Owning a credit card means that you’ll likely pay high-interest rates. The average interest rate on credit cards in Canada falls between 19% and 29%, which is extremely high if you don’t pay off your credit card balance in full and on time. If you have an average monthly credit card balance of $2,000, you’ll have to pay between $380 and $580 per year in interest fees alone. However, there’s a way to avoid paying those additional interest fees (or at least decrease them), and it’s by using a balance transfer credit card. We’ve selected the 11 best balance transfer credit cards with the most beneficial promotions available in Canada using our credit card comparison tool!
- What’s a balance transfer credit card?
- How to choose the right balance transfer credit card
- Things to avoid with balance transfer credit cards
- Scotia Momentum® No-Fee Visa* Card
- Scotiabank Value® Visa* Card
- CIBC Select Visa Card
- HSBC +Rewards Mastercard
- BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard
- BMO AIR MILES Mastercard
- BMO Cash Back Mastercard
- BMO Rewards Mastercard
- Tangerine Money-Back Mastercard
- MBNA True Line Gold Mastercard
- Tangerine World Mastercard
- Frequently asked questions on balance transfer credit cards
What’s a balance transfer credit card?
First and foremost, a balance transfer credit card is one that offers a lower introductory interest rate (or in some cases, zero interest) for a set period of time. It gives you the option of transferring the balance from your current credit card onto it so you pay less interest. However, it’s important to remember that the balance transfers offered by those credit cards are only available for a short period of time and after the offer ends, the regular interest rate will apply.
How to choose the right balance transfer credit card
One way to choose the right balance transfer credit card is to shop around for balance transfer offers and compare the various terms. On average, promotional balance transfer rates are around 2% for a period of six months. This may seem like a reasonable period of time but after the promotional period ends, the interest rate returns to its usual higher level. Even though the transfer interest rates are relatively low, it’s important to also look at each card’s regular interest rate to avoid surprises once the promotion ends. One other aspect to consider when selecting a balance transfer credit card is the transfer fee. These are the additional fees charged when you transfer your balance onto this credit card and they’ll be included in your balance. This can vary between 1% to 3% of the amount transferred. Lastly, some banks may require a minimum credit score when applying for a new balance transfer credit card.
Things to avoid with balance transfer credit cards
A balance transfer credit card should only be used for balance transfers. It is therefore best to avoid making purchases with it, since the interest rate on purchases is usually much higher. Chances are, if you have needed such a card, you may not be able to pay your balances in full. Adding interest to your purchases may put you further in debt.
Make sure you are consistent in your payments, even if you only make the minimum payment required per month. Failure to pay during the promotion could result in a much higher interest rate, which is the opposite of what you are looking for.
If you have overestimated the time it will take to pay off your debts and your card promotion is coming to an end, it is possible to transfer your balance back to another card. However, avoid making this a habit, as too many applications can affect your credit score and ultimately have a negative impact on your ability to access credit.
Balance transfer credit cards are a temporary solution to reduce interest on your credit card balances. If you need a more permanent tool to keep you out of debt, a prepaid card may be another solution.
To help you choose, we’ve selected the top 11 balance transfer credit cards with the best available promotions in Canada using our credit card comparison tool!
Scotia Momentum® No-Fee Visa* Card
- Annual fee: $0
- Interest rate on purchase: 19.99%
- Interest rate on cash advances: 22.99%
The Scotia Momentum® No-Fee Visa* Card allows you to save more money with its current welcome offer: you get a 0% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months, with a fee of 2% on each transfer. After this period, the interest rate for balance transfers and cash advances becomes 22.99%, and 19.99% on purchases. This offer is valid until April 30, 2023.
This promotional offer also gives you 5 % cash back on all purchases for up to 3 months or until 2,000$ in purchases. This offer is also valid until April 30, 2023. After this, the reward rate is of 1% cash back on gas, groceries, drug store purchases and recurring payments, and 0.5% on everything else. This credit card helps you save more with its combination of low interest and no annual fee. It’s one of Scotiabank’s most affordable credit cards that will help you finance your medium to large purchases.
