Scouting For 0% Balance Transfer Offers

[This is Part 2 of an ongoing series about how to make money from 0% APR balance transfers.]

Now that you’ve read my introduction and warnings about 0% balance transfer offers, let’s try to find some suitable deals. First, some definitions:

A balance transfer is traditionally the transfer of a debt balance from one credit card to another. However, there are various direct and indirect methods to convert this into cash inside a bank account. It is usually for larger amounts, up to almost all of the credit limit on the card.

A cash advance is often similar, but not identical. Usually, this is for smaller amounts (your card may list a special “cash advance limit”) and comes to you directly as cash. If you use a PIN with your credit card at an ATM or bank branch to receive cash, this is considered a cash advance. Cash advances usually have the highest interest rate, and are almost always to be avoided.

A purchase is pretty familiar to everyone and just that, when you are getting services and/or goods with your credit card. Some credit card companies reserve the right to reclassify purchases of cash-equivalents (such as traveller’s checks) as cash advances.

The reason why it is important to note the difference between these three terms is that in the fine print of your credit card agreement, these three things can be treated totally differently. That brings us to the fine print. This is the guts of any balance transfer offer, and can usually be found in small print on the back of physical applications, and via a links that says Terms and Conditions on online applications. It’s meant to be hard to find, but it is critical to find it.

As a working example, let’s take the first card on my Best of 0% APR Offers list – the Citi Professional Cash Card. I do a quick scan of the application, and note that they are also offering a permanent 3% cash bank on restaurants, gas stations, certain office supply merchants, and for auto rentals. I’ll discuss this later.

Then, click on the Apply Now button. You should see this: On the initial application page, you see this:

Application Screenshot 1

Now click on Terms and Conditions (circled above). Every online application should have a similar link. If you have a physical Terms and Conditions sheet, save it. If you have an online version, print it out or print to a PDF. Here is an example PDF. It takes just seconds but gives you peace of mind. Then either tuck it away or e-mail it to yourself.

Ok, now we have the T&Cs. I usually do the following online – hit Ctrl-F and search for the term “balance transfer”. The Firefox web browser has a nice feature where you can highlight every occurrence. I also do this for the term “fee”. For paper versions I just do this by skimming. You get good at it after a while :)

Doing this alerts me to the following pertinent sentences:

Annual fees – None.

Balance transfer APR: As long as balance transfers are completed within 12 months from date of account opening, 0.00% for 12 months from date of first balance transfer . After that, 11.99% variable.
Cash advance APR: 20.99% variable.
Default APR: 29.99% variable. See explanation below.*

Balance transfer fee: 3% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum. There is no fee with the 0.00% APR balance transfer offer described above.

Here is a screenshot that I took:

No Balance Transfer Fee Screenshot

So there is no balance transfer fee with the 0% APR offer. Sweet.

But, the purchase APR is at nearly 12% APR. Remember, since your payments always go towards the balance at the lowest interest rate, if you request a 0% balance transfer all your payments would go towards that. So you can’t take advantage of both the 0% on balance transfers and the cashback program. Here I’d do the 0% for 12 months, and then after that is over I’d keep the cards for the 3% back on restaurants.

Annual fees. This should be zero or at least waived for the first year during the 0% period. I only tolerate annual fees for excellent rewards cards like the Starwood American Express Card. In this case, it is zero.

Balance Transfer APR and Length – Obviously, lower is better and 0% APR is best. 0% is usually for a limited time, anywhere from 3 months to 15 months. Anything over 9 months catches my eyes. Here it is 0% for 12 months, which is very good.

As interest rates rise, 0.99% or 1.99% might start to look good as well when you can make 5-6% at the bank. But remember, you pay taxes on the bank interest, and you cannot deduct credit card interest. So if you make 6% but are in the 25% tax bracket, you end up with 4.5%. If your credit charges 1%, your profit margin is 3%. Still not bad depending, but perhaps you could do better elsewhere.

