In a recent online survey conducted by 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.

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