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Saturday, January 31, 2009

0% Interest Credit Cards: The Truth Behind

If you are looking for a credit card then obviously 0% interest credit cards hold a lot of appeal for you. Anything at 0% interest nowadays grabs everyone's attention, for that matter! But as far as these 0% interest credit card offers go, there is a lot of subtle dodging that credit card companies and bank card issuers engage in to ensure you catch the bait.

So just go ahead and admit it. You are hooked. The 0% APR credit cards ad that you just saw in the brochure attached in the morning newspaper has piqued your interest. But seriously ... are these 0% interest credit cards for real?

The truth is they are and they are not. There are cards that live up to the promise of a 0% APR credit card, but the truth is that this 0% interest does not last long. It might just be an initial gimmick to get you to subscribe to the card offer and once you’re a cardholder, you have the 0% APR for just a limited time (3 months, 6 months, or if you’re very lucky 12 months) before they start charging you a higher rate of interest. The credit card game is truly an interesting one to watch, but not if you are the suffering player. Read on to know what you can do to make sure you are not the sufferer.

Understanding 0% APR Credit Cards

Yes, 0% APR credit cards do, in fact, hold a lot of enticement. But here is what you must do when you find a 0% APR card that has gotten your attention. Pay attention to the following:

1) How long the no-interest period will last?
2) Can you transfer other balances at the 0% rate?
3) What will the APR be after the introductory period ends?

When you are done assessing these factors, you can properly compare all of the interest credit card options available.

The Luxuries of Owning a 0% APR Credit Card

If you’ve already accumulated a huge debt on your previous credit cards, there’s good news for you. A 0% APR credit card can benefit consumers bad credit histories in a big way, if (and that's a big if) they can get approved for the card offer itself. That being said, a 0% APR credit offer allows cardholders to drastically cut down the interest being incurred on existing debt while it can also help consolidate debts on other outstanding high APR card balances. There are typically balance transfer fees associated with this type of consolidation, but if your credit is sufficient enough, you might be able to avoid fees altogether.

Pitfalls of 0 Interest Credit Cards

1) Most 0% interest credit cards offer 0% interest or no interest only for a limited amount of time, which varies between 6 to 12 months.

2) If you’re thinking of transferring balances from high interest credit cards, some of these cards might not even allow you to do so during the introductory 0% offer period.

3) Some 0% interest credit cards might also charge very high balance transfer fees.

4) Some of these cards also carry very high penalties for late payments and
automatically switch you to a much higher variable APR after incurring even a single late payment.

5) Some 0% APR credit cards charge a very high interest rate after the introductory (read honeymoon) period.

Yes, the picture is definitely not all rosy, even though you can most definitely save money on interest charges by using 0% interest credit cards judiciously. If cardholders fail to pay off their card balances prior to the introductory offer expiration, if they fail to make payments on time, or generally disregard their credit responsibilities, these credit cards can end up costing consumers significantly more than most will anticipate.



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