You’ll probably pay exorbitant interest rates if you have a credit card. If you don’t pay off your credit card amount in full and on time, you will incur exceptionally high-interest rates ranging from 19% to 29% on average in Canada.
If your average credit card amount is $2,000 per month, you’ll have to pay between $380 and $580 in interest costs alone every year.
Using a balance transfer credit card is one strategy to avoid (or at least reduce) having to pay those additional interest fees.
Using our credit card comparison engine, we have chosen the 10 best balance transfer credit cards in Canada with the greatest offers available.
What’s a Balance Transfer Credit Card?
A debt transfer credit card, first and foremost, provides a reduced introductory interest rate (or, in some circumstances, zero interest) for a predetermined period of time.
It offers you the chance to move your existing credit card’s balance there in order to pay less interest. It’s crucial to remember that the balance transfers provided by those credit cards are only accessible for a limited time, after which the standard interest rate will apply.
How to Choose the Right Balance Transfer Credit Card
When choosing a balance transfer credit card, there are several factors to consider:
- Interest rate: Look for a card with a low introductory interest rate, ideally 0% or close to it. This will allow you to pay off your balance without accruing additional interest charges.
- Balance transfer fee: Some cards charge a fee to transfer a balance, typically around 3%. Look for a card with a low or no balance transfer fee.
- Length of the introductory period: Make sure the card offers a long enough introductory period to allow you to pay off your balance before the rate increases.
- Rewards: While the main goal of a balance transfer card is to pay off debt, some cards also offer rewards such as cashback or points. Decide whether these rewards are important to you and if so, look for a card that offers them.
- Credit score: Be mindful of your credit score, as you will likely need a good credit score to qualify for the best balance transfer cards.
It’s also important to have a plan to pay off your debt balance before the introductory period ends; otherwise, you will be charged interest on the remaining balance. To help you choose, we’ve selected the 10 best balance transfer credit cards in Canada.
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Things to Avoid with Balance Transfer Credit Cards
When using a balance transfer credit card, there are several things to avoid:
- Continuing to use the card for new purchases: This can lead to additional debt and may negate the benefits of the balance transfer.
- Failing to pay at least the minimum payment: Not making payments on time can result in late fees and additional interest charges.
- Failing to pay off the balance before the introductory period ends: If you don’t pay off your balance before the introductory rate expires, you’ll be charged interest on the remaining balance, which can negate the benefits of the balance transfer.
- Not reading the fine print: Be sure to read and understand the terms and conditions of the card, including the interest rate, balance transfer fee, and any penalties for late payments.
- Failing to close the card after the balance is transferred: This can lead to additional debt if you start using the old card again. Closing the old card after the balance is transferred to the new one is better.
- Not keeping track of the due dates: Many balance transfer cards come with deferred interest. If you miss a payment or don’t pay off the balance by the end of the promotional period, you’ll be charged interest retroactively on the entire balance.
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10 Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards in Canada
Here are the best balance transfer credit cards Canada has to offer:
- Scotia Momentum No-Fee Visa Card
- BMO CashBack MasterCard
- CIBC Select Visa Card
- MBNA True Line Mastercard credit card
- MBNA True Line Gold Mastercard
- President’s Choice Financial Mastercard
- Scotiabank Value Visa Card
- Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
- Tangerine World Mastercard
- Desjardins Flexi Visa
1. Scotia Momentum No-Fee Visa Card
With its current welcome offer—a 0% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months, with a fee of 2% on each transfer—the Scotia Momentum No-Fee Visa Card enables you to save more money.
After this time, the interest rate on purchases is 19.99%, while the interest rate on balance transfers and cash advances is 22.99%.
The Scotia Momentum No-Fee Visa card offers several benefits, including:
- No annual fee
- Cash back rewards on eligible purchases, including 2% cash back on grocery store and gas station purchases and 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases
- No limit on the amount of cash back that can be earned
However, there are also some drawbacks to consider, such as:
- A higher interest rate compared to some other credit cards
- The cash back rewards can only be redeemed as a credit against future purchases, and cannot be redeemed for cash or other forms of rewards.
