Good List of 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards Updated December 2014

by David Ning · 219 comments

This posts lists a bunch of the 0% balance transfer credit cards on the market today, and having the list in the first place was motivated by a reader who managed to pay off her debt with these 0% balance transfer offers. Below is her story along with the different choices out there on the market today, including a couple options with no balance transfer fees.

You may also want to see the Advertising Disclosure for more information about the below cards.

During the 0% balance transfer credit cards craze of recent years, many of my friends were calling me ignorant for not taking advantage of these balance transfer offers. The idea was simple in that all you needed to do was apply for a few credit cards offering 0% balance transfers, send the money to a high yield savings account and pocket the difference in interest.

The 0% balance transfer tactic worked well, with each card earning a couple hundred dollars before taxes with minimal effort. I never bothered, though. The tactic seemed weird. It just wasn’t me and subsequently, I never talked about it here.

Now that the credit card companies are offering these 0% balance transfer offers in full force again, a reader took the plunge and wrote me an email that really changed my perception of these 0% balance transfer cards.

David, you have to write about these 0% balance transfer credit cards. I used one and it helped pay off my debt a year ahead of schedule!

Whoa. That got my interest.

The 0% Balance Transfer Story

Apparently, reader Shelby (fake name as she requested to stay anonymous), used these cards to transfer all her credit card debt onto 2 cards with 0% interest. Then she made every effort to pay off the balance. It was a great strategy because based on her calculation, the lack of interests helped her reach her credit card debt free goal 394 days ahead of time.

She said more people should take advantage of these offers to get out of debt and I totally agree. All you need to do is apply for 0% balance transfer credit cards and watch your debt shrink much more rapidly. Here are a few choices you should consider.

Chase Slate®

chase slateThe Chase Slate® card is offering a 0% Intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for up to 15 months, or April of 2016. There is no balance transfer fee upfront if you make your transfer in the first 60 days. This card also has no annual fee. For those wondering, Credit Karma has done research that the average Transunion credit score of consumers approved for this credit card is 730 with the lowest credit score approved at 661.

Click Here to Learn More About the Chase Slate® Visa Credit Card

Citi® Double Cash Card

citi-doublecashHere’s an interesting option from Citibank. The 0% balance transfer period is 15 months with a 3% or $5 minimum balance transfer fee, so it’s pretty decent. What’s an even bigger perk for the card, though, is its cash back structure. You get 1% cash back when you make purchases, but then you get another 1% on top of that when you pay off the balance. Sweet!

Click Here to Learn More About the Citi® Double Cash Card

Citi Simplicity® MasterCard

simplicity mastercardThe Citi Simplicity credit card lets you take balance transfers with a 0% APR for 18 months. After the introductory period, the variable APR will be 12.99% – 22.99% based upon your creditworthiness. You also get 0% Intro APR on purchases for 18 months too. There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater. The average Transunion credit score approved for the card is 720 based on Credit Karma data, with the the lowest being 644.

Click Here to Learn More About the Citi Simplicity® MasterCard

Discover It® Card

Discover ItThis Discover card allows a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months, or as late as June of 2016, then the variable standard purchase APR of 10.99% – 22.99%. The balance transfer fee is 3% for each balance transfer, but there are no annual fees, no foreign transaction fees and no late fee on your first late payment. You get 5% cash back on select categories (it’s online shopping and department stores in Q4, 2014 up to $1,500 in purchases after a free and easy sign up) and 1% on everything else. Plus, you will always know your FICO credit score now because it’ll show on your card’s monthly statement for free. The average Transunion credit score of the applicants who were approved for this card is 731, with the lowest being 687.

Click Here to Learn More About the Discover It® Card

U.S. Bank Visa Platinum

Finally, some of you may be happy to learn that one of the more responsible banks out there also has a 0% balance transfer credit card offering. This US Bank Visa Platinum card has all the usual perks – 15 month balance transfer with a 4% upfront fee or $5 minimum but being one of the few banks who didn’t irresponsibly lend money to everybody before the financial crisis, they are a very strong financial institution. Note though you need to take advantage of the 0% transfer within 30 days of account opening to get the full benefit of the introductory 0% period and the fees I mentioned. The average credit score approved for the card is 730, with the lowest being 661.

Click Here to Learn More About the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Credit Card

Note: The only way to take advantage is to make sure you still try to pay off your debt as quickly as possible. Do just that with these 0% balance transfer credit cards and you will be debt free like Shelby in no time.

What is a 0% Balance Transfer?

An insightful and exciting way to decrease the burden of credit card debt, while at the same time not having to pay exorbitant interest fees, is to take advantage of a 0% balance transfer credit card offer. Sure, this may seem like a foolish exercise in futility at first glance – taking out a new credit card account to get rid of credit card debt – but nevertheless, the fact remains that this can be a remarkably effective tool in your arsenal when you want to save money and diminish credit card debt.

A 0% balance transfer is a marketing tool used by credit card companies to increase the number of customers holding accounts with them, and also increase the amount of debt held within those accounts. While these balance transfers are effective for the credit card companies, they also can be a powerful aid to customers who wish to save money and pay off credit card debt. This is how the process works:

First, a customer opens a new credit card account that offers a 0% interest balance transfer program. These are not usually difficult to find, although there are variables about which customers should be aware. Some balance transfer offers are considerably longer than others, and in this case, longer is definitely better. In addition, customers would be well advised to pay close attention to the interest rate after the period of zero interest expires. It will, of course, be increased. However, some companies will charge incredibly high rates after the end of the initial period with no interest. Because of the importance of these types of details, it is absolutely vital that a customer read the fine print very carefully before deciding which credit card offer to accept.

Once the new account has been opened, customers will usually find the telephone operators with their new credit card company more than willing to assist them in transferring the balances to their new account. This is to be expected, of course, because they want as much of that money transferred into that account as possible – right up to the limit. How that account is managed after the transfer is what will make the difference in how much money is saved over the course of the zero interest period.

Once the new account has high-interest funds transferred in, this is the best time to pay down that balance as aggressively as possible. By doing this, customers may be able to completely pay off much of the credit card debt without incurring any interest fees at all, saving significant amounts of money. It is, however, vital to remain aware of when the zero interest promotion ends. In the event that there is still a balance remaining on the transferred balance as this time period comes to a close, it may be possible to open a 0% balance transfer credit card with another company, and continue the cycle further. Again, looking out for the longest period with a 0% balance will help you to diminish debt and save money.

How to Calculate When Using a 0% Balance Transfer Makes Sense

When deciding what to do about your debt, one common question is how to calculate when using a 0% balance transfer makes sense. 0% balance transfer credit cards are promotional offer that creditors extent to attract customers. The offer permits you to transfer balances from other credit cards onto the new card at an amount up to your credit limit. You will pay 0% interest on the money transferred for a set period of time, usually between six months and one year. After this period of time, any remaining balance will default to the normal interest rate, under the terms of most cards. Most 0% balance transfer credit cards charge you a fee to transfer the balance. The industry standard is a 3% fee. This fee used to be capped, which meant that there was an upper limit maximum that would be charged.

Calculating Whether 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards Makes Sense

Your first consideration when calculating whether the 0% balance transfer credit cards make sense should be determining whether you will save enough in interest to make the 3% fee worthwhile. This will depend on the amount of money you owe and the interest rate you are currently paying.

Interest rates on credit cards can vary widely from around 5% to upwards of 25% depending on your credit score and a number of other factors. This will make a vast difference in determining whether a balance transfer makes sense in your situation or not.

Assume, for a moment, that you have a 5% interest rate. If you have a $1000 balance, that means that you are paying 5% annually on a $1000.00 balance. Although there is some variation on how creditors charge interest – some charge interest on a double month cycle- you will pay approximately $23.37 in interest over a 6 month period. This number was calculating assuming you are making minimum payments of 3% per month of the balance remaining. If you are making larger payments, you will pay less in interest. Over a one year period of time using the same calculations and assuming the same payment rate, you will pay $42.79 in interest over the course of the year. This means that if the balance transfer offer is good for six months, a balance transfer may not be right for you, since you will pay a $30.00 fee (3% of $1000) to save $23.37 in interest. However, if the balance transfer offer is good for one year, then a balance transfer will safe you about $12.00. While this is a savings, only you can decide whether that amount of money is worth the hassle of transferring a balance.

If your interest rate jumps to 15% on your credit card, the numbers look a bit different. Again assuming a $1000 balance and payments at 3% per month, you are now looking at $71.66 in interest over six months and $134.94 in interest over the course of a year. Assuming a 3% balance transfer fee of $30.00, the offer begins to look a bit more attractive.
If your credit card interest rate is 20%, with all other factors the same, you will pay $96.59 in interest over 6 months and $184.48 over one year. In this situation, a balance transfer begins to look as though it might make sense.

Therefore, it seems clear that the higher the interest rate, the wiser it is to do a 0% balance transfer. The same rule applies for high balances. If you had an $8000 balance on that same 20% card, over the course of a year you would pay $1475.89 in interest. This is quite a bit more then the $240 balance transfer fee you would pay.

Other Things to Consider about 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards

One other major factor to consider when making the calculation of whether a 0% balance transfer credit cards make sense is whether you can actually pay the balance back within the promotional period. If you have, for example, an $8000 balance, you would need to make credit card payments of over $1330.00 per month in order to have that balance paid off within a six month promotional period. If you do not have that kind of cash lying around, you need to consider what happens when the promotional rate ends.

Typically, when a promotional rate ends, you will just have to begin paying at the regular interest rate on the remaining balance. Thus, you would need to look at what that standard interest rate was in order to determine how much you should expect to pay in interest on the remainder of the transferred balance after your promotion ends. You can do this by figuring out how much you can pay per month and subtracting that amount form the total owed. So, if you were able to pay $200 a month on your $8000 balance, at the end of six months you would still have $6800 remaining on your card. Find out what rate will be charged on that remaining balance. If the rate is higher then the rate you have now, it might not be advantageous for you to take the balance transfer offer unless you are absolutely confident that you can pay off the balance within the promotional period.

Be diligent about ensuring that you really can pay off the money within the promotional period. Do not be late on your payments or otherwise default on any agreement with the credit card company or you may find yourself spending much more money when your rate defaults to a penalty rate under the terms of the contract. Finally, do not count on simply being able to transfer the balance again at the end of your promotional rate. After the economic crisis of 2009, the days of easy credit and endless balance transfer offers are no more and there is no guarantee that at the end of your promotional term, another balance transfer offer will come along.

Again, Here Are a Few Solid Choices for 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards

Advertising Disclosure: Before you decide to sign up for a card, please note that MoneyNing has financial relationships with the credit card merchants mentioned here. This means that MoneyNing is compensated if you choose to utilize the links on this site to sign up for any particular credit card mentioned above. However, rest assured that the content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

Also, here’s a note about the credit scores provided: This information is provided through a relationship with CreditKarma.com. Credit Karma members have received approvals with these TransUnion New Account credit scores. Please note that because other factors may affect credit card approval, these approval metrics are only guidelines and approval is not guaranteed.

Finally, know this about the comments below: These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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{ 219 comments… read them below or add one }

Charlie@PayLessForFood.com June 15, 2009 at 6:20 am

Interesting concept.