Update: Interest charged for money used for investment purposes can be tax deductible if you document it properly. So in my previous example if you the bank is paying 6% and your credit card is charging 1%, if done right you can deduct the 1% on your taxes and get taxed only on the 5% margin (3.75% net if taxes are 25%). I’m no tax expert, so consult your accountant for details.

Balance Transfer Transaction Fees – Again, lower is better and best is zero. 3% is common, but the caps are what I focus upon. For example, there may be a cap of $75 on balance transfers not part of the promotional offer.

If you transfer $5,000, you pay $75 or 1.5% of balance.
If you transfer $10,000, you still pay $75 or 0.75% of balance.
If you transfer $20,000, you only pay 0.375%.

If there are no caps, that indicates a bad deal. 3% upfront is usually too much to overcome and you can do better. Caps $75 and under get a closer look from me. But again, in this case, there is no balance transfer fee. Nice!

The rest – Okay, those three things are my primary screens. If those aren’t satisfied, into the shredder it goes. Some credit cards make you have a purchase each month to keep the low rate, often for the “0% for life” deals. Keep in mind purchases get their own APR, and all payments go towards the balance with the lowest interest rate. Now, there are tons of other stuff on there, but I personally don’t pay too much attention to them. Here are some examples:

APR on Purchases – 0% on purchases are great and add flexibility to the account, but I usually only make purchases on separate cards to get 2-5% cashback. They can be useful if you make a lot of purchases.

Default APR, APR on Cash Advances, Late Payment Fee, etc. – I don’t plan on ever paying any of these, and they are all very similar across all credit card companies, so I gloss over them. For a good run down of these other fine print details, check out this post at StopBuyingCrap. One thing to note is the Universal Default Clause, which basically says that you get the crazy-high default rate if they find out you pay any creditor late. Utilities usually don’t report to credit bureaus until you are over 30 days late, but credit card companies report it pretty much as soon as you are late.

Balance Transfer / Cash Advance Checks
For an existing account, you may get checks in the mail offering 0% APR or similar as well. You should be very careful as to whether these are classified as cash advances or balance transfers by your credit card companies. After that, repeat the steps above to see if it’s a good deal. It can be tricky, you may get four checks, and the first two have different terms than the last two! In addition, some checks say that if you write it to yourself, it is a cash advance, but if you write it to someone else, it’s a balance transfer.

Too much! I’m Lazy, Can You Do This For Me?
Sure, as mentioned above I have composed a list of good pre-screened no annual fee, no balance transfer fee, 0% APR offers. I will keep this list updated regularly.

Yes, talking about fine print is as fun as watching paint dry, but it’s a necessary step to ensure maximum profit. My next post is about the application process and actually getting the borrowed money into your bank account.


Skip To Another Part
I. Introduction and Warnings About 0% Balance Transfer Offers
II. Scouting For 0% Balance Transfer Offers
III. Application Tips and Getting Cash From 0% Balance Transfers
IV. Setup And Management of 0% APR Balance Transfers
V. Best Pre-Screened No Fee 0% APR Balance Transfer Offers

Comments

  1. Thanks for the great information. Unfortunately, right now I am using my 0% balance transfers to lower the cost of carrying my existing debt. I hope to have my credit cards paid off by the end of the year and then I can start using the 0% offers to actually make money.

    I have 0% offers with Discover and Chase but for some reason Citi doesn’t want to give me credit. I noticed they used the word “peak” in their advertising copy when they meant “pique”. I hope they’re more careful with people’s credit card information.

  2. Incredibly informative. Thanks.

  3. I just finished 12 months of borrowing from two Credit cards… total borrowed was about 20k. Which I just sent back to pay in full. Over the 12 months they sat in a fat money market account, and making monthy automatic payments to cover the minimum payments (i love internet automation). I made $775 before taxes. Free easy money! Ca ching! Still not planning to buy a house in the near future, so my next aim is to borrow more, maybe even 75k. =)

  4. For the past years, I have ONLY received 0% balance transfers from Discover, Citi, and Bank One (who now as Chase, seems to be more stingy).