Scotiabank Value® Visa* Card
- Annual fee: $29 (exempt the first year)
- Interest rate on purchase: 12.99%
- Interest rate on cash advances: 12.99%
- Offer valid until April 30, 2023
The Scotiabank Value Visa card can help you save hundreds of dollars in interest. Its very low-interest rate of 12.99% on purchases and cash advances is one of the lowest on the market today. The current welcome offer is a 0% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for the first six months, with a fee of 1% on each transfer. On top of that, the $29 annual fees are waived the first year. This offer lasts until April 30, 2023.
The Scotiabank website features a calculator that helps you determine how much money you can save using the Scotiabank Value Visa card. For example, let’s say your credit card balance is $1,500 with an interest rate of $19.99%. By using the Scotiabank Value Visa card, you’ll be able to save $195 in interest in your first year.
CIBC Select Visa Card
Annual fees: $29
Welcome offer: 0% on balance transfers for 10 months and annual fees waived the first year.
The CIBC Select Visa has a low-interest rate balance transfer option that can help you reduce interest payments. You can transfer up to 50% of your credit limit. The current welcome offer enables you to transfer your existing credit card balance to the CIBC Select Visa card and get 0% interest for 10 months with a 1% transfer fee.
This card comes with passenger protection, which includes a $100,000 common carrier accident insurance. The CIBC Select Visa has an annual fee of $29 (but it’s free during your first year), and up to 3 additional cards are free. The interest rate is 13.99% for both purchases and cash advances. The minimum annual income required to apply is $15,000 per household.
HSBC +Rewards Mastercard
Annual fee: $25
Annual Interest on Purchases: 11.9%
Annual Interest on Cash Advances and Balance Transfers: 11.9%
The HSBC +Rewards Mastercard credit card offers a great rate on balance transfers at all times. The rate is 11.90% and applies to purchases and cash advances. This card comes with an annual fee of $25 and $10 per additional card.
By applying by February 28, 2023, Quebec residents earn 40,000 reward points, the equivalent of $200 in travel rewards. All you need to do is keep your account open and active for 180 days. For applicants living outside Quebec, they are entitled to 35,000 reward points if they make at least $2,000 in purchases in the first 180 days, plus the $25 annual fee is waived for the first year.
With this card, you earn two points for every dollar in restaurant and entertainment purchases and one point for every dollar on all other eligible purchases. Your points can be redeemed for travel, merchandise, gift cards or financial rewards.
BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard
Annual fee: $20
Interest rate: 12.99% on purchases
Interest rate on cash advances: 15.99%
The BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard offers a low-interest rate to help you save more money. This card has an interest rate of 12.99% on purchases and 15.99% cash advances and balance transfers (the lowest of all BMO credit cards) and an annual fee of $20. The current welcome offer is a 0.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for nine months, with a 2% transfer fee. The minimum amount for a balance transfer is $100. By applying before July 31, 2023, you can get the annual fees waived for a year.
The BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard also comes with purchase protection, which covers your purchases from theft or damage for 90 days from the date of purchase. Extended warranty coverage is available, which doubles the warranty period up to a maximum of one additional year.
BMO AIR MILES Mastercard
Annual fees: $0
Welcome offer: 0.99% interest rate on balance transfers for 9 months.
The BMO AIR MILES Mastercard comes with a introductory rate of 0.99% on balance transfers for 9 months. This comes with a 2% transfer fee and the minimum amount permitted is $100. Once the promotional period is over, the interest rate becomes 22.99% (or 21.99% in Quebec) and 19.99% on purchases.
As a welcome, you also get 800 AIR MILES. To obtain those, you must apply before July 31, 2023 and make at least $1,000 of purchases in the first 3 months. helps you earn flights faster on every purchase made using the card. You can receive 3 AIR MILES for every $25 at participating partners, 2 AIR MILES per 25$ spent in any eligible grocery store, and 1 AIR MILE per 25$ anywhere else. Lastly, earn twice the miles when you use your BMO Air Miles Mastercard at participating partners.