Just be careful. Many credit card companies have wised up to this and now charge a transfer fee of 3% in addition to another $50 or $75 fee.

In addition, the devil is in the details. Read the fine print. Many of these cards only allow the 0% for a short period of time, say 6 months.

In addition, many place interest rate escalation clauses into the fine print. Miss a payment or be late on a payment and that 0% rate skyrockets to 25% or more.

May sound easy. Just pay your bill on time every month.

Yet even here credit cards have gotten sneaky. Many arbitrarily change the payment due date.

Recently it has been widely reported that Discover Card is doing just this moving the payment date up 4-5 days.

This concept can work you just have to pay CLOSE attention to the fine print of the offer.

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Debbie June 15, 2009 at 7:54 am

Thank you. I haven’t really thought about using the 0 balance transfer cards this way and it will be something I need to try. I agree with Charlie though that it won’t be as easy as your reader made it sound though. However, as long as you pay the minimum during the 12 months, you should be just as “at risk” as leaving the balance on whatever card you have right now.

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cb June 15, 2009 at 9:32 am

Yeah, the only ones I’ve seen charge like 3-5% on the initial transfer.

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MoneyNing June 15, 2009 at 9:41 am

There aren’t many so that’s why I suggest the two options above. They offer 0% balance transfers for the first several months. It may not sound like a lot but a couple % for the year is money in our pockets.

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Finance Junkie June 19, 2009 at 2:00 pm

To bypass the 3% transfer fee simply get a card that offers 0% on balance transfers and new purchases.

Then, don’t do any balance transfers. Freeze credit card purchases at your other interest rate charging cards, make purchases w/ the new 0% card, make minimum payments on the promotional card and funnel all of your money to the other cards charging you interest.

This could be a good strategy if you can pay off the interest rate charging cards in a small amount of time.

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Jack Mathew William June 25, 2009 at 11:39 pm

This could be good but if you have a old credit card the please do not close the account as this may affect your credit score.

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Dan June 27, 2009 at 4:38 pm

David, the idea of using a 0%/0% card for a small business loan has got the wheels turning in my inventor’s brain. I have a product prototype ready for market and need about $10k for ordering parts and materials to build a few to fulfill orders (these are $6k lab bioreactors for growing and studying algae as a source of biodiesel).
My credit is excellent, no balance due on my MC. What is the step by step procedure for getting the $10k from a new 0% card? Do I borrow directly from the new card or use the old one then transfer right away?
Thanks for the inspiration.
Dan

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MoneyNing June 27, 2009 at 8:31 pm

If you are using it to order parts, then just use the card to buy the products and then pay the minimum. However, make sure that 0% credit card you are using is:

1. 0% for purchases
2. If it’s just 0% balance transfers, you may need to buy it from card A, then transfer the balance to the card that offers the 0% balance transfers. The important thing is to read the fine print though, because some cards charge interest on the initial transfer while others don’t. Also, I’m pretty sure all of card companies require you to pay at least the minimum every month in order for the 0% offer to still be extended.

Lastly, beware of how long your 0% is good for as it’s very easy to forget and be one day hit with high interests.

Most importantly, good luck with your business idea. When you strike it rich, remember to come share your story with us.

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Derby Hanson July 14, 2009 at 6:53 pm

Unfortunately that one time payment and 0% is a rip off. Think about it, after they charge you 3% on whatever balance you transfer or $100.00, you still make some payment every month, like clock work. They made their money when you transfered the balance. That money you pay to transfer can go towards payment to your card. That $100.00 will reduce whatever balance you owe by $100.00.

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HW July 15, 2009 at 12:20 am

MoneyNing, I love your blog. Just bookmarked it so I can read and wise up for the future :)
Yesterday I got approved for the Citi Platinum MasterCard with the 0% APR on balance transfers and should be expecting the card in the mail in 4-7 days. My credit card statement for my BOA Visa is due either the 5th or 6th of August and unfortunately for me, I had too much expenses this month. I’ve never paid minimum payment in fear of interests but now I think I may have to if I can’t do transfer my balance right away. I have never done a balance transfer before and was wondering if they’re usually pretty quick. If I am successful in completing a balance transfer before my Visa payment deadline in Aug, does that means my Visa is essentially paid off by Citi card (and I do not have to make any August payments to Visa?)? I read somewhere that Citi card gives you a check or put money in your bank account to pay off balance transfers…would the money I owe to Citi due to the BT be seen as a cash advance or just a regular purchase on my Citi statement? Sorry for the naive questions…I usually pay on time and in full so I never had to fuss with the other rules and terms…the reason why I applied for the Citi card was so I could hopefully pay off my BT with zero interest by just paying minimum payment (but of course I will try to pay more than that each time :) )

Thank you for your anticipated reply.

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MoneyNing July 15, 2009 at 11:42 am

Be careful that some cards charge 3% to have your balance transferred over up front. So it’s best for you to pay off your Visa balance while racking up your balance on your new card.

To make sure, you can always check your online account to make sure that you have $0 balance due on your visa before you cut it up and forget about it.

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jandeclark July 21, 2009 at 8:36 pm

Ok, so I read your blog and have been researching 0% on BT cards. I currently have a fairly low interest rate (I think) at 10.25% with AMEX. All the BT cards I have seen have an 11.99-18% rate after the initial 0% period is over. I currently have over $10K on this card (don’t ask, I know, I am ashamed), so there is no way I can pay it off in the 0% time frame. Is it beneficial in the long run to take advantage of that time period with no interest on one of these cards and then have the new rate be more than what it is now, or to just keep it the way it is with AMEX, with my lower rate?

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MoneyNing July 22, 2009 at 8:36 am

It’s important to figure out (even approximately) how long it will take you to pay it off. Obviously, the longer it takes you to pay it off, the more it swings back to the favor of the long term rate.

Saving the interest with the 0% balance transfer credit cards during the introductory period is HUGE savings, so are you going to use it towards the principles (ie, pay down more of the debt) during that time? If, by the end of the introductory period, that you have much less amount owed as opposed to having just your AMEX, then your interest may be less even with a higher percentage.

At the end, whether 0% balance transfers will work for you or not really depends on how committed you are, so it’s hard to say with certainty. You can run some scenarios and see which route is best, but the key of course is to pay it down no matter which route you take.

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linda July 22, 2009 at 5:26 pm

I just received my Citi platinum credit card, as featured in this article, this week. The 0% interest rate only lasts for 6 months and it is true that if you miss a payment on any card you have, the deal is revoked. I am land wealthy but currently cash challenged due to the recent changes in economy. I have a credit score of 800 (out of 840). I have never welched on a debt. Citi Platinum gave me a laughable credit limit of $3000, with only $900 available for balance transfers. There is a 3% surcharge to make the transfer.

Also, Buyer Beware. Find out if your balance transfer is considered a cash advance or purchase. Currently, Citi Cards do not allow you to pay off your higher % interest part of your cash account separately or as a first choice. I recently, on a different Citi Card than discussed above, paid $4000 off my balance with instructions to apply it to my cash balance. The answer was no; they get to choose. $3500 went to purchases/interest and $500 went to cash advance/interest. Therefore after interest, only $130 went to paying down the cash balance; whereas $3200 went to pay down the puchases balance. I had been paying 15% interest for both cash advances and purchases just a few months ago. They raised the rates to 20% (purchases) and 30% (cash advances) two months ago. They have agreed to bring interest down to 15% and 22% for 6 months. Then I have to renegotiate again. I had to go through 3 levels of hierarchy before I reached a person who had the authority to change my rates. Needless to say, I’m not happy with how Citi, nor other companies, are doing business. I have had this second card for 20 years. So much for valuing me as a client.

I am advocating that you use one card for any cash advances and a different one for purchases. Then you can pay down the most expensive rate, the quickest. I am starting the following protocols for myself. (1) I am paying an amount on my cards for all new monthly charges, plus accumulated interest, plus extra to pay down. (2) I’m paying for new purchases by check, whenever possible so that credit card companies do not receive the 2-5% fee they charge the vendor. This also helps the vendor and the economy for retailers. (3) I’m using a card with lower to 0% interest with complete payoff each month, if it is inconvenient or impossible to pay by check. Help me make this a grass roots movement; pay by check or cash, whenever you can.

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Jerry July 24, 2009 at 3:33 am

I got the Citi Platinum, as well, and only have a few hundred left on the card before it is totally paid off and all of our consumer debt is paid off. What an amazing feeling that will be to be done with it. We have been playing the 0% balance transfer game for a while and it leads to some serious savings if you know how to do it right. Reading the fine print and choosing the right one is your only insurance for not getting slammed with fees.
Jerry

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MoneyNing July 30, 2009 at 7:34 pm

It’s always great to hear success stories like yours. I think the key is to be responsible and it sounds like you’ve been able to do it.

Congratulations on becoming debt free soon and I look forward to hearing from you again the day that you have everything paid off.

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Richard July 28, 2009 at 9:00 am

Choosing the right 0% balance transfer credit card is definitely the way to go. I signed up for one of those American Express cards and they charged me so much just to do the transfer that it didn’t make sense to make the transfer in the first place. It was such a scam but luckily, after much complaining to their customer service rep I might add, they reverse the charges.

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Jordan July 30, 2009 at 6:12 pm

I’m quite impressed that you were able to get any company, let alone a credit card company to reverse any charges. Whenever I call in, they always say no even if I get up to the manager level.

With these 0% balance credit cards, all I can say is to apply and then see what happens. Not everyone will let you join but if you find a good one, you are pretty much earning free interests.

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Ricky July 30, 2009 at 9:28 pm

When using 0% balance transfer credit cards, it’s crucial to make sure that you are keeping track of all the dates and interest rates as well as fine print. If there are no fees, then document it that way. If it’s 0% purchase, then write that down as well.

Otherwise, it’s too easy to lose track and all the benefit will be gone before you know it because credit card companies will pounce on the chance to make their money back.

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Dave August 1, 2009 at 9:39 am

Nice blog. I have been playing the 0% interest transfer game for 4 or more years. As I figure it, 3% for a transfer is better than 7-15% on a card. It has helped me get my CC debt down such that I think I am near the end of the transfer game. I was hoping the last one would be enough, but I lost my job last year and could not be aggressive on the payoffs. Now I am debating whether to eat the 7.99% interest on the balance and just try and aggressively pay it off in the next 3 months or go for a Discover 6 month 0% (3% fee) hold over to get it done.
Correct me if I am wrong, but a 7.99% APR translates into ~0.665% monthly. Keeping the math simple, it would take 4.5 months to recover the 3% paid. If I plan to pay it off in the next 3 months, then I am better off keeping the 0%->7.99% and gettin’ er done :-)
Say $7K in debt – $210 in 3% fee or $46 in interest the first month the 0% turns to 7.99%.
Bottom line, if you CAN pay off your card in less than 4 months, the 0% transfer does not pay. If it will take longer, go for it, but it appears the days of 12 month at 0% are gone for now (which I took advantage of for 4 years :-)
Dave

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Pkelly August 15, 2009 at 8:52 am

I have a Discover Card I have had since 1994. I did some cash advances ( I know…very stupid) but the interest rate is high on that card. Can I do a 0% transfer to another Discover Card?????? Or do you need to use a different company?

