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 09, 2008

No Fee Balance Transfer Update

No Balance Transfer Fee
No Balance Transfer Fee
In our last post at this blog, we confirmed that the Bank of America (BofA) Pet Rewards Visa® card was still offering 0% intro APR on transferred balances, with no balance transfer fee. Today's news isn't good: this card was discontinued yesterday. I felt a need to confirm this somber news because sometimes a bank will discontinue a credit product from affiliate sites like www.BalanceTransfer.cc, but the product can still be found on the bank's website. So I searched for this card using my favorite search engine and found that it was still listed on the BofA website. For clarification, I decided to have another online conversation with a BofA representative. The conversation ended a few minutes ago; here's how that conversation went:

Current Transcript of the Chat Session. Thank you for choosing Bank of America. An operator will be with you shortly. You are now chatting with Amanda.

Amanda: Hello, thank you for joining Bank of America online chat. I am here to assist you in selecting new accounts that fit your needs. How can I assist you today?

you
: Hello

you: I want to know if the Bank of America PetRewards® Visa® card is still available

Amanda: No I am sorry it is not.

Amanda: It was discontinued yesterday.

you: OK, so Bank of America hasn't had a chance to remove all pages related to this card yet, is that right?

you: I was able to find this card with a Google search

Amanda: That's not our site so they may still have it (?)

Amanda: However if you try to get to the application you will get an error.

you: Ok, well thanks for your time

Amanda: You’re very welcome.

Amanda: Are you looking for a balance transfer card?

you: yes

Amanda: How much are you looking to transfer?

you: I'm looking for 0% intro APR on introductory balance transfers, with no balance transfer fee

you: I'm looking to transfer about $4,000

Amanda: Well we don't have a card with no fee but we do have cards with 0% APR for 15 months on balance transfers and then we give you $25.00 back for doing the transfer. So once you get the credit back the fee would only be like $95.00

you: are you referring to the Bank of America Cash Rewards card?

Amanda: That is one of them

you: OK, so I'd like to know the other cards with similar terms and benefits

Amanda: Please click here for information regarding our Visa Signature with WorldPoints.

Amanda: Please click here for information regarding our WorldPoints Platinum Plus MasterCard.

Amanda: Are you still with me? Please respond so I can leave this chat window open to answer any application questions you may have.

you: I have all the information I need. Thanks and have a great day.

Amanda: You’re very welcome.

Right now, the best 0% credit card in the American market is the Discover More Card, which currently offers 0% intro APR on introductory balance transfers for 12 months, with a transfer fee of 3%. Unfortunately, there is no longer a cap on the transfer fee with Discover More, so if, for example, you want to transfer $3,500 or more, the transfer fee would be at least $105.

But you do have options, like the Bank of America Visa® Signature® WorldPoints Rewards credit card, which now offers 0% intro APR on introductory balance transfers for 15 months, with a balance transfer fee of 3%. This is one of the cards the BofA representative recommended during our online conversation (which I posted above.) With this card, there is the added benefit of a $25 statement credit that you can use to reduce the balance transfer fee. So if you were to transfer $4,000 to this card, the real transfer fee would be:

  • $4,000.00 X 0.03 (transaction fee) = $120.00
  • $120.00 - $25 (statement credit) = $95.00

Am I sure that a balance transfer would qualify for the statement credit? Yes, I am, because I just checked the terms & conditions for this card. Here's a clip:

"...To qualify for this offer, your new account must be used to make any purchase, balance transfer or cash advance transaction totaling $25 excluding any transaction fees, if applicable within 45 days of the account open date. Limit one (1) statement credit per new account...."

We also have confirmation of this from the BofA representative (see transcript above.)

Ok, so I'm guessing that your next question is, "Why would you recommend the Discover More card before recommending the BofA Visa Signature with WorldPoints Rewards card? Seems that the BofA card offers more value with the 15 month holiday from paying interest on transferred balances."

The answer: because with the BofA cards, the balance transfer fee is subject to finance charges. Here is a clip from the term & conditions associated with the BofA Visa Signature with WorldPoints Rewards card:

"...We include Transaction Fees when computing finance charges. Incurring Transaction Fees results in an APR exceeding 0% for the billing statement on which those fees appear. The Daily Periodic Rate (DPR) will remain 0% as disclosed..."

We also like the Discover More card because its cash back rewards package is the most generous in the American consumer credit card market.


Where Did The "No Fee Balance Transfer"
Pulaski Bank Credit Cards Go?


no fee balance transfer credit cards from Pulaski BankA little FYI to end this blog entry: The two "no fee balance transfer" cards from Pulaski bank are still available here. The reason we removed them from the "No Fee Balance Transfer" page was because these cards are very difficult to get. Approvals are few and far between. However, if you feel that your credit profile is stellar -- and I mean super perfect -- then by all means give one of these cards a try.

