Chase Slate Edge Credit Card Review
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Chase Slate Edge Credit Card Review

Aug 06, 2023

Money > Credit > Credit Cards

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By Aaron Hurd

If you’re one of the millions of Americans dealing with credit card debt — which recently hit a record $1.03 trillion — a balance-transfer credit card can offer temporary relief.

Top balance-transfer cards typically offer you a window of a year or more to pay down interest free. But most cards don’t include features that help you increase your credit score and access lower-cost financing in the future. That’s exactly what the Chase Slate Edge, our pick for Best Balance-Transfer Credit Card, delivers.

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The card offers a 0% APR on balance transfers and purchases for 18 months from account opening with a 3% balance transfer fee. (Afterwards the regular 20.49% to 29.24% APR applies.) The 18-month period is among the longer 0% APR promotional periods we’ve seen and the 3% balance transfer fee is as low as you can find for cards with introductory periods that long.

But the thing that gives the Slate card the edge is how it helps you improve your credit score. New Slate Edge card members get considered for an automatic credit line increase after just six months when they spend $500 on the card and pay on time. Having more credit available lowers your credit utilization ratio and is one of the best ways to improve your credit score.

Finally, the card can help you access lower-cost interest rates, in case you need to occasionally carry a balance after your 0% APR promotion ends. For each year that you’ve made on-time payments and spent at least $1,000 on the card, Chase will automatically consider you for a 2 percentage-point ongoing APR reduction — down to the card’s minimum APR — meaning that carrying a balance becomes cheaper over time.

To find the best balance transfer credit cards, we assumed your aim was to pay off a significant amount of credit card debt — for simplicity we picked $5,000 — as quickly and cheaply as possible. We also considered other card benefits like points or miles, but we regarded these as a secondary concern, since cost of credit card debt typically swamps the value of any rewards you might earn.

If your plan is to completely pay off a $5,000 balance transferred to the Chase Slate Edge card within the card’s 18 month 0% APR promotional period, you can pay off your balance by making payments of $286 each month. That includes the 3% balance transfer fee, the lowest fee we found on any card with an introductory 18-month 0% APR offer. While Chase Slate Edge doesn’t offer the longest interest-free window we could find, or the absolute lowest balance transfer fee, we think its combination of a very low fee and very long window is hard to beat.

Slate Edge doesn’t earn rewards. Still, making an occasional purchase using the card can make sense. You won’t have to pay a finance charge — the card’s 0% promotional APR applies to purchases as well as balance transfers — and the card’s automatic credit line increase can help you improve your credit score. When you spend $500 in the first six months of having the card and make on-time payments, you will be automatically considered for a higher credit limit.

While Buy Side from WSJ judges balance transfer credit cards primarily on their promotional period, balance transfer fees and ongoing interest rates, some cards can be useful even after their promotional 0% APR periods. Here are some of this card’s additional benefits and fees that you should keep in mind:

The Chase Slate Edge works best for a person who needs a generously long 0% APR promotional period and wants a tool that can help them improve their credit score. If this is you, the automatic credit line increases you can earn with the Chase Slate Edge will give your credit score a boost while you pay off your credit card balance.

People who can afford to pay off balances sooner than 18 months can find cheaper options among Buy Side from WSJ’s other balance transfer card picks. If you can pay off your balances within a year, you will pay $0 in fees and interest with the Wings Visa Platinum Card. The card offers a $0 balance transfer fee and a 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months.

While the Chase Slate Edge offers annual interest rate reductions, cardholders who need ongoing financing after their introductory APR promotion ends can do better with the Navy Federal Credit Union Platinum card. This card doesn’t offer a 0% promotional APR — instead you get 0.99% for 12 months. But the card comes with other benefits that may make up for this. There is no balance-transfer fee and the card’s ongoing interest rates tend to be among the lowest on the market, a boon if you need long-term financing.

Navy Federal is a credit union and requires a military affiliation to join, so this card isn’t available to everyone.

To pick Buy Side from WSJ’s Best Balance Transfer Credit Card, we looked for no-annual-fee credit cards offering balance transfers for new customers with 0% APR promotions. We preferred credit cards with longer balance transfer promotional periods and lower balance transfer initiation fees.

Because most consumers will use a credit card while paying down debt, we favored cards that offered 0% APRs on both interest and purchases during their promotional period. All other things equal, we selected cards that are useful after the promotional balance transfer period because they offer rewards or other benefits.

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