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MoneyNing August 15, 2009 at 9:58 am

You can do a balance transfer to/from any card regardless of company. However, you must move it to a new card that still has that introductory 0% promotion. Alternatively, you may want to see if moving it to a lower interest rate card may make sense (please do the math to make sure if you go this route).

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Kate August 18, 2009 at 4:19 pm

How do I figure out if paying the 3% transfer is better for me or not? Is there a formula to find my break even point between the interest charges and balance transfer fees on a 0% card?

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MoneyNing August 18, 2009 at 4:33 pm

The exact calculation will depend on the credit card company, but a calculation that is close will be something like this.

Take your current card’s interest rate (it could be 23.99% or 18.65%), then divide it by 365 to get the daily interest rate.

Now, take your credit card debt, The interest rate charges per day is your debt x the daily interest rate. We will call this X.

Now, take your credit card debt and multiple that by 3% to get a number. We will call this Y.

Divide Y by X, and you will get roughly the number of days that it takes for your interest rate to make up the 3%. If the days is less than the introductory 0% period, you will come out ahead.

Otherwise, it doesn’t make sense.

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CFoster August 25, 2009 at 7:55 am

Hi Ning. I have had my Visa since 1998. It has been bought out by several companies, but recently by CHASE. In 11 years I have never been late or missed a payment and had the card payed off at one point. My balance is currently high, ($15,000) due to divorce, single mom and kid in college but again I have always paid on time and more than the minimum. They have recently raised my interest rate AGAIN. I satrted with 6% and when Chase bought it, they took it from 8% to 10.99% and now it’s at 12.99%.I have called and complained and the response was I didn’t have to pay the higher interest rates if I closed my account.My credit union has offered me a gold card at 9.99% with no fees and I can only get that rate because my credit score is above 700. Is this wise to transfer that $15,000 and just pay the 9.99% to pay it off? Thanks.

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MoneyNing August 25, 2009 at 8:45 am

You almost need a crystal ball to see into the future whether it will make sense or not. Obviously, 9.99% is lower than 12.99% so it’s a good move. However, will they increase their rates like CHASE? Also, you mentioned no fees. Do you mean that there’s no fees to have your balance transferred over? No annual fees isn’t the same as no fees for balance transfers so be careful with that and make sure you find out before you are hit with a 3% fee or something.

In general, credit unions seem to be better with terms than those big commercial banks BUT (and it’s a big but), you just never know what will happen in the future. Probability theory will tell you to switch to a lower interest rate if there’s no fees whatsoever (and everything else being the same) because you are just as luckily to see rate increases from either company but individual cases may not work out.

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Matt Stiller September 1, 2009 at 2:59 pm

I just opened a Chase card with 0% APR, 8,000 dollar limit for the first 6 months and transferred $2700 balance from Nordstrom Visa (10,000 limit, 16% apr) over to the new card. I have another Wamu-now-Chase card that I’ve had for 4 years that has a much higher balance (4,000) and a high interest rate (23%). Unfortunately I can’t transfer the balance for 90 days because it’s now a Chase card. The Nordies card was my first, but I’ve had them both since I was about 19 (now 23).

I also applied for a card at Bank of America that’s 0% APR for 15 months, 3% transfer fee. I was approved but only for $2800, the guy said I could call when the card came and that I would be able to increase the limit.

My questions:
1.They say shouldn’t close your oldest card? I have excellent credit but am wondering if even a four year old card is considered “old” in this situation? Can I close this old card once the balance is zero? How bad will the ding be for closing it down the road?
2. Is opening two new cards in a couple of weeks bad for my credit? Will (potentially) having 4 cards open look bad on the FICO?
3. Finally, if I am able to get the BofA card to up my limit, should I transfer both balances or just the WaMu? Is it better for things to be spread out a bit?
I’m open to any input here. Basically I don’t want to hurt my good credit score but I need to pay off this stuff.
THANKS.

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MoneyNing September 1, 2009 at 5:21 pm

1. Four years is not considered old, but scores are calculated based on average account open duration. Anytime you take an “old” card out of the equation means a smaller average years opened. Therefore, it’s wise to keep it open unless there is an annual fee.

Since it’s a formula that affects other cards you have as well, it is also impossible to say exactly how “not having” the card will affect your credit score. However, I would strongly suggest you keep your card opened so you don’t need to find out.

2. Opening two cards may temporary affect your score but since you already applied and got them approved, I wouldn’t worry about something that already happened.

Having 4 cards opened isn’t bad for your score. In fact, the more cards you have, the better it generally is because your utilization rate will be lower (you have more credit limit, but same use) and if all your cards show “on-time” payment, it proofs that you are able to juggle credit and make payments.

3. It is better to have your balances spread out. In fact, I would try to keep the utilization rate of each card to be under 30% if your score is the priority. However, since paying less interest is what we are after, moving just the WaMu to your BofA card and trying to pay both of them off as quickly as possible is the way to go.

Good luck with your plan. I sincerely hope that you will pay off all your credit card debt and enjoy freedom soon.

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Kris September 29, 2009 at 9:35 pm

Matt thanks for the post, I just contacted Bank of America and applied. What I really liked is after 2 hours of research on balance transfers a live chat person came on as soon as I logged into their webpage. Instead of digging through a bunch of cards and click /points they efficiently looked up a card that suited my needs. If I get the approval timely I am going to be very happy with this. Thanks for your blog it really helped narrow down a huge decison.

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Josh October 7, 2009 at 6:06 pm

Barclays which offers a similar offer on several different kinds of cards appears to be doing a a 0% balance transfer now for 6 months with a 3% transfer fee, but with a $50 maximum. This means that if you transfer any more than $1,667, your transfer fee caps out at $50. So for example if you transfer $10,000, a 3% fee with no max would cost $300, but with this deal, you save yourself $250.

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Lisa November 2, 2009 at 11:31 pm

I haven’t been able to find an application for this card online, did you already obtain one? What is the contact info? They seem to have a website and phone,one for existing cardholders only. I would like to take advantage of this 3% cap, I had that option before with Bank of America last year but no longer.

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MoneyNing October 8, 2009 at 4:32 pm

This is interesting for those who are always looking for the latest 0% balance transfer credit cards:


With a host of new legislatively mandated protections for credit card holders under the Credit Card Act of 2009 set for February 2010, the banking industry is already curbing “zero percent interest” introductory rates, and, in some cases, hiking one-time balance transfer fees.

Actually, what I found is that many cards are starting the balance transfer percentage as 3, 4 and even 5% as the introductory period, and at the very least, the duration of the 0% balance transfer is coming down.

Also, as indicated earlier, there’s a big difference between balance transfers and purchases, as some cards have 0% balance transfers while others have 0% for future purchases so make sure you are well aware of it before applying.

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Shelly October 10, 2009 at 4:53 pm

Anyone have any luck with these 0% balance transfer credit cards? I keep looking and am afraid that a trial and error method will just ruin my credit score. Anyone have any experience with a particular card that will be good if I want to off load all my balances onto it? My current card’s intro period is about to expire in 2 months and I desperately need to figure out a way to get everything transferred over before I get dinged for more interest. Any help is greatly appreciated.

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Nazir Ahmad October 13, 2009 at 3:24 pm

Your blog is very interested, however misleading. There is no win for 0% balance transfer card without some sort of cap on transfer fee. Is there a credit card out there with a cap on transfer fees? or BETTER yet, is there a card with 0% balance transfer APR for 6 months or a year with a 0% balance transfer fee? answer me this money ning.

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MoneyNing October 13, 2009 at 5:22 pm

You are correct that it doesn’t make sense to apply for a 0% balance transfer credit card without a cap on transfer fee. Lately, many credit card companies are reducing the introductory APR period and/or increase the transfer fee, but it doesn’t mean that it will stay that way.

I haven’t verified but reader Josh made a comment a few days ago that Barclays has a 0% balance transfer credit card that caps the transfer fee at $50. You may want to research on that if you’d like.

No one person has any control of how credit card companies will change their terms, but it doesn’t mean that the idea isn’t sound. Even if there are no cards that have a cap on transfer fees, it doesn’t mean that there won’t be one tomorrow that will spring up tomorrow.

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Greg November 3, 2009 at 9:25 am

This article fails to mention that almost all of these cards charge a substantial fee for balance transfers. The best are capped at $50, or $75, but most are 3% or 5% of the amount transferred. BE CAREFUL..

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Credit Card Chaser November 9, 2009 at 8:26 pm

I am with you in that I have never really been a big fan of credit card arbitrage plays although it certainly makes sense. Now paying off debt that far ahead of schedule is quite impressive though.

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Tax Man November 25, 2009 at 3:41 am

American Humane credit card offered by US Bank is still offering 6 months 0% on BT and No BT fee. They were offering 12 months over the summer when my girlfriend and I both took advantage of the offer. I am looking for a deal like that now for my mother, but they are becoming harder and harder to find. I have used other 0% offers and put the money in CD’s @ 4 or 5% but rates are low now and the return my not may not be worth applying now. Plus 6 months is not enough time.

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Josh November 25, 2009 at 6:33 am

Sorry for not following up – i did not receive a notification on followup comments. The Barclays deal is actually offered through Barclays Bank of Delaware (also formerly Juniper Bank?). The card itself seems to have several different forms. I got the VEGAS.com MasterCard, but it turns out there are several more at aboutbarclaycardus.com. I don’t recommend using the card after you transfer a balance to it, which is what you’d have to do to take advantage of any of the special deals that go along with the different cards because you’ll likely be charged fees for high purchase APRs. Just get it, pay the $50 max transfer fee, and mark your calendar to pay it all off prior to 6 months away, or transfer somewhere else. Be sure to transfer only one large balance because the fee likely applies to each transfer.

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Josh November 25, 2009 at 6:42 am

I also recommend watching this video that just aired last night on Frontline here. It’s an interesting insight to the credit card industry & new legislation related.

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Skye December 9, 2009 at 9:06 am

@Tax Man
Thank you for the information about American Humane credit card offered by US Bank. I actually called them today (December 9, 2009) and asked them about 0% APR for 12 months (both purchases and BT) and they STILL do offer them. With 3% BT fee, minimum $10 and maximum $75.. I haven’t seen THAT for a long time ;)

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Nazir Ahmad December 9, 2009 at 5:54 pm

that sounds like a good deal. could you please give more information on how you signed up for this credit card. Could you give a website link or a phone number so that I may call them?

thanks

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Lisa December 9, 2009 at 9:30 pm

Skye,

$75 max on the transfer fee. Please post or e-mail me the phone number or website. Is US bank, the complete name of the bank?

I had that offer on a BK of America card because I had been a member since 1989 w excellent credit, but they stopped that over a year ago. So I am interested.

Thanks.

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Skye December 10, 2009 at 12:18 am

Nazir Ahmad and Lisa,

I’m glad I can help you.
The phone number is 1-888-327-2265.
I googled American Humane credit card offered by US Bank, as Tax Man mentioned, and the website I found (https://applications.usbank.com/oad/begin?locationCode=9584) offers 0% APR on BT and purchases with no BT fee for first 6 billing cycles.
This offer is only available with the application, but they do not have fields where I can put BT information before I submit the application, so I called them. The customer representative asked me which card I was interested and I said “0% APR..” Before I even finished my sentence, she said “oh, 0% APR for 12 months?” Olleh. I was very lucky. She asked me where I found this offer and I just told them “online”.