    This afternoon I received a solicitation from Capital One offering 0% on balances transfers (and purchases) until 5/2007 and no transfer fees. I’ve always thought of Capital One as a card for those with mediocre credit (perhaps the TV commercials have created this perception).

    So… At first, I was very skeptical, thinking that there was one of the usual catches that I was just not seeing. Finally, I called to apply (usually I apply on-line) and asked direct questions trying to ferret out the gimmick. Either they fooled me or there isn’t one. My application was accepted and so I will be able to add some more $ to my savings.

    The phone number for the offer is 800-809-4663, but I’m sure you need a reservation code to get the 0%.

    Thanks for all of your work on this site. I read it every day and am wiser (and richer) because of it.

  5. I should clarify in my post above that I have ONLY received **decent** 0% balance transfers from Discover, Citi, and Bank One. I have received offers from many many others, but they all had hidden costs… I’ve only taken those from Discover, Citi, and Bank One.

  6. if approved for these cards no interest on balance transfers & purchases for set term? really? & no min. monthly payments either?

  7. Great post, but I would like to address one point you made:

    “As interest rates rise, 0.99% or 1.99% might start to look good as well when you can make 5-6% at the bank. But remember, you pay taxes on the bank interest, and you cannot deduct credit card interest. So if you make 6% but are in the 25% tax bracket, you end up with 4.5%. If your credit charges 1%, your profit margin is 3%. Still not bad depending, but perhaps you could do better elsewhere.”

    This is simply not true. My father-in-law is a CPA and both he and I have been doing the BT-to-savings account investment for a couple years now. According to him, it is perfectly legal to deduct the credit card interest and BT fees used for these investments as “investment expense”.

    The two keys to this are:
    1) DO NOT co mingle funds (i.e. DO NOT use a BT card being used for investment money for purchases, etc. that will incur interest charges on that account that were not used for investment purposes).
    2) Have a CLEAR paper trail showing the money you borrowed from the CC company was placed directly in an investment (Savings Account, T-Bill, CD, etc.).

    If you are audited, and have covered your bases above, you should have no problems justifying the deduction.

  8. IS IT POSSIBLE YOU CAN SHOW & DESCRIBE TO US HOW TO GET MONEY INTO A SAVING ACCOUNT WITHOUT USING CITIBANK AS AN EXAMPLE (because citibank does make it easy for us!) THANKS.

  9. New, you can usually request a check (payable to you) that you can then deposit into your account.

  10. Brent is correct – As outlined in pub 550, credit card interest charges are deductible when the debt is used to finance investments (to the limit of the investment income) as long as that income is taxable.

  11. Brent, you are right, thank you for pointing that out. I thought that all credit card interest was considered “consumer interest” and thus not tax deductible. But when used exclusively for taxable investment purposes, can be deductible up to net investment income. This is good news :) I will edit the post.

  12. frugalman says:

    how can i get the balance transfer as a check that I can deposit into a bank account?

  13. J

    Was looking at the Citi offer. It says purchases are 0% for a year. And VT are 0% for 12 months after BT as long as BT was made within 12 months of acccount opening. So…

    If one were to open the Citi…and instead of doing a BT made a large purchase on something they were going to pay cash on(maybe prop. tax., down payment on a new car, buy used car outright, wedding expenses, vacation….etc.) up to the card limit say $10,000…take the money they already had…drop it into savings account…wait 11 months…pay off balance with orginal money…do a BT with Citi to another card for same $10,000…get check…deposit..wait 11-12 motnhs. Would that not be 0% for 2 years instead of 1 on $10,000?

