Balance Transfer Credit Card Offer Update

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Consumers looking to utilize 0% balance transfer credit cards to refinance credit card debt are likely to encounter sharply higher balance transfer fees, shorter duration teaser rates, and more stringent application requirements.

Even if a credit card charged balance transfer fees, most credit card companies capped those fees at 3% up to a maximum of $75. Today, it is nearly impossible to find a credit card that offers a 0% APR and does not charge a full 3% fee. Unfortunately, these offers may soon disappear as well.

Consumers looking to take advantage of 0% balance transfer offers need to act quickly before these deals are no longer available. During the first half of 2009, balance transfer credit card offers available at Smart Balance Transfers have been steadily declining in quality. At the start of this year, most credit card companies offered 0% interest rates for one year while charging balance transfer fees of 3%. Today, many major credit card companies have shortened the duration of balance transfer offers to six months, while balance transfer fees have risen to as much as 5%. Meanwhile, credit card companies have increased credit requirements for applicants.

"The days of easy to get 0% APR balance transfer deals are officially gone," declared Jeffrey Weber of Smart Balance Transfers. "Credit card companies are no longer interested in luring in new customers with 0% short term teaser rates or long term fixed interest rates."

Some credit card companies have announced intentions to reduce balance transfer transactions, while others are vastly increasing balance transfer fees to as much as 5% to deter potential customers from using their credit cards for the sole purpose of transferring balances.

"A little over a year ago, it was possible to get a credit card that offered a 0% rate for a year and pay no balance transfer fees at all," says Mr. Weber. "Even if a credit card charged balance transfer fees, most credit card companies capped those fees at 3% up to a maximum of $75. Today, it is nearly impossible to find a credit card that offers a 0% APR and does not charge a full 3% fee. Unfortunately, these offers may soon disappear as well."

As unemployment and credit card defaults continue to rise, credit card companies are growing more reluctant to lend, particularly at 0% rates to consumers who currently carry credit card debt. According to the most recent Federal Reserve Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey (http://www.federalreserve.gov/boarddocs/snloansurvey/200905/), "nearly 60% of respondents indicated that they had tightened lending standards on credit card loans."

"Ultimately", Mr. Weber says, "it is important to take advantage of 0% balance transfer deals as soon as possible. However, choosing a balance transfer credit card is no longer just about the 0% rate. Now, consumers need to pay more attention to the long term interest rate as well as the company they are choosing to do business with, as hopping from one 0% offer to another will likely prove difficult in the foreseeable future."

About SmartBalanceTransfers.com: Smart Balance Transfers is a credit card comparison site founded by Jeffrey Weber, President and CEO of Credit Card Depot Inc. Since 2004, Credit Card Depot Inc. operated websites have helped tens of thousands of consumers find deals on credit cards.

For detailed information on current credit cards offering balance transfers, please see SmartBalanceTransfers.com, where consumers can compare deals and apply online for approval.

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