Time to save money.. :)

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Lady C February 5, 2010 at 2:19 pm

I checked out the American Humane Society Card offer and like Skye, I called and asked about the offer. The web page terms and conditions said “0% bal. tran. APR for 6 billing cycles AND 0% bal. tran. FEE with this application.” The Rep. I spoke to told me that she had the 0% Bal. Tran. offer available but didn’t have the 0% Balance Transfer FEE available to her. She advised me to try applying online then doing the bal. tran. but I was a little wary. Has anyone gotten the card and done a Bal Tran after applying? Was there a fee? Here’s the link to the terms and conditions. https://applications.usbank.com/oad/begin?locationCode=9584
P.S.- It said “This information is accurate as of 02/2010 and is subject to change after this date.”

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MoneyNing December 14, 2009 at 10:12 am

You guys and gals may be interested to know that the Citi card just changed its intro 0% period for its credit card to 12 months. Your break even point will still depend on your current card’s interest rate, but having a longer no interest period is never a bad thing.

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Richter January 4, 2010 at 9:31 am

I used to chase the 0% balance transfer credit cards game for a long time and it saved me a lot of money. I’m not debt free so I don’t need to do this anymore but I hope others will be able to take advantage of these offers too. It’s not as easy these days though but it’s still worth the effort.

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NoMoreCreditCards January 5, 2010 at 10:31 pm

This is ridiculous. These are two of the worst purveyors of predatory lending, I had a Discover card many moons ago that kept raising the APR and hiding fees. I paid it off, telling them to get lost, they were horrible in their usury. Beware a website from the infamously bailed out bank network that invites you to a 0%, knowing they’ll jack it up to anywhere upwards of 20% later. I am so through with credit cards. Put your money in community banks.

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Kimberly January 8, 2010 at 8:23 pm

What would be a good strategy to use if the credit line I have been approved for is lower than the balance I need to transfer? I have a balance of $3600 with 21% APR (Card A) and I have just been approved for a 12 month, 0% interest on transfers, but the limit is only $2000 (Card B.)

Could I transfer $500 every month from Card A as long as I pay the balance in full (or close to it) on Card B with 0% interest? In other words, how many times can I transfer a balance from the same card, and will that affect my credit by only transferring a partial balance?

And, does transferring part of the balance from Card A to Card B count as making a monthly payment on Card A?

Thanks for all of your help..

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Sheila January 10, 2010 at 8:43 pm

I totally advocate the 0% strategy if you use it correctly. I bought my car using a blank balance transfer check they sent out.. In some cases you have to request these. The car dealership had never seen it before and asked for a cc to back it up in case the check didn’t clear. Yes it cleared no problem and I paid off each month for the first year and transferred to another 0% card the second year.
My advice for what it’s worth is once you do a balance transfer DO NOT CHARGE ANYTHING ELSE TO THAT CARD..) Hide it, put it away but do not use it until it’s paid off in full as it totally messes up your APR and there’s all kinds of finance fees involved (Yes, I was caught once. but I learned a valuable lesson.) Also you cannot be an hour late on any payment so set up an ACH to automatically pay on your due date – otherwise you loose your 0%.
Kimberly, Take the 2k. . Take the 2k upfront and pay all towards your Card A immediately- think about it……you’ll be paying $2,000 at o% and the remaining $1,600 at 21% – this will radically reduce your minimum payment due on Card A.
Card B’s minimum will be less because it’s at 0% – so even the combined minimum of Card A and B should be less than your minimum payment now… If you keep your monthly payment the same as you are paying now you will be paying more than what’s required and pay both off even faster. I hope I’m making sense and this helps.
Yes it does count as a payment.. What you are doing in essence, is transferring money from card B to make a payment to Card A..

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April January 15, 2010 at 10:11 am

This is great information MoneyNing. I was considering doing a balance transfer of three current debts from high interest rate credit cards to my 0% APR credit card. The 3 debts that I’m transferring are 1 short term student loan ($833) and 2 regular credit cards ($839 & $3507). Transferring these amounts will max out my credit limit on the 0% credit card. Do you know how this would affect my credit score since on one hand my credit report will show that I’ve paid off 3 debts, but at the same time, it will show that I’m at my credit limit on a credit card? I plan to purchase a new car within the next 6 months, so I’m wondering how this balance transfer will improve my 683 credit score. Any advice you have is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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MoneyNing January 15, 2010 at 10:23 am

If you’ve been up to date with your payments on all those debts, moving everything to your 0% balance transfer credit card probably won’t improve your credit score.

Doing this will help you save more money in the long term, thus help you pay off more of your debt and that will in turn improve your score but for most people, 6 months is too short for this to work in your favor.

I hate to say this but I would move your balances over to your 0% card and not buy any cars (used or new) for as long as possible.

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DB February 4, 2010 at 12:52 pm

Thanks MoneyNing for reading my comments.

I am new to your blog. I am googling for any ideas and came acroos your blog.

My O% offer on my Citi Platinum Card is ending March 1, 2010. Can I transfer my 0% balance right on over to a anothernew Citi Platinum Card at 0% for a new 12 month period? My wife and I are really scrambling for ideas here. Everyone else such as Discover ect…. are only 0% for 6 months.
Thanks for your reply.

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MoneyNing February 4, 2010 at 10:23 pm

I do not believe you can just apply for a new one and roll over to another Citi platinum card for another 12 months. You may be able to transfer it to a Citi card with another person’s name (for example, from your card to your wife’s) so maybe that would work.

You can also look into Discover cards for 6 months and then transfer back to a Citi card after you canceled the card. Of course, doing so will affect your score and may affect your ability to apply for the card successfully.

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Kimberly February 8, 2010 at 6:35 pm

Hi DB,

I applied for a Capital One credit card to transfer my balance. They had a 12 month 0% interest Balance Transfer. It’s pretty effortless to transfer the balance through them, however, they gave me a pretty low line of credit. I was pretty surprised, as I have a good credit score, just bought a house and paid off in full a loan. When I called to ask why so low they literally said there was no rhyme or reason as to who gets what-just that because of the economy, banks are not giving out high credit loans as they had before. (Not sure if I by that but ok.)

Anyway, I was told through my credit monitoring agency that you should never use more than 50% of a card’s credit limit. Anything over 50% of the limit will effect your credit negatively. Because the balance I wanted to transfer was higher than the amount I was approved for, I end up transferring a small balance monthly and pay that off on my Capital One card each month (to keep that balance under 50%.) The monthly balance transfer serves as the minimum payment on my card with the high balance. Given the 12 month 0% period, I can do this until the balance on my other card is paid off in full.

Hope this helps..

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Cindy March 3, 2010 at 6:32 pm

I have 4 credit cards that are now all closed & have been cut up. So there will not be any “New Purchases”. The lowest interest rate I have is 12.24% & the highest is 15.24%. I am researching the idea of combining these into two different 0% transfer balance cards with 3% balance transfer fees. Will I get them paid off by the end of the promotion?…No, but at least I will be paying 0% interest for a year, then maybe look for another promotion when these end. Just looking for some feedback.

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MoneyNing March 3, 2010 at 10:24 pm

The numbers can certainly work out for you, but with one caveat: that you actually pay them off too.

Much of personal finance is psychology. If having a higher interest makes you be more conservative and end up saving more, it may work better than consolidating even if the numbers don’t work out.

You know yourself best, so only you can answer this question. Whichever you decide though, good luck.

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MK April 1, 2010 at 6:00 pm

$13, 500 on a 0% card now. Credit limit is $25,000 on that card. Due to go to 14.99% in one month. What are the chances that I get a high enough credit limit to roll it over to another 0% card. I have paid it down from $25,000 in 10 months.
Just need a little more time to get rid of it. Credit score is mid to high 700’s. I have one other card that I use all the time with about $3000 on at 12.9%. Any advise?

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MoneyNing April 2, 2010 at 9:17 am

The approval criteria and credit limit that they award you is a closely guarded formula at the card issuers, and it’s especially important for 0% balance transfer credit cards. So no one can really tell you the exact amount that you will get.

However, since your balance is about to be increased, you should still try to sign up now regardless of what they will give you. As long as you are approved, you will save no matter how much your limit is.

Just make sure that you are aggressively trying to pay it down, as opposed to just kicking the can down the road.

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Jim T April 11, 2010 at 10:24 am

Hi Ning,

Thanks for providing this great resource, and especially for keeping it current. I have learned a lot, and I think a 0% balance transfer may make sense for our financial situation. I would like to disclose some of our numbers, and ask you for advice.

My wife and I began an aggressive pay-down program two years ago when our credit card debt reached $25K on four cards. There is currently a balance on one card of $15K, the three others are zero balance, and all incur small automatic debits, which we pay off every month.

I am leaving my job at the end of April with a severance package which will allow us to pay $5K on the remaining card, leaving a balance of $10K, currently @ 13.24%.

Our take-home income will not actually drop, at least initially. Unemployment insurance and social security (okay in CA to receive both simultaneously) will more or less equal my take-home pay. I was aggressively packing my 401K (8% match) and putting some into an IRA as well, and deductions were made for insurance. I will go on my wife’s insurance, and no longer contribute to retirement savings, so take-home pay will not change.

We have determined that we can pay up to $900 a month on the remaining card, at the same time not adding to the balance. Our goal is to have the card paid off before the unemployment insurance runs out. Currently in CA, it is possible to draw for 15 months, and federal extensions could extend that time.
I will still be trying to find work, targeting the technical temp market (I am in the telecom field), but the scenario above is for now the one on which we are operating.

I am not able to find a downside to applying for a 0% balance transfer card, based on the balance and interest rate, and assuming a 3% fee ($300). One of our vehicles is paid off and the other has a sub $200 payment at zero interest. We have a stabilized rent situation.

We seem to be positioned to ease into retirement (reluctantly) with zero household debt and an income that will allow a financially secure future. We have already done the world traveling many retirees look forward to.

Does a balance transfer make real sense for us? I am primary on the remaining card. We are thinking of my wife applying as primary on the Citi Plat, as her credit score is higher than mine. After paying $5K on the remaining card, our debt to available credit will be roughly $10K : $62.5K. We hope the Citi would come with at least a $10K limit.

Your thoughts?

Best regards,
Jim T

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MoneyNing April 11, 2010 at 6:17 pm

I think you are right on, and applying for 0% balance transfer credit cards will benefit you. You may actually want to look into getting two, IF the first one doesn’t quite get you to the $10k limit (there’s really no rules that says you can’t get one while your wife gets another one).

The big caveat is that you still need to stick to your $900 a month payoff plan. If the increased spending power tempts you to spend more, then forget about it, as even sticking with the high interest rate may end up being beneficial.

The other suggestion I have would be to pay your balance with any savings you have left. You say $900 dollars, but what I mean is, if you have $924.14 left at the end of the day, why not put that $24.14 into your debt too? Small changes add up.