Some of this card’s additional benefits include more Reward Miles when you add another cardholder for free, an extended warranty and purchase protection and discounts at participating National Car Rental and Alamo Rent a Car locations.
BMO Cash Back Mastercard
Annual fees: $0
Welcome offer: 0.99% interest rate on balance transfers for 9 months.
The BMO Cash Back Mastercard comes with a welcome interest rate of 0.99% on balance transfers for nine months, on which a 2% fee is applied. A minimum of $100 is required for transfers. Afterwards, the interest rate will be the same as for cash advances: 21.99% for Quebec residents and 22.99% for the rest of Canada. Purchases have an interest rate of 20.99%. There is no annual fee for this card.
This card allows you to earn cash back on everyday purchases. A 3% cash back rate applies to grocery store purchases, while you get 1% cash back on recurring bill payments and 0.5% cash back on all other purchases. A welcome offer, available through July 31, 2023, provides a 5% cash back rate on all purchases for three months after you join. This rate applies to up to $2,500 in purchases, which means you could earn up to $125 in rebates.
One of the key benefits of the BMO Cash Back Mastercard credit card is that rewards have no expiry date as long as your account is open. You can also redeem your cash at any time for as little as $1.
Finally, this card offers some additional benefits such as the ability to earn more cash back by adding another cardholder for free, extended warranty and purchase insurance, and up to 25% off car rentals at participating National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car locations.
BMO Rewards Mastercard
Annual fees: $0
Welcome offer: 0.99% interest rate on balance transfers for 9 months.
The BMO Rewards Mastercard credit card has a welcome rate of 0.99% on balance transfers for nine months, plus a 2% transfer fee. A minimum amount of $100 must be transferred. At the end of the promotion, the interest rate adjusts to the cash advance rate, which is 21.99% in Quebec and 22.99% in the rest of Canada. For purchases, the rate is 20.99%. This card has no fees and the minimum annual income to apply is $15,000.
This card also allows you to take advantage of the BMO Rewards program. For every dollar you spend, you earn one BMO Rewards point. These points can then be redeemed for airline tickets, hotel reservations or vacation packages, as well as products and gift cards available in the program catalog. You can also use these points to make a contribution to your savings or investment account, or use your points directly to pay for eligible purchases.
Plus, if you apply by July 31, 2023, you’ll get 10,000 bonus points as a welcome offer – the equivalent of $50. To access this bonus, all you need to do is spend $1,000 on your card within the first 3 months after receiving it. To double your points, use your BMO Rewards Mastercard credit card at participating National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car locations. You can also get up to 25% off a car rental at these locations.
Tangerine Money-Back Mastercard
Annual fee: $0
Interest rate: 19.95% on purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances
The Tangerine Money-Back Mastercard is a no annual fee card that offers an attractive introductory offer on balance transfers, with an interest rate of 1.95% for 6 months and a 1% transfer fee. At the end of this promotion, the interest rate increases to 19.95% and a transfer will have a 3% fee, or a $5 minimum. Purchases and cash advances also carry an interest rate of 19.95%. This card is relatively accessible, as you only need an annual income of $12,000 to be eligible.
As the name suggests, this card allows you to earn cash back on your purchases. You will receive 2% cash back on purchases in two categories of your choice from the following: groceries, home furnishings, restaurants, hotels and motels, gas, recurring bills, pharmacies, renovations, entertainment, and public transit and parking. On all other purchases, you will receive 0.5% cash back. As an added bonus, by depositing your rebates into a Tangerine savings account, you can earn an additional 2% cash back on a third category of everyday purchases of your choice.
One of the main benefits of this card is that the cash earned on your spending is automatically deposited into your savings account or credit card balance every month. There are also no limits on how much rebate you can earn. If you sign up by November 18, 2022, you can also earn an additional 15% in cash back if you make $1,000 in purchases in the first two months, to a maximum of $150.
