that’s part & parcel of the research you’ll need to do when looking for a good balance transfer offer. Note that the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act requires that a promotional APR last at least 6 months, so 6 months is the minimum for this column.
The “Days for Transfer” column is how many days the bank gives you to complete a balance transfer before you are no longer eligible for one (or both) of (1) no balance transfer fee and (2) 0% APR. A “/” in this column indicates that the bank has not specified any time limit to complete a balance transfer, so any balance transfers performed during the introductory APR period should be subject to the introductory APR for the length of the introductory APR period. (It is possible that different terms indicating this are hidden behind application pages, so always confirm this beforehand.)
In the CUs section, some additional abbreviations are used as follows: FCU = Federal Credit Union; ECU = Employees Credit Union; CCU = Community Credit Union.
|Issuer & Card||Months of|
|BankAmericard Credit Card||15||60 days|
|Edward Jones MasterCard||12||60|
|NFCU Platinum³||12||60 days|
- Note that Chase can be extremely stingy with the credit line they give people on the Slate. (This may be YMMV, see Travelmom’s comment.) You can read more about the credit limit on this card here.
- Note this card also comes with a 25,000 point sign up bonus.
- This card has restricted membership. 0% introductory period is only for balance transfers and not purchases
Though you may not see it on their site, the following CUs confirmed that they have no balance transfer fee: Landmark CU, Logix FCU, MSU FCU, and Washington State ECU.
|Advancial FCU (TX)||12||/||All (Dinero, Rewards Plus, Savings Secured)|
|Alliant CU (IL)||12¹||/||Visa Platinum & Platinum Rewards|
|Andigo (IL)||6||/||All (Visa Platinum, Platinum Cash Back,|
& Platinum Rewards)
|Arkansas FCU (AR)||6||/||Platinum Visa Classic|
|Boeing ECU (WA)||12||90||All|
|DuPont CCU (VA)||6||90||All (Platinum Rewards, Platinum Cash Back)|
|Elements Financial (IN)||6||/||Cash Rewards, Platinum, Signature Rewards|
|Evansville Teachers FCU (IN)||6||/||All (Platinum Prime Plus, Platinum Rewards)|
|First Tech FCU (CA)||12||90||All²|
|Idaho CU (ID)||6||/||Premier Rewards & Rewards|
|Justice FCU (VA)||6||/||All (Classic, Gold, Platinum Rewards,|
|La Capitol FCU (LA)||12||/||All (Prime Plus, Rewards)|
|Landmark CU (WI)||6||/||Cash Back & Rewards Visa|
|Logix FCU (CA)||12||90||Platinum (Regular) MasterCard|
|MSU FCU (MI)||6||/||All (Platinum, Platinum Plus)|
|OE FCU (CA)||6||/||Steel, Steel Secured|
|Patelco CU (CA)||6||90||Pure MasterCard|
|Premier America CU (CA)||6||/||Premier First, Premier Privileges Platinum,|
Standard, & Student Standard
|Purdue FCU (IN)||12||/||Visa Signature|
|Quorum FCU (NY)||12||/||All (Cash Back, RateWise,|
& World MasterCards)
|RBFCU (TX)||12||90||CashBack, Premier Rate|
|Redstone FCU (AL)||6||30||All (Visa Signature, Rewards, & Traditional)|
|SAFE CU (CA)||12||/||Platinum, Platinum Cash Rewards,|
& Platinum Rewards
|Scott CU (IL)||6||/||Visa Platinum & Preferred,|
MasterCard Platinum Plus
|Space Coast CU (FL)||6||/||Platinum Visa|
|Texas Dow ECU (TX)||12||30||All4|
|U of I CCU (IA)||6³||/||Platinum, Platinum Rewards, World|
|Washington State ECU (WA)||6||60||All (Platinum Rewards)|
|XCEL FCU (NY)||6||/||All (Platinum)|
|ESL (NY)||12||/||Rewards Visa Signature|
- The introductory APR on balance transfers (and purchases) is 0.00% to 5.99% depending on creditworthiness.
- All credit cards except for the Platinum Secured MasterCard, including: Odyssey Rewards World Elite MasterCard, Platinum MasterCard, Platinum Rewards MasterCard, and Choice Rewards World MasterCard.
- The introductory APR on balance transfers (and purchases) is 0.00% to 11.9% depending on creditworthiness.
- All credit cards, including: Buc-ee’s MasterCard, Onyx Platinum MasterCard, Platinum MasterCard, Family Platinum MasterCard, & Classic MasterCard.
To make managing the tables easier, CU offers with explicitly indicated end dates are placed here.
|Transfer By||Specific Cards?|
|American Airlines CU (TX)||6||03/31/17||All (Visa Platinum, Rewards, & Secured)|
|Fort Knox FCU (KY)||12||03/31/17||Platinum, Gold, Classic|
|Goldenwest FCU (UT)||6||03/31/17||All (Aggie, Rewards, Simply Platinum)|
Which Credit Unions are Easiest to Join?
A big list of CUs doesn’t do much good if you can’t join any of them. I won’t produce an exhaustive list, but here is a small list of credit unions from the above table that are easy to join:
- Alliant CU, anyone who donates $10 to Foster Care to Success
- Evansville Teachers FCU, anyone who donates $5 to the Mater Dei Friends & Alumni Association
- FirstTech FCU, anyone who is a member of the Financial Fitness Association ($8)
- Logix FCU, anyone who lives in AZ, CA, DC, MA, MD, ME, NH, NV, or VA
(I will add to this list if any commenters indicate more that are easy to join; I only did cursory research on this front.)