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0% APR Promotional Balance Transfer Offers – What Could Go Wrong?



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-percent-aprPromotional financing offers that feature 0% APR on balance transfer offers are incredible financial tools. These credit cards allow customers to transfer their balance from another card, and avoid interest payments for up to 18 months.

Nevertheless, these offers are not foolproof. Here are some of the things that can prevent cardholders from utilizing these offers:

  • Double all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year automatically—only for new cardmembers*
  • 5% cash back in categories that change each quarter like gas, restaurants, Amazon.com and more—up to the quarterly maximum when you sign up.* 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months—then a variable purchase APR applies, currently 10.99% - 22.99%. A 3% fee applies to each transferred balance.
  • New Freeze It℠ on/off switch lets you prevent new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers on misplaced cards in seconds by mobile app & online.*
  • Free FICO® Credit Score on statements, online & by mobile app.* And 100% U.S.-based service any time.
  • No annual fee. No overlimit fee. No foreign transaction fee. No late fee on first late payment & paying late won't raise your APR.*
  • Each Discover purchase is monitored. If it's unusual, you're alerted by e-mail, phone or text and never responsible for unauthorized purchases on your Discover card.
  • *See rates, rewards, free FICO® Credit Score terms & other info by clicking "Apply."
Purchases Intro
Balance Transfers Intro
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed

0% for 6 months*

0% for 18 months*

10.99% - 22.99% Variable*

$0

Excellent Credit


1. Applicant is not approved. Credit cards with 0% APR promotional financing are only offered to those with the best credit scores. Those who have a limited credit history, a large amount of debt, or a record of missing payments are unlikely to qualify.

2. Low credit limit granted. Even when approved, credit cards with promotional financing may not offer recipients as high of a credit limit as they might have liked. As a result, it may not be possible for cardholders to transfer their entire balance to the new card, and they will still have to pay some interest.

3. The balance transfer is not performed correctly. Sometimes, balance transfers are requested, but they are not completed in a timely fashion. Therefore, cardholders should always continue to make payments on their balance until the balance transfer is confirmed by the issuer of the card that the balance is being transferred from.

4. The balance transfer is used to enable procrastination. The purpose of a promotional balance transfer is to pay off debt more quickly by saving money on interest payments. Yet too many cardholders see these offers as a way to avoid paying debt indefinitely. This is a mistake.

  • 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*

$0

Excellent/Good


Cardholders should always try to pay off their entire balance before the promotional financing expires. Those who want to count on continuing to receive more balance transfer offers in the future are setting themselves up for problems. Balance transfers offers come and go, and credit card holder’s credit scores can rise and fall. At some point, the music can stop, and those who rely on the balance transfers may not have a chair.

When credit card users understand some of the ways that 0% APR promotional balance transfers can fail to produce the desired results, then they can take steps to ensure that it does not happen to themselves.

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 418 posts.

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