Balance Transfer Cards: Why Not?

Here’s an updated look at some of the best available balance transfer credit card offers for U.S. consumers as of Friday, March 11, 2011.

In many cases, a balance transfer from an old card with a high interest rate to a fresh new account with a low interest rate — or, better yet, introductory 0% intro APR for a year or longer — can be a great financial move. It takes the pressure off (temporarily, of course) and keeps the circling interest rate sharks from swimming too close.

Keep in mind, these offers have a balance transfer fee that is typically 3 to 5 per cent of the balance transferred onto the new card. So it’s not “free,” but it’s still better than paying 16.99% APR or even higher on that outstanding balance you’ve been trying to pay down for the past few years. (Discover had a “no fee” balance transfer offer, but it ended at the end of February. As far as I know, no other major issuers are offering such a deal at the moment, but check back on Outlaw often.)

  • CHASE Freedom Visa balance transfer — 0% intro APR for the first 12 months on new balance transfers. No annual fee for the card, although a balance transfer fee will apply. Also, use that published link to apply and you’ll receive a $100 bonus after spending $500 on your Freedom card within the first 3 months. That can negate some, or perhaps even all, of the balance transfer fee! (Depending on how much you transfer.)
  • Citibank Platinum Select MasterCard balance transfer — Teaser on the Citi Cards web site right now. 0% intro APR on new balance transfers and purchases for the first 18 months. Great offer, although there’s no cash back bonus associated with this promotion. No annual fee.

View more credit card offers and promotions over on Outlaw.

Disclosures: I used to review credit cards for a living. Also, my web site has a financial relationship with Chase — we participate in their affiliate program. No financial relationship or position on Visa Inc, MasterCard, Citi or any other company mentioned in this story at time of publication.

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