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Study Shows Majority Of Americans Aren’t Aware of 0% APR Balance Transfer Credit Cards

In a recent online survey conducted by Smartbalancetransfers.com using Google consumer surveys, over 1,500 Americans were asked the question “Have you ever heard of 0% APR balance transfers?”  The results were intriguing as it was learned that nearly two thirds of them were not familiar with 0% APR balance transfer credit cards. These offers, which are featured on products from all major credit card issuers, allow customers to transfer high interest balances to a new card and receive a 0% introductory interest rate. The 0% rate applies for a limited time, typically 6 -18 months, and almost always requires a balance transfer fee of 3-5%.

Older Credit Card Users More Likely To Know About 0% Promotional Offers

Despite a heavy advertising presence, only 37.8% off Americans had even heard of 0% APR balance transfer offers. Only 21% of respondents age 18-24 were aware of these promotional offers, which is not surprising considering young adults may not have had a need for these offers yet.  Furthermore, just over one third of 25-44 year olds were familiar with these offers, surprising given that this group is likely targeted heavily with balance transfer offers via mail.

Only about half of those 45-64 were aware of these offers, though nearly two thirds of Americans 65 and older had some familiarity with 0% APR balance transfers. Clearly, the older Americans are, the more likely they are to have had some contact with these types of products.

Wealthier Americans More Familiar With 0% Balance Transfer Cards

Just as age proved to be a key factor in American’s awareness of these offers, income levels also turned out to be a strong predictor of the survey’s results. For example, nearly three quarters of those with an income below $24,000 a year were unaware of 0% balance transfer credit cards.  At the same time, over half of those surveyed who earn between $75-99,000 per year knew of these offers. Awareness jumped to nearly 70% for those surveyed with incomes above $100,000 per year.

While the trend towards better awareness among those at higher ages and income levels is clear, there was very little difference between the numbers of men versus women who have been exposed to these types of offers.

Among personal finance experts, there is little doubt that a carefully managed 0% balance transfer offer can save credit card users money that would have been spent on interest payments. Nevertheless, it is clear that this message is not getting across to those who are younger and less affluent.

For more in-depth insights, please see the full survey results here.

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

Jason Steele

Jason Steele is a freelance journalist specializing in personal finance and travel and is recognized as an expert in credit cards. He is a regular contributor to many of the top personal finance sites such as Wise Bread and Money Talks News. His work has been frequently carried on mainstream news outlets such as MSN Money, Yahoo, Finance, and Business insider.

Jason lives in Denver Colorado with his wife and two daughters.

– has written 306 posts.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Crystal September 28, 2012 at 12:25 am

I really need help here this is driving me crazy. I have a little too much debt and my credit score isnt good, but I tried to get a personal loan to consolidate my debt to no avail. I have a goal in mind and I feel like its just going to take me forever to get to that goal. It just seems impossible, even an advisor left because there was no solution, Im also in the process of thinking about a part time job though also. Do you have any help or advice for me?

Reply

Jeff Weber Jeffrey Weber September 28, 2012 at 11:00 am

Crystal,

It sounds like you had a very poor adviser. Based on what you’ve shared, I would highly recommend contacting a non-profit credit counselor at http://www.nfcc.org. These companies will work with your credit card companies to get your interest rates reduced (often significantly) and help devise a payment plan that doesn’t break your budget. Any financial adviser with any knowledge of consumer credit should have helped you in this way.

Wish you the best in resolving your debt situation.

Reply

Lila R. May 5, 2012 at 10:34 pm

My Citibank card with a 15.24% rate is nearly at its limit of $50,000. How much can I expect to transfer to a 0% card? In other words, what is the amount that is typically allowed to be transferred? My credit score is around 720.

Reply

Jeff Weber Jeffrey Weber May 7, 2012 at 9:59 am

Lila,

It is generally quite difficult to get an initial credit limit of more than $15,000 and many often get limits in the $5,000 to $10,000 range. Despite this, being able to move 20% of your debt to a 0% card should relieve some of the pressure the high rates are causing.

I would recommend transferring as much as you can get approved for and then paying the minimum on the new 0% card while paying as much as possible on the high rate cards to maximize interest savings.

Reply

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