  14. SavingEverything says:

    Citibank is getting sneaky! On the welcome page to the Citibank Platinum Select MC, you see the Terms&Conditions below: IntroRate=0.0% for 12months from date of cardmembership on BT & purch. After promotional period ends, standard variable rates: 11.24%purch/23.24%cashadv (as of Oct28,2006); Transaction fee for foreign purchases=3%amt after conversion to USD; Transaction fee for BT=3%, $5min/$250MAX. WOW. BUT, when you click “Apply Now”, you see the Terms&Conditions and Disclosures (from sc=4T3Z62H50CJ6000000W): 0% for 12 months from opening date for purchases; as long as first BT is completed within 12months from date account opening, 0% for 12 months from date of first BT; Transaction fee for BT: 3%, $5min,$75max. However, there is no fee with the 0%apr BT offer described above. OK? I read further, Citibank states “Rates, fees, and terms may change: We have the right to change the rates, fees, and terms at any time, for any reason, in accordance with the cardmember agreement and applicable law.” So, which Terms and Conditions will be applicable to the account???
    Either way, it says no BTfee for the promotional period. This is why it’s very important to read, SAVE THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS as a text or pdf file on the day you apply, and maybe print it as well.

  15. Another technique I used was to channel all my purchases on a card (rather than cash, check, or debiting from from bank account). Each month, instead of paying off the card — pay only the minimum due — and bank the rest. You can do this up to about 60% of the card limit and you will benefit through both the interest gained and the positive effect on your credit score. Then, when the 0% offer is due, pay off the card and find another. The only danger I can see is spending the money you bank — so don’t!

  16. In the past I have always used offers which came in the mail addressed to me. On this site you list some of your favorite 0% offers as links. Does it worry you to put your personal info out there on a link, ie account number for the balance transfer, etc. How do we know these links go to the real Discover, Citi, etc. and not some hacker’s site like the phisher emails we frequently get?

  17. Well, I give up sensitive information all the time when signing into online bank websites and credit card accounts. It’s the same idea with credit card applications. You should check the domain and also to see that there is the little yellow lock on the bottom-right to show that it is a secure form.

    AT&T/Citibank’s domain is citi.bridgetrack.com, or accountonline.com
    Discover’s domain is discovercardapplication.com
    American Express’s domain is americanexpress.com

    Not saying it’s not, but how do you know the mail is secure? Most people names are being sold on mailing lists already. I actually think I like the idea of sending my social security number out by mail less than submitting it online.

  18. Great Info, Thanks !
    Today I tried to apply for Citi Platinum Select Mastercard. Even after clicking on “Apply now” and clicking on “Terms and Conditions”, it says
    Transaction fee for balance transfers: 3 % of the amount of each balance transfer, $5 minimum, $250 maximum.
    There is no mention of this being not applicable in promotional period. Am I missing something or did they change T&C ?

  19. I think you’re right, they must have changed it on April 1st. Other Citibank offers, in addition to the AT&T/Citi card still have no balance transfer fees, though.

  20. Kirk Dolan says:

    Great posts. Unfortunately, Discover Miles now (April 7, 2007) says,

    3% for each Balance Transfer made under this offer, with a minimum of $5 and a maximum of $50

    No mention of 0% transfer fee under this offer.
    I’ll have to look for other cards.
    Thanks,

  21. Hmm.. I don’t see that when I click on the Miles Card by Discover application. From the Terms and Conditions:

    “INTRODUCTORY/SPECIAL APR OFFERS: If you are approved for an account, you will be able to make balance transfers under this offer until August 1, 2007. If you request balance transfers after this date, we will not make the balance transfers. Please allow up to 4 weeks before payments to your other accounts are made. Accordingly, you should continue to make all required payments until you confirm that the balance transfers were made. Balance transfers may not be used to pay any Discover accounts. Balance transfer requests will be processed from the lowest to highest dollar amount. If a balance transfer transaction would cause you to exceed your account credit limit, you authorize us to process your balance transfers for an amount less than the full amount requested. Making additional transactions may still cause you to exceed your account credit limit. You may only make balance transfers to accounts that list you as an accountholder. There is no grace period on balance transfers. Any introductory/special rates will terminate if you are late making a payment or your account is overlimit as discussed in the Default Rate section above and in the Cardmember Agreement. If you make a balance transfer with this application, there is no balance transfer transaction fee.

  22. I have a question about the AT&T card. After making the initial purchase for the $50 gift card, then can I pay it off and then immediately ask for the balance transfer? Or do I have to pay it off, wait for the next statement to come out, and then ask for the balance transfer? Does it matter?

