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Friday, January 30, 2009

0% APR Credit Card: The Explanation

What Is A 0% APR Credit Card?

Many of us have heard about them, but has anyone every explained 0% APR credit cards to you? Well, for starters, the APR or annual percentage rate is the rate of interest credit card companies charge on outstanding payments. The amount you are charged depends not only on the rate of interest, but also on the method of calculation of rates of interest. 0% APR credit cards are credit cards that charge you no interest on credit, for a specified period of time. The best 0% APR credit cards offer 0% APR’s to customers for up to 12 months. After 12 months the credit card issuer charges you at the normal rate. The card issuer assumes a risk by offering you interest free credit for such an extended period. They balance that risk by offering 0% APR credit cards to only customers with the best credit.

What Determines Your Credit?

Your credit depends on a number of factors. Your credit score, also known as the FICO score is widely used as a credit rating for Americans. Since your credit rating will determine whether you are issued a 0% APR credit card, knowing what goes into the score helps a great deal. Your credit score is determined based on five parameters. The most important among these parameters is your current debt and your history of repayment of debt.

The other three parameters for calculation of credit score are the length of your credit history, amount of new credit and types of credit used. Based on these five parameters, the individual is given a score ranging from 300 to 850. This is indicative of the credit worthiness of the person at a particular point of time. People with credit scores above 770 usually qualify for a 0% APR credit card. However scores above 700 are also considered good. 0% APR credit cards typically require, at a minimum, very good credit and often will require excellent credit.

One method used by customers to avoid interest is balance transfer credit cards. It is possible to shift from a credit card that charges interest to a 0% APR credit card using a balance transfer, provided you have the requisite credit. Once the introductory period of the card expires, people often shift to other 0% APR credit cards using the balance transfer method. Doing this however harms your credit rating and can hurt your prospects of receiving good credit in the future.

Prudence Pays

It is good to be informed of clauses like the universal default clause. This clause states that if you default on your payments to one creditor, for example a bank, it affects your credit rating and can increase the rate of interest you are charged elsewhere. Responsible vendors realize that informed customers make for the best customers in the long run.

0% APR credit cards sometimes come topped with other offers. You can find a variety credit card offers online that come at 0% APR from the best companies. Choose the 0% APR card that makes the most sense financially and functionally. And always try to maintain you good credit rating that got you your 0% APR credit card in the first place.



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