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There has perhaps never been a better — or cheaper — time to pay down credit card debt than right now.
Multiple credit card issuers now offer cards that feature both a 0 percent introductory interest rate on balance transfers and no balance-transfer fees, according to a recent NerdWallet report. These cards are also free of annual fees.
They are the:
- Chase Slate card
- Barclaycard Ring Mastercard
For years, Chase was the only major issuer offering a credit card with those features. The company launched its Chase Slate card in 2009, NerdWallet reports. But this year, two other major issuers — Barclaycard and Bank of America — have launched similar cards.
You can find other similar cards using Money Talks News’ credit card search tool. For example, select “Intro Balance Transfer Rate” from the drop-down menu to view cards with 0 percent introductory interest rates.
What it means for you
The growing number of credit cards that allow consumers to sidestep both interest charges and balance-transfer fees is big money-saving news for anyone who isn’t paying off credit card balances in full each month.
This is particularly true now that the Federal Reserve System is raising its benchmark federal funds rate. As we detail in “5 Ways the Fed Rate Hike Will Impact You,” such action by the Fed tends to lead credit card companies to increase the interest rates they charge cardholders.
So, credit cards with 0 percent introductory interest rates and no balance-transfer fees can save such consumers a significant amount of money, thereby enabling them to pay off debt faster. NerdWallet explains:
“For indebted cardholders with good credit, these offers are a way to save hundreds of dollars on interest and fees. And the higher their current interest and balances, the more they can save — as long as they understand the terms and conditions.”
And therein lies perhaps the only hitch to these credit cards: You must understand the terms and conditions to ensure these cards save you money.
For example, an introductory interest rate is a temporary interest rate. Find out exactly how many months the 0 percent interest rate will last, as you’ll want to be able to pay off debt before the temporary rate ends. After that, you can expect to be hit with a higher interest rate every month.
Similarly, offers for balance transfers without fees often apply only to transfers made during a brief promotional period, such as the first 45 days after you open a credit card account. So, find out exactly how long that period lasts, too.
For more ways to pay down debt faster, check out “8 Foolproof Steps to Get You Out of Debt Fast.”
Have you ever taken advantage of introductory balance-transfer offers? Tell us about your experience below or over on our Facebook page.