    Thanks!

  23. two7s_clash says:

    I’m a little confused on how long you take to pay back the maxed out card (one you’ve just used for a massive balance transfer to a 0 balance account). Does one need to do this within the 0% APR on all balance transfers time period? Or just however long it takes to pay off the card with just slightly over the minimum payment every month?

  24. SavingEverything says:

    As of May 7, 2007, the DiscoverCard’s Miles Card does not offer a “No balance transfer fee” credit card anymore. Please check their Terms and Conditions for details. All have a 3% on the amount, with minimum $5 and maximum $50 or $75.

  25. SavingEverything says:

    SEPARATELY. WHAT THE HECK DOES THIS MEAN?
    Annual Percentage Rate (APR) for Purchases Standard APR:
    9.9% for Platinum Plus? accounts,
    Balance Transfers: 0% Introductory APR applies to Balance Transfers through your first twelve statement Closing Dates (the Promotional Period). When the Promotional Period ends, the Standard APR for Balance Transfers is 9.9% for Platinum Plus accounts, or 15.99% for Preferred accounts. The Promotional Period will end sooner if your payment is late or the account balance is over the credit limit.
    See 1 and 2 below for explanation.

    Transaction fee for Balance Transfers, non-online Direct Deposits, and Check Cash Advances: 3% of each such cash advance (minimum $10). See 3 below for explanation.

    1Each time your minimum payment is late (i.e., not received by 5 p.m., ET, on its Payment Due Date), or the account balance is over the credit limit, we may increase each of your account’s Standard APRs up to the Default APR. The Default APR will be applied to all new and outstanding balances.

    If your account has balances with different APRs, payments are applied to the balance with the lowest APR before any payments are applied to balances with higher APRs. This means that balances with higher APRs are not reduced until balances with lower APRs have been paid off.

    2The Introductory APR does not apply to Purchases, Bank and ATM Cash Advances, or online Direct Deposits. When a Promotional Period ends, the Standard (non-introductory) APR for your account is applied to new and outstanding balances (consisting of Balance Transfers, non-online Direct Deposits, and Check Cash Advances). If your payment is late or the account balance is over the credit limit, either the Standard APR or the Default APR will be applied to those balances as of the first day of the billing cycle in which the payment was late or the balance exceeded the credit limit. We reserve the right to change the Standard APRs and the Default APR on your account. REMINDER: To preserve the grace period for new purchases, pay your New Balance Total in full and on time. The 0% APR does not apply to Purchases.

    ?The number of days between your statement Closing Date and your Payment Due Date (the grace period) may vary from one Billing Cycle to another.

    3 We include Transaction Fees when computing finance charges. Incurring Fees results in an APR exceeding 0% for the billing statement on which Fees appear. The Daily Periodic Rate (DPR) will remain 0% as disclosed.
    ==================
    What does that mean? How could the DPR remain 0% as disclosed, but the incurring fees result in an APR exceeding 0% for the billing statment on which fees appear?

  26. I am confused by this paragraph. Can you explain more or given an example for that. Thank you.

    “But, the purchase APR is at over 13% APR. So in this case, I would apply for the card but not request a balance transfer upfront. Since your payments always go towards the balance at the lowest interest rate, if you request a 0% balance transfer all your payments would go towards that. So, I would apply for and get the card, make a purchase, pay it off, get the points for $50 gift card, and then request a balance transfer. Remember, you have 12 months to make the balance transfer. (Again, order is important.)”

  27. Jonathan,

    Do you still have a copy of the Terms and Conditions for the Miles Card from last month (April – promo ending May 2008)? This is the one where there are no balance transfer transaction fees (excerpt of which you posted last April 27). I just applied for this card last April and I’m pretty sure I’ve read those exact terms above. I’ve made BTransfers with that application and now they are nailing me with the transfer fees. I misplaced my printed copy of that and they want me to prove to them that those terms existed. Silly me, I just bookmarked the page from last month, and now it?s overwritten with the latest terms. I would really appreciate it if you can send this to me if you have it.

