Beware of the 0% Balance Transfer Trap
For Americans looking to consolidate their credit card debt, the vibrant personal loan industry offers a strong alternative to the balance transfer trap. Here’s what anyone thinking about consolidating credit card debt should consider before taking action.
The Hidden Dangers
Balance transfers often seem like an attractive way to manage credit card debt. However, if you read the fine print, you’ll learn that balance transfers carry significant costs and risks.
Here’s how they work:
- 3% up-front fees: Credit card companies often charge a fee of approximately 3% on all balance transfers and you pay this fee up front, which further increases your total debt. 2
- Costly new purchases: Interest rates on new and existing purchases can be as high as 30% and you can’t fully pay down those high-interest purchases until you’ve completely paid off your current balance transfer. That means you could end up paying much more on your total balance than you intended.
- More ‘gotchas’: We’ve all had times where we almost (or actually) missed a credit card payment. For some 0% balance transfer cards, missing a payment could be costly. It often voids your 0% introductory rate and places you right back where you started.
- Rate hikes: If you don’t succeed in paying off your entire balance before your low teaser rate expires, you’ll be back to paying high interest on your entire balance. In some cases, the interest rate on the new 0% balance transfer card could be higher than your old cards.
The bottom line? Although 0% balance transfer offers may look attractive on their face, they often can result in consumers taking on more debt and racking up high-interest charges and fees.3 If you can’t commit to paying off your balance within the 6-12 month promotional period, you should think twice about pursuing a balance transfer and consider other alternatives.
The Smart Alternative
Personal loan companies such as Freedom Plus offer a better alternative. With loans of up to $35,000 and as long as 60 months, Freedom Plus could offer you an affordable payment and reduce your current interest rate.
While personal loans do not offer a 0% interest period, they do offer you one low, flat rate for the life of the loan that you can trust. There are no hidden fees or annual account fees. Additionally, personal loans pay off principal every month which leads to a clear path to becoming debt free. A goal most consumers would love! You’ll know exactly how much you need to pay and for how long to become debt free.
If you’re looking for a simple, safe way to consolidate your credit card debt, Freedom Plus may be right for you. To find out if you qualify for low rates, you simply have to answer a few questions about your financial situation. Click below to get a FREE, no obligation quote today!