Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Today's Credit Card Offers: American Express and National City Bank

American Express sent me some checks I could use to transfer balances from other credit cards and only pay a 1.99% APR until November of this year. Only in the fine print did they mention that I would pay a fee of 3% of the total transferred, capped at $99, but still.

Here's how I figure it: If I had a balance of $3,000 that I wanted to transfer, I'd pay $90 to do so. Well, if I had a card with a 12% interest rate, $90 would be 3 months worth of finance charges. Transferring the balance, I'd pay those 3 months of finance charges up front, then get the 6 months at 1.99%, then I'm basically back to where I started from. A little savings, but not much.

On the other hand, if I had a $6000 balance and an 18% interest rate on the other card, then it would be a much better deal, because I'd be charged $99 to transfer that balance, which is roughly one month of finance charges on that other card.

I don't have any balances to transfer, so it doesn't matter, but I thought I'd share the math in case you're thinking of doing this and wondering if you're getting a good deal or not. Watch those balance transfer fees!

I also got an offer from National City for a Visa Business credit card, which will offer me a 0% APR on transferred balances until July of 2009. and this with no fee on the transfer. That's a good deal if I had a balance elsewhere. It says the card's interest rate could be anywhere from 9.99% to 17.99%. That's kind of a big range, which I find annoying, but almost all the card companies do that now. You don't get to find out your interest rate until after you fill out the application and they send you the card. Surprise! You get a 13.99% interest rate! Surprise! You get a 17.99% interest rate! And if you don't like it, you have to go through the hassle of canceling the card.

Anyway, I'm not getting this card, although it's not a bad deal.


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