When Zero Percent Can Zap You
Do you receive offers from credit card companies every day in the mail? It seems like it, doesn’t it? Credit card companies are very competitive; they want you to choose their company. Every credit card company is vying for your business. They make incredible offers to entice you to apply for their services. You have to be very careful and pay attention to ALL the information detailed in the fine print of the offer in order to make a 0 APR card work for you.
One of the ways credit card companies try to get your attention is by offering you a zero percent interest rate . . .for a specified period of time. You have to watch that time frame very carefully. The credit card companies are betting you’ll forget. And, if you forget, and carry your balance past the time they’ve set for the zero interest rate period and it expires, your balance will then be subject to a higher credit card APR. More often than not, you’ll forget when the zero percent interest rate is set to expire – it’s easy to do! Or, you’ll have charged more merchandise and services than you normally would have, because your credit card company offered you a zero percent interest rate.
Questions to ask yourself before signing on that dotted line and applying for that zero percent interest rate offer: 1) Does this zero percent interest rate apply to balance transfer options only, or does it include everyday purchases, too? 2) How long is this zero percent interest rate going to last? 3) If the zero percent interest rate is an introductory offer, what is the credit card APR going to change to once the introductory offer expires?
If the zero percent interest rate applies only to balance transfers and not to general purchases, be sure not to purchase anything else with that particular credit card. Companies will generally use your payment to pay the loan with the lowest interest rate first, thereby letting your normal purchases accrue more interest.
Also, make sure you pay on time. One late payment and your 0 APR card could disappear and be replaced with a less appealing rate.
Once you see what a zero percent interest rate can do for your monthly payments, it might be tempting to only pay the minimum payments. Don’t let the zero percent interest rate trick you into only paying the minimum monthly payment. Take advantage of the opportunity this credit card offer presents to capitalize on whittling down the principal amount of your loan.
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