0% Intro APR credit card offers are very popular for obvious reasons. Consumers can save a lot in finances charges by taking advantage of 0% offers, but there are a number of pitfalls that should be avoided.
All across the United States, consumers who are smart with their finances are taking advantage of zero percent credit card offers, and for good reason. By signing up for a 0% intro APR credit card deal, consumers with credit card debt and a good credit score can literally pay no interest on their lingering credit card debt for 12 months or more.
Here are some important things to remember when taking advantage of zero percent intro APR offers:
Many credit card companies will offer you an interest-free period as a way of introducing you to their credit card. It is very important that you know and understand what the interest rate will be once that free period is over. If you are forced to pay a significantly higher interest rate after the free period you will likely wind up with a much worse deal than you had intended. If at all possible try to pay off your total credit card balance before the interest-free period comes to an end. Try to find a balance transfer deal that gives you at least 6 months 0% introductory APR so that you don't wind up making balance transfers too often.
Be sure that you read through all the fine print very carefully. A lot of the 0% balance transfer credit card offers include a catch: if you use the new card to make a purchase while you are in the interest-free period, the APR or Annual Percentage Rate can often be quite high, even as high as 25%! Additionally, payments that you make on your new credit card with a low or zero percent intro APR will be applied to the transferred balance first, which often means youíll get hammered with high interest charges for purchases and cash advances. A balance transfer can be a really good way to help you save money over the long term, but if you need to make new purchases you will be much better served by using cash, a pre-paid credit card, or your bank debit card.
Try to avoid using the convenience checks. Many credit cards will include convenience checks along with your regular credit card statements. A convenience checks is usually equivalent to a cash advance, and cash advances almost always carry the highest interest rate. Sometimes a credit card will give you a good interest rate if you use their convenience checks for making balance transfers. Just be sure that you read the fine print thoroughly so that you fully understand the terms before using their convenience checks.
There is good news about convenience checks. Some credit card companies will provide you with blank checks that are covered under their 0% intro APR balance transfer offer. These blank checks can be very useful as you can use them for whatever you want. A lot of consumers use these blank checks as a method of obtaining an interest-free loan, but they can also be used to open a high-yield savings account or to purchase a certificate of deposit. Keep in mind that once the 0% introductory APR period is over interest charges will begin to accrue so it is recommended that you pay off the balance before, or as soon as, the interest-free period ends.
If you are not absolutely certain as to whether the checks you receive are included in the 0% introductory APR offer then take a few minutes and call the credit card company to ask. Whenever you call your credit card company, be sure to jot down the name of the person you speak to in case the representative makes a mistake.
Don't get carried away with your credit card applications. Regardless of whether or not you are approved or rejected, if you file too many credit card applications within a short time period your credit rating could suffer a downgrade.
Many credit card companies own multiple credit card brands. Before submitting an application for a balance transfer, be sure that you are dealing with a credit card company that is different from the one you want to transfer a balance from. If you try to transfer a balance from one account to another, and one bank controls both credit card brands, then your application will almost certainly be rejected. Remember that inquiries into your credit report may have a negative effect on your credit rating; this is especially true if the inquiry results in an application being rejected.
If you already have two different credit cards that have been issued by the same bank or credit card company, you can usually consolidate the balances into one credit card account. If you have questions about this call your credit card company to discuss consolidating your credit cards.
It is very important that the account to which youíll be transferring your balance has a high enough credit limit so as to avoid getting into trouble with fees. Some credit cards charge a fee for transferring balances, and if your new accountís credit limit isnít high enough, you may get hit with an over-the-limit fee after e.g. the balance transfer transaction fee is added in. When shopping for a zero APR offer, try to find one that doesnít charge a fee for transferring balances. If you go with an offer that does charge a balance transfer fee, then do your best to find out what your new accountís credit limit will be.
Always pay all of your bills on time. This may sound obvious, but it is very important. Credit card companies will offer the best terms to applicants with the best credit rating scores. Having a high credit score will also minimize the chances of having your application for a credit card rejected.