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If You’re Playing the Balance Transfer Game…

by J. Money on Wednesday, April 18, 2012

If any of you are playing the credit card “Balance Transfer Game” right now (where you move credit card balances to new cards at 0% to save on interest and pay them down faster), here’s a couple of good cards that may help you.

Whatever you do though, be sure to read ALLLL the fine print and play by the rules!! You don’t wanna get dinged left and right just ‘cuz you weren’t paying attention ;) If you do it all the right way though, you can literally save hundreds of dollars in interest with these things… esp if you can pay them off in time before the 0% time limits end.

Apply NowCiti® Platinum Select® MasterCard®

  • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 18 months. After that, the APR will be 11.99%-21.99% based upon your creditworthiness.
  • Extra Cash from Citi: enjoy discounts on gift cards, travel, merchandise and more
  • Citi® Identity Theft Solutions
  • Secure, free online account management
  • No annual fee*

Apply NowSlate® from Chase – No Balance Transfer Fee

  • No Balance Transfer Fee!*
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • Transfer your higher rate balances during the first 30 days your account is open and you will pay no balance transfer fee!
  • After the first 30 days, the fee for future balance transfers is 3% of the amount transferred with a minimum of $5
  • Avoid interest on everyday purchases
  • Pay down your balance faster
  • Zero liability on unauthorized purchases*
  • No Annual Fee*

Apply NowDiscover® More Card – 18 Month Promotional Balance Transfer

  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, then the variable standard purchase APR of 10.99% – 20.99%*
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months, then the variable standard purchase APR of 10.99% – 20.99%*
  • 5% Cashback Bonus® in categories that change like gas, restaurants, department stores and more. Limitations apply*
  • $0 Fraud Liability plus automatic mobile and email fraud alert options
  • Great rewards with no annual fee, no rewards redemption fee, and no additional card fee

I’ve never actually done a transfer myself, but I find the whole thing super fascinating… esp those people who have managed to xfer balances from one card to the next every year soaking up all the perks ’till their balances are all gone! (Though I won’t say I recommend that unless you REALLY know what you’re doing – too many pitfalls w/ that route, and probably not worth it). Have any of you rocked these 0% offers and just killed it?!

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PS: For a list of the best credit cards per category (APR, Cash Back, etc), click here.


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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Daisy @ Add Vodka April 18, 2012 at 9:17 am

I had the brilliant (to me) thought to use my transfer by transferring cash from my card into my TFSA, leaving it there for almost the whole month, getting interest on it and points on my credit card ( I get 1% back on everything I spend0 and then transferring it back in time for my interest to accrue on the card. I guess it doesn’t work that way because I don’t collect a rebate on the transferred money. boo!

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2 J. Money April 18, 2012 at 9:39 am

Oh jeez, haha…. at least you tried ;) I know some people, and bloggers even like Jonathan at My Money Blog, who have xfered out like $20,000 from a 0% card and then invested it for an entire year, and then paid off the card at the end and took a nice profit from the whole thing (the offer was 0% for 12 months). I believe he stopped doing it once the market tanked – especially since if you make just 1 mistake it can all come crashing down – but I remember there being TONS of people back in the day workin’ the system like this… it was all I read about on blogs in the beginning.. times sure do change! :)

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3 Cherleen @ Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance April 18, 2012 at 11:07 am

When we decided to reduce the number of our credit cards, we transferred the balance of one of our credit cards to the card that we wanted to keep. I remember there was no balance transfer fee and 0% APR was given to use. Furthermore, the card has cash back rewards so I really felt it was a great deal.

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4 Brian April 18, 2012 at 12:15 pm

I had done the cash advance with 0% arbitrage a while back, but with interest rates so low it doesn’t really make sense anymore.

Since I pay off my card every month I don’t really pay attention to the balance transfer options anymore.

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5 J. Money April 18, 2012 at 12:20 pm

@Cherleen @ Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance – There you go! That has win-win written all over it – well done :) Now is it all gone, or you still paying it off?
@Brian – Yeah, for sure. It’s only beneficial really to those with crazy balances who need a break from getting KILLED with interest. You and I budget our lives with credit cards but since we pay it all off at end of the month it’s all good :) I wasn’t this smart back in the day though! Haha… guess that’s what old age does to ya.

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6 fifi April 18, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Two things:
1. U mentioned something about getting a 0% cc then investing the money and transferring it back after. Do u mean they used a cc to buy stocks? Can u do that?

2. My credit score is over 700 and I pay my cc off in full everymonth but I can’t get accepted for a new cc when I apply. Any idea why? Could it b because I pay it off each month?

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7 Cristina @ Tiny Perfect Bites April 19, 2012 at 1:20 pm

My husband did this successfully for a while after college, but this was when banks were being more lenient with who they lent to. He said that after the first few times, however, he could no longer get approved for the 0% offers, so the banks do catch on eventually! He saved a lot in interest in the process, though.

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8 J. Money April 19, 2012 at 2:02 pm

@fifi – 1) Yup! Back in the day they’d put it in high-interest savings account (when you used to get a decent %!) and then save the difference at the end of the year :) They could have also put it into stocks/other funds too, but ofcourse you take the risk of losing it as well – but anything is do-able. You just cut the check to yourself under the correct rules/etc of the card, and you now have $XX to do whatever you want with. It’s a bit trickier now, but I know people still do it. I don’t :)

2) Woahh, weird? It’s def. not cuz you pay it off each month – that should only increase your abilities. Is your credit too new maybe? What’s your credit line? There’s a ton of variables that come into play, so hard to answer without all the info. You shouldn’t be having a problem though :( Maybe get a credit report done and take a look and see if there’s something wrong/messed up on it?? That could be a red flag for companies. Or you could just flat out ask them too – some of them may be able to shed some light.

@Cristina @ Tiny Perfect Bites – Haha, I bet! Cuz then it costs THEM to give you these nice perks ;) Cool that he worked the system though!

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9 Fifi April 22, 2012 at 11:26 pm

@J Money – I have $12,600 credit line over two credit cards. I really only use one of them and have had it for almost ten years. According to my Credit Report, I only use 8% of my total available credit but have 7 hard inquiries in the last 2 years and 6 open loan installments. My credit score is 702, but my experian credit rating is only 42%. Any idea what might be the culprit? I did already call them last month and get some negative items off the credit report which felt pretty good. :)

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10 J. Money April 23, 2012 at 5:46 pm

Good for you! That’s definitely a good start :) And an 8% ratio of used credit ain’t too shabby either, so that’s good. The only thing I can think of is that you’ve had late payments that maybe haven’t been cleared off yet? I don’t know – I’m not an expert in this area unfortunately :( But 702 isn’t anything to be ashamed of either, that better than the majority of people out there I’d bet! So def. keep workin’ towards it :) It really only comes into play if you’re gonna be taking out a loan anytime soon anyways.

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