By Jocelyn Baird, NextAdvisor.com
It's easy to go overboard during the holidays, especially when it comes to buying gifts and making travel-related purchases. Whether you've been preparing all year to purchase that big-ticket item or simply got a little too into the holiday spirit, you might find yourself needing a little extra time to pay it all off. Moving your balances to a card with a long 0% intro APR period can give you the time you need to pay them down without spending a small fortune on interest with your old, high-interest cards. While you may have to pay a balance transfer fee of about 3% or 5% of the total to complete the transfer, that one-time fee is nothing compared to the amount you're saving in interest. It should be noted that our top-rated balance transfer credit card, Chase Slate (detailed below), has a $0 intro balance transfer fee that allows you to pay no fee for transfers completed in the first 60 days. What's more, many of these cards have extra perks, such as no annual fee -- which is true for all the cards detailed below -- or the ability to earn rewards for every purchase you make. We've narrowed down the best options for balance transfer cards that holiday shoppers can take advantage of now for a great start to their new year.
Top credit cards for transferring your holiday balances
Not only does Chase Slate offer a generous 15-month 0% intro APR period, plenty of time to chip away at your holiday debt, but you also won't pay a balance transfer fee if you transfer your balance within the first 60 days of card ownership. Additionally, no penalty APR means you won't see your interest go up if you're late on a payment -- great for those of us who occasionally forget when their payment is due. Don't have excellent credit? No worries, Chase Slate accepts cardholders with merely good credit.
Need as much time to pay your balance as possible? The Citi Simplicity card (a NextAdvisor advertiser) offers a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for a whopping 21 months! There is a balance transfer fee ($5 or 3% of the total transferred, whichever is greatest), but you'll still be saving plenty with no penalty fees or late fees to pay.
If you want a card that earns cash back rewards combined with a generous 0% intro APR, then you'll want to look into the Discover it (a NextAdvisor advertiser) credit card. Not only does this card offer users 5% cash back in quarterly rotating categories and 1% cash back on all other purchases, but right now Discover will double your earned cash back at the end of the year. So, if you earn $100 cash back during the year, at the end you'll get it doubled to $200. And of course, this card is great for transferring your high balance thanks to a 16-month 0% intro APR on balance transfers (plus, you get a 6-month 0% intro APR on purchases). As with most cards, you will need to pay a balance transfer fee, which is 3% of the total transferred in this case.
Looking for a simple yet convenient-to-use credit card with a long balance transfer intro APR? The BankAmericard (a NextAdvisor advertiser) offers just that with an 18-billing cycle 0% intro APR for balance transfers made within the first 60 days of card ownership. There is a balance transfer fee of 3% or $10, whichever is highest.
Another great choice for those who want to earn rewards and pay no interest for an extended period of time is Chase Freedom (a NextAdvisor advertiser). There's a fantastic 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months (with a balance transfer fee of 3% or $5, whichever is greater), and you can earn a $150 bonus if you make $500 in purchases during your first 3 months of card membership. As far as cash back goes, users will earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 of combined purchases in rotating categories as well as unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. Top it off with a required credit rating of "good" and you have one well-rounded card.
Also, be sure to check out our balance transfer calculator to see how much these cards can actually save you.
Consider whether a personal loan may be a better alternative
If you've gotten yourself in deep with more than one card (or just have a hefty balance on one), a balance transfer might not be enough to protect you from high interest charges. After all, the longest you can hope for when it comes to 0% APR on balance transfers is 21 months. While a year and a half might be good enough for most, it might not work for some. That's where a personal loan might come in handy, and you can learn about the differences between a personal loan versus a balance transfer by reading this blog post.
Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This content was accurate at the time of this post, but card terms and conditions may change at any time. NextAdvisor.com may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.
This blog post was originally published on NextAdvisor.com.