Low and 0% Interest Credit Cards (No and Low Balance Transfer Fee Credit Cards)

Published 11/4/07 (Modified 12/1/13)
By MoneyBlueBook

Low and 0% Interest Credit Cards (No and Low Balance Transfer Fee Credit Cards)

Zero percent and low intro APR balance transfer cards are a particular selection of credit cards that I've had a lot of exposure and experience with. I've used them for everything from temporary financial emergencies to balance transfer arbitrage purposes. During times when I needed a temporary source of cash, I've applied for 12 month 0% introductory APR credit card offers and requested balance transfer checks. For the duration of the promotional period I would have the needed money to tide me over. Of course I always paid the balance back in full after the introductory period ended.

Well, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I'm looking to get back to making some extra money by doing App-O-Rama balance transfers. The process works by submitting new card applications from a select list of balance transfer cards that offer introductory 0% APR. The transferred balance is then deposited into a high yield savings account to earn free interest for the duration of the balance transfer period. When it's over, you pull the money out, repay the credit card and pocket the interest profit. The amount of arbitrage income you can earn depends on how many credit cards you apply for, the total credit limit, the duration of the no interest promotional period, and whether there are any one time balance transfer fees. People looking to make money from balance transfers usually apply for a high number of 0% offers at one time (view complete list of balance transfer credit cards).

0% APR Offers With No Balance Transfer Fees Are The Best, But Are Getting Harder To Find

Perhaps credit card companies have finally caught on to the whole business of people taking advantage of no interest credit card offers to earn balance transfer profit, as the number of no balance transfer fee cards have dwindled.

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88 Responses to “0% and Low Interest Credit Cards | No Balance Transfer Fee Credit Cards | Money Blue Book” 

  1. Sean says:

    Hi there, just read your helpful guide to balance transfers.
    I have a huge balance on a credit card that I'd like to transfer. Couple questions.
    1st. Does it have to be a balance transfer? Couldn't I just go to pay my bill online and pay the existing amount with different credit card?
    2nd. Its hard to get questions answered before applying for a credit card, such as: I have a WAMU paypal card, and that first one on your list of 0% APR purchase, and 0% APR no fee balance transfer ESPN card is WAMU as well. Assuming I'm approved, would I even be able to do a balance transfer between the two cards?

  2. Mel says:

    Kevin, you can't transfer balances with the same bank. I just read it on their fine print.

  3. B. Steers says:

    Capitol One just released a 0% balance transfer offer, 12 months to pay it off, NO fees associated with this offer. The only hitch is the minimum monthly payment is 3% of the outstanding balance, where in the past it typically was 2%. Still a great deal for consumers with excellent credit, & quite surprising to see in these times of supposed credit availability reduction!!

  4. socal says:

    B. Steer - can you provide a link to Cap One offer you mentioned? I called and they don't have such a thing.

  5. annie says:

    I've been playing the 0% BT for 15 years now--it's paid all my education, down payment on my house, down payment on a beach house, my cars, the list goes on and on. I have opened just about every card that offered the 0% with no fee, and now, with $38K needed to flip by February, I've realized they all have a fee, most of which are 3%, even for current customers. I currently have all 38K on a Chase, and planned to switch it to a Discover which is offering me 0%, but with a 3% fee. However, Discover also has a card that has a $75 fee cap for new customers, but who would ever get approved with 38K credit limit? SOOOO... the trick is to open a new Discover with the better offer, then move your available credit from the old card onto the new card, which will bring my available credit to 40K. To move all that money for just $75 is quite a deal. When the 12 months is up, I'll do the same, only back onto my Chase. I will have $40K available on my old Chase, then just open whichever one they'll be offering with 0% BT at the lowest fee and move the available credit from the old Chase. Chase Disney also offers a $75 fee cap, so I'll just hope it stays that way until next year.

  6. Doug says:

    I thought when you transfered balances to a zero % card the card company paid off your balances where do you get the cash to deposit?

