11 Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards In Canada for September 2022

Credit cards are solid financial tools if used properly. There are many cards out there with benefits to help you save on groceries, travel, and even insurance.

However, people often find themselves taking on too much debt and getting into financial peril.

The average Canadian carries over $20,000 of consumer debt. If you have that amount or more or carry balances on several cards, applying for a balance transfer credit card can help you save money because of its lower interest rates.

In this article, I’ll focus on the top balance transfer credit cards out there and the perks each one offers. By the end, you’ll be able to pick one that fits your lifestyle.

MBNA True Line Mastercard
MBNA True Line Mastercard
  • 0% interest for the first 12 months
  • $0 annual fee
  • 3% balance transfer fee
  • 12.99% interest purchase rate after the promo period.
CIBC Select Visa
CIBC Select Visa
  • 0% interest for the first 10 months
  • $29 annual fee waived the first year
  • 1% balance transfer fee
  • One of the lowest interest rates after the promo period ends at 13.99%
Scotiabank Value Visa
Scotiabank Value Visa
  • $29 annual fee that is waived the first year
  • 1% balance transfer fee
  • 0% interest rate for the first six months
  • 12.99% purchase and cash advance interest rate
  • Need to have an annual gross income of $12,000 to qualify

How Do Balance Transfer Credit Cards Work?

If you’re having trouble paying off your current credit card debt, you might want to consider a balance transfer. So, how do they work?

Most balance transfer cards offer zero interest or a low introductory term. You can transfer your current outstanding balance to this low to zero-interest card and pay less interest.

The pitfall is that the offers are only good for a limited period. Afterward, you’re left paying the regular interest rate, which will probably be significantly higher than your signup offer.

Who Should Choose Balance Transfer Cards and Features to Consider

Not all balance transfer cards are the same – some have more features than others, but we’ll get to that later. For now, here’s who might benefit from signing up for a balance transfer card.

  • You have a couple of different cards with balances on them. Signing up for a balance transfer card could consolidate all your debt, meaning fewer payments to track.
  • You have large amounts of credit card debt to pay off.
  • You have decent credit and can qualify for the balance transfer cards with low or zero interest rates.

If that sounds like you and you’re working to become debt free, here’s what you should consider before picking a balance transfer card.

The best transfer cards will have a zero percent introductory offer for balance transfers, a zero-dollar annual fee, and a zero-dollar balance transfer fee. However, it isn’t always easy to find these three components.

In fact, it’s tricky finding cards without transfer fees, but getting a card with the other two features could save you a ton of money in the long run.

In addition, you need to know what the interest rate will be once the promotional period ends. Many last anywhere from six to eighteen months but after that, the interest rate increases.

You’ll need to figure out if you can pay off your debt before the promotional period ends and, if not, how much you will pay in interest.

Keep in mind that most cards follow a set of rules after the balance transfer. For example, you need to pay the monthly minimum to keep that low to zero interest rate.

Similarly, if you don’t pay on time or exceed your credit limit, you can incur the maximum interest rate and added penalties.

Top Balance Transfer Credit Cards In Canada

1.  CIBC Select Visa

cibc investor’s edge

Standout features:

  • $29 annual fee, but you’ll receive a first-year annual fee rebate.
  • You can add three additional cards for no extra charge.
  • One of the lowest balance transfer fees – 1%
  • 0% interest for the first 10 months
  • After the promotional period ends, interest on purchases and cashback is 13.99%.
  • Minimum income requirement of $15,000

CIBC Select Visa is my top pick because it’s closest to checking off all my must-haves – no annual fee after the rebate, zero percent interest for ten months, and only a one percent balance transfer fee.

In addition to that, once the promotional period is over, the 13.99% interest rate is still lower than most credit cards. Out of all the cards I looked out, zero percent interest for ten months is one of the longest stretches available.

Within this time, you could focus on paying off as much of your outstanding debt as possible without racking up huge interest charges.

The downside to the CIBC Select Visa and any other low-fee credit card is that there aren’t too many additional perks.

In CIBC’s case, you can get additional cards for no added fees and get $100,000 in accident insurance to cover you and your family during travel.

The bottom line is that you’ll save money with this card as you pull yourself out of debt. To sign up, visit their website.

2.  MBNA True Line Mastercard

MBNA

Standout features:

  • $0 annual fee
  • 0% interest for the first 12 months.
  • Purchase interest rate after promo period of 12.99%
  • 3% balance transfer fee
  • Need to be a Canadian resident and age of majority in your province to be eligible.

The MBNA True Line Mastercard takes a spot high on my list because of its zero percent interest for the first twelve months.