Additionally, it is essential to note that to be eligible for this card, you must have a personal annual income of at least $12,000 and a credit score of at least 650.
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2. BMO CashBack MasterCard
Even when compared to certain premium credit cards, the BMO CashBack Mastercard is a no-fee credit card that offers highly competitive cashback rates. New cardholders can get 5% cash back on all purchases for the first three months.
This is also an excellent choice if you want to transfer your balance because the BMO CashBack Mastercard has a fixed interest rate of 1.99% for the first nine months and only costs a 1% transfer fee.
Why we enjoy it
Very low balance transfer fees and a high earn rate on groceries make this favorable.
- Get 5% cash back on all purchases for the first three months.
- 3% back in cash for food
- For the first nine months, there is a very low introductory interest rate (1.99%).
- Set up automatic deposits and instantly redeem any amount of cash back.
- Protection and extended warranty for all purchases
- 25% off at Alamo Rent a Car and National Car Rental locations
- Maximum cashback each month is $500.
- little basic pay rate
3. CIBC Select Visa Card
The yearly charge for the CIBC Select Visa Card is $29 (completely waived for the first year for new cardholders). You must have a credit score of at least 660 and earn at least $15,000 per year to be eligible to apply for this card.
Only 13.99% in interest is charged on purchases and cash advances, which is significantly less than the industry average for this kind of card. It is among the best balance transfer credit cards in Canada.
Why we love it
Excellent for the first year of no interest on balance transfers and cashback at gas stations.
- 10 months of 0% interest following the transfer of your amount
- Low balance transfer charge of 1%
- At Pioneer, Fas Gas, Ultramar, and Chevron gas stations, gas prices can be reduced by up to 10 cents per liter.
- 13.99% is the low purchase interest rate.
- Request up to three more cards for free.
- Transfer up to 50% of the credit limit you have been given.
- No cash-back component
- No credit building
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4. MBNA True Line Mastercard credit card
The MBNA True Line Mastercard doesn’t have an annual fee and offers free support for up to 9 authorized users. Additionally, qualified credit card purchases above $100 may be set up for monthly installment repayment throughout 6 to 18 months.
You do not need to earn a minimum amount of money to apply for this card; all you need to be is a resident of Canada of legal age. But you’ll need to have at least a 660 credit score.
The card’s low-interest rates are one of its key benefits. In contrast to the industry average of 19.99%, the normal yearly interest rate is only 12.99%, and the interest rate for balance transfers is also 12.99% making it one of the best balance transfer credit cards in Canada.
Why we enjoy it
Fantastic for the first year of no interest on balance transfers and no yearly cost
- For the first 12 months, balance transfers have a 0% interest rate.
- No yearly charge
- 10% off of Budget and Avis vehicle rentals in Canada and the US
- Apple Pay enables mobile payment.
- Free addition of up to 9 authorized users
- Lowest yearly interest rates in the industry for purchases starting at 12.99%
- Need a strong credit rating (660+)
- Cash advance interest rates are rather high (24.99%).
5. MBNA True Line Gold Mastercard
The annual cost for the MBNA True Line Gold Mastercard is only $39. It is a good low-interest alternative since it offers 24-hour customer service, extensive fraud protection, and very competitive interest rates on purchases and balance transfers (8.99%).
However, because cash advances have such high-interest rates—24.99%—you should think about other options if that’s the main reason you’re searching for a card.
Although there is a minimum credit score requirement of 660, there are no minimum income restrictions to apply for this card.
Why do we enjoy it?
Outstanding for low annual fees and interest rates on purchases and balance transfers
- A minimal $39 annual cost
- warranty and purchase assurance
- Request up to 9 extra cards for no additional fee.
- Low interest rates for balance transfers and purchases (8.99%)
- fraud prevention for all transactions
- 24 hour customer service is offered
- No incentives for purchasing
- No introductory bonus
6. President’s Choice Financial Mastercard
When you shop at any of its partner stores, the President’s Choice Financial Mastercard is a store credit card that delivers incredibly high rewards. There are no yearly fees, and bonus points are available on the majority of regular transactions.
Why do we enjoy it?
