Chase Slate vs. BankAmericard Credit Card: Which Is the Better Balance-Transfer Card?

By Nathan Hamilton Markets Fool.com

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Chase Slate and BankAmericard Credit Card have locked down a spot among some of the most popular balance-transfer credit cards on the market. It's easy to understand why, given their longer-than-average introductory 0% APR offers. This is one reason both cards landed a spot on our lists of the best balance-transfer credit cards and best credit cards of 2017.

But what separates the two powerhouse cards and which may be best? Let's dive in to learn more.

What is a balance-transfer credit card?

First, it's important to understand how indebted cardholders can use balance-transfer cards. Balance-transfer credit cards help cardholders get out of debt faster by including a promotional 0% APR offer, where interest isn't charged on transferred balances for a specified period, typically 12 to 21 billing cycles. Card issuers use this marketing strategy to attract new members, but smart cardholders can rightfully take advantage and avoid interest charges during the promo period.

You simply need to apply for approval for a balance-transfer card and then request transfer balances from a current card that's incurring interest charges. You'll need only basic card details, including the card number from which you're transferring and the amount. The entire process can be completed when applying or after approval.

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When a balance-transfer credit card makes sense

Cardholders can save $3,961 when paying off a $10,000 balance with an 18-billing-cycle, 0% promotional APR card, assuming payments of $300 each month and a 20% APR after the promo period, compared with sticking with a high-rate card that charges 20% interest today on the same payment and balance. What's more, balances will be paid off after 36 months on the new card, versus 50 months for the older card.

Paying thousands of dollars for unnecessary interest charges highlights how high-cost debt can wreak havoc on your finances. Blame double-digit interest rates and compounding interest, which is why paying principal balances off faster can have a multiplying effect on interest savings.

With this in mind, let's review Chase Slate and BankAmericard to uncover which may be best.

Contender 1: Chase Slate

(Read The Motley Fool's full review.)

  • 0% introductory APR offer: Chase Slate not only offers a 0% introductory APR on balance transfers spanning 15 billing cycles, but the card also includes the same promotional APR for new purchases.
  • Balance-transfer fee: This card offers a $0 balance-transfer fee for transfers made during the first 60 days of account opening. After that, the fee is $5 or 5% of the amount transferred, whichever is more.
  • Other perks and details: Chase Slate also includes a balance-transfer credit card essential -- a free FICO score. Cardholders with good credit and better can secure approval, with some cardholders reporting approval with a credit score in the mid-600s and higher.

Contender 2: BankAmericard

(Read The Motley Fool's full review.)

  • 0% introductory APR offer: BankAmericard offers a 0% introductory APR on balance transfers made in the first 60 days, spanning a longer 18 billing cycles,
  • Balance-transfer fee: The fee is $10, or 3% of the amount transferred, whichever is more.
  • Other perks and details: BankAmericard similarly includes a free FICO score. The main difference here is that better credit may be required. The longer the introductory APR offer, the higher credit score required, which is the case with this card. While Bank of America does approve people with good credit, the credit-qualification requirements may bias higher than Chase Slate.

Which is better, Chase Slate or BankAmericard?

Ultimately, the answer to which card is better is that it depends what you're looking for. We think both are best-in-class balance-transfer credit cards for obvious reasons, and choosing between the two cards may come down to the monthly payment you can afford and credit history. Otherwise the cards are clearly designed by both issuers to be competitors.

Chase Slate has a slight edge when nixing the fee on qualifying balance transfers and paying off balances in 15 billing cycles. Where BankAmericard shines is for cardholders who value a lower monthly payment on the back of three extra billing cycles of interest reprieve, which may also help tackle larger debt balances. The last point could explain why BankAmericard approval biases toward excellent credit. The more debt, the more risk to an issuer and the better credit score required.

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Nathan Hamilton has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.