Out of all the credit cards I looked at, no promotional period went over one year, making the True Line Mastercard one of the more solid options.

After a year, the interest rate increased to 12.99%, which is still one of the lowest interest rates I could find. Another plus – this card doesn’t have an annual fee, saving you even more money.

The downside is that if you’re looking for a cash advance, the rate is pretty high at 24.99%. In addition, there’s a three percent balance transfer fee higher than most other credit cards.

Applying for the MBNA True Line card is easy – you just need to be a Canadian resident and the age of majority in your province. If you’re interested, check out MBNA True Line’s website for more details.

Similar to the CIBC Select Visa, the True Line card doesn’t offer too many other perks besides its zero interest and no annual fee. One of the only added benefits is a discount on car rental services from Avis or Budget.

3.  Scotiabank Value Visa

Scotiabank logo

Standout features:

  • $29 annual fee that is waived the first year
  • 1% balance transfer fee
  • 0% interest rate for the first six months
  • 12.99% purchase and cash advance interest rate
  • Need to have an annual gross income of $12,000 to qualify

The Scotiabank Value Visa is a card to consider because of its zero percent interest rate for the first six months.

While that’s a shorter period than my top two picks, its interest rate for purchases and cash advances is 12.99%. That’s the lowest rate for any of the cards I’ve reviewed.

This card is the right fit for users that consistently carry a balance each month. With a gross income of only $12,000 to qualify, it’s easy to obtain, and the low-interest rates will save you money long after the promotional period is over.

Like the other two cards, Scotiabank Value Visa doesn’t offer much in the area of rewards.

If cashback options or other benefits are most important to you, you might want to pass on this card. The only added feature available is a 25% discount at Avis and Budget rental car companies.

Apply here if interested.

4.  BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard

BMO

Standout features:

  • $20 annual fee that’s waived the first year
  • .99% interest rate for the first nine months
  • 2% balance transfer fee
  • 12.99% purchase interest rate
  • 15.99% cash advance interest rate
  • Eligibility qualifications include gross income of $15,000

BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard is one of the first cards that doesn’t carry a zero percent interest rate during its initial promo period. However, the .99% rate for nine months is still low enough to save those with large balances lots of money.

Another benefit to the card is that rates are still pretty low after the first nine months. The purchase rate stays at 12.99%, with cash advances at a slightly higher 15.99%.

The card gives its users an extended warranty and purchase protection bonus.

If you’re interested in learning more or applying, check out their website.

5.  BMO Air Miles Mastercard

BMO

Standout features:

  • $0 annual fee
  • .99% interest for the first nine months
  • A minimum income of $15,000 needed
  • 2% balance transfer fee
  • 800 bonus points for new cardholders
  • Eligible to earn airline miles at participating partners
  • 20.99% purchase interest rate
  • 22.99% cash advance interest rate

The BMO Air Miles Mastercard is on the list because of its additional perks. While the card does offer no annual fee and only .99% interest for the first nine months, it’s the miles customers can earn that give this card a spot on the list.

If you’re a frequent traveller, you can rack up two times the miles during a grocery shopping trick.

That’s two miles for every $25 spent. In addition to that, you can get three times the miles for every $25 spent if you shop at participating Air Miles partners. You can find the list of gas and grocery partners here.

While the card does have a great rewards program, especially if you’re a frequent flyer, there are some downsides. Mainly, the interest rate after the promo period ends.

At that point, the purchase interest rate hits 20.99%, and the cash advance is 22.99%. They’re both average rates, but if you have large balances to pay off, you won’t save as much as the cards featured above.

If you’re looking for a card with excellent travelling perks and a low promotional interest rate, check out BMO’s Air Miles Mastercard application.

6.  BMO Cashback Mastercard

BMO

Standout features:

  • $0 annual fee
  • .99% interest rate for the first nine months
  • 2% balance transfer fee
  • 20.99% purchase interest rate
  • 22.99% cash advance interest rate
  • Cashback incentives on purchases at partnering locations

The BMO Cashback Mastercard has a few incentives to make it onto my list. First, its promotional period interest rate is pretty low – only .99% for the first nine months. After that, it does rise to 20.99%, but the cashback incentives are the reason to get this card.

New customers signing up will get 5% cashback for their first three months. After the promotional period, it goes back to the 3% cashback normally offered. The cashback benefit is good on groceries and includes 1% cash back on payment of recurring bills.

In addition, cardholders can get 25% off car rentals at National and Alamo.

Apply here for cashback benefits and low introductory interest rates.

