Credit card debt is an onerous burden to carry. Interest is accrued at high rates on existing debt as well as all new purchases. Yet smart cardholders have been able to utilize 0% APR credit card offers to eliminate interest charges while they pay off their debt.
But recently, the New York Times “Bucks” personal finance blogs found out about these longstanding offers. In her post, columnist Ann Carnns discovers “a credit card with a zero percent introductory rate that stretched for 18 months — for both new purchases and balance transfers.” Unfortunately, she does not mention which card it was.
In the world outside of New York Times trend pieces, cardholders have been enjoying these offers for years. Certainly, there were weaker offers in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, but cards with promotional financing terms of 18 months have now been common for several years.
Nevertheless, the New York Times does correctly observe that card delinquency rates are stable and that these offers are being passed on to credit card users with excellent credit.
Some of the offers with 18 months of interest free financing
The reporter in the New York Times article almost certainly received one of the two 18 month offers from Citi, as they are currently the only cards that offer 18 months of interest free financing on both new purchases and balance transfers. These cards are the Citi Simplicity and the Citi Diamond Preferred. The Simplicity offers no late fees and no penalty interest rate, which is great for cardholders with a less than perfect payment history. In contrast, the Diamond Preferred card features several valuable purchase protection and travel insurance policies. Both cards have no annual fee, but a 3% balance transfer fee and a 3% foreign transaction fee on all charges processed outside the United States.
But in addition to the Citi offers, Discover features the “it” card with an offer of 18 months of 0% APR on balance transfers, with 6 months of interest free financing on new purchases. But since the article referred to 18 months of 0% APR financing on both new purchases and balance transfers, this was not the offer received by the author.
Nevertheless, there are a few reasons why cardholders may wish to consider the Discover card. Unlike the Citi products, this card offers 1% cash back on on all purchases, and 5% back from select categories of merchants that change each quarter. There is no annual fee or foreign transaction fees for this card.
If it takes mainstream media coverage to turn on more cardholders to promotional financing offers, than it cannot be a bad thing. By understanding the terms of the best promotional financing products, credit card users can save money while they pay off their debt.