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Top 10 Reasons Why 0% APR Balance Transfers Are NOT Too Good To Be True

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.

0% APR Balance TransfersMany credit card users dismiss 0% APR balance transfers since anything too good to be true probably is. But these are not too good to be true, and there are several reasons why:

1. Banks need new customers. Credit card issuers spend hundreds of dollars per customer on advertising, marketing, and sign up bonuses, so forgiving a few hundred dollars of interest is not too big of a loss to acquire valuable new account holders.

2. Promotional financing offers are only available to the most qualified applicants. These offers are not only a great way to attract new customers, they attract the best customers with the highest credit scores.

3. Merchant fees make money for banks. Every time a customer swipes a credit card, the merchant must pay a fee of 2-4%. These fees add up to big profits for the banks, even when cardholders pay no interest or annual fee.

4. Balance transfer fees outweigh the loss. Almost all promotional balance transfer offers feature a 3% balance transfer fee (Chase Slate is the exception with none). 3% is a considerable amount, and it is added to the balance immediately.

  • Chase Slate named "Best Credit Card for Balance Transfers" two years in a row by Money Magazine
  • $0 Introductory balance transfer fee for transfers made during the first 60 days
  • 0% Introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • New Free Monthly FICO® Score and Credit Dashboard
  • No Penalty APR - Paying late won't raise your interest rate (APR). All other account pricing and terms apply
  • $0 Annual Fee
Purchases Intro
Balance Transfers Intro
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed

0% for 15 months*

0% for 15 months*

12.99%, 17.99%, 22.99% Variable*



5. Promotional balance transfers have been around for a long time. If these offers were bad for consumers, or bad for banks, they would have disappeared long ago.

6. There is no harm in applying for a card with a promotional balance transfer offer. Getting a new credit card will not hurt your credit. In fact, it can even help your credit as being extended additional credit will give you a lower debt to credit ration for a given amount of debt.

7. There is simply too much money to be saved by not paying interest. Credit cards have high interest rates because they are unsecured debt. Saving 12-18 months of interest payments is a big deal.

8. Promotional balance transfers are for a limited time. After the promotional period expires, the standard interest rate applies, which is very profitable for most banks.

9. Most banks have promotional balance transfer offers. If these programs were not legit, then why would nearly every credit card issuer have at least one?

10. You still have to pay your debt. 0% is a great number, but you are merely transferring your balance to a new account. You still have to make minimum payments and you still have to pay off your debt.

By understanding how these offers make sense for both cardholders and banks, applicants can use knowledge to counter their skepticism.

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 350 posts.

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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.

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