7.  Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

Tangerine logo

Standout features:

  • $0 annual fee
  • 1.95% interest rate for the first six months
  • 3% balance transfer fee or $5 minimum
  • 19.95% purchase and cash advance interest rate
  • Minimum income of $12,000 needed to qualify
  • Cashback rewards offered

The Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card has a lot going for it. There’s no annual fee, a low introductory rate of 1.95% for six months, and a 19.95% interest rate for purchases and cash advances after the promo period ends.

But the biggest draw to the card, in addition to saving money during the low-interest period, is its cashback rewards program. With the Tangerine card, you can earn 2% cashback in up to three spending categories of your choice. All other purchases will get .5% cashback.

Because you can choose your own categories for cashback rewards, you can use the card to suit your spending habits and earn more while paying lower interest rates.

If this card sounds like a winner, apply here.

8.  Tangerine World Mastercard

Tangerine logo

Standout features

  • $0 annual fee
  • 1.95% for the first six months
  • 19.95% for purchases and cash advances
  • 3% of the balance transferred or $5 minimum
  • Minimum personal income of $60,000
  • 2% cashback rewards
  • Savings on on-demand and subscription services

The Tangerine World Mastercard features a $0 annual fee, a promotional six-month interest rate of 1.95%, and plenty of added features.

Cardholders can get 2% cashback rewards on all purchases in two categories of their choosing. To get the third category, users need to deposit their rewards into a Tangerine savings account.

In addition to cashback rewards, cardholders can save on on-demand and subscription services. Mastercard offers Boingo Wifi for its cardholders, with access to hotspots worldwide for no added fees, costs, or roaming charges.

To apply for the Tangerine World Mastercard, check out their website.

9.  PC Financial World Elite Mastercard

PC Financial Logo

Standout features:

  • $0 annual fee
  • 1% balance transfer fee
  • .97% interest rate for the first six months
  • 20.97% purchase interest rate
  • 22.97% cash advance interest rate
  • Earn points for every purchase made
  • Add travel medical emergency insurance

PC Financial World Elite Mastercard has a solid lineup – $0 annual fee, 1% balance transfer fee, and only a .97% interest rate for the first six months.

But the card excels with its PC Optimum, where you can earn points through your purchases for free groceries. Cardholders will earn points every time they make a purchase.

The downside to this card is the income requirements are pretty high. You’ll need to make $80,000 per year individually or have a household income of $150,000 to qualify.

Sign up for the card here.

10. Scotia Momentum Visa

Scotiabank logo

Standout features:

  • 0% rate for the first six months
  • 2% balance transfer fee
  • $39 annual fee
  • 19.99% purchase interest rate
  • 22.99% cash advance interest rate
  • Easy to earn cashback rewards
  • An annual income of $12,000 needed

The Scotia Momentum Visa has an attractive option of a 0% interest rate for the first six months. In addition, they offer a solid cashback rewards program. However, there is a $39 annual fee, a 2% balance transfer, and a higher purchase interest rate of 19.99%.

With their cashback rewards, cardholders will earn 2% back for every dollar spent at grocery stores, gas stations, drug stores, and paying bills. The first $25,000 spent in purchases annually qualifies for the 2% cashback. Anything over that gets 1%.

This card is good for those looking to earn rewards with their purchases while also transferring an existing credit balance and paying it off at a zero percent interest rate for the first few months.

If you’re interested in checking out this card, apply here.

11. HSBC Rewards Mastercard

HSBC

Standout features:

  • No transfer fees outside of promotional offers
  • $25 annual fee plus $10 per additional cardholder. There is an annual rebate for first-time customers.
  • No minimum income requirements
  • 11.90% purchase and cash advance interest rate
  • Earn rewards points to redeem on gift cards, travel, and bill payments.

The HSBC Rewards Mastercard is a good pick due to its perks and benefits. While cardholders won’t get a low or zero interest promotional period on balance transfers, its regular 11.99% interest rate is one of the lowest around.

New cardholders can immediately earn points for filling out an application and when they spend a certain amount within the first few months. You can earn points on eligible purchases, but you’ll get more for entertainment and dining options.

You can redeem points for travel, gift cards, or paying bills like your mortgage or credit card. In addition, you’ll have purchase assurance, meaning anything you buy gets insured against theft or damage within 90 days.

For more information or to open an account, go here.

Conclusion

Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards In Canada

Figuring out the best balance transfer credit card for you and your financial situation will take time and research.

There are many options to choose from, as each card offers unique promotions and perks. It’s up to you to determine the most important aspect of the card.

If you’re still not sold on a balance transfer card, check out these other low-interest credit cards.

Photo of author
Author Bio - Christopher Liew is a CFA Charterholder with 11 years of finance experience and the creator of Wealthawesome.com. Read about how he quit his 6-figure salary career to travel the world here.

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