The mountain of ripped wrapping paper has been cleaned up, the presents (charged on my rewards credit card, of course) are all put neatly where they belong, and the Christmas decorations are ready to store for another year. My mind has turned toward looking back over the past year and looking ahead to 2011.
I don’t really like to think in terms of making New Year’s Resolutions because so often those who make them, break them within a short while. I do, however, feel good about evaluating where I am and setting some goals as to where I want to be in the next year. If you’re like me, one of the goals you set is to be in better financial shape at the end of your selected time period be it 1 year, 5 years, or 10 years.
It’s not coincidental that at the time of the year when most of us naturally do some assessing of our lives, credit card companies are making some amazing offers. If you are wanting to get your financial house in order – or at least tidied up a bit, check out the balance transfers offers available. Among others, Capital One Platinum Prestige, Citi Platinum Select MasterCard, Chase Freedom Visa, and Discover More cards have some great introductory terms.
Why think about balance transfers? If holiday shopping or the recent economic events have left you with a large balance on a loan or credit card charging a high interest rate, a balance transfer to a zero percent card could save you a huge amount of interest. What you would be paying in interest could be applied to the principal of your balance and help you pay it down that much faster.
If you’re tired of keeping track of payments and due dates for several credit cards, transferring those balances to one card is a great strategy. This kind of consolidation simplifies bill paying and helps to prevent accidentally missing a payment or making a late payment because of too much paperwork.
When it comes to a large purchase or trying to address credit card balances that have, over time, crept higher than I’d intended, one approach I’ve used in the past is to search out a zero percent interest card to transfer all my balances to. That card is a kind of holding card for me. It holds all my debt that I am focusing on paying down. Once I transfer the balances to the card, I do not use it to make additional purchases. I figure out how much I need to pay for each month of the introductory zero percent rate in order to pay off the balance by the end of the time period. It’s a great system that has allowed our family to eliminate debt or to make some large purchases without paying interest. Meanwhile, I use another credit card to charge things like gasoline or on-line purchases. I make sure the credit card I use for purchases gets paid off every month. (And I use the card that earns the most reward points – be they frequent flyer miles or cashback bonuses!)
As long as you have a good credit rating, zero percent balance transfer offers shouldn’t be hard to find right now. The Capital One Platinum Prestige card is offering 0% APR up to 12 months. Citi Platinum Select is offering zero percent for 24 months on balance transfers with zero percent for 12 months on purchases. Discover More and Chase Freedom Visa both have 12 months at zero percent on balance transfers with 6 months zero percent on purchases. These are just a few examples.
If you are setting some financial goals for the upcoming year, it is definitely worth your while to research credit card offers available for balance transfers. Take time to compare at least two or three credit cards to ensure you are getting the best deal for your circumstances. Look not only at the length of the introductory offers, but also check on the balance transfer fees and on the regular APR the card reverts to once the introductory offer expires. Know what your credit rating is as that will determine the credit cards for which you will qualify.
The media is reporting that we are coming out of the economic recession we’ve been in and that things are looking brighter for 2011. So here’s wishing all of us a financially prosperous New Year and success in setting and meeting our financial goals.