Balance Transfer Checks- Opportunities to Save
Tis' the season for credit card offers! In particular, it seems that from November through February marks an increase in marketing from credit cards you already have- particularly if you haven't been using them in awhile. Credit card companies spend quite a bit of money on marketing to attract new customers-and it's always cheaper to keep customers they have rather than trying to find new customers.
What you may find waiting for you in your mailbox is a balance transfer offer from one of the credit cards you already have. The very best balance transfer offers are in the form of checks that offer 0% interest, but there are a number of other offers you might receive with 3.99% interest or 6% interest and no balance transfer fees. All of these offers may actually offer you a good deal depending on what you decide to do with them.
For example, if you were to use a balance transfer check with 3.99% interest and a fee of 3% of your total amount to pay off a credit card or loan with 11% interest- as long as the dollar amount you borow from the balance transfer check is high enough, you're going to be saving enough money to make that a worthwhile fee to pay. You'll also be able to pay off the balance much sooner with the lower interest rate even by making the same amount of payments each month- since more of your payment goes to principal
What many people don't realize is that they can actually get a balance transfer check from one of these low or no interest offers, and deposit the check into their own, personal checking accounts. Once you've deposited the money, you can use it to pay off a variety of debts that you owe that are costing you more than 3.99% interest (or whatever the interest rate is on the balance transfer check offer you've received); and save quite a bit of money!
There have been people who purchase cars using a balance transfer check offer. If you're lucky enough to receive an offer for 0% interest on the life of the balance transferred (with checks); you can buy and pay for a car without any cash up front and without paying any interest. How great is that?!
Other uses for the low or no interest balance transfer check offers: a buy now, pay later holiday shopping season! If you deposit the check from the balance transfer offer into your own account, you could use that money to finance your holiday shopping. This is a good idea if you get a 0% interest offer; or if you were planning to use a higher interest credit card to make your purchases. By using the balance transfer checks in your own checking account, you save on interest and have more time to pay for the purchases which means you aren't hurting your wallet too much.
Home improvement is another good candidate for using balance transfer checks. Once again, just deposit the balance transfer check that you write to yourself into your own account, and then hit the home improvement store for the items you need to make the repairs or complete your latest project.
As long as you make your monthly payments on time, you'll be able to keep your 0% or low interest offer on the balance transfer. Making even one payment late can be grounds for a rate increase, as well as late fees, and the financial gains of using the offer will be wiped out!