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The best balance transfer credit cards for military servicemembers and their spouses offer 0% interest for up to 18 months.
After the holidays, many people struggle with overspending and credit card debt. One way to help get out of debt is to reduce your payments by transferring the debt to a 0% APR card.
Military servicemembers have unique financial advantages presented to them through the Military Lending Act (MLA) and Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). SCRA requires all debt acquired before active duty to be reduced to 6%. The MLA requires all interest rates while on active duty to be below 36%.
If you are struggling with debt and looking for a better way to manage your money, I recommend checking out my new book. The Military Money Manual: A Practical Guide to Financial Freedom summarizes everything I've learned about achieving financial independence in the military.
Best 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards
- Learn how to apply for the Chase Slate Edge
- 0% Intro APR for 18 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers. Then a variable APR on balance transfers and purchases after the introductory period ends.
- No annual fee
Other balance transfer cards include:
- Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card
- Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer
- U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card
- Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card
- Citi Rewards+® Card
- Chase Slate Edge
- U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card
Make sure if you have credit card or loans that you call or email your lender and ensure they are applying “SCRA” or “MLA” benefits to your account. You can earn automatic Amex MLA benefits and Chase MLA benefits applied to your account.
If you sign up for a 0% APR card, make sure you don't continue to accumulate more debt. Use the ending of the promotional period as motivation to pay off your entire debt and then move on to the best travel rewards credit cards for military servicemembers and spouses.
Balance Transfer Fees
While 0% introductory APR is a good feature to have on a balance transfer card, you also need to watch out for balance transfer fees. These fees are usually $5 or 3% of the amount transferred, whichever is greater. If you're moving more than $167, your balance transfer fee will be more than $5.
If you are moving a substantial debt from one card to a balance transfer card, carefully consider if the 3% fee is going to more or less than the interest you will pay on the debt. It might make more sense to just rapidly pay off your card debt, rather than move it to a new card and pay a 3% fee.
If you can find a credit card with a 0% interest rate and a 0% balance transfer fee, then you are really lucky! This is a rare combo but it does happen.
How to Use a Balance Transfer to Pay Off Debt
2 podcasts: How To Get Out of Debt in the Military, How I paid off 6 figures of debt.
Your debt is an emergency and you need to take immediate action to rid yourself of it! Earning thousands of dollars worth of travel reward points and cash back does not help you if you are paying interest to the bank.
I finished paying off my USAA Cadet Loan 2 years early and my private student loans years early. Debt freedom is one of the best feelings in the world!
Today, I am relieved of the burden of debt after my wife and I became debt free before age 30. We had to pay off $120,000 in student, car, and career starter loans. It wasn't easy and 0% balance transfer cards can help.
Even if you are paying only 6% on your debt (the maximum under the SCRA law), it's still compounding interest working against you and not for you. Make sure you do the math to determine if paying the 3-5% balance transfer fee is worth it vs. just paying down the debt ASAP.
If you transfer your current debt to a 0% APR balance transfer card, you could save hundreds in interest payments. More importantly, it can help motivate you to pay off your debts and finally become debt free.
Ideally, you want a credit cards offers with 0% interest and no balance transfer fees. However, it is difficult to find these offers. Depending on the size of your credit card debt, it may make sense to transfer to a 0% card and pay the 3% fee.
0% APR Balance Transfer Questions
A balance transfer is moving debt from a higher-interest rate card to a new credit card with a lower interest rate. Hopefully you can move the debt to a 0% interest card and then use the reduced payments to rapidly pay down your debt.