If you decide to go with only one card and still have some debt left on your original after you transfer to your maximum (say in the event that Citi comes back with less than a $10k limit), you should schedule your payment so it takes $900 on the same day your checks come in. Credit card interests are calculated DAILY, and you will find that paying them earlier will always benefit you, as leaving it idle in your checking account is just letting the banks make money off of YOU.

For people who won’t end up spending more money, 0% balance transfer makes perfect sense. Go apply for a card, and good luck.

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Jim T April 22, 2010 at 8:46 am

Hi Ning,

I applied for the Citi Platinum Select through the link on your site, and was approved for a $7300 line. My wife applied and was approved for $4000. This is more than enough to transfer the balance of ~$10K we were discussing. With no interest accruing, we can pay this off in less than a year. In 2011 we will also be positioned to start using 401K and IRA money, as income will be reduced. Thanks again for this great resource, I am spending more time here on other sections, lots of good advice and discussion.

One thing we are curious about: We bought a new car last year, taking advantage of Cash For Clunkers (we have sub $200 payments at 0% for a new Hyundai Elantra). When they ran our credit scores then, my wife’s actually was a little higher than mine. So now, why would she get a smaller approved limit from Citi than I did? I applied first, did a subsequent app from the same family, same address result in a smaller amount? She would really like to know.

Thanks,
Jim T

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MoneyNing April 22, 2010 at 9:19 am

Glad you like the site. Let me know if there’s anything else I can help answer.

Citi closely guards it’s approval formula, and I don’t dare try to claim that I know the ins and outs of it. However, my guess is that it could have something to do with the timing of the application amongst many other things.

Perhaps they figured that people who apply during the day time (versus night time) had a different historic behavior, and hence treat them differently. Perhaps it’s the day of the week, or even month. Perhaps they see that you two are related, and if she applied after you, that they decided she should get less because they don’t want as much credit exposure to the same household.

It could be many other things too, and it’s really anyone’s guess.

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Josh April 12, 2010 at 6:30 am

Jim,
See above discussion about balance transfer transaction fees. Some cards have a cap. The Barclays card has a $50 max fee, but the 0% only lasts 6 months. The American Humane card has a $75 max fee, but gets you 0% for 12 months. I just did the American Humane card deal last month. It is not advertised in the website terms & conditions, but call the number & they’ll tell you what’s available in terms of caps & length of terms. Also, you can transfer more than one balance (up to 3 or 5?) to the American Humane card, and are only charged the $75 max fee once. This is the best available deal I’ve come across lately thanks to this forum.
-Josh

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MK April 12, 2010 at 10:03 am

So, $13,500 balance on a 0% card (down from $25,000 in 10 months) Due to lose the 0% so applied for a Discover. Only gave me $4500 credit limit and wouldn’t disclose that until the end of the application, so the inquiry was already established. Is it true that too many “Inquiries” are a black mark on your credit report? Also I am a little gun shy to apply for another to see if I can roll the balance after the $4500. What do you think? I hate juggling too many cards, but hate the interest even more.

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MoneyNing April 12, 2010 at 10:15 am

I wouldn’t say a “black mark”, but it does negative affect your credit score in the tune of a few points. This is usually not a problem, as it’s a temporary drop but it will be an issue if you are on the border line of credit tier and you happen to need a loan.

For example, let’s say you have a credit score of 733 and you want a mortgage. If you get it from Bank of America, they consider anything above 730 excellent credit and will give those people their best rate. If you start applying for credit cards and your score lowers by 5 points, you are now 728 and no longer considered “excellent”.

Having said that though, your credit score is for exactly what you are trying to do: to get a better interest rate when you need to borrow money. Are you going to miss out on a 0% balance transfer deal just because you want to keep up an artificial number that has no use other than times when you need to borrow? The answer will lie on your short and mid term needs, so give it some thought and you can probably come up with the right decision for yourself.

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Jason May 2, 2010 at 9:17 am

I’ve been following the 0% balance transfer trend for a while now, and it seems like Citibank have been upping their offer rather dramatically in the past few months. 18 months.?.? Wow.

I’m ready to take the plunge, but who here thinks that they are going to go beyond this and offer something even higher? It seems crazy that they issue 20+ months of interest free loans, but I didn’t think 18 months 0% balance transfer was ever possible either.

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MoneyNing May 4, 2010 at 11:17 am

It’s hard to say what it will do in the future because these decisions are just corporate decisions and none of those are as objection as you’d like them to be.

What you should do instead is to figure out whether 18 months will benefit you or not, and avoid worrying what happens in the future because it doesn’t do anyone any good.

Keep making improvements and you will prosper. Worry forever and you will struggle for the same amount of time.

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Eloise May 2, 2010 at 11:51 am

So it is possible to transfer from one citibank card to another?

Also does it ding your credit score if a person applies for the zero percent cards and then isn’t approved? How does a person negotiate to make sure they get the 12 month time period? or 18 month?

Also if a company won’t lower your interest rates – then why will another company be willing to issue a card at zero percent?

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MoneyNing May 4, 2010 at 11:30 am

I don’t see a problem with transferring from one citi card to another. You are after all making a check payment and it doesn’t matter where the checks come from as long as there are legally your funds to use.

If it isn’t approved, there will possibly be a credit score hit temporarily, but like I keep telling everyone, your credit score is available for you to use, not to look at. Don’t mess with it if you have a bigger use for it (like a mortgage) in the near future but if you don’t, then there’s no reason to keep a high score so you can just admire or brag about it.

There is no way to negotiate what the final terms will be, since they are determined solely by Citibank (if you are look at their 18 month 0% balance transfer offer).

There are many reasons why one company won’t lower your interest rate while another offer 0% balance transfer credit cards. It is believed that it’s much hard to acquire a new customer than to retain one, so many companies routinely treat “would be” customers better than current customers.

It happens with credit cards, it happens with cars and it even happens with toilet paper. You can treat those 0% balance transfer like those cash back bonuses that companies put out to lure new customers. A credit card company not lowering your rates is just like AT&T not offering their existing customers another cash back offer after they’ve been a loyal customer.

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Carey May 6, 2010 at 11:25 am

I have a current credit card that is offering a transfer balance promotion with no fees and my current APR. I have another credit card that I want to get rid of b/c it charges an annual fee and it was a frequent flyer program that I no longer use. It was from an old job. Should I transfer the FF card over to my other card which has an APR of 13.9%? This will max out my current credit card but I won’t acrue any fees. Then do I have to close the other card so I am not charged the annual fee? I was told that if you close a card it affects your credit score. Or, should I try one of these 0% offers. If so, what is the best way to go at it with the two cards? I am just worried that after the promotion period, my APR will go higher than the one’s I have now. We are a one income household and I need to make the best decision that will save us the most money in the long run. Thanks for the help :)

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MoneyNing May 6, 2010 at 10:25 pm

The safest thing is probably to apply through one of the 0% balance transfer offers and then see how much you credit limit you get and try to transfer as much of the high APR as you can to the no interest rate card. With a 5% upfront fee, you’d make your money back in 6 months or less.

However, don’t let this be a free ticket to delay the inevitable. Do EVERYTHING you can to pay off that debt, or else things will eventually catch up to you.

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Debt Options May 11, 2010 at 11:24 am

Having options like 0% balance transfers is a great way to reduce debt. Getting credit cards with lower interest on a introductory period, or even long term, will help to reduce debt by making it easier to pay off debt. Credit card companies have a lot of tactics for raising rates and there is no need to be loyal to one company. I recently had one of my credit cards bump up my interest rates to a really high level. I called and they said it was their policy to raise rates if a payment is missed or I go over my limit. I’m not happy about this at all, so I’m currently checking into some 0% balance transfer credit cards just to get a lower rate and move on from the old company. FYI, it was Chase that bumped up my rates, while my Capital One and HSBC cards remains the same.

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stevei May 22, 2010 at 10:23 am

A note about transfers between two cards issued by the same institution. In most cases, the institution will not approve a direct transfer between cards. The reason for this is obvious – it’s not in their best interest (pun intended) to allow you to shift debt to a lower interest card. They’re out money with little or no upside. I have seen literature from several card issuers explicitly prohibiting such a transfer.

If they issue paper checks to make the transfer, there is a way around it. Write the check out to yourself, and deposit it in your bank account. Once the check clears and the Card issuer OKs the transaction, pay off the old card via your bank account.

About 4 years ago I had 6 open cards, all with fairly high interest rates (16%-24%). Most of the cards were running a special “4% interest until paid off” balance transfer deal. I paid off the first card with savings, deposited the transfer check into my checking account. Waited a week, used the money to pay off the 2nd card, then deposited their transfer check into my account, paid of the 3rd card, etc..

After a 2 month round-robin of shifting balances, all my cards were locked into rates ranging from 2%-6% until paid down. It was nice seeing about 90% of my monthly payments actually go to pay down principle.

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Katie K December 17, 2010 at 11:53 am

wow, I thought I was the Queen of balance transfers, but this is an idea that never occurred to me – thanks for this simple yet cunning idea… I just love beating the credit card companies at their own game…

off-topic slightly, but here’s another trick – know your statement closing dates. I have stickers on all my cards with this info – when making a purchase, if one card “closes” tomorrow but the other closed yesterday, I will use the latter. this means instead of having the bill due in 3-4 weeks, I can postpone it for up to two months.

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Eloise May 22, 2010 at 11:46 am

I got paper checks in the mail from Discover – offering 2.99% with a 5% fee – but reading the small print – I must put the account on the application initially and it could take 2 weeks for them to approve – no getting the money and following the process you followed – also in that 2 weeks they can change the rules if they want to – and have it be back up to 25% or more – I think the companies are now figuring out ways to make it impossible to get our interest rates reduced – that is why so many people have given up and filed for bankruptcy. Four years ago it was all different – the economy wasn’t in the condition it is in today.

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bob dunckley June 17, 2010 at 9:17 am

Wonderful and current data, i love it. One thing i haven’t heard is : if you don’t have a great fico (580-600 ish) which is the reason for your (my) high interest rate cards 15-29.9%, is it foolish to apply for a 0 % card (or even a 15% card) as i probably will be denied and have an inquiry ,which will lower my fico even more?Any ideas about getting out of this trap? Thank you,Catch 22

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Carey June 22, 2010 at 2:21 pm

I wrote to you before and thanks for the advice. I am still trying to figure out what to do. I just got an offer in the mail so I thought I would run it by you. It is from the First National Bank of Omaha. It has 0% APR on purchases until Jan 2011, a variable 14.99% APR based on the prime rate, no annual fee, and a 5.99% APR until paid in full on balance transfers. There is a balance transfer fee of 5% for each one made. Now I know with the 0% you can pay it off faster but the 5.99% looked pretty good because it is until the transfer is paid in full. I am currently not working due to health issues, so we are on a one income salary right now. What is the best thing to do? Do you think I would even be able to get a card, this one or the 0% one since I am not working? And once you transfer a balance, should you close the card or wait for them to close it due to no activity? Awhile ago, I was told to never close a card because it effects your credit score. Is that true?

Thank you for your time and your advice. It is appreciated.

