If you have received an offer recently for a 0 APR credit card, you may have been very tempted to send in the form signed and ready to go. You may have seen the words “0 percent interest” and jumped at the chance to shop for six months with impunity. You may even have thought that this was the answer to all your credit card or bank loan debt, allowing you to consolidate your bills and pay one low price with no interest. And all of these things may be true. However, there are some serious consequences that you need to know about before you blindly start spending with your new card.
- Limited introductory period – Credit card companies who offer 0 APR cards cannot offer you this deal for very long or else they would not make any money off of you. So most deals last for six months, nine months, or even up to a year. This means that you will only pay 0 percent interest for this introductory period and no longer.
- High interest rate – Very often, after the introductory period is over, the interest rate charged for use of your new credit card will be higher than the average rate. Usually, it is anywhere from nineteen to twenty-one percent interest, and perhaps a higher rate on cash advances and other transactions.
- Penalty for late payments – If you pay your bill late or forget to pay it altogether anytime during the introductory period, you interest rate will immediately go up to a penalty rate. This could be as high as twenty to twenty-four percent on your entire balance.
- Limited application of 0 APR – Some cards offer the 0 percent interest on all purchases made in the introductory period as well as on all balance transfers during this time. However, read the fine print because some only offer the 0 APR on balance transfers, and they charge a high rate on purchases.
- Tricky conversion period – When it comes time to move from 0 APR to your regular interest rate, you may be charged interest on any unpaid balances from purchases during the introductory period.