Credit Card Balance Transfer Offers

Capital One No Fee Balance Transfers Aren’t Free

Capital One has been sending out no fee balance transfer offers to existing customers, but from what I’ve seen, the offers aren’t 0% APR. Talk about deceiving, right?

If you visit the balance transfers page when logged in, you can see what balance transfer offers are currently available for your specific account.

I was able to qualify for a no fee balance transfer at 5.99% APR for 18 months. Or I could transfer a balance to the existing purchase APR, which is substantially higher. No thanks.

While the lack of a balance transfer fee is a plus, the 5.99% APR isn’t optimal. There are plenty of 0% APR balance transfer offers out there with fees as low as 3%, and even one no fee balance transfer offer from Chase.

Let’s look at an example to compare the deals:

Credit card balance: $5,000
Balance transfer APR: 5.99%
Balance transfer fee: $0

In this example, you wouldn’t pay a fee, but you’d pay roughly $300 in finance charges (using simple math) over the first year alone.

If you were able to secure a 0% APR balance transfer offer for 12 months (or longer) with a 3% fee, you’d pay $150 upfront, but you wouldn’t pay any interest for an entire year or longer.

So while the no fee balance transfer offer may seem enticing, it would be wise to shop around for deals that result in lower overall fees.

If you’re lucky, you might be able to snag a 0% APR balance transfer deal with no fee – or you can ask the credit card issuer to waive the balance transfer fee.

Lately, Capital One has upped the ante and now offers 0% APR for 12 months with no balance transfer fee, but only to select customers. Even if you aren’t initially selected for this deal, feel free to pick up the phone and inquire about it.

Typically, if you’re a good cardholder and an offer is being extended to other cardmembers, there’s a decent chance they’ll offer it to you as well if you simply ask. So take the time to shop around and ask questions, instead of simply going after the low-hanging fruit.

Read more: Is a balance transfer a good idea?