In this article, we’ll cover the top 6 best balance transfer credit cards in Canada with a low balance transfer fee.
If you carry debt on your credit card, you’re likely paying a high interest rate. Most credit card interest rates in Canada range from 19.99% and can go all the way up to 30%.
If you want to pay off your debt, that interest rate can increase your balance quickly. Thus, you may want to consider switching to a credit card with a lower interest rate.
Most credit cards charge a high balance transfer fee, but some have a low introductory rate.
What is a Credit Card Balance Transfer?
A credit card balance transfer is when you move your outstanding debt to another credit card. You may do this to get a lower interest rate or take advantage of the benefits of a new credit card.
Some credit card companies waive the balance transfer fee entirely or offer a promotional balance transfer rate for a few months. This helps you pay off your debt without paying a high-interest rate every month you carry the balance.
When you transfer your balance, you should ensure you’re still making monthly payments on time with at least the minimum amount. Otherwise, you could lose the introductory APR on your transferred balance and any new purchases.
Best No-Fee Credit Cards for Balance Transfers
These are the top three balance transfer credit cards with no fees in Canada.
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
- Promotional balance transfer interest rate: 1.95% for 6 months
- Regular interest rate: 19.95%
- Annual fee: $0
The Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card has one of the best credit card balance transfer offers with a low introductory rate of only 1.95% interest on any balance you transfer within the first 30 days of owning the card.
This rate lasts for 6 months. After that, you’ll pay a 19.95% interest rate.
There is no annual fee. You can earn unlimited 2% cash back in up to 3 categories of your choice and 0.50% cash back on all other purchases.
These cash back rewards are earned automatically on everyday purchases and paid monthly.
Additional benefits include Purchase Assurance and Extended Warranty insurance.
To be eligible, you must have a gross annual income of $12,000 or more, be the age of majority in your province or territory, and be clear of bankruptcies for the past 7 years.
Get this Tangerine card here.
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
Rewards: Earn up to 2% unlimited cash back in up to 3 spending categories and 0.50% on all other purchases.
Welcome offer: Get an extra 15% cash back on up to $1,000 in spending in the first 2 months ($150 value).
Interest rates: 19.95% for purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances.
Annual fee: $0
MBNA True Line Mastercard
- Promotional balance transfer interest rate: 0% for 12 months
- Regular interest rate: 12.99% on purchases, 24.99% on cash advances
- Annual fee: $0
The MBNA True Line Mastercard is a 0% balance transfer credit card in Canada. As long as you transfer your balance within 90 days of opening your account, you won’t pay interest for 12 months.
After that, the regular interest rate for purchases, access cheques, and balance transfers is 12.99%. The interest rate on cash advances is 24.99%.
This credit card does not offer cash back or points rewards, but there is no annual fee for the primary cardholder and up to 9 other authorized users.
MBNA offers a payment plan where you can pay for eligible card purchases of $100+ over 6, 12, or 18-month terms. They also offer 5% to 10% savings on Avis Rent a Car and Budget Rent a Car.
To apply, you must be a Canadian resident and meet the age of majority in your province or territory.
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BMO CashBack Mastercard
- Promotional balance transfer interest rate: 1.99% for 9 months with a 1% transfer fee
- Regular interest rate: 20.99% on purchases, 22.99% on cash advances
- Annual fee: $0
The BMO CashBack Mastercard has a 1.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for 9 months with a 1% transfer fee.
The regular interest rate is 20.99% on purchases and 22.99% on cash advances. You pay no annual fees to use this card.
A huge benefit to this card, which most on this list don’t offer, is cash back rewards. You earn 3% cash back on groceries, 1% cash back on monthly subscriptions and bill payments, and 0.5% cash back on all everything else.
The cash back rewards never expire, and you can redeem them at any time for as little as $1.
Additional benefits include extended warranty and purchase protection, savings of up to 25% at participating car rental locations, and 15% off admission to Cirque du Soleil shows touring Canada.
To apply, you must be the age of majority and have not declared bankruptcy within the last 7 years.
Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards With Annual Fees
These top 3 cards have annual fees but are some of the best credit cards for balance transfers with fair to good credit.
