Credit cards can be put to a lot of uses. Ranging from helping you buy the various commodities online to helping your overcome your current debt, there are a number of uses of these little plastic cards. While at one point in time, people used to opt for these cards because of the ease with which they could purchase various items, today, most people sign up for credit cards so they can reduce their current debt by opting for balance transfers.
The banks are cashing in on this opportunity and rolling out various balance transfer options on credit cards for customers to avail. When you opt for this facility, the balance on one credit card gets transferred to the other. Though this may sound simple, it is not necessarily so. You entire effort may prove worthless if you don't do it right or opt for a balance transfer on an expensive card. There are a few factors that you need to keep in mind and give a thought to before opting for these transfers.
Special rate of interest
There are banks and financial institutions that offer an introductory rate of zero percent on balance transfers when customers sign up for their cards. If this applies to the card on which you are getting the dues transferred, then you will not have to pay certain financial charges which you will have to bear otherwise. Lesser the financial charges on your card for this transfer, lesser the amount you will have to repay.
The duration of the introductory offer
The introductory offer of balance transfers rolled out by the bank does not last forever. If you want to make the most of the opportunity, find out till when you are eligible for the special rates and apply for the transfer within that span of time. As per the credit card offers laws that are applicable in various states, the banks will have to roll out the introductory offer for at least a period of six months.
Rate of interest after the introductory period
Most people get carried away by the fact that they are getting zero percent interest on the card that they fail to realize that after the introductory period expires, the card will revert to the normal interest rate levied by the back. This is the reason for most customers to be taken aback when they see their credit card bills after the first six month window. In order to avoid these unpleasant surprises, find out the APR that will be applicable after the introductory period elapses. Also, enquire is the new interest rates would hold good for purchases being made from then on or if the change would affect the existing amount due on the balance transfer.
Hidden charges and fees
This is the most important factor to take into consideration. Though most banks are transparent about the balance transfer charges on credit cards, there are a few financial institutions that offer a zero percent interest on the transfers but have a myriad of other charges that need to be borne by you. Find out all the hidden charges and other applicable fees before you avail the balance transfer on your credit cards.