If you have credit card debt, then chances are you’re paying a soul-crushing interest rate on that debt of at least 19.99%. It can go as high as 30% if you have a charge card or you’ve missed payments in the past.
If you have a $10,000 average monthly balance on your credit card over the period of one year, that debt is costing you between $2,000 and $3,000 each and every year. And that’s just the interest, not the principle.
Paying interest rates that high on debt is something you should work hard to avoid by staying out of credit card debt.
But, when you’re stuck with it…what then?
Let me be cliché and say: when life gives you lemons it’s time to make some lemonade…
…and find ways to cut that interest rate to the bone while paying down your balance ASAP.
One of the best ways to do that is to transfer your high interest credit card balance to a new credit card with a 0% interest rate (yes they exist!) for up to a full year. There’s also others that have very low rates like 1.99%.
Pay off that balance in full BEFORE the promotion is up.
Otherwise high interest rates will kick in again and you’ll be right back where you started.
Top 5 Low Interest Balance Transfer Credit Card Offers
1) MBNA Platinum Plus MasterCard
MBNA offers the only true 0% interest balance credit card in Canada with the longest low rate term of 12 months.
Better, there’s no annual fee to pay to qualify for this amazing rate.
You aren’t forced to only transfer a balance from an existing credit card either, you can actually transfer money directly to your bank account at the same 0% rate and use it to pay off any debt you may have.
And you can use the money for ANY purpose, just make sure you don’t blow it and get stuck with that big interest rate after your 12 months is up.
Also, there is a 1% fee that applies to any transfer you make at the promotional 0% rate. You’ll still be saving at least 19% over the full year.
After the promotion expires, that fee goes up to 3% and the annual interest rate goes up to 21.99%.
2) Canadian Western Bank Rewards MasterCard
It isn’t 0%, but this card does offer a great rate of 1.99% for a lengthy 10 month period and no annual fee.
The card is also backed by MBNA, who are known for their top balance transfer offers. The same 1% fee applies when you make a transfer.
The advantage to this card?
After the promotional period is over and you’ve hopefully paid your balance in full, you’re left with a great no annual fee rewards card.
It gives you 1% of your spending back as cash or any type of travel you can imagine. Or, you can choose from a wide range of merchandise and gift cards.
It’s actually has the most flexible credit card rewards program in Canada that allows you to redeem your rewards ANY time you want ANY way you want. For cash, you can choose from cheque, direct deposit, statement credit, or charity donation. For travel, just charge the purchase to your card and then pay it off with points by either calling them or using online banking.
Keep in mind though, that you should never use a credit card for both a balance transfer promotion and purchases at the same time.
It’s because you can’t fully pay off your purchases until your large balance transfer is also fully paid off.
That means you’re stuck with the 19.99% interest rate on those purchases for the entire duration of your balance transfer promotion. Not good!
Always use a different credit card, debit, or cash for purchases. Simple as that.
3) Best Western MasterCard
With this card you’ll also get 1.99% interest for 10 months on balance transfers with no annual fee.
Again you will be charged a 1% fee on transfers because this is another MBNA card (told you they had the best promotions).
If you like to travel, this card is nice to have for earning Best Western Rewards after your balance transfer promotion is over. You’ll earn 1 point for every dollar you spend on the card, and 5 points on eligible purchases at Best Western.
Better, on your very first purchase you get 20,000 points all at once. That’s worth up to 2 free nights at their lowest category hotels (which are a bit rare), but you should be able to get at least 1 free at some of their better hotels.
Just make sure you only buy a pack of gum to qualify for the 20K bonus, and nothing else, until your promo interest rate expires.
4) American Express Essential Card
Ok, we’re finally out of the MBNA cards (actually there’s even more in our full list of balance transfer credit cards).
The American Express Essential is a true low interest card that also comes with 1.99% interest on balance transfers for 6 months.
They’ll only let you use up to half your total credit limit as a balance transfer, which is good for keeping a healthy credit score actually.
The good news though, is that if you can’t pay off your full balance in 6 months, then the regular interest rate is only 8.99% on transfers, purchases, and cash advances. There’s a lot less pressure and panic there for sure.
More good news, the usual 3% balance transfer fee is completely waived for the introductory 1.99% offer so there won’t be any surprises with this card.
It’s a really strong low interest package that is hard to ignore because you’ll get all of that with no annual fee.
5) Scotiabank Value Visa Card
It’s nice to see a big bank in the top 5!
The Scotiabank Value Visa Card gives you the same 1.99% rate for 6 months that the Essential card above does, and it also has a low 11.99% ongoing interest rate after the initial promo expires.
I’d probably pick one of the other offers before this one…
But if you really want a Visa or something from a bigger bank, then this is your ticket.
You’re Getting The Lowest Interest Rate Possible
There’s no short or long term loan in Canada that offers a better interest rate than a 0% interest credit card balance transfer offer. Try if you want, you won’t find it.
You won’t be able to beat a 1.99% rate with another loan either if you’ve already used the MBNA 0% offer.
While it can be difficult to pay off a credit card from one bank with another credit card from the same bank…
…It’s easy to apply for a 2nd balance transfer card when your first promo rate is about to expire – and use that to pay off the 1st. That’s one way to extend your low interest rate for a much longer period until you get that debt paid off.
Just keep an eye on your credit score, because running high balance and applying for credit cards too often can start to drag it down. 1 or 2 cards per year if you have healthy score is not a problem, but I’d avoid doing any more than that.
Final Tip: You often can get the 0% card from MBNA multiple times, even if you’ve had it and cancelled it before. Sometimes they’ll even let you have 2 of the same card at once.