Carey

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MoneyNing June 22, 2010 at 8:40 pm

The offer sounds solid, but I believe you should apply only if you have other debt that you want to transfer it to and be able to max it out immediately with transferring your existing debt. Otherwise, skip the card and cut your expenses instead, as the lure of having the added purchasing power is going to get your family to spend more.

I’m sorry to hear that you lost your job and though it’s probably no fault of your own, you have to deal with it by spending less. Don’t run up your card just because you can, as there are ALWAYS expenses to cut and ways to save more.

Be strong and you will be okay. If you are like most other people who just keep on spending anyway, then one day you will wonder why you have so much credit card debt.

To answer your question though, the credit card companies are unlikely to be able to see your employment picture unless they start asking for it on the application. So your job situation should have no effect on whether you get approved or not.

Also, canceling a card may negatively affect your credit score. This is true. But the effect will be based on how many other cards you have, how long you’ve had them for and what the credit limits of them is.

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Debbie June 26, 2010 at 2:09 am

Hi Carey,

If you decide to utilize the Omaha 0% APR offer for balance transfers, be aware that they likely will require the 5% BT Fee be paid off in the first month.

In regards to the BT Fee on my offer, the terms said “there is no grace period for these transactions”, and Omaha explained that means the BT Fee must be paid off by the next due date. So say for a $5000.00 balance transfer, you’ll owe $250.00 for the BT Fee, in addition to any interest plus the minimum payment on the balance.

Since requiring repayment of the BT Fee in the first month is unusual from my experience, this came as a surprise, and I expect it will to most consumers who don’t know how to interpret the “no grace period” phrase. In my experience with credit cards, it usually has meant one cannot make late payments without incurring additional fees, and I’m sure that’s how I originally interpreted it.

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Carey July 4, 2010 at 9:38 pm

Thanks for the info. I looked into it and it wasn’t as good of an offer that they advertised. Thanks for the fine print. I am just glad I went with Citibank instead. I made sure to read everything and came prepared with question’s. I think I made the right choice, at least I hope. Thanks again. I really appreciate the help.

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angela June 25, 2010 at 7:29 pm

hello curently i have 1 credit card with a balnce of $15,000 with an interst rate of 24.50% i recieved an offer by mail from AAA for 0% for 15months and 10.99% therafter for balance tranfers should i apply for this offer and why?

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MoneyNing June 25, 2010 at 8:26 pm

In a pure number standpoint, you should take advantage of it as long as you are saving. Since the 0% balance transfer is much less than 24.5% (even 10.99% is much less), you should take the offer and save yourself money.

Having said that, you need to seriously consider whether having the extra flexibility will make you spend more. Will applying for the card keep you from paying the balance off longer because you keep telling yourself that you aren’t paying interest on it? You’d be surprise but too many people spend more money just because they can and thus end up in a worst situation.

In this case, the numbers work but the psychology may not. That’s why it’s more a personal choice that only you can make.

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Bed of Roses July 4, 2010 at 8:53 pm

Hi Money Ning,

I am hoping to apply for the ZERO INTEREST Balance Transfer for a longer repayment period, and here you mentioned Citibank offers up to 18 months?

But I called up Citibank yesterday, they said there is no Zero interest offer but 3.99% p.a. Then i googled and found your site. I tried clicking on the link provided here but it doesn’t work.

Would you know if the offers is still on?

regards,
Bed of Roses

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Carey July 4, 2010 at 9:29 pm

I just applied for a Citibank card with 0% interest on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months. If you go to their website it lists all the cards they offer. They even have a program to use to see what is the right card for you. You can also compare rates. I had some questions, so I went into a branch and they were really helpful. I would check out the website or find a branch near you. Good luck.
Carey

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MoneyNing July 4, 2010 at 11:20 pm

The offers are still on, and the links work. You may have just caught a time when the sites were down. If you try again, it will lead you to the application where you can apply if you’d like.

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MK July 24, 2010 at 6:45 am

Any advise on student loans? I heard that the rate is better if the loan is in the students name. He will need a big chunk. Have exhausted all other resources, so private is our next option, SallieMae, etc. Advise please.

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MoneyNing July 24, 2010 at 8:31 am

I think what most people can tell you is only something general. The best thing is to shop around and find as many loans as possible (as many as you can handle without going insane of course) and compare them to see which one works best.

Students loans often have generous terms but it won’t be 0%.

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SD July 25, 2010 at 11:54 pm

Are there any 0% balance transfer cards that have no transfer fees right now?

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IC August 11, 2010 at 6:49 pm

Hi. I have a $14k balance @ 15.99%. My minimum payment is $277 ($177 finance charges + $100 principle). I always pay a little over the minimum payment and my credit score is good (btw 700-730). Would a balance transfer be a smart choice?

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MoneyNing August 11, 2010 at 8:36 pm

Just the fact that you don’t pay off your interest bearing loan will make these balance transfer credit cards worthwhile for the life of the balance transfer period. I suggest though that you save some money to pay it off once the 0% term expires because paying 10%+ is no way to get your finances together.

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Michelle August 22, 2010 at 5:54 pm

I have a heloc that is at about 9% right now. I have a balanced of almost $18000. I thought about transferring it to a zero card until that rate expires and then transferring it back if I do not have another offer. The transfer fee is 3% and I have been paying about $600 a month. Would this be a good idea?

Thanks,

Michelle

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MoneyNing August 22, 2010 at 6:03 pm

Yes, 9% is three times as much as 3%. Going to a 0% balance transfer credit card and keep paying $600 a month will help your debt as long as you are using the whole 12 months.

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Islandman September 3, 2010 at 2:24 pm

Hello,
I need to pay off a balance of $6K credit card, the annual interest is 19.99%. Bank of America is ofering me a 6.36% (v) with a tranfer fee of 4% and Priority One Credit Union is giving me a 3.99% for 6 months w/o tranfer fee and them 9.99% for the term of the money tranfer. Would a balance transfer to Bank of America be a smart choice?
Thank you in advance,
Islandman

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MoneyNing September 3, 2010 at 2:50 pm

Whether the Bank of America balance transfer offer is better than the credit union one will depend on how long it takes you to pay it off. I would rather take the credit union one unless you plan to take years to pay off your loan but like I said, it depends on how YOU plan to handle this debt.

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LisaR September 22, 2010 at 1:59 pm

Help. I’ve been watching the Oprah’s Debt Diet and trying to apply that to my debt situation. I have two credit card companies that will not lower my apr or increase my balance. I keep asking for supervisors and they give me the same answer, “No”. What should I do? By the way, has anyone ever heard of the 0% balance transfer offers for 5 years (or anything similar) like they spoke of on the Oprah show?

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MoneyNing September 23, 2010 at 9:09 am

How about offering to pay down a chunk of the balance off in exchange for a lower APR? Maybe that will work?

I wouldn’t ask for an increase because the whole point of a debt diet is to REDUCE debt, not increase your credit limit so you can charge more. Is there anywhere else that you can cut spending? I know that’s not a popular answer, but after all, money needs to come from somewhere.

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Leonardo September 23, 2010 at 6:36 pm

I have received these checks from Discover for a 0% for a year. Can I write myself a check and invest the money while paying the card back for the first 12months?

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MoneyNing September 24, 2010 at 9:24 am

That is fair game but make sure you read the fine print to see if there is an upfront fee for the transfer. For example, some Discover checks charges 5% up front, so even though there’s no interest, you still have to make more than 5% on your investments to just break even.

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djn October 2, 2010 at 11:47 am

I have had my account with KeyBank now for about 9 years. I have a $13,000 balance. Currently my rate is 17.99. I’ve had several promotions in the past that take my rate down, however once they are over I’m back to the higher rate. My credit score is good, over 700, but I’m afraid to close my acct. with KeyBank in search of a better rate. Should I shop around for a good 18-month low rate and keep my KeyBank acct. open, or should I close it if I find a better rate? I have had only one CC for the last 9 years and don’t feel comfortable with getting more, but I’m afraid if I close my KeyBank card it will negatively effect my credit score. Any ideas? Thanks..

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djn October 2, 2010 at 11:52 am

p.s.

Would one of these transfer cards be in my best “interest?” I think I can pay off a good chunk of it with such a low rate, especially if given 18 months. Also, I have a cash advance of $3000, although I haven’t used all of it. Should I get that paid off ASAP? I have no idea how it’s effecting me right now…

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more cowbell October 17, 2010 at 11:56 am

Anyone who is contemplating doing this needs to be aware of two things:

1) Most companies charge up to a 3% fee for balance transfers. If you borrow $10,000 with the intention of investing it, the $300 transaction fee will eat into any earnings you accrue.

2) Carrying a balance transfer on your card negates any grace period for standard purchases, meaning they will charge you the standard 23.99% (or whatever your current APR is) interest based on your average balance during the previous month. This is true even if you pay off your standard purchases in full every month. First they will apply the minimum payment, then apply the rest towards higher-to-lower APR balances. There is no way to avoid the interest fee, or to have any say over where your payments go. The Citi customer representative I just spoke to told me that a “recent law” had changed the way credit card companies can allocate their payments. As with most such laws, it sounds like it was designed to benefit the credit card companies, not the consumer.

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MoFu$gUS October 18, 2010 at 12:09 pm

@CowBell, which i like btw, i think your confusing me too, and you said same thing mid-paragraph, they explained it should be that
monies (payment), are first allocated to purchases, then to the 0%, all I did was keep the 0% card standalone, no misc purchases on it, which pre-new law pee ed me off and gave them back the balance, lost monies 4%, and then the wanted whatever 15-25% on the promoted $, i gave back the whole amt, which i didn’t really need anyway, tho we are all mostly trying to “float”

What NingMaster, is sayng Arbitrage, i think as losing at slower declining rate / scale, you “saving”, an avoidable cost, not profiting, i want their profits, like they do up front, they earned their 4% up-front already.

Now, if you got that big chunk of institutional OPM (other Peoples M$) @ dailiy fractions, pts etc. Mr Bill, Jobs, Buffet etc interest, more
than your and my multi-generation life stream, and some calculable estimate of the population, expected lifetime earnings.

That said, if i get around to it, do the math and see how far the U.S. debt machine, >3 trillion inflated War budget trash $ which we will never pay back
ever in t-bills or suckered in savings bonds, would actually be as a perpetuity, take out x$, 4 ever at some continuous function rates of return. and just give, it out to every citizen or spend inside the US

go to measuringworth Dot com, for buying power.

A 20,000, 1960’s mortgage was still huge ?, and it only took the 30 years, for some, is a $250,000 house, probably, lot lots more S.F, bay area, NYC etc

So is anybody going to project out todays’ 200,000$ to $2,500,000 in 2040 now this is the “same” 4-5% rates, that the 60’s mortgages were @

Consider, a 20k mort, turns out to be 38,651 of which 18, 651 as interesr., used 5%, bear in mind too that the #@.%#* 18k is inflated, a period of time 70’etc, great savings 10-17 % ?rates, free toaster with acct opening.

