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I thought I would start this post off with a little disclaimer because carrying a balance with a credit card is only something I recommend that you do out of necessity. Personally I try to avoid carrying a balance on a card at all costs because the interest generally offsets the amount you are going to save through rewards programs.
However there are times when you may need to carry a balance on a card, and not all credit cards were created equal. The important thing to remember is that carrying a balance on a card can be completely manageable, as long as you’re spending responsibly and have a plan for repayment. The people who get themselves in trouble are those who don’t stick to the plan they have going in, and get into the routine of putting more on the card than they are paying off each month.
In some situations carrying a balance on a card can actually be a good option, especially for small business owners who need to finance certain aspects of their day to day operations.
The two most important elements to look for when choosing a card to carry a balance on are:
- 1. A Low Interest Rate: The interest rate is the most important factor when choosing a good credit card for carrying a balance. Having a high interest rate can costs you hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year. Many cards will have a low introductory rate, but then bump you up to a much higher rate a few months after signing up, so it’s important to know what your rate is going to be after that introductory period is over.
- 2. No Annual Fee: This really depends on your situation. If you’re getting this card as a way to pay for emergency expenses than you want to avoid cards that have an annual fee. Cards with an annual fee generally have greater benefits, however if you’re planning on getting rid of the card once you are done paying down your balance than the annual fee is an unnecessary added expense. However small business owners who are looking to use the card to help finance their business shouldn’t completely dismiss cards with an annual fee.
Keeping those two factors in mind, let’s now take a look at some cards that meet our criteria and would be good for carrying a balance.
The Discover it® has a very low interest rate (currently at 10.99%-22.99% but always read the terms because this tends to change) and no annual fee which makes it a good card for those who need to carry a balance.
There is a 0% introductory APR for the first 14 months. This card is also one of the best balance transfer cards out there, with a 0% introductory APR for 15 months on balance transfers.
Coincidentally, this card was our pick for overall best credit card because of its superb rewards program, so this isn’t a sub par card you have to get rid of after you get your balance in order.
This is another card with a very low interest rate (currently 11.99% and like the Discover More, this is subject to change) for consumers with good to excellent credit.
The Citi Platinum Select MasterCard has a 0% APR introductory rate for up to 9 months, based on your credit history and score. This 0% introductory rate also include balance transfers.
I prefer the Discover More rewards program over what Citi currently offers however, so if you’re looking for a card with a solid rewards program as well that’s something to factor into your decision. If you know you won’t be able to pay your balance off in 6 months, but may be able to in 9 months consider the Citi because of the extra 3 months on the 0% introductory APR period.