Credit Cards

Tips, news, reviews, caveats, trends, updates and analysis related to consumer and business credit cards, and prepaid debit cards. From the interest rate specialists @ FedPrimeRate.com

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

0% Intro APR Balance Transfer Credit Cards from American Express -- and You Won't Have to Pay A Balance Transfer Fee

American Express Credit Cards
American Express Credit Cards
Here at www.FedPrimeRate.com, we are constantly on the lookout for the best 0% credit card deals. We live and breath credit card balance transfers, for the simple reason that 0% introductory annual percentage rate (APR) credit cards are, quite easily, the most consumer-friendly financial tools available today.

Allow me to present the anatomy of the perfect 0% intro APR credit card offer -- in my humble opinion, of course. Here are the attributes:

  • 0% Intro APR on both transferred balances and new credit card purchases for at least 6 months
  • No balance transfer fee for the initial balance transfer(s).
  • No annual membership fee
  • A competitive "go to" rate (FYI: the go to rate is the credit card's annual percentage rate that kicks in once the interest-free period ends.)
Right now, the best 0% credit card is the Discover Platinum card, a card that -- believe it or not -- meets all of the above-listed requirements! Citibank (Citi) also has 2 excellent credit cards that meet all of the above, except that they don't offer a 0% intro APR on new credit card purchases.

American Express® Now Has Three, 0% Credit Cards That Are..."Perfect"

Some exciting news for credit card balance transfer fans all across the country: American Express has a new set of consumer credit cards that qualify as "perfect 0% credit cards" -- perfect by my definition anyway -- and these cards offer rewards to boot. They are the American Express INSIDE Rewards cards. Details below:

  • IN:LA Card from American Express

    • 0% Intro APR on transferred balances AND new credit card purchases for 6 months
    • no balance transfer fee for the initial balance transfer(s).
    • no annual membership fee
    • competitive "go to" rate (factors including your credit rating will determine how low your go to APR will be)
  • IN:CHICAGO Card from American Express

    • same benefits as the IN:LA card above
  • IN:NYC Card from American Express

    • same benefits as the IN:LA card above

Of course, it's always important to remember that the terms, conditions, features and benefits of the credit cards we recommend at this website and blog are not set in stone, and therefore can change at any time. So if you plan on taking advantage of any credit card offer recommended here, try not to procrastinate.

Looks like the competition among the major credit card companies is heating up. Let's hope the trend continues!

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Saturday, December 02, 2006

Application Approval Numbers for November, 2006

Here are the November, 2006 application approval numbers for the credit card offers we have listed here at the www.FedPrimeRate.com website:

Discover® Platinum American Flag Card 20
Discover® Platinum Wildlife Card 16
Discover® Platinum Card 8
Citi® Driver's Edge® Platinum Select® Card 8
Chase Platinum Visa® 5
Citi® Home Rebate Platinum Select® MasterCard® 4
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Rewards Card 4
Chase Business Rebate Card 2
Chase Flexible Rewards Platinum Visa® 2
Blue from American Express® 2
Blue Cash from American Express® 2
Citi® Platinum Select® Card 1
Citi® Upromise® Card 1
Sony Card from Chase 1


Credit Cards
Credit Cards
For November, and for the first time ever, the 3 varieties of the Discover Platinum card have taken the number 1, 2 and 3 spots. The total number of Discover Platinum approvals last month was 44. Website visitors are obviously attracted to the Discover Platinum card. After all, who can resist a credit card deal with a 12 month, zero percent introductory annual percentage rate (APR) on both balance transfers and new credit card purchases, with no annual membership fee and no fee (as in free) for transferring balances. Another reason why we don't hesitate to recommend the Discover Platinum card: the ratio between applications and approvals is strong, and we very much want the visitors to this website to have a positive experience with the credit cards we recommend. We all know (well, most middle class consumers, anyway) how vexing a rejected credit card application can be; it's also important to remember that each and every rejected application is registered on your credit report, and a rejection can adversely affect your credit rating.

The Discover Platinum card will probably be the number one choice this month (December) as well, as long as the card's features and benefits remain as they are now (Discover Financial Services is owned by the investment bank Morgan Stanley, in case you want to invest!)

Citibank's Driver's Edge Platinum Select Card and Home Rebate Platinum Select MasterCard are gaining in popularity. You can transfer your balance(s) at 0% for 12 months with both, and you won't have to pay a balance transfer fee or an annual membership fee. But you'll have to stay disciplined about purchases, because the zero percent deal is only for transferred balances, not new credit card purchases.