The reason these two Pulaski Bank cards are so hard to get?

  • 0% intro APR on introductory balance transfers for 6 months
  • No balance transfer fee
  • For the regular Pulaski Bank MasterCard® or VISA® Card, the APR on purchases and cash advances is 6.50%. For the Pulaski Bank Visa Gold Card, the APR on purchases and cash advances is 8.00% (you will have a hard time finding credit cards on offer from other American banks with APR's that low, especially for cash advances!)

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

No Balance Transfer Fee Credit Cards Still Obtainable Despite Credit Crunch

Credit Cards
Credit Cards
The credit crunch that's been causing problems in American credit markets has been affecting all classes of Americans, from billionaire Wall Street insiders trying to finance huge corporate takeover deals to middle-class consumers looking for attractive deals on loans and credit cards. With the housing market still languishing and many seasoned economists declaring that the American economy is already in a recession, it seems that 2008 is not going to be a good year for many Americans, from a money and finance perspective. The Federal Reserve has been responding to turmoil in domestic financial markets and the slumping economy by cutting short-term interest rates, but there is no way to tell when or if these Fed actions will jump start the economy. Slowly but progressively, banks have been approving fewer and fewer credit card applications since the subprime debacle began at the end of last summer. Thankfully, however, applicants with strong credit profiles can still get approved for high quality credit products. Moreover, in the American market today, financially secure individuals can still find 0% introductory annual percentage rate (APR) balance transfer credit cards that don't charge a balance transfer fee, even with certain small business credit cards.

On the consumer side, feeless, 0% balance transfer deals are still being offered by some of America's most reputable financial institutions, including the Bank of America® (BofA), American Express® and the Pulaski Bank &and Trust Company. Web surfers looking for business credit cards which combine 0% intro APR on transferred balances with no balance transfer fee can choose from a healthy selection on offer from Citi®.

"We've been getting emails from consumers who have been writing us about manifestations of the liquidity crunch that have been causing considerable pain for both American banks and individuals trying to find favorable credit deals. Cardholders have been complaining most about seemingly random credit line decreases, ever for customers with perfect or near-perfect credit. A cardholder who has an excellent credit history but who also has a high debt-to-credit ratio may be targeted by their bank for a credit limit decrease or an interest rate increase, since banks are worried about consumers who may be relying too heavily on revolving credit. It's never a good idea to have a high balance on a credit card. Consumers should use credit cards to take advantage of rewards programs and zero APR offers, and for emergencies. The consumer who tends to carry a balance from month to month may be headed from trouble in this economy," said Brown.

"The only positive consequence of this sagging economy is that the Fed has been responding to it by lowering short-term interest rates. These moves by the Federal Reserve have made obtaining and paying off loans and credit cards easier," Brown added.

Since mid-September of 2007, the U.S. Prime Rate has been lowered from 8.25% to the current 5.25%, thanks to interest-rate cuts by the U.S. Federal Reserve. Since most variable-rate credit cards -- and many other types of loans -- are indexed to Prime, most consumers and business owners who have been making payments on these loans and credit cards have been enjoying reduced APR's. Any consumer with a variable-rate credit card indexed to Prime who hasn't seen a decrease in their APR over the last 6 months should contact their bank and ask for a lower rate, Brown advises.

Some credit cards and loans are indexed to the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Since LIBOR tracks very closely with America's benchmark, short-term interest rate -- the Fed Funds Target Rate -- individuals and business owners with loans or credit cards indexed to LIBOR should be enjoying lower payments as well.

The Federal Reserve is expected to cut short-term rates again when the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meets for its next monetary policy meeting on April 30, 2008.

0% intro APR credit card offers are ever-evolving. Brown urges consumers to visit the blogs at the  FedPrimeRate.com website to stay informed about the latest news and tips from the credit card industry and to read reviews of newly released credit cards. Brown welcomes any and all questions and comments, which can be emailed from either site's email form.

"The banks make a lot of money with credit cards, so they still want to fill consumers' wallets with their plastic despite ongoing troubles in the credit markets. Individuals who are interested in getting the best possible deal with a consumer card, business card or any other type of loan should be sure to keep their credit score high, pay all their bills on time and try to keep their debt-to-credit ratio at around 30%. Consumers who plan on spending money on a major purchase should try their best to pay cash. If an all-cash payment isn't possible, consumers should apply as much cash as possible to the purchase, and put the rest on a credit card that has a high credit limit, a zero or low APR and a generous rewards program," Brown concluded.

Source

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