    Thanks

  28. Avinash says:

    What is the max credit card limit on a credit card ? Is it $50000 ?
    Secondly, can one have both the ATT Universal Platinum, and ATT Universal Rewards card, or 2 cards from Discover ?

  29. Okay here’s a big tip for you married folks out there that works with Discover, Visa, and Citi Mastercard. Apply in your name only for just one card. Then a few weeks later apply in your wifes name only for just one card. Perfectly legit because you specify “household income” on the application. We qualified for an extra 30K following this strategy.

  30. Does anyone know if AT&T’s Universal Card Terms and Conditions have changed at all? Secondly,if I have no previous credit could it hurt my credit score at all by doing this and still making payments on time?

  31. Is it against the law to exaggerate your income on a new credit card application? The higher the income, the higher the credit limit for a 0% balance transfer offer.

  32. Another catch to watch out for. Wash Mutual just sent me an ESPN card offer that has balance transfers at 0%, purchases at 13.99%, and the TRANSFER FEE BILLED AS A PURCHASE. So you have to pay interest on the fee!

  33. jonathan,
    applying for new cards is okay for now for me coz I am not planning to shop for mortgage for next 2 years. i wont be applying for new cards a year before applying for mortgage.even if i pay down the balances 3 months or so before shopping credit report will still show a lot of new accounts (less than 2 yrs old). does that matter much as long as they are in good standing?

  34. Depends on how many other lines you have in my opinion, it all about average. If have 20 cards with a high average, a few new ones won’t alter they average much. If you have 1 card, then the average will be lower. In any case, it’s only a small part of the credit score. If everything else is clean then I wouldn’t worry too much.

  35. with my credit scores of EQ-692 EX-675 TU-685 is it worth applying for 0% offers right now. they are low bcoz of collections on medical bills. CC utilization is less than 1% though.

    my fiance has EQ-688 EX-702 TU-736. all of them are going to go up in december after i pay off her 0% APR card. according to credit analyzer (BofA Privacy Assist) they will all go to ~740. i guess that should be good enough for applying for few more 0% cards right?

    Also when guys talk about credit reallocation does it mean if i get a new citibank card I can move my credit limit from a old citicard to the new one and then do balance transfer on the increased available credit or do BT and then reallocate so that i dont have a 100% utilization.

  36. Father of Eight says:

    I’ve been taking advantage of low interest balance transfers for almost ten years now. They started at much higher rates, naturally, but were always lower than the rates for car loans, so I used them for that purpose. I knew I was taking a chance that I would not be able to get a new offer before the old one ran out, since I could not pay off a car loan in 12 months. I had a credit card account with a relatively low rate on which I could write checks, which I kept as my backup in case I didn’t get a new transfer offer. That account morphed into the vehicle for getting the cash out on zero interest offers. I make a balance transfer from this account and then write a check on that account. So far, no credit card company has refused to transfer a balance from this account. I have some accounts I have milked five or six times. I will say that it looks like the credit card companies are now tightening up, mostly with balance transfer fees. I just tell them “no, thanks.”

  37. Things are definitely tightening up. At least we can still get 0% from a lot of places! I’m still okay with fees that end up at less than 1% of my balance. For example if the fee is capped at $75:

    Transfer $7,500 and that’s a 1% fee

    Transfer $15,000 and that’s a 0.5% fee

    Transfer $25,000 and that’s a 0.3% fee

  38. Should I close out the 0% interest card when I transfer the balance to another 0%. I am using them to pay down some debt. Does it look bad on you credit report . I will be looking at a mortgage in a year or so. Currently $20K in credit card debt. Advise.

  39. Lissie says:

    I came across some really good CC deals that were mailed to me. One of the best is from Chase. 0% APR for balance transfers for 15 month, no transfer fee, no annual fee.

  40. paul lauro says:

    for balance transfers what do you rec for 09 thx Paul.