Other benefits of the Tangerine Money-Back Mastercard credit card include purchase insurance, where you could receive up to $60,000 in the event of loss, theft or damage for 90 days from the date of purchase. The extended warranty will double the period of repair services up to one year.
MBNA True Line Gold Mastercard
Annual fees: $39
Interest rate on balance transfers: 8.99% (or 10.99% for Quebec residents) at all times
The MBNA True Line Gold Mastercard has a low-interest rate and a low balance transfer rate to help you save more money on interest. This card has an annual fee of $39, with an interest rate on purchases and balance transfers of 10.99% for Quebec residents and 8.99% for the rest of Canada. The interest rate on cash advances is of 20.99% in Quebec and 24.99% elsewhere. A notable advantage of this card is that there are no fees on balance transfers.
Some additional benefits include purchase protection, which covers most items purchased with your card for the first 90 days from the date of purchase. The limit total accumulative is $60,000 per account. The MBNA True Line Gold Mastercard can also help you save with Avis Rent A Car and Budget Rent A Car. You can save a minimum of 10% in Canada and 5% internationally.
Tangerine World Mastercard
The Tangerine World Mastercard offers the same promotional rate as the Tangerine Money-Back credit card described earlier. Its interest rate for money transfers is 1.95% for 6 months, with a 1% fee. Afterwards, the rate becomes the same as for purchases and cash advances, at 19.95%. The balance transfer fee is 3% of the amount transferred or a minimum of $5. There is no annual fee, but it requires an annual income of at least $60,000.
With this card, you are entitled to 2% cash back on everyday purchases in two categories of your choice: groceries, home furnishings, restaurants, hotels and motels, gas, recurring bills, pharmacies, home renovations, entertainment, and public transit and parking. You’ll receive 0.5% back on your other everyday purchases. By depositing your rebates into a Tangerine Savings Account, you will earn 2% rebates on purchases in a third applicable category. These rebates are automatically deposited into your savings account or credit card balance each month. By applying by November 18, 2022, you can also earn an additional 15% in rebates, provided you make $1,000 in purchases in the first two months, up to a maximum of $150.
The additional benefits this card has is the Boingo Wi-Fi for Mastercard. It keeps you connected with access to over 1 million Wi-Fi hotspots around the world. You will have access to Mastercard Travel Rewards, which unlocks cashback offers and gets a rebate applied directly to your statement at merchants that accept Mastercard while travelling outside of Canada. This card also comes with rental car collision/loss damage insurance as well as mobile device insurance. The Tangerine World Mastercard comes in handy when travelling. It gives you access to the Mastercard Airport Experience provided by Loungekey, which includes exclusive dining, retail and spa access in over 400 airports worldwide, along with over 1000 lounges at USD$32 a visit.
Frequently asked questions on balance transfer credit cards
A balance transfer credit card is a credit card that offers a reduced promotional rate, sometimes even 0%, on balance transfers for a limited period of time. You can transfer your credit card balance to this card to pay less interest. Be careful, because this promotional rate usually lasts a few months, after which the card’s regular interest rate applies. Some cards also offer a permanently reduced interest rate on balance transfers.
To make a balance transfer, you must first choose the balance transfer card you want. In addition to the promotional rate, make sure the length of the promotion gives you enough time to pay off your debts. Also ask about the transfer fee, which is usually between 1% and 3% of the amount transferred. There may also be limits on the amount you can transfer.
Once you have been approved for the card you have chosen, log on to the portal of the institution whose card you want to transfer the balance to. You will then be able to click on the Balance Transfer section and follow the instructions for the procedure.
A 0% balance transfer credit card is a card that offers a promotional 0% interest rate on balance transfers. For example, the Scotia Value Visa card offers this rate for 6 months. Keep in mind that there is usually a fee associated with a balance transfer and these promotional rates are for a limited time.