Matt Schulz, chief industry analyst with Compare Cards by Lending Tree, a credit card analysis website. CompareCards.com
Bottom Line: The best card offers 0% for 15 months.
Interest rates are rising, which means that any balance you’re carrying on credit cards is likely becoming more expensive. The average annual percentage rate (APR) on new credit card offers recently climbed above 17%—the highest in at least a decade—and many cards now have APRs above 25%.
The best solution is, of course, to pay off credit card debt. But if that isn’t feasible, you could save money by transferring your balance to a credit card that has a special low initial “teaser” rate…and/or by making purchases with a card that has a much lower ongoing interest rate, such as…
Best card for balance transfers: Chase Slate Visa offers a 0% introductory APR on balance transfers and new purchases for the first 15 months. Other cards offer even longer 0% introductory periods—Citi Simplicity Mastercard features a 0% rate for 21 months, for example—but Chase Slate has another great perk that pushes it to the head of the balance-transfer pack. There’s no fee for transferring a balance to the card as long as you do so within the first 60 days. Most cards impose balance-transfer fees of between 3% and 5%. Chase Slate’s interest rates are nothing special after the 15-month 0%-rate period ends—16.99% to 25.74% depending on creditworthiness—so it’s most appealing if you can pay off your balance during that introductory period.
Best card for low ongoing interest rates: PenFed Promise Visa charges interest rates of 11.74% to 17.99% (depending on the holder’s creditworthiness). And it charges no fees—no annual fees, no late fees, no balance transfer fees, no cash-advance fees, no foreign-transaction fees. You won’t even face a steep “penalty APR” if you’re late with a payment. You must join the PenFed credit union to obtain this card, but anyone can do that by making a onetime donation of as little as $17 to a designated nonprofit.