As March begins, major banks are continuing to offer the best – and longest – 0% APR balance transfer credit card offers in recent history. Consumers with good credit can secure a 0% interest rate for up to 24 months from Discover and up to 18 months from Citibank. Offers from these companies are 50% to 100% longer than average balance transfer deals, which currently last 12 months.
The single major adverse change that occurred thus far in March is the removal of Discover’s no fee balance transfer card, the only such offer widely marketed by a major credit card company since 2008. However, the large number of low fee, longer term balance transfer offers more than makes up for the absence of this card.
Best Balance Transfer Offers in March
This month, the longest 0% balance transfer offer comes from Discover and provides a 0% APR for 24 months. Initially, this card was supposed to end on March 1st, but due to its popularity, Discover decided to continue promoting this deal. The only drawback to this Discover card is its balance transfer fee of 5%, which is higher than most cards charge. Even with this fee, consumers essentially end up paying 2.5% interest for two years, a significant savings opportunity considering average credit card rates are hovering above 14%.
Although their offers are slightly shorter than Discover’s, Citibank has a pair of balance transfer credit cards with above average 0% introductory periods and low balance transfer fees. Their flagship Citi Platinum Select Card offers 0% rates for 18 months on balance transfers and carries a 3% transfer fee. This card also offers a 0% APR for 18 months on purchases, the longest such deal available.
Many consumers, especially those who will be using their credit card for purchases as well as balance transfers, may reap the most benefits from a limited time Citi Dividend Card that is only available in March. This card offers a 0% APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months and carries a 3% transfer fee. However, this card offers a $100 cash back sign up bonus to new customers who spend $500 during the first three months of cardmembership. This cash back bonus can essentially offset the transaction fee on a $3,300 balance transfer, making this card ideal for consumers who don’t need an extremely long 0% period to pay off credit card debt.
Additional 0% APR Balance Transfer Offers
In addition to the best offers from Citibank and Discover, a few other good balance transfer offers are available. The Chase Slate card offers a 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for up to 18 months. The major drawback to this offer is that not all approved applicants will get the fully advertised 18 month 0% rate. Some consumers may be approved, but only offered a 0% rate for 6 months. Because applicants don’t find out how long their 0% APR lasts until their application has been reviewed, this offer is not ideal for consumers who may not satisfy Chase’s application criteria.
Lastly, Capital One also has an above average offer on its Platinum Prestige card- a 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers that lasts until May of 2012, or about 14 months.
Thanks to the continuation of Discover’s 24 month balance transfer offer and the addition of Citibank’s limited time $100 cash back card, March looks to be a pretty good month for consumers seeking solid balance transfer deals. While the end of Discover’s no fee balance transfer offer is unfortunate, the wide variety of long term 0% offers provides consumers with a number of good options to choose from.
For additional information or to apply for a credit card mentioned in this article, please see the 0% APR balance transfer credit card section of SmartBalanceTransfers.com or review the credit card information tables below.