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Getting a good deal on a balance transfer

By Lucy Lazarony · Bankrate.com
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Posted: 3 pm ET

Looking for a way to take some of the sting out of a high credit card balance?

Consider transferring the balance to a card with a rock-bottom introductory interest rate. Zero percent balance transfer deals are available, with some deals lasting for a year or more.

And some issuers are even rolling out deals offering zero percent interest on balance transfers and new purchases for up to a year.

This roundup of balance transfer cards makes it easy to compare offers.

And you can use this credit card balance transfer calculator to see just how much money you can save by transferring a big balance to a card with a super-low introductory interest rate.

Wiping out finance charges for a year or more with a zero percent balance transfer offer can lead to some pretty nifty savings.

But you'll need to watch out for fees. Many balance transfer offers come with fees of 3 percent or 4 percent. A 3 percent fee on a $5000 balance transfer comes to $150, and a 4 percent fee comes to $200. That's some serious dough.

So be sure to weigh the cost of a balance transfer fee before moving a balance to another card.

Looking for a low-rate card without balance transfer fees? Consider a card from a credit union. According to a Bankrate.com study on credit card fees, many credit cards offered by credit unions (25 out of the 33 credit union credit cards surveyed) do not charge balance transfer fees.

And keep in mind not everyone qualifies for the credit card deals with the rock-bottom interest rates. You'll need a good or excellent credit score to qualify.

To get the most value out of a balance transfer offer, you'll want to pay down as much of the balance as you can during the low-rate introductory period. These powerful pay down strategies will show you how.

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