Balance transfer fees a surprise

Monday, October 18th, 2010

The balance transfer fees for the month of October come as a surprise. While the average fee charged on balance transfer dropped from to around 4% to around 3.6%, the APR was at 0% for a period of 6 months. The new change has been brought about by Citibank which has extended 0% balance transfer offers for a long 21-month period and dropped the charges from 5% to 3%. The two cards who have made these offers are Citi Diamond Preferred Card as well as the Citi Platinum Select Card.

While most of the other big credit card companies were stuck to the 0% APR and balance transfer durations, they kept the fee structure steady. Whereas, Discover More did hike the 0% balance transfer and increased the duration from 15 to 18 months, it also did hike the transfer fee to 5% whereas, for Discover More $100 cash back (bonus version) the balance transfer fees were lowered to 3% for a period of 12 months.

The offers that have been made by Discover and Citibank with regard to balance transfer are really exceptional in the world of balance transfer. For instance, Bank of America has continued to charge 4% fees on balance transfers that last for a period of up to 7 or about 10 months and it is dependent on the credit reviews of the card holder. 0% APR balance transfers which last only for a period of 6 months (offered by U.S. Bank) carry with it very high fees of about 4% even though it is for such a short duration.

The others such as Wells Fargo seem to have gone a step ahead by charging 3% balance transfer fees (for about 2.9 balance transfers) and lasting for only 6 months. These offers by these banks are by far the worst offered by any major bank. They are the most expensive and of very short durations compared to offers by other banks.

A few others such as Chase and Capital One have offered 0% balance transfer cards (0% interest rates) that last for a period of one year. The Platinum Prestige as well as the Capital One Platinum cards have offered 0% rates (until November, 2011) and charge 3% balance transfer fees. While Chase comes with balance transfer fees that vary between 3% to 5% and may last up to about 6 months to a year.

So there is a golden opportunity for consumers who have balances on cards other than Citibank as well as Discover, as they can shift to these cards and end up making substantial savings by transferring balances to cards with these offers.

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