Zero Percent Interest Credit Cards: An Opportunity to Get Out of Debt

Credit cards. Who needs them? Maybe you do.

While credit cards can be worse than death itself and can turn your life into a ship wreck when used poorly, they can save you money and even bail you out of a financial jam when used well.

The major credit card companies have recently realized most Americans are maxed out, leaving them in a quandary. After much marketing department scrambling, they came up with the zero percent interest credit card idea. Although I am typically squeamish about marketing, I must admit this one could work out in your favor.

Basically, the zero percent interest will last for a limited time. In the industry this is called a teaser rate. (This one is obvious.) You want to choose the one with the longest zero percent interest time. If you are one of the fortunate souls, who has excellent credit, or even if you aren’t, you can call the credit card companies and ask them to match terms or better their terms to compete with other offers. Most are so desperate, they will do it even though you are not a customer yet! Once you have the card, transfer your balances and pay off as much as you can before the zero percent interest offer expires.

Where can you get the sweetest deals? Discover’s Platinum MasterCard, Chase’s Platinum Visa, and MBNA WorldPoints Platinum Plus MasterCard all offer zero percent interest from eight months to one year.

BE WARNED OF THE CATCH!!!!
#1 Some credit card companies will apply your payments to the balances with the lowest interest rate first. Of course, these will be the purchases made with the zero interest card. Meaning, if you continue shopping, you will never pay off your debt.

#2 Most credit card companies will require a transfer fee. You must compare this fee to the interest savings you can expect to decide who is really giving the best deal.

#3 Falling behind can cost you $15 to $40 a month in late fees in some cases.

Of course, you would do well to read all of the fine print and know the post teaser interest rate before accepting any credit card, but you are a grown up and you already knew that.

Are you considering a zero percent interest card, but feeling a little guilty? Don’t. According to “Howard Dvorkin, president of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. ‘The zero percent is a good way to hook somebody'” (http://www.bankrate.com/brm/news/cc/20030207a1.asp) That is right! That how these credit card companies view you!

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