Smart Balance Transfers: 0% APR Balance Transfer Update

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Information on the current state of the balance transfer credit card market focusing on 0% APR offers, balance transfer fees, and recent changes in credit card terms by major issuers.

The past three months have brought about significant changes in the credit card market, particularly in regards to the balance transfer segment. During this time, no fee balance transfers have all but disappeared, balance transfer fees have risen dramatically, and many consumers are finding it more and more difficult to get approved for a 0% APR balance transfer credit card. In this report from Smart Balance Transfers, we will look at current trends in the credit card market.

The Balance Transfer Fee Situation

A year ago, more than a dozen credit cards offered no fee balance transfers with 0% interest rates for a full year. During April, the last major credit card issuer to offer a 0% APR on no fee balance transfers pulled the offer from the market. Today, there are a limited number of credit cards that charge no balance transfer fees, and none of them offer a 0% APR for more than six months.

As the number of credit card companies offering no fee balance transfers has dwindled, the total fees charged by these companies has risen dramatically. Between 2005 and 2007, the vast majority of credit card companies charged 3% of each transfer up to a maximum of $75. Over the past few months, many of the nation's largest credit card issuers have eliminated the dollar cap on balance transfer fees. Consequently, a person transferring a balance of $5000 would be charged $150 in balance transfer fees today. Three months ago, the fees would have been $75. Not all credit card companies have raised fees. You can learn more about balance transfer credit cards and fees at our website.

Getting Approved for a 0% APR Balance Transfer

The current credit crunch has made many lenders wary of extending credit. Individuals who may have easily been approved three months ago are finding it much more difficult today. In addition to the tightening of credit criteria required for approval, many credit card companies have significantly altered the terms of their offers.

For example, one of the largest credit card companies in the nation advertises a 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for one year. However, the fine print states that it is possible to be approved and only offered a 0% APR on balance transfers for 3 months. Another company has taken a similar measure. While it advertises a 0% interest rate for one year on purchases and balance transfers, it may approve an applicant and only extend the promotional 0% rate for 6 months.

Now, more than ever, it is increasingly important to closely review credit card fine print. Our website provides guidance on the fees and policies of individual banks to help facilitate the process of making a money saving balance transfer online.

The Future of No Interest Balance Transfers
A decade ago, 0% APR offers simply did not exist. Introductory rates for purchases and balance transfers were generally in the 3% to 7% range. Intense competition led the credit card companies to reduce introductory rates to 0%. Now, however, credit card companies are growing more and more reluctant about extending credit at 0% rates. Ultimately, this could lead to the complete disappearance of the 0% interest balance transfer. Our advice: individuals sitting on high interest debt should act quickly to take advantage of 0% APR balance transfer offers before they no longer exist.

About Us: Smart Balance Transfers is a Credit Card Depot Inc website. Since 2004, Credit Card Depot Inc has provided consumers with credit card information and advice to help them make the best decisions when applying online for credit cards. With nearly 50,000 monthly unique visitors, our websites provide us key insights on the credit card market. We use this knowledge to help our visitors avoided falling into credit card traps and maximize the money they save by taking advantage of 0% APR credit card offers.

To learn more about current credit card offers and apply online, please visit http://www.smartbalancetransfers.com.

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Jeff Weber
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