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The Latest Credit Card Dirty Trick: Balance Transfer Fees

» Introduction
Credit Card Companies have started playing a new dirty trick. Low interest rate balance transfers can be very effective in reducing your interest costs. However, there are deceptive provisions in some of these offers which can result in you paying several times the advertised "low" interest rate.
» Step 1
Advertising for Visa and Mastercard might tell you that some things are priceless, but everyone knows that banks and credit card companies have a hidden agenda when it comes to their customers: to siphon money from your bank account into their bank account. While there are many ways they accomplish this, there is a new trend that is particularly deceptive: excessive balance transfer fees.

As you might expect, the marketing “pitch” to use these low promotional rates sounds great. I just received one from Washington Mutual with balance transfer checks entitling me to “1.99% through November 2008.” This appeared to mean that if I borrowed $10,000 at 1.99% by using the balance transfer, my total interest cost for the entire nine months would be under $150. Sounds like a great deal, right?
» Step 2
And it would be an excellent offer if not for one little thing, which can be found in the paragraph following the one line offer of 1.99% in bold type. Several lines down that following paragraph are the following words: “…a Cash Advance Fee of 5% ($10 minimum) per check will apply.” To the credit of Washington Mutual, this information is not hidden in lightly printed six point type somewhere on the back page of the offer. That being acknowledged however, the “cash advance fee” is roughly two and one half times the interest rate of the offer.

So, it would appear that you are paying 7% for $10,000 for nine months, which comes to $525. But even that is not accurate, because the 5% cash advance fee is charged up front as a “finance charge” and you end up paying interest on it as well as on the $10,000 loan!

The way this works out is that 5% on $10,000 is $500. That is added to your loan, so your total amount owed is now $10,500. You then pay 1.99% interest on the whole thing. The net result is that you will pay closer to $650 in interest for the nine months on the $10,000, which comes to an annual interest rate of over 8.5%!
» Step 3
If you are paying double digit interest on your credit card debt, you might still want to take advantage of an offer like this. Low promotional rate balance transfers can do wonders to reduce the cost of your credit card debt and help you pay it off faster, if you choose the right offers and manage them effectively. However, before accepting any low promotional rate or balance transfer offer, be sure to work out the math to determine whether it is a move that makes sense for you.

Lawrence D. Goldberg
The Credit Card Magician
www.TheCreditCardMagician.com

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Comments & Reviews
By: george liberton
Posted:
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This article, however, shall enlighten consumers about the less popular type of credit card and that would be the non-reward credit card. A non-reward credit card does not allow you to earn air miles or win gift certificates and other cool prizes for yourself just by swiping your credit card as often as you can. Rather, a non-reward credit card lets you purchase everything you want with a lower interest rate compared to reward type of credit cards. a href="http://www.0balancetransferscreditcards.com" rel="dofollow"0% balance transfers credit cards/a
By: george liberton
Posted:
This article, however, shall enlighten consumers about the less popular type of credit card and that would be the non-reward credit card. A non-reward credit card does not allow you to earn air miles or win gift certificates and other cool prizes for yourself just by swiping your credit card as often as you can. Rather, a non-reward credit card lets you purchase everything you want with a lower interest rate compared to reward type of credit cards. [url=http://www.0balancetransferscreditcards.com]0% balance transfers credit cards[/url]
 
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