Best balance transfer credit cards and how to use them - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Best balance transfer credit cards and how to use them

(Source: WMC Action News 5) (Source: WMC Action News 5)
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) -

Your credit card balance is big. Its interest rate, even bigger.

Matt Schulz, senior industry analyst for CreditCards.com, said it may be time to bounce that balance to a better card.

"If you've still got decent credit, but you've got a high balance on a card with a high interest rate, it's a really good time to consider a balance transfer card," Schulz said. "They start with zero percent interest, and a lot of these cards have no balance transfer fees that go along with the card, so those are two important things to look for."

According to Schulz, these are the best balance transfer credit cards on the market (for all of CreditCards.com's balance-transfer card recommendations, please click here):

* CHASE SLATE. The Chase Slate card offers zero percent interest on your transferred balance for 15 months and no transfer fee within 60 days of opening the account. "As long as you make the transfer within the first 60 days, you won't have to pay that fee on the Chase Slate card," explained Schulz.

* CITI DIAMOND PREFERRED. The Citi Diamond Preferred card offers zero percent interest on the transferred balance for 21 months -- nearly two years. However, it carries a three percent transfer fee.

Meredith Crawford is a credit expert and president/CEO of Confluent Strategies, an Equifax sales agent based in Memphis. He said a good balance transfer card should be a useful tool in managing your credit balance but there are pitfalls. 

For example, on the Chase Slate card, if you carry your transferred balance beyond the 15-month/zero interest introductory period, the annual percentage rate of interest jumps to a range of 15 to 25 percent, based on your credit score. On the Citi Diamond Preferred card, the interest rate jumps to a range between 13 and 23 percent after the introductory period.

"It's imperative that you get the balance paid off and do the due diligence to get that balance paid off during the introductory period," Crawford said. "If you don't, you're going to start accruing the interest payments after that introductory period, and you're probably going to find yourself right back in the same situation you were in before."

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