    Thanx

    Doug

  7. Brent says:

    I have found three 0% Balance Transfer cards with no or low balance transfer fees, all are only for 6 months: Band of America Pet Rewards, Chase Disney Visa, and IberiaBank (formerly Pulaski). At this time I don't know how generous they are on credit limits. Also do not know how sensitive they are to applying to more than one card at a time to handle your total balance transfer need. A couple of other things to ask of an offeror: "How is the minimum monthly payment calculated (2%, 3%, 1/48th of balance, etc)" and "How is the term for the introductory (0%) offer stipulated". The first is rarely disclosed up front, the second may be in the fine print when you apply. Application processing times vary, as well, so best to start at least 30 days before your current offer ends. I second the advantage of going with a company with which you already have a card - often you can up the present card's credit limit and transfer some of it to the new 0% balance transfer card. Of course the new card must be from a different offeror than the one you want to transfer the balance from.

  8. Brent says:

    Another thing to remember, always dedicate the balance transfer card to only balance transfers. You should have a separate card for your ongoing charges which you pay off monthly. Charges (purchases) incur interest and the monthly payment will be applied to the large transferred balance vice the new purchases, hence starting the cycle of ever-increasing interest until the entire card balance is paid off.

  9. Chris says:

    I heard american People have amazing problems with their budget because they always use credit cards / The abridgment isn����t very good- You dont know "how much money i have on my bank etc.".
    I hope this is no statement which doesn����t suit into this blog... But wasn����t it the financial crisis for a few weeks which makes us all afraid ?!
    In this connection i think it����s better to use your "real" money !?
    But call me ignorant , This is only my thinking about this theme.

    Greets, Chris

  10. Brent says:

    It all depends on how much discipline you have. Do you only buy things you would with cash or money in the bank? Do you keep a budget to monitor your monthly expenses? Do you have a separate card for purchases? The one you use for balance transfer offers should never be used for anything else because payments are applied to lower (0%) interest rate balances, meaning any new purchases don't get paid off and therefore start drawing interest charges. To answer Doug's question, the cash to draw interest on comes from an initial cash advance on an initial card. Its important to use a low interest credit card for that initial advance, and then quickly transfer the balance to a 0% interest card through a balance transfer before many interest charges are incurred. Credit Union cards are good for this because they often don't charge a cash advance fee, just daily interest. I used initial cash for mu own large purchases, initially cars for personal use and later as business investments, cars to resell at a profit. The amount I keep as a running balance depends on what monthly payment I am willing to tolerate and how much cash I need for a business transaction. I would rather pay 0% and use someone else's money free as long as I know I can pay it back at any time should the 0% offers end. Of course you need that cash reserve, stellar credit rating, and an income for the monthly payments if you want to preserve the principal for drawing interest. You can draw down the principal to make the payments, as well. I'm sure there are other angles, this is just how I have done it.

  11. mike says:

    I dont have any credit card debt to pay, so what I have been doing the past four or five years is this. I leave one of my credit cards with no balance on it, then I apply for a balance transfer and then I have a negative balance on my zero balance card. Then I call the credit card company and tell them I want the negative balance refunded to me. Some will send checks while others will direct deposit in my bank. This worked great when the 12 month cards are out there. I then took the money and put it in a 12 month CD. Then this would mature a few weeks after the money is due, I take out another balance tranfer to pay this off, then keep it going. At one point in 07 me and my wife had 7 balance transfer cards with about $55,000 all spread out through the year. Most of the money was in CD's. I then paid the minimums each month and left some money in a money market so that I could pay off the next one.
    Its almost not worht it any more with CD rates below 4% and only 6 month terms on CD's, but keep it in mind when rates go up and they increase the offers in the future. I only have one balance transfer account left, and will just pay it off when my CD matures. BUT I make a lot of money using their money. Back in 2005 I had all $55,000 in CD's paying about 5.5% Interest. Thats about $3000 in interest for that one year.

  12. Paul says:

    Watch Capital one, they gave me 0% and no transfer fee and then didn't send my second statenment or it got lost in the mail. When I called them about the missing statemnet, they have already changed my rate. I never have had a statement not show up before, I think they did this on purpose.

  13. Brent says:

    I believe in making it easy, so I set up a draft, usually online, for the minimum payment to come out of my bank account. That way there are no missed payments and I don't have to do anything. I have noticed some business accounts will not let you draft the payment, but virtually all cards have an "alert" or reminder service to send you an email when a payment is due, or you can use your computer to remind you. Here again I make the payment online so it is quick and simple. My hat's off to Mike who had a great cash generator going. Probably worth the time if you can manage all the due dates, both credit card 0% offers and CDs. I"ve been using high interest online bank accounts, about 3.5% lately at CapitalOne and HSBC. I tend to do one card at a time so I can forget about it until the year (or 6 months) is about up and I have to find a new card offering 0%. Just did the rollover in December and it was tough to find any 0% cards with no balance transfer fee. Finally settled for a card I already have with Chase - they offered me 0% for 8 months but there is a capped transfer fee of $99. I figure I'll net about $500 on a 28K balance in 8 months.

