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Great Balance Transfer Credit Card Offers Are Back

by Michele Lerner

Credit card companies are now offering balance transfer credit card offers that seem as if they're from 2006.

Balance transfer credit card offers had dried up as regulations put in force by the 2009 Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act limited card companies' discretion in changing interest rates on cardholder accounts. The CARD Act required promotional rates to remain in place for at least six months, and many credit card companies compensated for the longer promotional rate period by charging a balance transfer fee.

Perks that used to be standard--such as no-fee balance transfers or long introductory periods with 0 percent interest--soon vanished.

Return of no-fee balance transfer card offers

Credit card companies seem to be tentatively offering balance transfer deals once again. Among these deals are no-fee balance transfer credit cards and balance transfers with a zero percent APR for an introductory period of 18 months.

Choosing balance transfer cards for your finances

What kind of balance transfer credit card offer is best for you--no-fee or long promotional period?

If you have a smaller balance--one that you can confidently pay down within 15 months--you probably want to skip the balance transfer fee and opt for a shorter 0 percent balance transfer introductory APR. A $2,000 balance accruing no interest can be repaid in 15 months by paying $133 per month. If you can handle that repayment schedule, there's no need to pay the 3 percent fee for a balance transfer.

On the other hand, you may have a larger balance that can't be paid off in 15 months. In that case, it can be advantageous to pay a 3 percent balance transfer fee to get the longer 18 month zero percent APR period.

If you have a balance you want to pay off and can commit to reducing debt rather than racking up more, then a balance transfer credit card may be just the tool to help you do that. Credit card offers come and go, and there's no guarantee that deals are going to be there for long. Compare credit cards to find the balance transfer terms that work for your financial situation.

Important Note! The information in this article is believed to be accurate as of the date it was written. Please keep in mind that credit card offers change frequently. Therefore, we can not guarantee the accuracy of the information in this article. Please verify all terms and conditions of any credit card prior to applying.

Published 02/23/11 (Modified 03/25/13)

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