Thursday, August 10, 2006

End Of 0% Balance Transfer?

I have three Chase credit cards, and since some time last year, I got 0% balance transfer offers from all three cards almost at the same time every month. The terms however are little different from those that came with new cards. Those offers were usually valid only for no longer than half a year and there were always transaction fees from $50 to $75 (maximum). With interesting rate raising, I have taken advantage of these offers twice. The most recent transfers were made in July and the payoff date is December 1st.

However, when I opened the two envelops from Chase, I noticed a slight change of the terms: the usual 0% rate is replaced by a rate of 0.99%, while the higher rate of balance transfer jumped from 3.99% to 4.99%. Of course, there is still a maximum $75 transaction fee. Does this signal the end of 0% balance transfter for existing cards at least at Chase?

Yesterday, I read an article on USAToday.com how recently banks have begun to change terms on balance transfers. Among changes mentioned in the article the most significant one is that the new offers don't have a cap on balance-transfer fees, which usually is 3% of the amount transferred, upto a maximum of $75. Without a cap, a $10,000 balance transfer could cost cardholders $300, making such transfer useless.

For my Chase offers, though there is still a cap of $75 of the transaction fee, I think I will pass this time.


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