For a consumer who finds themselves in a hole of credit card debt, they may consider a balance transfer. The average US consumer is bombarded with many credit card balance transfer offers on a daily basis most times. For those who have never taken advantage of such an offer, there may be many questions. Find the best balance transfer offer that will benefit you the most financially.
A balance transfer is simply taking a high interest credit card balance and transferring it to a lower interest rate card. Most cards for good to excellent credit offer a 0% APR for a special promotional period. The 2 most common promotional periods are either 12 or 18 months; however, they do go as low as 6 months and as high as 24 months depending on the card and the specific offer. The better the consumer’s FICO credit score is the easier it is to find a great offer. Get a longer term than necessary if possible. This will allow for rough months in case not as much is paid as originally planned. This ensures that a second balance transfer is not needed.
Opening a new credit card typically will offer a better promotional balance transfer APR than using an existing line of credit. This is because the card company really wants the business; as a result, they are willing to extend better offers to new clients. There are several ways to locate current offers. Checking online is often the easiest as multiple cards can be compared side by side. If there is a specific financial institution that is preferred, call the customer service number and ask for their current promotions. Many retail chains will offer an extended “same as cash” for new purchases. Some balance transfers offer a 0% APR while others offer a drastically reduced rate. The most common reduced rate is 2.9%; however this can vary from 1.9%-6.9%.
Balance transfers, especially 0% APR offers, are not always a free and clear ticket to paying off debt. Most (not all) transfers come with one time origination fees. Although the fees may vary by card, the most common transfer fee amount is 2-3% or $5.00 whichever is greater. Because fees can vary so greatly, it is essential to read all the fine print before signing up. Having to change a credit card partway through due to unfavorable terms will not benefit the consumer financially as another balance transfer fee will have to be paid.
If done right, a balance transfer can potentially save the average consumer hundreds of dollars in the long run. Like everything to do with credit, it needs to be used responsibly. Read reviews of credit cards to ensure you balance transfer to the best card to benefit you the most financially.
For consumers who are struggling to pay down high interest balances on their cards, they could take advantage of the balance transfer credit card offers. These cards are designed to assist people who are strained by high interest rates of credit cards to consolidate the debts into one card and save cash on interest rate charges. And as the director of national priorities for the nonprofit advocacy group Consumer Action, Linda Sherry said, “It’s not like everyone’s getting 10 offers a week in the mailbox, but card issuers are back in the business of revolving lending and would like to have people carrying balances.”
It is quite clear that lenders have come back to engaging in business of revolving lending. The transfer charges have significantly gone down and now many of the card issuers are offering 3 percent balance transfer fee. There are a number of things you need to look out for when searching for balance transfer offers for 2014.
The balance transfer fees is something that you should always watch out because they could be pretty hefty. Consumers need to hunt for those cards, which offer little or no balance transfer fees. Some of the card issuers want to solicit for your business while others are eying for the fee. Other fees should also guide you when choosing the right balance transfer card.
Consumers should establish if the card has annual fees attached and although most cards have waived these fees, there are still some issuers who are charging those fees. The fees range from $25 to $89 and this could cost you a lot in the long run. Some cards have waived the fees for the first one year, and you need to check out the details properly.
Another important issue is the length of the introductory period. It is advisable that you seek for the cards with longer periods because the longer the introductory period, the more you are able to clear the balances before you are hit by the high interest rates. Although these cards offer less or no charges during the introductory period, the interest rates can go up pretty high immediately after that period.
If you are not able to clean the balance, it means that you begin struggling with higher interest rates again, something that may plunge you back to the debt problem. If you feel that you will not be able to complete paying the balance at the end of the introductory period, you should check what the interest rates would be after that period. This can help you choose a card that will attract relatively lower after-intro interest rate.
You may be easily enticed with a 0 percent introductory interest rate but if this is offered for only a few months, then the amount you save might not be big. If you look for a card with 15 to 18 months 0 percent intro rate offer, you save significantly and be able to clear the amount of balance before that period expires.