balance transfersUpdated: June 7, 2018

If you’ve racked up a credit card balance that you can no longer afford to pay due to high interest rates, a balance transfer credit card may be a solution for you. These types of credit cards help you pay your debt off over time with their long-term 0% intro APRs, making your monthly payments much more affordable by eliminating the interest you pay on the balance as soon as you complete the transfer. We’ve already detailed exactly what balance transfers are and how they work, but some might be wondering whether it’s possible to complete a balance transfer between the same bank or card issuer. Here’s what you need to know.

Can I transfer a balance from my credit card to a new card issued by the same provider?

Although balance transfers are a great way to help you pay down your debt, it’s important for anyone who’s considering a balance transfer to recognize that you usually cannot complete a balance transfer between the same bank or card issuer. Let’s say, for example, you wanted to transfer the balance from one of your Bank of America cards to another Bank of America card that is offering a 12-month 0% intro APR. Because the balance transfer would be from one Bank or America card to another, the bank would not allow you to do this — it even says so in the new card’s terms and conditions. This means you’d have to transfer the balance from your Bank of America card to a card issued by a different bank (e.g., a Wells Fargo card or Chase card). Even if the credit card is a different card from the same issuer, such as the Citi Double Cash Card (a NextAdvisor advertiser) and the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card, the balance transfer would be prohibited.

Although you may think there are laws in place to prevent you from transferring a balance within the same bank, that isn’t the case. In fact, the reason behind this “rule” isn’t quite that glamorous — banks prefer to gain a new customer with an existing debt over an existing customer who’s transferring the debt from an old card to a new one. While it may seem like the bank hopes to make money on your debt, if you do the balance transfer responsibly and pay off the balance within the designated time, it’s actually helping you save money in the long run. While you will usually have to pay a one-time balance transfer fee, it’s extremely likely that the fee, which is usually 3% to 5% of the transferred balance, is much cheaper than the credit card interest you’re paying on the old card — the average credit card APR is 15.96% according to our friends at CreditCards.com. For example, if you have a balance of $2,000 you’re looking to transfer to a 0% intro APR card and the balance transfer fee is 3%, you’re only paying $60 to transfer it to that new card — that’s a lot cheaper than the estimated $303 in interest (assuming your APR is 15.19%) you’ll pay to your old card over the course of a year. In addition, if you pay the transferred balance off before the 0% intro APR runs out, you also won’t pay interest on the transferred balance — it’s a win-win for you.

Want to see how much a balance transfer can actually save you? Plug your balance and monthly payment into our free Balance Transfer Calculator to see which cards will save you the most in interest and fees.

What are the best options for balance transfer credit cards?

If you’ve ever considered a balance transfer, you’ve likely noticed that there are quite a few balance transfer credit cards to choose from. To help connect you with the best card from a different card issuer, we’ve detail the top options from some of the major issuers.

Discover it Balance Transfer

balance transfersHave less-than-perfect credit? If so, the Discover it Balance Transfer is for you because this credit card requires average, good or excellent credit for approval. Cardholders will enjoy a stellar 18-month 0% intro APR on balance transfers (with a 3% balance transfer fee) and a 6-month 0% intro APR on purchases. The Discover it Balance Transfer card also has some top-notch cash back rewards. To start, you’ll receive 5% cash back (up to the quarterly maximum, then it’s 1%) in rotating categories as well as an unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases you make. It should be noted that you must sign up every quarter to earn 5% back, but Discover will remind you when it’s time to do so. On top of that, Discover will match all of the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year. This means if you earned $400 in cash back, Discover will double that for a total of $800 back! Other perks of the card include no annual fee and a copy of your TransUnion FICO credit score on every statement.

Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Credit Card

One of the top Wells Fargo balance transfer credit cards is the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Credit Card. This card features a 12-month 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers (with a 3% intro balance transfer fee on transfers made in the first 12 months, then it’s a 5% fee). On top of that, when you spend $1,000 in net purchases within the first 3 months of card membership, you’ll get a $200 cash rewards bonus! In addition, the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Credit Card has no annual fee and offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases, which is a great way to get unlimited rewards on any and every purchase you make with this card. Plus, if you use Android Pay or Apple Pay, you’ll earn 1.8% cash back on purchases during your first 12 months of owning this card.

Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express

balance transfersWhile the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express (a NextAdvisor advertiser) is more of a cash back credit card than a balance transfer credit card, we opted to include it to offer you options from all of the major credit card issuers. With this card you’ll enjoy a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months (with a 3% or $5 balance transfer fee, whichever is greater). As far as cash back rewards, cardholders earn 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases, then it’s 1%), 2% cash back on gas and department store purchases (such as Sears and Macy’s) and 1% cash back on all other purchases. No annual fee and $150 back after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months are some other perks cardholders can look forward to.

Interested in signing up for one of these cards? Head over to our balance transfer credit card reviews to learn how. Or check out our free Balance Transfer Calculator to see how much the cards detailed in this post can actually save you.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This content was accurate at the time of this post, but card terms and conditions may change at any time. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.