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Money Tip: Use Caution With Teaser Credit Card Offers

If you gave your credit cards a workout during the holidays, those bills are probably asking to be paid right about now. In an effort to avoid the higher interest payments on your bigger balances, you may be considering transferring your balance to a card with a zero or low-percentage introductory rate. I know the fine print is painfully boring but if you skip it the consequences could cost you. Make sure you know when the introductory rate expires (usually about six months) and jumps to a standard rate, and pay attention to how they treat new purchases. Many cards with teaser offers only apply the introductory rate to your transferred balance, and apply a standard rate to new charges. Transferring balances is usually only a good idea when you're focused on paying off debt.

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krazykarot krazykarot 9 years
I'm so glad this article is here! I glanced at it the other day but then this morning I got an email from my bank offering me a transfer of my balance to a new card. After reading this and that article you linked, I'm thinking I might. As I only have the one credit card at the moment and I'd REALLY like to pay it off with that 0%APR they're offering until Jan '09.
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
Thank you for this reminder.
chancleta chancleta 9 years
amen to that i did that the first bill got to me late and the fine print stated that if i was late the offer was over immediately so they started immediately charging my interest needless to say i had to get rid of that card quick
verily verily 9 years
Be wary of any credit card offer you receive in the mail. Many offer great APRs BUT almost all of them are using the "two-cycle average daily balance" method for charging interest. IMHO this is the worst kind of billing cycle to be on. Look for just "Average Daily Balance" as the billing method. Or better yet, stop receiving those offers in the mail and save a few trees. http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/credit/prescreen.shtm
SkinnyMarie SkinnyMarie 9 years
Sometimes there is even a transfer fee. So if you have a high balance, this makes sense. But if your balance isn't something you can't pay off in a month or so, it really isn't worth it.
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