Advertising Disclosure *Advertising Disclosure: is an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. receives compensation from the credit card issuers whose credit card offers appear on the website. The compensation may impact the order in which they appear within listing categories. does not include the entire universe of available credit or financial offers.

About Editor's Picks: Our editor selects credit cards based on the features the credit card offers consumers, including introductory rates, fees, long term interest rates, and its relative value compared to competing offers. While this site receives remuneration from credit card companies, our rankings strive to objectively provide consumers with relevant, unique options.

Maximizing the Savings Potential of Balance Transfer Offers

Smart Balance Transfers provides in-depth information and insights into credit cards. While we do accept Smart Balance Transfers provides in-depth information and insights into credit cards. While we do accept compensation from credit card companies when consumers visit their websites, we have striven to provide unbiased reviews since 2007.

Maximizing the Savings Potential of Balance Transfer OffersCredit card debt can be incredibly difficult to pay off. Not only can new purchases continually offset monthly payments, but interest charges can also consume a large portion of each payment. Thankfully, promotional 0% balance transfer offers can give customers a break from interest payments, but this tool must be used carefully to maximize its benefit.

What Is A Balance Transfer?

The credit card business is highly competitive and banks are always looking for ways to attract new customers. One of their more popular strategies is to offer a promotional financing period in which the account holder is entitled to a 0% APR for a pre-defined period on purchases, balance transfers, or both. These offers almost always require a balance transfer fee (with the current exception of the Chase Slate no fee balance transfer card) which is usually between 3-5% of the amount being transferred. Once approved for a promotional 0% APR balance transfer offer, card-holder’s must typically initiate the transaction soon after opening an account, at which time the balance transfer fee is added to the cardholder’s balance.

How To Take Advantage Of These Offers

First, cardholders should look for the most favorable promotional offer available. Key factors will include the length of the 0% promotional period, the size of the balance transfer fee, and whether or not the 0% rate applies to new transactions as well.  The duration of promotion financing periods can range from as little as six months to as many as 21. The longer the promotional period lasts, the longer the cardholder has to pay off his or her balance before interest begins to accrue.

Also, those who will be using their card to make new purchases should strongly consider an offer that also includes a 0% purchase APR, as using a card with high rate to run up more debt can all but defeat the purpose of getting a 0% credit card in the first place.

Other Factors To Consider

A balance transfer offer is best used in conjunction with a cardholder’s realistic plan to tackle his or her debt before the offer expires. Unfortunately, the banks have concluded that borrowers are rarely able to achieve this goal and will end up paying interest on their debt after the promotional period expires. It is this calculation that allows banks to offer these deals so frequently. Knowing this, cardholders should make every effort to pay their debt in full, rather than to conduct a series of 0% APR balance transfer transactions in perpetuity.

By skillfully utilizing a promotional balance transfer offer as a part of an overall debt elimination strategy, cardholders can take advantage of the competitive market for credit cards in furtherance of their own financial goals.


Editor's Note: This content is not provided by Citi. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed here are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the Citi or any of the other companies whose products are featured in this content.

About the author

Jeffrey Weber

Jeffrey Weber has been following and blogging about the credit card industry since 2004. He has also written for Forbes and been cited in a wide range of major media outlets including USA Today, Time, MSN Money, The Christian Science Monitor, The Detroit Free Press and numerous other prestigious online and print publications.

Jeffrey resides in Easton, Connecticut and enjoys spending his free time chasing after his two year old son, watching films with his wife and occasionally taking a holiday to go snorkeling.

– has written 46 posts.

Leave a Comment

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.

Previous post:

Next post: