The length of 0% APR balance transfer credit card offers increased sharply this month, while balance transfer fees held steady. The average duration of 0% balance transfer offers surveyed jumped from 11.64 months to 12.17 months. This is the first time the average length of 0% offers has crossed the one year mark since the credit crisis. Average balance transfer fees held steady at 3.47%.
The Longest 0% Balance Transfer Offers in April
As in March, Discover continues to lead the pack with a 24 month 0% APR balance transfer offer. Originally slated to end in February, this offer has been continued until the end of the month. The next longest offer comes from Citibank, who recently increased the 0% introductory period for purchases and balance transfers on the Citi Platinum Card from 18 to 21 months.
Consumers who don’t need to transfer balances from Citibank credit cards will likely find that the Citi Platinum offer is the best available. Although a mere three months shorter than Discover’s 24 month promotion, this card carries a low 3% balance transfer fees as opposed to the 5% fee Discover is charging. On a $5,000 balance transfer, the lower fee being charged by Citi translates to $100 in savings on transaction costs.
For more details on these offers, please see the 0% APR Balance Transfer section where you can learn more and apply online.
Above Average Balance Transfer Offers
In addition to the offers mentioned above, Citibank, Discover, and Capital One are also offering balance transfer credit cards with above average 0% introductory periods. The Citi Dividend Card is offering consumers a 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months as well as a $100 cash back signup bonus available to new applicants who spend $500 within three months of becoming a cardmember. This signup bonus can essentially offset the 3% transaction fee on a $3,300 balance transfer, making this a good option for consumers who don’t need more than 15 months to repay their debt.
The Capital One Platinum Prestige Card also offers consumers a 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers that lasts just under 15 months. Like the Dividend Card, this offer also carries a 3% balance transfer fee.
Apart from their 24 month offer, Discover is also offering a 0% APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers with the Discover More Card. This card carries a 4% balance transfer fee.
Lastly, the Chase Slate credit card is offering a 0% APR for up to 15 months and charging a 3% balance transfer fee. However, some applicants may be approved and only offered a 0% rate for 6 months. The length of this offer is not revealed until after consumers apply, which can obviously pose problems for those who don’t qualify for the longest advertised rate.
It is entirely possible that April may mark a peak in the quality of balance transfer offers. Since September of 2010, average durations have increased by 14% while average balance transfer fees have decreased by 12%. These changes have been fueled by ultra-low short term rates and fierce competition for new cardmembers. Should competition begin to wane, or the Federal Reserve indicate an end to its easy monetary policy, credit card companies will likely respond by decreasing the length of 0% APR offers, increasing balance transfer fees, or both.