Credit card companies are getting out of their ways to be ahead of the competition. A lot of incentives which are truly enticing are being offered. With this stiff competition going on, better deals are available for consumers. However, you should still give it careful thought and consideration before committing to one credit card.
The annual percent rate or APR is the most widely used in credit card marketing strategies. Essentially, APR determines how much interest a credit card user needs to pay given a certain principal amount. The lower the APR, the better the deal is. Some companies may even offer 0% APR which means that borrowers only need to pay for the amount they actually borrowed.
This is definitely too good to be true. Banks are not charitable institutions but are for-profit organizations. They would definitely compensate for loss profits brought about by 0% APR in some other ways.
Usually these ways are hidden behind the fine print. Without reading and fully understanding every terms and conditions associated with signing up for a 0% APR credit card, a customer might get into financial trouble. The law only specifies that all fees and other terms and conditions be posted for customer’s information. It does not require banks to print these in larger letters.
These 0% APR offers are actually just plain marketing strategies, They don’t last very long – usually only for 90days to about a year. And when that introductory period is over, high APR charges would start to apply on your purchases. These would definitely lose you the money you had saved during the 0% APR period.
Also, when you try to read the fine print, you’ll find out that most of these 0% APR offers may not apply to balance transfers. That means, in order for you to take advantage of this limited offer, you would have to make new purchases using your new card. This condition might be okay for those who are new credit card holders and don’t have existing credit card balances from other banks. However, for most of us who are looking for ways to minimize the interest rates charged on our credit card balances, this condition does not sound good especially if we find out all about it after we have signed up for the card.
Another trick that banks use to make up for the 0% APR is by charging exorbitant application and annual fees. They might even add transfer rate charges, and if balances are not paid on time, the 0% APR offer is voided. Sometimes a penalty APR might apply for these late payments.
A lot of other things can be written on the small print too. Some application forms may state that the bank may send you another card if you don’t qualify for or if the card you initially applied for is not available. Usually, these new credit cards won’t have the 0% APR offer that you are interested in.
There are also instances when 0% APR offers are exclusively applicable to balance transfers. When you have paid enough to pay for the transferred balance, high APR is charged to new card purchases.
The 0% APR credit card is not as good as it seems. Reading the fine prints would enable you to avoid the marketing tricks applied. If you know how to weed out these unfavorable conditions, you would be able to take full advantage of these 0% APR credit cards.