It bugs me when i see the call out ad, ?? month cd .075 % oo00h a big 2% Jumbo whatever it is, I’m the fool for not joining the default loan crowd paying defaulter, bail=out, b ullDonigUs, amongUS

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MoFu$gUS October 18, 2010 at 12:52 pm

Now, because i, is so low, the cat-food eating “believers” me included now or so-called underfunded pensions that were lost, stolen, squandered, mis-managed, re-legally destroyed, deminished. This model includes any notion of $401K, which, should now be re-classified as 4 – “zeroes, us losers” – 1 K

Suppose you believe in yourself, earning, saving potential or
Company Q, believes, in it’s employees, and made certain assumptions, interest rates, life expectancy, that the “grim” reality of 20+ years of “loyalty”, dim at best for this and future generations @ any one Co will become a financial liability and obligation.

The point is this, my ball-park estimate, or poor math skills, leads me to present this scenario, which I will call “Behind-the 8 Ball”, because it’s a factor of “8”, being discussed. (If, you know of this, my regards are extended, we are different…, not elitist”

$3.6M ? (instead of 449k today, invested @ 8%, WE WISH), a reserve of the 449k, to me, is not un-reasonable or far-fetched, but $3.6M ?..?

Yields a 36k/Yr, retirement.
A lot of people, could live on / use 3k, a month?

Example: Alan wants to retire and receive $3,000 a month. He wants to pass this monthly payment to future generations after his death. He can earn an interest of 8% compounded annually. How much will he need to set aside to achieve his perpetuity goal?

Solution: R = $3,000

i = 0.08/12 or 0.00667

Substituting these values in the above formula, we get

$3000

A ? = ———

0.00667

= $449,775

If he wanted the payments to start today, we must increase the size of the funds to handle the first payment. This is achieved by depositing $452,775 which provides the immediate payment of $3,000 and leaves $449,775 in the fund to provide the future $3,000 payments.

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Sunny Ihazah October 18, 2010 at 8:23 pm

i have a credit card debt with citi with s balance of $6865 and an Apr of 19.99%. also another credit card debt with wells Fargo balance of 1989 with an APR of 18.65. and also an installment loan from my bank with interest rate set at 9.99 % with a balance of 1200.00. whats the best way to pay down this debt faster? i have tried to consolidate my debt but i keep getting denied everywhere i applied. where can i get help on my finances because i am exhausted and stressed out.

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Brian October 19, 2010 at 9:27 am

I have a cc balance around 18000. Will a CC company transfer such a large amount? I have good credit.
Thanks.

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Karen November 4, 2010 at 3:35 pm

I have a credit card balance of $5,200 that I want to pay off as quickly as possible. I’m currently paying $500 per month, that’s $420 more than the minimum payment. My interest rate on my current credit card is 9.9% This sounds like a no brainer, but would it be worth my time to transfer my balance to a 0% interest credit card? Especially if the credit card is offering 0% for 21 months on all transfered balances. I would be paying off the balance in less than 12 months, well under the 21 month cut off.

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MoneyNing November 4, 2010 at 4:38 pm

It depends on how much shorter than 12 months you will be paying it off. Remember that you are paying for 3% (and in some cases, 5%) up front, which you will need to recover before it is worth it.

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A November 18, 2010 at 4:33 pm

I have about $6,000 of 25% (Sears card) I would like to transfer and another $5,500 of a Visa-type card at 9%. I’m worried that I too will get denied (and a “hard pull” on credit report) because of a less-than perfect FICO. My free credit report did not list any late payments but debts are over the top and I could really use the boost of a zero percent program (especially for 21 months :). Any strategies or should I just take a crap shoot-approach and try anyway?

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Jill December 16, 2010 at 4:24 pm

I have a 0% balance transfer offer and it says in the terms and conditions that “we will begin charging interest on the balance transfer on the transaction date.” What does that mean exactly? How do they start charging interest on the balance transfer when it has a o% promotional period?

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MoneyNing December 16, 2010 at 5:31 pm

It most likely means that if you were not approved for 0%, you would be charged interested starting on the day the transfer takes place. In addition, you will be charged a transfer fee up front, which will likely be added on the first day as well.

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Crys December 17, 2010 at 1:04 pm

I have a $2500 balance on a 26% (Targer visa) that is the bane of my existence. I am wanting to transfer it but I am just leary of getting stuck in a rat wheel again. Citi bank is offering 0% for 18 months and up to %19 after that…is it even worth it to switch over? I know it doesn’t seem like a lot of debt but it’s really hurting our small family (Target visa card). Any help is appreciated. Thanks.

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MoneyNing December 17, 2010 at 4:18 pm

On a pure numbers point of view, it makes sense to take advantage of the 0% credit card offers, especially when these offers are up to 24 months now. You pay 4% up front, but you will make the interest back in a few short months.

However, just don’t be caught into the idea that you don’t need to pay for it anymore, because being able to save a bit far outweighs the benefits of a small amount of interest.

Just remember this – a 0% balance transfer credit card is not a ticket to more spending.

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David December 21, 2010 at 8:48 am

Report should highlight the term, and the fee, which is all the interest. Once the transfer fee once was capped on some cards, like 3% max $99, not so much any more, and 4 and 5% are not uncommon.

Sometimes you get a better rate or term for a bt with another bank (you are already in that much debt, they just get the interest), or even if you have the lending bank just put it directly in your bank account, as opposed to cash in hand.

Sometimes the banks will match or beat each other’s offers

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Rich December 21, 2010 at 4:05 pm

One of the downsides with 0% credit cards is that if you then continue to spend, and don’t pay much off the card, then it soon mounts up.
They are very useful for helping clear your debt though, as long as they are used wisely.

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Sarah January 11, 2011 at 6:56 pm

I have a citi card with a balance of about $4000. I opened another citi card with a 0% on balance transfers for 24 months, in order to transfer this $4000 balance and pay it off in 24 months or less. I just went to perform the balance transfer and found you can’t transfer a balance from one citi card to another citi card. The customer service rep said they could send me a check for the amount I want to “transfer” that I can deposit into my checking account, use to pay off my old card, and then have the amount on the new 0% for 24 months card (with the same 3% transfer fee).
Is this check option a scam, or is that something that sounds legit?

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Lorrie January 27, 2011 at 9:29 pm

This has already been addressed, above…

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Falak January 24, 2011 at 4:52 am

Really good article… I usually do this to keep big bag of cash on my hand.

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Danniel January 29, 2011 at 1:07 am

So I have a balance of $8200 with a APR of 16.5%. My minimum is 190/month and I am currently paying g$300/month on the card to try to pay it off as fast as possible. I spoke with Discover and they are offering 0% APR for 24 months on balance transfers with a 5% balance transfer fee and then, depeding on credit worthiness, a Reg. APR between 11.9%-19.9% after the introductory period. IF I EVEN GET APPROVED FOR THE FULL BALANCE TRANSFER, I plan on not making purchases and continuing to pay $300 / month on a 0% APR… My question is: Should I risk applying for the card because they pull my credit and open a new card? Also, my Fico is around 720 and I’ve never been late on a credit card payment, so is it a smart move to apply for this balance transfer anyway? Even if i only get approved for partial balance transfer? And if I only get approved for part of the transfer, should I find another company and transfer the remaining to an 18 month 0% Intro APR?

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Summer January 31, 2011 at 8:15 am

I have $15,000 (max) on a Discover card with 1/2 of it being cash advances. Does it make more sense to do a cash-out refi (higher interest point, 1/2 point) or balance transfer to another card? Do cash advances transfer? Can I transfer from one Discover card to another? Mid credit score is mid 700s.

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Ernesto Castro February 2, 2011 at 6:30 am

Everything sounds pretty good until you discover that this is onky given to people with excelent credit score. Please read between the lines.

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Elizabeth February 6, 2011 at 1:02 pm

Hi,

I have two credit cards that each have a balance of 2500. (so 5k total credit card debt). They have very high interest rates. I am a working student so its very hard to get anywhere with paying them down. Do you think a balance transfer would be helpful for me?

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MoneyNing February 6, 2011 at 5:41 pm

In time, a 0% balance transfer credit card will be helpful for your situation but make sure you run the numbers and see when you will be ahead.

Another thing to remember is to pay off the debt as if the interest rates are still high. If you merely delay the inevitable, you aren’t helping your at all even if the interest rates stay at 0% for 24 months like what Discover is offering right now.

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Summer February 6, 2011 at 5:55 pm

Thanks MoneyNing and Ernesto for the input, I appreciate it. I ended up transferring the balance to my other card that I had a zero balance on but an interest rate of 5%. With the money I save every month on interest charges I will definitely put towards principal so my payment will stay the same but with principal reduction happening quicker. My goal is to pay off my balance as soon as possible.

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Susan February 6, 2011 at 7:42 pm

Is it a good idea to sign up for the free credit score offers from such a card as Sears Mastercard?

Are there some kind of financial charts or formulas to follow to find the best deal on 0 balance or lower percentage balance cards – to know if you are getting the best deal – or if the cost is the same?

How to negotiate a lower percentage rate on the cards?

How much does it ding your credit to apply for zero balance cards?

What if you already have a card from Discover or Citi – can you then also get a zero balance card approved? Can you have 2 cards with the same company – one with interest and one without?

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MoneyNing February 12, 2011 at 9:12 pm

Free services are always welcomed, but I’d rather get a 0% balance transfer for many months or a sign up cash bonus instead of a free credit score monitoring service.

I’m not aware of a financial chart or formula, but it’s safe to say that if you can score a 0% interest, the up front fee will be worth it in just a few short months.

There’s no hard and fast rule of how much your credit score will be dinged because there are way too many factors, nor is the formula to calculate your score announced publicly.

Yes, you can have more than one card from a single company, though they will look at your current cards when you apply.

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lila February 16, 2011 at 8:58 am

I’ve had two citibank credit cards for 8 and 10 years with an excellent payment history. I owe $1700 on card A (current interest 18.99%) and $3500(current interest 21.99 on card B). I do not want to apply for another card since I have been working hard for 3 years to get an excellent credit score which is now nearly 800. Both cards are offering 1.99% for balance transfers. How does it affect score if I took a $4700 check from card A which has a credit limit of $16,000 to pay off both cards? I realize citi does not allow balance transfers from one card to another but in my case, citi will direct deposit a check for the amont requested for me to use as I please. Thanks for advise in advance. I also know that I will still have the debt but I want to save on the monthly interest fees.

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MoneyNing February 16, 2011 at 9:32 am

In my view, the whole point of having a high credit score is so I can take advantage of easier credit so I can save money on interests in cases where I choose to go into debt.

If I have to choose between saving money on interest and having a high credit score, the decision is trivial because I wouldn’t need a credit score if I don’t have to pay interests.

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Josh February 16, 2011 at 11:53 am

A nice alternate to 0% balance transfers nowadays in light of the transfer fee caps being removed is to apply for a 0% intro APR card for purchases, which many like Citi have pretty long intro periods. Citi has a 16 month intro period. If you plan ahead, you can take advantage of this free, gradual, loan over a few months, using the new card exclusively while paying the full balance (plus as much as you can to buy down your dept) each month to other credit cards with higher interest or to your other soon-to-expire 0% offer card. You obviously still must pay at least the minimums. It’s still only moving money around, but it might save on some interest & fees while you continue to try to pay down your overall dept.

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sonny February 20, 2011 at 9:34 pm

Does the Citi Platinum Select MasterCard for Canadians as well??
do they issue checks to use too?

