Credit Card Companies Continue with 0% Balance Transfers

Credit Card Companies Continue with 0% Balance Transfers-Image via Wikipedia

With the length of 0% balance transfer credit card offers dramatically increasing and balance transfer fees holding steady, April may signify a peak in the quality of balance transfer offers, says in its new balance transfer credit card report for April 2011.

The average duration of 0% APR balance transfer credit cards surveyed jumped from 11.64 months to 12.17 months in April, 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%.

Among the credit card companies offering 0% balance transfers, Discover continues to lead the pack with a 24-month 0% APR balance transfer offer scheduled to continue until the end of April. The next longest offer is available on the Citi Platinum Card which offers a 0% introductory period on both purchases and balance transfers that lasts 21 months. Although three months shorter than Discover’s promotion, the Citibank 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 balance transfer fee translates to $100 in savings.

Although average balance transfer fees have decreased by 12% since September of 2010, no major credit card companies are currently offering 0% APR no fee balance transfers. 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 to new applicants who spend $500 within three months of signing up. This bonus can offset the 3% transaction fee on balance transfers of up to $3,300, making it a great option for consumers who will repay their debt in under 15 months.

Since September of 2010, the average duration of balance transfer offers has increased by 14%. These changes have been fueled by extremely low short-term rates and fierce competition for new card members. 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.

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