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Transcript: Don't Drown While Credit Card Surfing

Anchor intro: If you're paying 20 percent on a credit card, those low-interest, introductory offers you get in the mail might tempt you to start shifting from card to card. It's called credit card surfing. And according to Bankrate.com, it may not be your best option to prevent drowning in debt.

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SOT: "Just have an open mind, be willing to get out there and get your butt kicked a little bit…and then just coordination, determination and a heck of a lot of balance."

Voice-over 1: Surfing advice from a guy who's been doing it for nearly 20 years. And riding the waves isn't the only kind of surfing he's done.

SOT: "I had 18, 19, 20 percent interest rates. So I was just looking around for my best deal…threw 'em all together…surfed my way onto a low interest rate credit card."

Voice-over 2: It's called credit card surfing: continually transferring balances to the low-rate teaser deals. But this kind of surfing also requires special skills. That's why experts caution against riding the wave of card offers.

SOT: "Number one, you can max out two credit cards instead of one. Too many inquiries for new lines of credit will lower your credit score, ultimately, and balance transfers are rarely free. There's usually some sort of fee involved."

Voice-over 3: So if you're going to try this kind of surfing, beware. Always keep a calendar reminding yourself of payment dates, and don't even think of transferring a balance until you read the fine print to avoid being bitten by hidden transfer fees.

Voice-over 4: A much safer way to play? Don't surf. But do use those offers as leverage. Call your card company, tell 'em about these great offers, then ask them to lower your rate.

Standup: As with ocean surfing, you'll need quick reflexes and a sharp eye if you're going to try it with credit cards. So, use those teaser rates as leverage with your existing bank. For Bankrate.com, I'm Kristin Arnold.

Bankrate.com's corrections policy
-- Posted: April 20, 2008
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