Citi Platinum Select Card: 0% APR Balance Transfers for 18 months

Citi Platinum Select MastercardSpeaking of household debt, Citibank is currently offering 0% APR interest on purchases and balance transfers for 18 months on its Citi Platinum Select MasterCard. Notice they are not allowed to say “up to” anymore with the new credit card laws. If you get approved – this card requires good to excellent credit – then you’ll get the full 18 months. No annual fee.

Length of your introductory period will be 0% for 18 months from the date of account opening when balance transfers are completed within 4 months from date of account opening and 0% for 18 months on purchases from date of account opening.

Don’t use this card to build up more debt, use it to lower your interest rate so you can pay down your principal faster. The balance transfer fee is 3% ($5 minimum) so it’s not totally free money, but a one-time 3% fee spread out over 1 3/4 years is the equivalent of paying an annual interest rate of 1.7% per year. Compare that with your current interest rate – the national average is over 14%. Also compare to what P2P lenders like Prosper and LendingClub can offer, although their term lengths are over 3 to 5 years.

Take advantage of the flexibility as well. The 18 months applies to both purchases and balance transfers, and with Citi you can transfer your credit limit directly to your checking account or simply request a paper check. If you’ve already got this card, check out this list of low-fee 0% APR balance transfer offers for similar offers.

Comments

  1. Hmm, here’s a different take on what to do with 0% BT offers…

    I normally pay $600 additional principal to my 5% mortgage each month.

    What if I get a $12600 BT on this card offer, pay all the Citi money to my mortgage next month, and then for the next 21 months pay the $600 to an ING account instead of my mortgage. On the 21st month, pay the card off.

    Is there a hole in my plan?

  2. @Dan – Sounds like a fine plan. First, if you want a higher credit limit you can try to shift multiple Citi card credit limits so that more of it is on the card you want to balance transfer from. That way, if your debt-to-limit ratio is below 80% on that card, any credit score ding will be minimized.

    Otherwise, the issues are the normals ones of paying back and liquidity. You’ll want to be confident you’ll have the $600 per month cash flow over the next 21 months, since you’ll have already sent that money into the mortgage. If you do it, let me know how it went!

  3. Newlyfrugal says:

    Dan, congrats for thinking of an excellent plan! I like Jonathan’s idea about consolidating your credit lines. However, in 2009, when I tried to consolidate my Citicard credit limits onto one card, Citi advised that they no longer did consolidation. Chase said the same. Now that it’s 2011, you might check to see if Citi’s policies have changed. Good luck and please report your findings.

    FYI, is your ING account earning 1.00% or so? If you go to checkingfinder.com, you can find Rewards Checking Accounts that pay 3.00 to 4.00% interest, no monthly fee, no minimum balance required. My RCA pays 4.01% up to $25k deposit, but I must accept online statements, do direct deposit or make one online payment (I pay my CC), and 10 debit transactions per cycle (I go to the grocery store twice and ring up 5 items separately.) I am happy to do this. If I don’t meet requirements, I earn only .25% for that cycle.

    Whenever I get a good CC deal with 18 to 21 months of 0% APY on purchases, I put all livings expenses on that card, stash cash in my RCA, make the minimum payment monthly, then pay in full before the final due date. I get not only interest from my RCA, but also cashback rebates!!!

  4. enonymous says:

    I’m bummed about how this blog has largely turned into a cc links blog for paid referrals.
    Certainly it is your blog, but deals like this aren’t deals, unless you get the $100 or whatever it is for the referral bonus from Citi.

    3% up front one time (effective after tax) just is not a good deal for most of your readers…

  5. enonymous says:

    @ Dan

    if you can do that, why not refi to a lower rate…

    no or low closing cost loans are down to 4.5% on the 30yr 3.75% on the 15 yr…

  6. @enonymous

    Thanks, I saw earlier this year rates had made their way back to 5% and didn’t realize rates had gone back down a bit.

    I have an FHA loan, and I know the rules changed in the last year, so I’ll have to see how the change in insurance rules would affect me with a refi. I’ve been on the $600/mo extra plan because that will get me to 22% equity right at the 5-yr mark when I’m eligible to get off the insurance.

  7. Also @ eponymous,

    Back in 2006, finding the best 0% BT offers was a fun part of the appeal of this blog. Using some of the cards Jonathan recommended with no fees, I had nearly $100k earning 5% at various online savings accounts.

    The one Jonathan posted about here is probably the best BT offer I’ve seen in a long time, the difference being the 21 months and equivalent 1.7% rate. It doesn’t make sense to keep it in the current ~1% APY savings accounts, but readers sure can potentially refi a lot of things with the equivalent of 1.7%. Don’t knock it!

  8. @eponymous – I don’t see what the problem is, I’ve always posted what I thought to be the better deals and offers out there, and this is no different. If I can get a referral out of it, then yes I’m going to do it, I’m not turning down money either. But in the end, every single post is aimed at trying to save or make somebody some money.

    Getting a unsecured loan at 1.7% for nearly 2 years remains the best deal I can find out there open to all applicants. If you don’t have any credit card debt or other loan debt at higher than 1.7%, then congrats and perhaps just move on to the next post? I just counted and out of all the 12 posts on the front page right now, this is the only one that mentions credit cards.

  9. Enonymous says:

    Actually I take it back

    You are right it is a better deal than I first realized. My mistake! And my apologies!

    And credit to you for publishing my comment and responding to it factually.

    Maybe I just miss the 0% BT no fee days.

    Biggest issue is the size of the credit line.

    30k at 2.3% (spread between 4% after tax interest on mortgage and 1.7% credit card deal) is about $600 over two years. NPV minimum payments and inflation risk all hurt the deal. Obviously with a lower cc limit it becomes that much less helpful in absolute dollar terms.

    Dan check rates. Google mortgage advisor and zillow are pretty useful.
    Stick with the no or very low closing cost deals…

  10. Jack Foley says:

    Thats a great deal,,

    wow, 21 months. Over here in europe the max u get is 12 months. anyone is serious credit card debt should get this deal and use it to pay off their debt..

  11. Its interesting that you changed tone from trying to “game” the system and invest, to trying to help people save money on finance charges by transferring credit card balances to the 0% interest.

    I was very interested in this, as I have about $8000 credit card debt that I accumulated when I was under-employed and have been steadily working to get out of debt. This is down from over $10,000 and I have been able to pay off the 15% cards and the rest I pay 10% or 0%. I have successfully gotten a few cards with 0% and now pay less than $50 a month finance charges, but my goal is always to get that as close to zero so that all my money can go to paying down my credit card debt.

    Unfortunately, I was not approved, due to high % of credit used. I tried to time it right after a large deposit so that my % would be lower, but I guess that was not enough. Also I have 2 citi cards already, don’t know if that makes a difference.

    Its amazing how many people carry large credit card debt loads and how few people talk about it. To anyone in serious credit card debt, I urge you to sign up for Mint.com, as it has helped me set up specific, measureable, timed goals that I make steady progress towards.

    Thanks for keeping us up to date on all the great deals out there Johnathan, and for being mindful of the variety of people interested in personal finance.

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