Heads up! We share savvy shopping and personal finance tips to put extra cash in your wallet. iMore may receive a commission from The Points Guy Affiliate Network.

So you've heard credit card ads talking about balance transfers and 0% introductory rates. What does this mean exactly? Well, a balance transfer is a way for you to move the debt you have on one credit card to a new credit card. You then pay that debt on the new credit card, which can often come at a friendlier rate. Some credit cards will offer a 0% introductory rate for the first 12 months or so, which means that you can move your debt onto this new card and not have to pay any interest on that debt for those first 12 months. That's a pretty great deal especially if you were paying over 10% on that debt on its previous card. Now you can pay down your principle without paying additional interest.

How to do a balance transfer

Usually, you can simply request a balance transfer online or over the phone. And you can typically request different types of debt to be moved onto the new credit card, such as debt from personal loans or auto loans. The actual amount of debt you can transfer will likely depend on what your credit limit is. Best practice is to ensure you read your card's terms and conditions.

When to do a balance transfer

The most important time to do a balance transfer is when you can move debt from a high interest account to a lower interest credit card. This is especially useful if you can get one of those 0% introductory rates. Additionally, you might want to do a balance transfer if you want to consolidate your payments onto fewer cards so you have less to keep track of. However, watch out for any balance transfer fees. They might be 3%-5% of the transfer amount with some minimum, so you definitely want to ensure you're transferring enough to make it worthwhile.

These cards all feature a 0% introductory rate:

Freedom from debt

Chase Freedom

The Chase Freedom offers cardholders a 0% rate for the first 15 months on balance transfers and new purchases. After that, the variable rate is 17.24-25.99%. Additionally, new cardholders can get $150 cash back after spending $500 in the first three months of account opening. There is no annual fee

Unlimited potential

Chase Freedom Unlimited

Like the Chase Freedom, the Chase Freedom Unlimited also offers a 0% rate for the first 15 months on balance transfers and new purchases with no annual fee. Afterwards, the variable rate is the same between 17.24-25.99%. However, the bonus offering is different: cardholders can earn 3% cash back on all purchases up to $20,000 and 1.5% on all purchases thereafter.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®

See at The Points Guy{.cta .shop.nofollow}

This card currently offers a 0% rate for the first 12 months if you make the balance transfer within the first 45 days of account opening. After these 12 months, your rate will vary between 18.24-25.24%. Successful new applicants can earn 70,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 within the first 90 days. Additionally, keep in mind there is an $89 annual fee that is waived the first year.

For those with great credit

Bottom Line

The balance transfer is a good way to stay on top of any outstanding debt and get a friendlier rate. This can help you pay down your debt quicker and avoid some sky high fees. If you're in the market for a transfer, consider the aforementioned cards.

We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.