Scotiabank Value Visa Card
- Promotional balance transfer interest rate: 0% for 10 months
- Regular interest rate: 12.99% on purchases and cash advances
- Annual fee: $29 (waived for the first year)
The Scotiabank Value Visa Card has a promotional balance transfer and cash advance interest rate of 0% within the first 10 months of opening your account. The $29 annual fee is also waived for the first year.
After that, you pay 12.99% interest on purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers.
This credit card does not offer any additional benefits besides the low interest rate of 12.99%, so it is ideal for someone looking to pay down their balances quickly.
With the Scotiabank Value Visa card, you can save up to 25% on car rentals at AVIS and Budget locations in Canada and the US. You can also add optional Scotia Credit Card Protection insurance.
To apply, you must have a minimum personal annual income of $12,000 and have not declared bankruptcy in the past 7 years.
Scotiabank Value Visa Card
Welcome offer: Enjoy a 0% balance transfer rate for the first 10 months.
Interest rates: 12.99% for purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances.
Annual fee: $29 (waived in first year)
CIBC Select Visa Card
- Promotional balance transfer interest rate: 0% for up to 10 months with a 1% transfer fee
- Regular interest rate: 13.99% on purchases and cash advances
- Annual fee: $29
When you apply for the CIBC Select Visa Card, you can transfer a balance of up to 50% of your assigned credit limit. You’ll pay a 1% transfer fee and get 0% interest for up to 10 months.
After that, the interest rate for purchases and cash advances is 13.99%.
This CIBC balance transfer credit card includes $100,000 Common Carrier Accident Insurance, and you have the option to add a few other insurance benefits.
It also includes savings of up to 10 cents off per litre at select gas stations and no transaction fees when you send a CIBC Global Money Transfer.
To apply, you must have a minimum household income of $15,000.
BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard
- Promotional balance transfer interest rate: 0.99% for 9 months with a 2% transfer fee
- Regular interest rate: 12.99% for purchases and 15.99% for cash advances
- Annual fee: $20
BMO offers new cardholders an introductory balance transfer interest rate of 0.99% for 9 months with a 2% transfer fee.
After the 9 months, you’ll pay a 12.99% interest rate on purchases and 15.99% on cash advances.
Additional benefits include extended warranty and purchase protection and the ability to add another cardholder to your account for free.
There is no minimum income requirement to apply. You must not have declared bankruptcy within the past 7 years, and you must be the age of majority in your province or territory.
Related: What is a Credit Report?
Is a Balance Transfer Credit Card For You?
If you have a high balance that you want to pay off within the next few months to a year, you should consider switching to a credit card for balance transfers with no transfer fee or a minimal 1% to 2% fee.
However, if you don’t have a high balance and want to reap the benefits of another credit card, like cash back, travel, or points rewards, a balance transfer credit card probably isn’t for you.
What happens to your old credit card after a balance transfer?
After a balance transfer, your old credit card stays open. If you were only able to transfer some of the balance, it will have the remaining balance left, which you’ll pay at the regular interest rate.
If you transfer the entire balance, your account is not automatically closed. If you want to do so, you’ll have to cancel it yourself.
What are the best credit cards for balance transfers with bad credit?
Typically, balance transfer credit cards require you to have a good to excellent credit score, but none of the cards on this list have a required credit score. If you have bad credit, try applying for one of the no-fee credit cards, like the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card or the MBNA True Line Mastercard.
Do balance transfers hurt your credit?
If you repeatedly open new credit cards and transfer the balance, it could hurt your credit score. However, if you use the opportunity to pay off your debt, your credit score can be improved.
Which bank is best for a balance transfer?
All banks on this list are best for a balance transfer, as they have a low introductory balance transfer interest rate of 0% to 2% for up to 12 months. MBNA has one of the best rates at 0% interest on balance transfers for one year.
Is balance transfer a good idea for a credit card?
If you have a large balance, it can be a good idea to transfer it to another, lower interest rate credit card for balance transfers. This will save on high interest rates of up to 30% and allow you to pay off your debt faster.