Zero Worship: Credit-Card Firms Compete With No-Interest Transfers

August 27, 2013
Wall Street Journal  
credit card news

U.S. credit card companies, eager for new customers, are flooding mailboxes and email inboxes with offers that allow new cardholders to transfer their existing card balances from other institutions with zero interest for up to two years.

While 0 percent balance transfers have been used periodically since the late 1990s, the current offers cover unusually lengthy periods and, in some instances, are being extended to a wider swath of potential customers than in recent years, say industry experts. The lenders profit from a one-time fee, typically 3 percent of the existing balance, and also land a new customer who is likely to make interest-bearing new purchases. Customers that do rake up more charges could end up saddled with even more debt -- and at a higher interest rate once the teaser period expires.

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