Struggling to pay off credit card debt? You’re not alone. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reported in 2017 that roughly 170 million Americans have at least one credit card, and our collective amount of credit card debt is continually piling up. If you’re trying to get out of debt, applying for the best balance transfer credit card is a smart way to get there faster, and save on interest while you’re at it.
Credit card debt is a problem for many of us, but especially for women: A 2015 survey by National Debt Relief found that 66 percent of women between the ages of 55 to 64 have some amount of credit card debt, while only 33 percent of men in the same age bracket do.
One smart way to pay down credit card debt faster — and save on interest charges — is to apply for a balance transfer credit card, like the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa (Learn more here.) Not sure what a balance transfer credit card is? Keep reading for answers to frequently asked questions about balance transfer cards, and our recommendation for the best balance transfer credit card from Wells Fargo.
What is a balance transfer credit card?
A balance transfer card is a simply a credit card that offers you the opportunity to transfer a high balance from a current card to a new one, which will charge a significantly lower interest rate (often zero percent) for a set amount of time. There is usually a small fee to make this transfer, but it’s almost always far less than the amount of interest you would otherwise pay if you didn’t transfer your balance.
Here’s how it works: Simply apply for a new credit card with a balance transfer offer (You can learn about the Wells Fargo offer here). If you’re approved, you’ll be able to request transfers from your existing credit cards to the new one — either online, or by calling the customer service number for your new credit card. Essentially, you’ll be using your new card to pay off existing debt.
Once the balances have been transferred from one card to the other, you will continue to pay the amount due each month on the new card at the lower, promotional interest rate.
A word of caution, however: most balance transfer credit cards, including the Wells Fargo Cash Wise card, require applicants to have strong credit. If your credit score is less than very good or excellent, you’ll want to wait to apply until your credit has improved.
Why apply for a balance transfer card?
“Balance transfers can be a savvy debt management strategy if used wisely,” explains Kristen Euretig, CFP, Founder and CEO of Brooklyn Plans.
The best balance transfer cards will offer a long promotional period at a 0 percent interest rate, with a minimal transfer fee. If your current current cards have a high interest rate, transferring the unpaid balances to a card with a lower annual percentage rate (APR) saves you money in the long run — even if you pay a transfer fee.
“It’s not uncommon for credit cards to have interest rates in the 20 percent range,” says Euretig. “A balance transfer can cost from zero to typically four percent upfront, but comes with no interest during the promotional period. That can amount to a savings of 20 or more percent in interest, which is huge.”
The Best Balance Transfer Credit Card: Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa
No annual fee, 3% fee for balance transfers, 0% APR for 15 months
If you’re looking for a way to pay off your high-APR credit card balances quickly and save money in the process, you can’t do much better than Wells Fargo’s Cash Wise card (learn more here). It gives you a zero percent interest rate for the first 15 months, has no annual fee, and offers 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases.
This card also rewards you for making purchases via your digital wallet. For example, when you pay with your Google or Apple Pay account that’s hooked up to your Wells Fargo card, you’ll get 1.8 percent cash back during the first year of use, giving you another ultra-convenient incentive to make the switch.
- Balance Transfer Fee: 3% on transferred within the first 120 days you have the card (with a minimum of $5). After that, additional balance transfers will carry a fee of 5%.
- Interest Rate for Balance Transfers: 0% for the first 15 months, then 14.49% to 24.99% variable APR.
- Annual Fee: None
Ready to save on interest and pay down debt faster? The Wells Fargo Cash Wise card can help. Learn how to apply today.
See more of our best product recommendations
Woman’s World has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Woman’s World and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.