2 Things You Need to Know About Credit Card Promotions

by Travis Pizel · 6 comments

After being absent for a few years, zero percent interest promotions from credit cards seem to be making a resurgence. Consumers can utilize such promotions to consolidate debt, do home improvements, or a variety of other things, at zero percent for the length of the promotion.

If you’re thinking of taking advantage of these promotions, you need to be aware that using these promotions to accomplish some financial goal may prove to be more difficult than you might expect.

I received a zero percent balance transfer promotion for 18 months for an existing account. The details stated that I could perform balance transfers four different ways:

  • Write a convenience check to pay off another account
  • Write a convenience check to myself to use however I please
  • Use the online account to supply an account number to transfer the balance
  • Use the online account to have a cash deposit made into my checking account

Using convenience checks or the online portal to directly pay off other accounts is straight forward. However, getting cash using either of these methods can be challenging.

Not All Banks Honor Convenience Checks

I attempted to use one at Wells Fargo, and they would not allow me to deposit the check into my account. The reason given was that they could not immediately verify available funds from my line of credit.

This seems no different than if someone wrote me a personal check. When I pressed them on this comparison, they didn’t supply any additional reasoning.

Some Funds Can Not Be Transferred

I tried to transfer funds from my credit card into a checking account at small, regional bank and I was told that my account was not eligible for that action. I tried the same transfer again to Wells Fargo, and it was successful.

In a phone call to the credit card company, I found the reason for the failure is that the credit card company may not know whether my regional bank had the capability to transfer funds through the Automated Clearing House (ACH) electronic network.

Zero percent interest promotions can help consumers save money and/or achieve some other financial goal. However, consumers need to be aware of limitations by credit card companies and banks before they make definite plans.

By making a few phone calls and asking a few questions, this information can be easily collected to allow you to make educated decisions on how to best take advantage of credit card promotions.

Have you ever encountered difficulties taking advantage of a credit card promotion? How did you resolve the issue?

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Ron says:

    “the CC company may not know whether my regional bank had the capability to transfer funds through the Automated Clearing House”

    How can they *not* know? That *regional* bank is, after all, a *bank*. Banks send checks through the ACH every day to other banks.

    • Travis @enemyofdebt says:

      That is an interesting question, Ron. The more I’ve read about the ACH, it seems there must be a deeper reason. maybe another phone call is inorder.

  • Ruth says:

    I tried to transfer a balance a few months ago, and was told paying off lines of credit would not be accepted. I was also told that the promotion was only good for the initial transaction, when I opened the account. They wouldn’t issue out checks until after 90 days of having the account, making the promotion invalid.

    • Travis @enemyofdebt.com says:

      Sometimes balance transfer promotions have some limitations…..it’s always a good idea to read the terms and conditions!

  • Cassy says:

    Why do u want to?

    • Travis @enemyofdebt.com says:

      To save money on interest, Cassy. As the post indicates, I have a credit card balance I’m looking to pay down. By reducing the interest rate to zero (there is, however a balance transfer fee) it saves me money.

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