Consumer Payment Card News

0% Offers

Even though we may have entered a period of rising interest rates, aggressive credit card offers are still alive and well, albeit a little less generous. The average 0% promotional interest rate period is running 10.4 months among the nation’s top issuers, compared to 11.3 months one-year ago. Citibank and Fleet rank among the most active promoters of low-ball interest rates, offering 0% APRs rates for as long as 14 to 15 months. But Bank of America has largely ended such offers and other issuers, such as Providian and Discover, have shortened the promotional periods. Consumers need to be aware that 0% interest rate vary widely and may carry special fees. Zero rates may only apply to balance transfers or new purchases or cash advances or a combination thereof. Some issuers require you to charge new purchases in order to qualify for a 0% balance transfer rate. Also many issuers levy a balance transfer fee for a 0% balance transfer interest rate. Finally, keep in mind that payments you make on 0% cards are generally applied to the 0% balance first and then to the higher interest rate balances.

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|_3. BANK CREDIT CARD 0% OFFERS |
|_. | 2003 | 2004 |
|_. 1. Citibank | 16 months (B) | 15 months (B) |
|_. 2. MBNA | 12 months (P+C) | 11 months (B+C) |
|_. 3. Bank One | 12 months (P+B) | 11 months (P+B) |
|_. 4. JPM Chase | 12 months (P+B) | 12 months (B) |
|_. 5. Discover | 11 months (B) | 10 months (B) |
|_. 6. Capital One | 6 months (P+B) | 6 months (P+B) |
|_. 7. American Express| 6 months (P+B) | 6 months (P+B) |
|_. 8. Bank of America | 13 months (P+B) | none |
|_. 9. Providian | 13 months (P) | 9 months (B) |
|_. 10. Fleet | 12 months (P+B) | 14 months (P) |
|_. AVG | 11.3 months | 10.4 months |
|_3. B-applies to balance transfers; P- applies to new purchases; |
|_3. C- applies to cash advances. |
|_3. Source: CardWeb.com’s CardWatch (www.cardwatch.com) |

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