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0% APR Credit Cards - Tips & Tricks

Aug 17, 2007
Credit cards can be considered to be one of the many basic necessities of the modern world. Credit cards are available nowadays in abundance. One type of credit card specifically is the so-called 0% APR credit card. 0% APR credit cards were introduced in the late 1980's and to this day has still proven to be one of the most sought-after credit card types available anywhere. As with all credit card types, there are a certain tips and tricks surrounding 0% APR credit cards that all potential card applicants should be made aware of.

With the help of a 0% APR credit card, it means that you need not only pay the outstanding balance; and what more you could even charge up to the limits without having to sustain any monthly interest charges. However, sometimes, one tends to think just how these credit card companies can afford to provide 0% APR credit cards, and make a profit out of it?

Although 0% APR credit cards may not comprise any monthly charges, it is sure to come with annual fees which you are obliged to pay for the privileges of a 0% APR credit card. These annual fees usually run from $15 to $20 or sometimes, even higher. Having a 0% APR credit card doesn't mean that you can pay your dues whenever and whichever way you intend to. It IS necessary to make your payments on time, or else, you will have to pay for high overdue fees. For each late payment, the 0% APR credit card holder has to pay fees that may range from $20 to $40. With habitual late payments, these meager amounts may accumulate to a hefty total!

It should be remembered that 0% APR credit cards are usually offered for only a stipulated period of time. This credit card interest may hold good for only a fixed period of time, usually ranging from 3 up to 15 months. On the completion of this period, a higher rate of interest may come in vogue, usually 12% or higher. You could easily transfer any existing credit card balances to a new 0% APR credit card to get 0% interest on the transferred balance. In this way, the credit card holder has to pay less interest for a stipulated period of time, and thus get a chance to clear outstanding balances as quickly as possible.

When applying for a 0% APR credit card, it is always better to read the terms and agreements of the credit card. Not to overstate an obvious question, but why should one do so? Simply because many credit cards may come with a default rate wherein late payments not only incur a late payment fee, but it would also include a default rate that will be added to the annual percentage rate. This in turn doubles the figures on the existing balances and on the new purchases made on the card moving forward. Ouch!

One very important point to take into account when applying for a 0% APR credit card is to read all paragraphs of the agreement, otherwise known as the fine print. This is because though it is illegal for a credit card company to hide their fees and charges, it is nonetheless legal for them to mention these points in small print! The 0% APR credit card companies thus usually announce in large and bold print about their 0% APR but hide the facts that this is only for a limited period of time and any extra fees which might be included are done so in very fine print.

Another trick that is up the sleeve of 0% APR credit card companies is to install sky-high APR's right after the amount of 0% APR balance transfers are paid down. In other words, the money you first pay to the credit card company is applied to the transfer, and any other purchases you make will be charged a high APR. Sometimes, credit card companies may also go to the extent of sending you a different card than the 0% APR credit card you had initially applied for. In this way, you are not allowed the 0% APR but a different card offer with different terms and conditions. The card issuers typically rationalize this behavior based on the card issuer determining that you do not meet the qualifications for a 0% APR credit card. Qualifications for a 0% APR credit card is usually found in the small print of the agreement, and is usually overseen by applicants!

It can thus be seen that though 0% APR credit cards do seem to be rather inviting, there are some loopholes and tricks to their use. As always, it is highly recommended to read the terms and conditions on the card application agreement for the 0% APR credit card, or any type of credit card application, thoroughly in order to avoid any future problems, headaches or financial surprises.
About the Author
For more information on 0% APR credit cards, Robert Alan recommends that you visit CreditCardAssist.com
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