Home » Finance » Credit

What Lenders Don't Tell You About Introductory Offers

Jan 9, 2008
Most personal finance advice sites and debt organisations are in agreement that credit cards are the most expensive form of debt but with careful money management many consumers use credit card introductory deals as key part of their financial planning. There are even those who manage to use the almost mythical technique of credit card offsetting (where you make all your normal purchases on a credit card and then use the money saved to invest in a high interest bank account), although this requires an enormous amount of self-discipline to avoid credit card charges, let alone to make a profit. Before signing up for your credit card it pays to be aware of how to use introductory offers sensibly - here's our guide to the four most important factors to bear in mind.

Most personal finance advice sites and debt organisations are in agreement that credit cards are the most expensive form of debt but with careful money management many consumers use credit card introductory deals as key part of their financial planning. There are even those who manage to use the almost mythical technique of credit card offsetting (where you make all your normal purchases on a credit card and then use the money saved to invest in a high interest bank account), although this requires an enormous amount of self-discipline to avoid credit card charges, let alone to make a profit. Before signing up for your credit card it pays to be aware of how to use introductory offers sensibly - here's our guide to the four most important factors to bear in mind.

Firstly, beware of 0% balance transfers! Banks and other lenders have got wise to "credit card tarts" that continually swap between balance transfer offers; some lenders will charge a transfer fee. Others may even refuse your card application if you have taken advantage of their 0% credit card introductory offer in the past. Swapping cards too frequently to take advantage of 0% on balance transfers could even affect your credit rating as lenders are able to assess the number of credit searches against your name.

Many credit card introductory offers also include 0% on any purchases for a limited duration. Barclaycard Premium for example offers 3 months at 0% while others like MBNA Platinum fix the period on a specific date (in their case 0% on purchases until March 2008). However, it's worth finding out if the card you're interested in offers 0% on cash back. If not then you need to be aware that while it's convenient, it's not the same as using a cash point - every time you get cash back on your credit card you are borrowing money and will therefore be liable for interest on the cash. If your card doesn't offer 0% on cash back then it makes far more sense to use your debit card to withdraw cash.

Credit cards can be an extension of your lifestyle. While 0% balance transfers and 0% on purchases are the main incentives for many lenders there are also a huge variety of other credit card introductory offers, often specific to a particular card. Some are designed to appeal to your lifestyle choices - Barclaycard OnePulse, for example, has tied in with the Oyster Travelcard so you only need one card for travel and shopping while the MBNA WWF card makes a contribution to the World Wildlife Fund for every card. Other cards appeal more directly to your pocket offering discounts and special offers at specific retailers - Virigin Credit Card offers discounts at the Virgin Megastore & Virgin Holidays while Egg offers up to 10% at selected retailers. If you already spend a great deal of money at a specific retailer included in a credit card introductory offer then it gives you the opportunity to make potential savings.

Finally, the bottom line for most people should be the APR - that's the amount of interest you have to pay on the money you borrow. Rates are currently around 15% but some cards such as the Capital One Platinum card are offering rates as low as 9.9%. Whichever card you use the biggest money saving advice is: pay off your outstanding balance every month. By following this simple strategy you'll take advantage of the juicy incentives offered by lenders without having to pay them a penny.
About the Author
Jon Robson, a freelance writer with an inquisitive outlook on personal finance - in particular the uk credit industry - suggests that before you next use your credit card you should check the introductory offers from at least one other leading credit card account.
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 211
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories
    • Artists
    • Gambling
    • Humanities
    • Humor
    • Movies
    • Music
    • Photography
    • Tattoos
    • Television
    • Classic Cars
    • Motorcycles
    • Recreational Vehicles
    • SUVs
    • Trucks
    • Vans
    • Branding
    • Business Opportunities
    • Careers and Jobs
    • Corporate
    • Customer Service
    • Direct Mail
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Ethics
    • Financing
    • Franchising
    • Home-Based Business
    • Human Resources
    • Import and Export
    • Leadership
    • Management
    • Market Research
    • Marketing and Advertising
    • Negotiation
    • Network Marketing
    • Networking
    • Organizational
    • Presentation
    • Project Management
    • Public Relations
    • Small Business
    • Strategic Planning
    • Team Building
    • Telemarketing
    • Training
    • Data Recovery
    • Databases
    • Games
    • Hardware
    • Networks
    • Operating Systems
    • Programming
    • Security
    • Software
    • Spyware and Viruses
    • Ask an Expert
    • College and University
    • Home Schooling
    • K-12
    • Languages
    • Online Education
    • Psychology
    • Coffee
    • Cooking
    • Gourmet
    • Recipes
    • Wine and Spirits
    • Acne
    • Aerobics
    • Alternative Medicine
    • Beauty
    • Cancer
    • Cosmetics
    • Depression
    • Diabetes
    • Diseases and Conditions
    • Fitness Equipment
    • Fitness
    • Hair Loss
    • Heart Disease
    • Medicine
    • Men's Health
    • Muscle Building
    • Nutrition
    • Skin Care
    • Supplements and Vitamins
    • Weight Loss
    • Women's Health
    • Yoga
    • Arts and Crafts
    • Babies
    • Collecting
    • Elderly Care
    • Genealogy
    • Hobbies
    • Parenting
    • Pets
    • Pregnancy
    • Woodworking
    • Feng Shui
    • Gardening
    • Home Appliances
    • Home Security
    • Interior Design
    • Landscaping
    • Affiliate Programs
    • Article Marketing
    • Auctions
    • Audio
    • Banner Advertising
    • Blogging
    • Broadband
    • Domain Names
    • E-Books
    • E-Commerce
    • Email Marketing
    • Ezines and Newsletters
    • Forums
    • Internet Marketing
    • Link Popularity
    • Pay-Per-Click
    • Podcasting
    • RSS
    • Search Engine Marketing
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Security
    • Social Media
    • Spam
    • Video
    • Viral Marketing
    • Web Design
    • Web Development
    • Web Hosting
    • Copyright
    • Cyber Law
    • Intellectual Property
    • National, State, Local
    • Patents
    • Regulatory Compliance
    • Trademarks
    • Buying
    • Selling
    • Baseball
    • Basketball
    • Boating
    • Cycling
    • Extreme Sports
    • Fishing
    • Football
    • Golf
    • Hockey
    • Hunting
    • Martial Arts
    • Running
    • Scuba Diving
    • Soccer
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Dating
    • Divorce
    • Marriage
    • Weddings
    • Astrology
    • Buddhism
    • Christianity
    • Faith
    • Hinduism
    • Islam
    • Judaism
    • Meditation
    • Metaphysical
    • New Age
    • Cable and Satellite TV
    • Cell Phones
    • Communication
    • Gadgets and Gizmos
    • GPS
    • Satellite Radio
    • Video Conferencing
    • VoIP
    • Addictions
    • Coaching
    • Goal Setting
    • Motivational
    • Stress Management
    • Time Management
    • Clothing
    • Electronics
    • Fashion
    • Gifts
    • Jewelry
    • Causes and Organizations
    • Environment
    • History
    • Holidays
    • Men's Issues
    • Nature
    • Philosophy
    • Politics
    • Women's Issues
    • World Affairs
    • Air Travel
    • Camping
    • Cruises
    • Destinations
    • Outdoors
    • Article Writing
    • Book Reviews
    • Copywriting
    • Fiction
    • Non-Fiction
    • Poetry
    • Quotes
    • Screenplay
    • Tools and Resources