Is a zero percent balance transfer credit card really worth it?
For someone struggling with high interest credit card debt, the enticement of a 0% interest credit card balance transfer offer may be too much to pass up. However, we suggest you beware, because a 0% balance transfer card might not actually be as good as it might seem. Yes, a 0% interest balance card may benefit you for a short time, but that 0% APR does not last forever. When the 0% introductory rate period is over, and it always ends, the credit card will revert to its regular APR. This rate might not be low at all. It may actually be higher than you are currently paying. Let’s explore some of the potential drawbacks of a 0% balance transfer credit card.
Six Questions to Ask When Considering a 0% Balance Transfer Credit Card
1. Is my credit history good enough for me to qualify for a 0% interest or low-interest balance transfer card? Those with a poor history may not find this an option for them.
2. How long does the special introductory rate period last? You may be surprised by the answer to this, so be sure to ask! Some may last as little as 3 months. Is that enough time to make a significant dent in your debt?
3. Once the introductory rate period is over, what will the interest rate of the credit card convert to? This should be a big factor in your decision making when looking to consolidate high interest credit card debt into a 0% or low interest.
4. Do you have to pay a balance transfer fee to transfer over your higher interest credit card balances to the new card? Oftentimes, you’ll be charged some type of a balance transfer fee. This could be a percentage of the total balance being transferred. If you’re transferring a large balance, the fee could be significant. Do the math before making any transfers to be sure it’s still a good deal. Remember, the fees could be significant, and they might outweigh any potential savings on interest.
5. What is the limit you will be approved for and is it enough to handle the balance you want to transfer? Remember, the amount you can transfer will be restricted to the credit limit of your new card. If you can’t transfer a significant balance, is it worth it?
6. Is transferring your debt just going to add to your financial problems? Remember, if you pay down the balances of those higher interest cards with a balance transfer, you are not eliminating your debt, you’re just shuffling it around. If you take those zero balance cards and start charging them up again, you could end up in much more debt. Answer this question carefully and honestly.
If researched thoroughly, zero percent or low-interest credit card balance transfer can be a good way to combine multiple, higher-interest credit card balances into one, lower-interest card. Once you consolidate your debit into one card, you can focus on making one monthly payment and paying down debt faster. Again, done correctly, a big benefit of credit card balance transfer can be a significant savings on interest. Most importantly, carefully read the full terms of your offer. There could be many details in that fine print of which you were not aware and could significantly impact your savings.
So, what is a good option when looking to consolidate the balances of high-interest credit cards?
Check out the credit card offers at your local credit union. A credit union is a not for profit that has the best interest and financial stability of their members as their primary goal. They pass on profits to members in the form of lower interest rates on loans and credit cards. At Spirit Financial Credit Union, membership is open to anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school anywhere in Bucks County, PA. You can take advantage of Spirit’s low balance transfer rate VISA credit card to transfer over the balances of higher interest cards. Why is this a better deal? Well, to start with, we have a low introductory rate* that lasts for 12 full months from account opening. Better yet, there are no balance transfer fees, no annual fees, no cash advance fees and you get 1% cash back on all purchases! Finally, you can use it everywhere VISA is accepted.
Are you committed to getting out of credit card debt?
So, what’s the bottom line when considering a credit card balance transfer. Done carefully by researching and comparing many different offers, it could be a useful way to consolidate, save on interest and pay down your debt. It will take time and significant research to find the best balance transfer credit card to fit your needs and goals. You will also need to have good credit to get a low-interest balance transfer card. In conclusion, transferring a balance does not eliminate debut, you still need to pay down that balance. You will want to have a plan in place to pay down that debt quickly and efficiently. That may mean tightening your belt and making higher monthly payments to pay off the balance faster and within your intro rate period. Learn more about Spirit Financial Credit Union’s low-interest balance transfer card and read more blogs on credit cards at https://spiritfinancialcu.org/visa-credit-cards.
*1.90% Introductory Balance Transfer APR for 12 months from Account opening. After that your APR will be 10.90% or 12.50% depending on the card program. This offer is subject to end or change at any time. Any existing balances of Spirit Financial Credit Union loan or credit card accounts are not eligible for the Introductory APR for balance transfers.