Thanks

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Lucy March 7, 2011 at 12:42 pm

My bank is offering a no fee for balance transfer card from Visa at 10.9% – my current card has about 3300 on it at 28.9%. However in small print on the application it states – The minimum monthly payment for the Platinum rate is 3% of your total new balance but not less than $20 plus the amount of any unpaid prior payments due.

What does it mean by unpaid prior payments due?

At 3% I would have to pay $20 dollars a month minimum (I plan to pay more) but less than the approximate 110.00 per month required now on my current card.

I haven’t taken the application to the bank yet – I know applications ding credit – so I am trying to figure out what it all means.

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MoneyNing March 7, 2011 at 2:12 pm

I’m pretty sure “unpaid prior payments due” means the cumulative of all the minimum balance payments you haven’t paid, if there were any.

However, I don’t work for any of the credit card companies so don’t take my word for it. You should call them and ask.

Also, it is almost at the credit card company’s discretion as to how much to charge your monthly minimum balance, so I wouldn’t assume that you can lower your monthly payment just by switching.

What you do know if that if you take advantage of the 0% balance transfer, you are going to get a lower interest rate and lower your overall payment if you stick to the same payment schedule. That’s about all you are guaranteed.

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Lucy March 7, 2011 at 1:05 pm

Typing error – I should have said $99.00 a month payment. But I quess this means more goes toward principal rather than interest. However I am unclear on whether they could ask for a higher monthly payment – than what I am paying now. What I really want to do is reduce my monthly payments for 6 months to a year. I like the fact this card had no transfer fee or yearly fee however.

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Albert March 7, 2011 at 4:36 pm

None of this is doing me any good since every time I apply for a zero-card to transfer my 23% Sears card balance I’m told I have too much debt “to take on any additional obligations.”

Additional obligations?. These companies deliberately pitch these products as BALANCE TRANSFER cards – not new debt cards. I pay all my bills each month. I think the FTC should have made them lose that language during all their other rule changes. It’s deceitful and deliberately misleading.

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Dan - BankVibe April 17, 2011 at 5:46 am

If you’re planning on transferring a massive sum, wait for a no balance transfer fee promotion. It’ll save you big on up front costs. Discover bank just had a promotion like this last month, but it didn’t last long.

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DebbiePearl April 19, 2011 at 10:43 pm

What is a no balance transfer fee?

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MoneyNing April 20, 2011 at 10:07 am

Some 0% balance transfer credit cards charge you an upfront fee to have your balance transferred over to their card account. So when there is no balance transfer fee, it just means that there is no upfront charge.

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Billy April 20, 2011 at 9:12 pm

I have a Chase credit card and I am thinking about making a balance transfer to another card in order to save money (mainly the interest that is accruing on the account). Will the APR on my Chase card increase if I transfer the balance to another card?

Thanks.

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Dan - BankVibe April 21, 2011 at 5:23 am

@ Billy – Your APR with Chase should remain the same. Will you still be making purchases with the card or will you use the balance transfer card to make new purchases as well? Most BT cards come with promotional 0% APRs on new purchases as well, so you’re probably better off just using that new card if your current Chase card has an APR of say 21% or higher (which is typically the max APR you’d get with a new BT card after the promotional intro period is over).

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mike April 22, 2011 at 11:19 am

What is the average credit score to be approved for a balance transfer, and is there a max that can be transferred or does each balance transfer work on a case by case basis. Is there any situation that someone with a similiar credit report as yours is accepted for a balance transfer and your not because of the person on the other end(cc company) did not qualify you.

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MoneyNing April 22, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Unless the government somehow decided to force this out of the credit card companies, no company will ever publicly release information about any credit score criteria on credit card approvals because it’s sort of their close guarded secret.

The max balance that can be transferred will be determined by your credit limit on each credit card, and since there could be a human element in applications that don’t get automatically approved, there will also be cases where two similar credit report gets two different verdict.

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Elizabeth April 25, 2011 at 4:03 pm

How can I find out if I can transfer a balance from a MasterCard I have from the UK to a 0% card in the US? I used to live in the UK where I incurred the debt, but now live in the US. I don’t want to apply for a card here before I know that but I can’t find out how to contact Citi.

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MoneyNing April 25, 2011 at 8:44 pm

I don’t think there will be a difference since the bank can even issue you checks for you to transfer your balance so as long as your UK bank accepts the money, then it should be fine. However, I’m not sure if different companies have different policies, so you might want to ask them by calling both banks (the one in UK and the one in US).

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Ryan May 2, 2011 at 6:53 am

MoneyNing,
The Citi Platinum Select Mastercard you have up top of this page does have a balance tranfer fee now, you might want to update that info. you have up here, as not everyone will read a card’s Terms and Conditions. See below for the info. pulled directly from this card’s application site a few minutes ago.

Annual Fee None
Transaction Fees
• Balance Transfer Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
• Cash Advance Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater.
• Foreign Purchase Transaction 3% of each purchase transaction in US dollars.

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MoneyNing May 2, 2011 at 11:01 am

Thanks for the update. Actually all three 0% balance transfer cards up there have some type of upfront transfer fee, which I talk about in the section on calculating when a 0% transfer makes sense.

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VSmith May 3, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Great article. Years ago I couldn’t keep up with all of the offers I would receive in the mail for balance transfer offers with no transfer fees. Most charge 3% of the transactions nowadays and the offers are not in my mailbox like they used to be. Please note you can always call your credit card company and ask them if they have any balance transfer offers or other offers. Chase and Capital One both had balance transfers for 12 months at 3% of the amount being transferred. Discover didn’t have a good transfer offer but they gave me 0% interest for 6 months. Being a loyal, paying customer works with the cable and phone company too. I was able to get the phone company to waive the extra costs of using up all the minutes from opening a business and the cable company said they would go back to what my bill used to be before their yearly increase for the next 12 months. You don’t know if you don’t ask. Whenever I don’t have to play the balance transfer game, I don’t I pay off the bill each month.

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Joe May 20, 2011 at 6:27 am

Was this a bait-and-switch?
Last October, I think I fell for a bait and switch with FIA Card Services aka Quantum Visa. They had a 0% til April 2011 deal that looked really good. So, I went ahead and transferred just under $10,000 over to them.
Now comes the part where I am somewhat culpable – although I made every payment on time, I never really paid attention to my balance or if they were charging me interest.
Turns out they have been charging me interest (22.99%.) this whole time, but I never noticed it. OK, bad boy that I dont keep good records, and since I was travelling a lot and using the card, and since I have a no-paper statements account, the fact that the balance never really went down didnt register until a couple of weeks ago.
So I did the obvious thing: I called them. They “have no record of any offer being active at that time”, and since I dont seem to have any proof of the deal at the time, I am out quite a bit in interest.
I KNOW “FOR SURE” THAT THIS CARD HAS BEEN OFFERING DEALS SINCE Q3 OF 2010, I just cant prove it.
Im wondering if this has happened to anyone else with FIA? I assume others wont be as stupid as I was, and checked their statements?
I really wish I had some recourse on this.

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Robert May 23, 2011 at 6:04 pm

I use discover for my small business and get cash back points. So everything I pay for the business, I use the credit card. Then wait and before the end of the month I pay it all in full so there is no interest. Every few months I take the point and buy a credit gift card for myself, usually about a $100.00. Its like getting paid to use it.

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Richard June 6, 2011 at 1:43 am

Hi, I have been using this o% interest transfer for years, but for the card with no annual fee and extension to 21 month transfer which is I only knew through your website. Good deal! thank you.

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jo June 14, 2011 at 2:17 pm

I have one 0% APR already in use on a credit card. The no interest period ends May 1, 2012. I am planning on paying the original transfer balance before due date to take the full advantage of an interest-free loan. Now they sent me another promotion for the same no-interest transfer on the same card. I would like to take advantage of this second offer as well. However, I am not sure how the final full payment on the original balance one will be affected.

I know there are new rules guiding varying %APR pay-offs, with the money going to the higher APR balance first. But what about two 0% balances expiring on two different dates? Will my full payment for the offer ending May 1, 2012 go to the original transfer amount, be split between the two, or just plain go to the one with later expiration, while the original balance, with the O% APR ending May 1 2012 will kick into a normal, high % APR?

The Citibank customer service representative assured me I would be able to pay off the first balance in full one on time, but was not very convincing, since he kept saying that the payment will go to the balance with the higher APR. Then, when challenged, said that it will go to the one expiring first. He seemed confused (if eager to please) and so am I.

Normally, there will be no separate disclosure of each balance transferred on the statement, if they are both 0% APR. That is, until the earlier-expiring one kicks in the higher APR. So, how would they or I know how much is due?

Please help!

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MoneyNing June 14, 2011 at 2:29 pm

It sounds like you are describing two cards, with two account numbers. I would assume that you can determine which credit card you are paying off the balance with, thus, it’s up to you whether you would need to incur any interests on your 0% balance transfers.

If it’s the same credit card, then your new balance transfer would just be added on top of the original one, and Citibank would be the only company that can tell you whether the 0% balance transfer date would reset or not.

Anyhow, if it’s the same account number, I wouldn’t mess with getting another loan because if they decide to change the rules, it will be very hard for you to explain through all the complications and bring the argument to your favor.

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The Cash Bonus Hustler June 16, 2011 at 1:52 am

This happened to me last year. I had two separate balance transfer promos (one at 0% and one at 2.99%) on the same account but with different ending dates (the 0% one was ending before the 2.99% one). I made a large payment right before my 0% one ended so that I wouldn’t be charged any interest on it but the payment went to the 2.99% balance because it automatically goes to pay off balances at a higher rate. I called Citibank to have this resolved and they were very nice. They fixed the issue and waived the interest they would have charged. I’d suggest calling them and explaining what you want to do before you do it. I think they might be able to earmark which balance the payment goes to.

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bek July 31, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Jo, I have a similar situation (on one card) with Citibank, two 2.99% promo offers, one with no expiration date and a second one expiring Sept 1, 2011. I want to pay off the promo expiring Sept 1 before the interest rate jumps, and keep the never-expiring one. I called Citibank to confirm that my next payment, which will more than cover the outstanding balance on the expiring promo, will in fact be applied ONLY to that promo. The response was, a bit inconclusive, tho the guy tried hard to understand what I was asking.. I can refer you to https://www.citicards.com/cards/wv/copy.do?screenID=1907 , which is a webpage that I got when asking this question on another site. Here are two relevant paragraphs that I hope will be of help:
# How will payments post to my account if I have multiple deferred interest promotions?
They will be applied based on expiration date, starting in order with the soonest expiring promotional purchase to the latest expiring promotional purchase.

# How will the payment post if I have multiple deferred interest promotions that expire on the same day?
If they are expiring on the same day, we will apply the payment to the promotion that posted to the account first.

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Kristen July 14, 2011 at 7:45 am

As many have said, it is important to weigh out whether a 3% fee would be better than all of the interest payments. I just opened Discover account (the one listed above). I was able to transfer my balances (with the 3% fee) but I have 18 months at 0%. After 3 months, that fee is paid for because of the 0% interest. In my case, this was a good move but definitely make sure you do the math first and decide which way is better.

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