Credit Cards

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Friday, April 07, 2006

Chase Ups The Ante with A 15 Month Interest-Free Period on Balance Transfers

For some time now, Discover has been offering some of the longest interest-free periods on their balance transfer offers for new credit card accounts. But now it looks like the good folks at Chase are making a bid to break away from the pack by offering 0% on transferred balances for up to 15 months with the Chase Platinum card. A bold move on the part of Chase--no doubt--as the U.S. Prime Rate will probably increase by another 0.25 percentage points next month, and higher interest rates have a tendency to dampen the overall credit market.

There is a bit of a catch related to the 15 month interest-free period on balance transfers for the Chase Platinum card: you have to have a good credit rating in order to qualify for the "Elite" or "Premium" pricing levels, as only those who qualify for Elite or Premium pricing will be able to take advantage of the 15 month interest-free term on balance transfers. If you are still working on building or repairing your credit, then you'll probably have to settle for "Standard" pricing, which would get you a 0% APR on transferred balances for 3 months.

The other major credit card companies are still offering some highly attractive interest-free periods right now. Currently, both Discover and Citibank have many credit cards with 12 month, 0% balance transfer offers associated with them, and some of these credit cards come with excellent rewards programs to boot.

It's been a while since I've seen 18 month interest-free periods on balance transfer offers from the major credit card companies and banks; maybe the latest move by Chase will result in a return of the 18 month offers, or maybe even 24 month offers? Keep your fingers crossed!

The Latest Balance Transfer Offers Related to Credit Card Accounts I Already Have Open
Regarding the latest snail mail balance transfer solicitations that I've received--the ones associated with the credit card accounts I already have open--I don't have anything exciting to report. In fact, the offers appear to be somewhat less favorable, from a consumer point of view.

  • Providian (which is now Washington Mutual) offered me 1.99% APR on balance transfers until October, 2006. Not bad, but the low APR period is too short for my tastes. Pass!

  • BJ's (which is a Chase co-branded credit card) presented me with an offer of:

    0.99% fixed APR until October 1, 2006


    6.99% fixed APR until the transferred balance is paid off.

And the game continues.

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