    Very interesting doing a balance transfer from a card with a zero balance to get a credit balance for refund. Didn't know the companies would let you do it. A great angle! The only 12 month card I know of right now with no transfer fee is Advanta Business, but you can't have had an account with them in the last 6 months or they won't issue a new card. I was able to slide in on the BOA Pet Rewards for no transfer fee (also no cash advance fee) before the deal ended - and they gave a $15K credit limit. Alas term is only for six months, though. I would be interested to hear how high credit card companies will go for a credit limit. I generally have had to combine limits from more than one card to get what I need though I have been able to get a $25K limit on some cards. I haven't had one for over $32.5K. Never really sure whether to close an account after I am through with a card because you might need that credit limit to transfer. I have also heard the ratio of total debt possible to actual credit balance should be kept high. So there are many pitfalls but where there is a will there seems to be a way if you look hard enough and track all the due dates.

  14. Brian says:

    I am looking for clarification on the "Remember, you can apply and qualify for a business balance transfer card by listing your personal name as your company name on the business credit card application. You can properly do so without actually owning a separate small business." statement from above.
    There is no problem signing up for a small business card even if i am not a small business owner?
    Also- i have been reading rave reviews about the "Advanta Business" cards - 12 month, 0% on balance transfers. Does anyone have any first-hand knowledge of Advanta, and is there a card that is reccomended?
    thanks

  15. Brent says:

    I had an Advanta card a year ago and worked fine. You do have to close the account after you transfer the balance out from them if you want to apply for another Advanta card in the future -- they require six months without an account before you can open another one with them. Each offeror seems to have their peculiar quirks and rules. I have had several business accounts using my full name with middle initial as the business name. The web site takes whatever you put in the blank for your business name.

  16. Mary says:

    Yes, unfortunately I got bamboozled by Advanta, who changed their policies less than two months after I got the card. Suddenly I have interest charges, and when I asked about it they acted like it was always like that and I should have known it...? I was pretty frustrated, but thankfully I'm almost done paying it off and then I can close the account. Then if need be, I can apply for something else because my credit is perfect. But better yet, I'd like to do without them entirely. Thank you for this page, it let me in on a few things. God bless our troops, and may God bless America.

  17. Johnny says:

    Just a note about the list of Iberia/Pulaski cars above...they are the same cards. Iberia uses Pulaski Bank in Arkansas to issue their credit cards, so there is no difference or advantage to getting both--one would be rejected. Also, the processing for these cards is very slow (30 days or more) because of the manual approval process used.

  18. GJ says:

    HAVE BEEN GETTING 0% OFFERS FOR YEARS. AM CURRENTLY IN ONE THAT EXPIRES IN 2 MONTHS, LOOKING FOR ANOTHER, BOUGHT MY CAR THIS WAY, THAT MONEY STAYS IN HIGH INTEREST 6% ACCOUNT. HARDER AND HARDER TO FIND A 0% FOR 12 MONTHS WITH A CAP OF $99 OR LESS. ARE THERE ANY OUT THERE? THE 6 MONTHS THING THAT I AM IN RIGHT NOW COMES UP TOO SOON.

  19. EW says:

    GJ
    Regarding 0% no fee transaction or cap of $99. I have searched for so long and can only find 6 months with no cap...There are offers for 6 months and no transaction fees. Maybe you can just keep switching every 6 months!

  20. Brent says:

    Please name the companies you are finding that will do six months 0% with no transfer fee. The marketplace is continually changing so its good to get updates. My last deal a few months ago came from inquiring about an existing card that I wasn't carrying a balance on. They offered 0% over the phone. However, I did have to pay a $99 transfer fee with that Chase Visa and the 0% balance transfer rate was only good for 8 months. I have noticed a trend recently to offer 0%, but not on balance transfers. I was surprised recently when a CapitalOne card had a 9.99% balance transfer rate but 0% purchase rate. You really have to read the entire offer closely and be looking for the "bait and switch". However, I have never had an offeror change the terms during the course of the offer, and I've been doing this for years. The surprises come from misunderstanding the terms of the original offer, usually by not examining them closely.

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