After the balance transfer drought of the pandemic, credit card issuers are coming up with outstanding balance transfer offers.
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One of the signs consumers are financially recovering from the pandemic is the abundance of exciting new offers on the credit card market.
Now, these offers include some of the longest 0% APR intro periods on balance transfer cards.
These lucrative offers were hard to come by during the worst of the pandemic, but they’re finally back. Moreover, the length of some recent balance transfer offers is exceptional, even by the pre-pandemic standards.
Let’s take a look at these game-changing offers and what they mean for cardholders.
The credit card market is officially booming
In 2020, when just about every industry in the world faced uncertainty, U.S. credit card issuers mostly played it safe. They tightened underwriting at record-high levels, actively adjusted their offers to retain current cardholders and made certain products less available – including balance transfer credit cards.
Then, as COVID-19 vaccines became available and social distancing eased, reviving the economy, the U.S. credit card market began to thaw out.
And then, it exploded.
Over the summer of 2021, lucrative credit card offers poured in one after another. Top credit card issuers improved benefits and rewards on some of the best credit cards, including the famous Chase Sapphire Reserve card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and even The Platinum Card® from American Express. The latter two also began advertising eye-popping 100,000-point bonuses.
New credit cards started to launch in various categories. We saw excellent new cash back credit cards, student credit cards and even secured credit cards.
But it’s taken some time for balance transfer credit cards to return. For a while, issuers were wary of balance transfers since defaults on those are rather costly.
Now, however, we’re finally seeing balance transfer cards available once again. Moreover, they’re better than ever.
New balance transfer offers
It all started with Wells Fargo. In July, the issuer announced it was working on a more competitive credit card portfolio and debuted the Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Credit Card. This flat-rate cash back card has become one of the most valuable credit cards in its niche.
Wells Fargo hasn’t stopped there, delivering on its promise.
On Oct. 4, the bank launched a balance transfer card – the Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card. The product starts a cardholder off with 18 months of 0% intro APR on purchases and qualifying balance transfers (12.99% to 24.99% thereafter).
That itself is a great offer, but Wells Fargo has taken it a step further by offering cardholders a three-month intro period extension if they make their minimum payment on time every month. With the Reflect card, responsible card users can get up to 21 months of no interest on qualifying balance transfers and purchases.
The very next day, Citi announced some exciting news of its own. The issuer increased the balance transfer period on the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card and Citi Simplicity® Card from 18 months to 21 months (13.74%-23.74% thereafter for the Diamond Preferred and 14.74%-24.74% for the Simplicity).
These three offers launching almost simultaneously is a good sign, any way you look at it.
First, they demonstrate card issuers’ confidence in potential borrowers. Secondly, they create healthy competition, raising the bar for balance transfer offers overall. And last but not least, they allow cardholders to rip some outstanding savings.
Should you take advantage of a new balance transfer offer?
If you have credit card debt, a balance transfer may prove to be a highly effective solution.
A balance transfer is a debt consolidation method where you move a balance from your existing credit card (or cards) to a new card with a 0% APR intro period on balance transfers.
This allows you to avoid paying any interest on the transferred balance for the duration of the intro period. Credit card interest charges can get expensive with the average APR north of 16%, so a balance transfer can provide significant savings.
That said, if you get a balance transfer card, it’s essential to make sure you finish paying off the transferred balance by the time the intro period expires. It’s easy to fall into a debt trap if you continue to spend without taking care of your balance. Do your best to avoid it, or you’ll risk accruing more debt than what you started with.
Remember that serial balance transfers are also not a good idea. They may negatively impact your credit score and signal to issuers that you struggle with debt management.
But if you have a concrete plan to repay your credit card debt and you’re ready to commit, a balance transfer card is a handy tool.
The new balance transfer offers can save you the money you’d otherwise spend on interest. They can also provide more breathing room in your budget as you’re working to reduce your credit card balance.
Those extra three months can lower the monthly payment you must make to pay off your balance in time. The higher your balance, the more significant the difference in payment amounts will be.
As balance transfer cards make a comeback, the new offers are more desirable than ever. With three 21-month intro offers coming to the market almost simultaneously, we hope to see this positive trend continue.
If you’re already working on your credit card debt repayment strategy, prepare to be patient while reducing your balance and check CardMatch for available balance transfer cards. This service matches credit cards to your credit profile, meaning you’re likely to qualify for the cards you find using the tool. Plus, browsing matched offers won’t impact your credit score.
The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.