Improve Your Credit Score with 0% Intro APR Business Credit Card Offers

We all love no fee balance transfer offers, right? Well, we've recently discovered that Citibank has a few business credit cards where you can transfer your balances at 0%, and pay no balance transfer fees. Check out these offers:

  • The CitiBusiness Card

    --0% Intro APR on balance transfers and new credit card purchases for 12 months
    --No balance transfer fee
    --No annual membership fee
    --HOT!
  • The CitiBusiness Card with ThankYou Network

    --0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 12 months
    --No balance transfer fee
    --No annual membership fee
  • The Citi Professional Card

    --0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 9 months
    --No balance transfer fee
    --No annual membership fee
  • The CitiBusiness PremierPass Business Credit Card

    --0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 12 months
    --No balance transfer fee
    --Annual fee: $0 for 12 months, then $75 per year
So how can you use the above-listed business credit cards -- or any business credit card for that matter -- to easily and legally improve your credit score? By transferring the balance from a consumer credit card to a business credit card.

You are probably very familiar with how 0% balance transfers work. If not, here's a simplified step-by-step:

  • You find a credit card offer with an attractive 0% balance transfer deal associated with it.
  • You apply for a new credit card and request to transfer one or more credit card balances from one or more credit card accounts you already have open.
  • If the new credit card application is accepted and the bank / credit card company has approved your balance transfer requests, they will send a check to your current credit card company to payoff your balance.
  • Your old credit card account remains open (of course, you have the option to cancel it once the transfer goes through, but keeping old accounts open is most often beneficial for your credit score.)
  • In the end, your new credit card -- the account to which you transferred your balance(s) -- will have a balance equal to the balance transfer amount your requested.

When you use a 0% balance transfer offer to transfer a balance from one consumer credit card to another consumer card, the credit reporting agencies register this as a transfer of debt. Under certain circumstances, your credit score may show a small increase as a result of the transfer, but more often than not, it doesn't.

On the other hand, if you were to transfer a balance from a consumer credit card to a business credit card, it would look like you paid your consumer credit card balance with cash, and would give your credit score a nice boost. That's because any balance on a business credit card account is considered business debt, not personal debt, and business debt isn't mixed with personal debt by the 3 credit bureaus (Transunion, Experian and Equifax -- see caveat below!) Business credit card debt is considered business debt even if you submit your personal Social Security number when you apply for a business card. As far as the credit reporting agencies are concerned, business credit card debt is oil, and consumer credit card debt is water.

Important caveat: for the above to work, your business needs to have an established credit history. If your business doesn't have an established credit history, then your personal and business finances are mixed together until a solid credit rating has been established for your business, a process that can take 2-3 years or more, depending on your spending profile.

If you have a business, or if you're planning on starting one, we highly recommend taking advantage of the above-listed feeless balance transfer offers, especially because there's no way of knowing if or when Citibank will change the features, benefits, terms and conditions associated with these offers.

Of course, if you already have a non-Citibank business credit card, and you're paying interest on your outstanding balance, you may want to consider using one of the hot Citibank offers listed above, to save on interest charges.

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Friday, December 01, 2006

Citibank (Citi) Business Credit Cards Featuring No Fee Balance Transfers

Citi® Credit Cards
Citi® Credit Cards
Zero percent credit card balance transfer offers are very popular right now -- especially feeless balance transfer offers -- and it's easy to understand why. Why would anyone pass on a chance to save on interest charges for up to 12 months?

The good news for business owners is that many business credit cards have excellent zero percent introductory annual percentage rate (APR) balance transfer offers associated with them, and with some of them you won't have to pay a balance transfer fee.

Recently, the good folks at Citibank removed the balance transfer fee from the 0% balance transfer offers associated with some of their business credit cards. You can't do much better than a feeless balance transfer offer, and, right now, certain Citibank business cards feature a 12 month interest-free period on both transferred balances and new purchases -- like the CitiBusiness Card®. Bottom line: credit card deals don't get too much sweeter than that!

Other Citi® business cards which currently feature the option to transfer credit card balances at zero percent with no balance transfer fee are:

  • The CitiBusiness Card with ThankYou Network
  • The Citi Professional Cash Card
  • The Citi Professional Card
  • The CitiBusiness PremierPass Business Credit Card

Of course, the terms and features associated with the above-listed offers can change at any time, so be sure to read any and all credit card terms and conditions carefully before applying for any card recommended here.

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