Excellent for gaining PC points and requiring a very low credit score
- Bonus welcome points of 20,000
- Earn up to 45 PC points for every $1 spent at participating retailers.
- Travel and health insurance coverage
- Totally free concierge service
- No yearly charge
- Low minimum credit score (560+) requirement
- Only a few stores accept PC points for redemption.
- Need a $80,000 minimum yearly income.
7. Scotiabank Value Visa Card
Having a low annual fee of $29 that is waived the first year, the Scotiabank Value Visa Card offers low-interest credit cards. For the first six months, this card offers 0% introductory interest on cash advances, rising to 12.99% after that. Purchases are subject to the same interest rate.
Why we enjoy it
Excellent for establishing credit, with minimal transfer fees and no yearly fee
- For the first six months, cash advance interest is zero.
- There is no yearly cost for the first year.
- 12.99% is the minimal interest rate.
- A minimal $29 annual cost (waived the first year)
- Excellent for boosting credit scores (reports monthly to TransUnion)
- There are no charges for requesting more cards.
- No introductory bonus
- No benefits or rewards
8. Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
The Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card is one of the best balance transfer credit cards in Canada and offers no annual fees and cashback that may be adjusted to fit your needs.
You can select your preferred cash back categories and receive bonus cash back with this card. For the first two months, it offers a promotional cash back rate of 15% on all transactions with a $1,000 cap, allowing you to receive up to $150 in cash back.
Compared to other available cash back cards, the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card offers a lot more options.
Why we enjoy it
It’s great that there is no yearly cash back cap and that balance transfer interest rates are modest.
- $100 bonus
- Earn 2% cash back (0.50% cash back on all other purchases) by choosing 2 Money-Back categories.
- There is no yearly cap on the amount of cashback you can receive.
- Monthly payouts of cash back earnings are made.
- categories for adjusting cash-back spending
- Low-interest rate of 1.95% on balance transfers
- Extremely few features
- Low cashback rate in comparison to other cashback credit cards
9. Tangerine World Mastercard
You may select how to earn more cash back with the Tangerine World Mastercard, a no-fee customized cash back card.
You can choose from 10 categories with no annual restrictions and receive bonus cash back. For the first two months, new cardholders will receive promotional cashback of 15% on all transactions up to $1,000 ($150 cash back).
You can choose which areas Tangerine will give you extra cashback on. Though you can alter them whenever you want, it could take up to 90 days for the changes to take effect. All these and many more make it one of the best balance transfer credit cards in Canada.
Why we enjoy it
Excellent for customized cash back categories and promotional cash back rates
- A $150 bonus
- For the first two months, earn 10% cash back on all purchases (2% cash back on two categories after that).
- By opening a Tangerine Savings Account, you can gain access to a third category and receive 2% cash back.
- There is no yearly cap on the amount of cash back you can receive.
- Insurance for mobile devices and rental cars
- Categories for adjusting cash-back spending
- The Mastercard Travel Pass does not come with any free passes (DragonPass)
- Need a $60,000 minimum yearly income.
10. Desjardins Flexi Visa
The Desjardins Flexi Visa provides mobile device security and a small amount of travel insurance, which sets it apart from other no-fee, low-interest credit cards.
- Interest rates for purchases and cash advances are competitive.
- Included are travel insurance and mobile device security.
- There is no awards system or points system.
- No special discounts
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Frequently Asked Questions
In some circumstances, a balance transfer might increase your credit ratings and help you ultimately pay less interest on your obligations. However, obtaining new credit cards frequently and shifting balances to them will eventually lower your credit scores.
With weak credit, getting approved for a typical balance transfer credit card might be challenging. A solid or outstanding credit score, which is 670 or higher on the 850-point FICO credit scoring scale, is often required to qualify for balance transfer cards from issuers.
The Keypoint Credit Union Visa Classic Credit Card has the simplest approval process because applicants need fair credit to qualify.
Balance transfer credit cards are a tool to help you pay off debt, not a way to avoid it. You should have a plan in place to pay off your balance before the introductory period ends, otherwise, you’ll end up in deeper debt.
- 2023’s Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards for Canadians – rates.ca/credit-cards
- 12 Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards in Canada – hardbacon.ca/en/credit