  41. SavingEverything says:

    It’s sad that with the Fall of the Credit Crisis and the fall of the stock markets globally, the credit card companies of Citibank, Chase, Bank of America, Barclays, and JPM-Chase are not as open as they used to with 0% APR for 1st 12 months and no balance transfer fees. Now, it seems that they are more likely to offer 0% APR for 1st 6 months; you’ll be lucky with 0% APR for 12 months; but, it seems that most are charging 3% balance fees with no maximums. Moreover, your initial credit line may not be as high as you would think you would get due to the current tightening of the credit markets and lending. This could be a history post in the mymoneyblog.

  42. For over 20 yrs I’ve used a credit card. I never carried a balance, choosing to pay in full each month. When I recently got a 0% rate on a Citi card, I thought ‘why not just use it to the limit, then set it aside til next year and pay it off a few weeks before the intro period was over.’ I DIDN’T KNOW I NEEDED TO PAY THE MINIMUM DUE EACH MONTH! Thanks for saving me finance charges!

  43. WOW! from the time i got out of college, my credo was “just dont use the credit card”. i NEVER imagined using them to get cash, let it grow on interest for a year, then repaying the balance.
    yet its so common sense….i love your blog.

  44. if someone has ZERO balance (and therefore nothing to actually transfer) where does the borrowed money come from, as in Dario’s situation? Did he get a loan from a bank, and charge it to the card?

  45. SavingEverything says:

    THESE 0% BT OFFERS FOR 12 MONTHS ARE GONE. ALL OF THE OFFERS POSTED CHARGE 3% TRANSACTION FEE, WITH NO MAXIMUMS. PLEASE OFFER US ADVICE IN THESE FINANCIAL TIMES OF 2009, and, HISTORIC NEW FEDERAL REGULATIONS ON CREDIT CARD REFORM THAT BEGIN IN 2010.
    Almost all banks are charging the ridiculous 3.0% APR for Balance Transfer Fees, and even 3% fees for Cash Advances, Convenient Checks, Direct Deposits! Even the few credit card companies that maxed their BT fees at $75 or $99 have increased it to $99, 149, 249, or 299! Or, some just made it no max!!! I noticed some banks, besides charging the 3% fee, are providing the 0% Intro APR for ONLY 6 or 9 months, instead of 12 months. Also, YMMV for the amount of your new credit lines. These banks are not allowing new customers take on large credit lines, like they have done in 2006 or even just last year.

    Bank of America and Discover Bank credit cards beginning June 1, 2009 will be charging 4.0% for Balance Transfer, Cash Advances, Convenience Checks, Direct Deposits with $10 min and no maximum on existing and new credit card accounts. Currently, all new credit cards available at Bank of America have 4.0% APR transaction fees for Balance Transfers and Cash Advances.

    It may be best to look for co-branded credit cards, where an entity/ association/ company/ group/ merchant/ retailer/ broker/ or other sets up a credit card with one of the major issuers like Bank of America, Citibank, JPM Chase, Capital One, American Express, Advanta, HSBC, Orchard Bank, Discover, Barclays, RBS,. There may be better deals for introductory rates, but much higher variable rates afterwards. But, it seems all credit card issuers now want an upfront 3% transaction fee, at minimum, to take on your newly, balance risk.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] For those ready to break out the charcoal, my next post will be about Scouting For 0% Balance Transfer Offers, including how to read the fine print to find a truly good offer. I expect there to be about four more posts, including a Frequently Asked Questions post, so I hope you’ll come back for all of them. [...]

  2. [...] For 0% Balance Transfer Offers III. Application Tips and Getting Cash From 0% Balance Transfers IV. Setup And Management of 0% APR Balance Transfers V. Best Pre-Screened No Fee 0% APR Balance Transfer Offers Share This Post:These icons link tosocial bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. [...]

  3. [...] Skip To Another Part I. Introduction and Warnings About 0% Balance Transfer Offers II. Scouting For 0% Balance Transfer Offers III. Application Tips and Getting Cash From 0% Balance Transfers IV. Setup And Management of 0% APR [...]

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