AUSTIN, Texas, Nov. 13, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Zero-percent balance transfer offers remain common and generous, according to a new CreditCards.com survey, but a possible December rate hike from the Federal Reserve means that might not be the case for too much longer.
The best balance transfer credit cards available now, according to CreditCards.com, are:
- Slate from Chase: No interest on balance transfers or new purchases for 15 months; no transfer fee in first 60 days. A great deal for those who transfer quickly and can pay the entire balance within 15 months.
- Capital One QuicksilverOne Rewards: No interest on balance transfers or new purchases for 9 months; no transfer fee at any time. A shorter payoff time, but the transfer fee is waived for all customers.
- Citi Diamond Preferred: No interest on balance transfers or new purchases for 21 months; 3% or $5 transfer fee, whichever is greater. The longest 0% offer, but charges a transfer fee.
However, these attractive offers may change if the Fed raises rates for the first time since 2006. That's because when the Fed raises rates, it costs the banks more to borrow money. If it costs more for the banks to borrow, those costs are likely to get passed on to consumers in the form of higher interest rates, higher fees and/or shorter introductory periods. And while the first rate hike is expected to be small – and not hugely impactful by itself – it's likely that it will be merely the first of several hikes, which will add up to significant increases in costs for consumers in the long run.
"Now is the time to grab one of these cards," said Matt Schulz, CreditCards.com's senior industry analyst. "As rates go up, I think issuers will offer shorter zero-interest periods and fewer transfer fee waivers, making a balance transfer card a far less appealing deal than it is today."
At present, the typical 0% introductory rate lasts for about 12 months. After that, the average balance transfer credit card charges an APR of 17.83%, which is considerably higher than the national average for all credit cards (15.01%). The most common balance transfer fee is 3% of each transfer or $5-10, whichever is greater.
None of the three cards listed above accept balance transfers from other accounts held with the same issuer. Someone interested in transferring an existing Chase balance, for example, should evaluate offerings from Capital One, Citi and others.
More information is available here:
CreditCards.com surveyed a representative sample of 100 credit cards from all major U.S. card issuers in October 2015. Information was gathered from the cards' terms and conditions documents, any publicly available cardholder agreements and phone calls to issuers.
CreditCards.com, named a "Best Site for Managing Your Credit" by MSN Money, is a leading online credit card marketplace, bringing consumers and credit card issuers together. At its free website, consumers can compare hundreds of credit card offers from America's leading issuers and banks and apply securely, online. CreditCards.com is also a destination site for consumers wanting to learn more about credit cards. Offering advice, news, features, statistics and tools, CreditCards.com helps consumers make smart choices about credit cards. In 2014, over 22 million unique visitors used CreditCards.com to find the right credit card to suit their needs.
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