If you follow balance transfer offers as much as I do, you’ll notice certain trends.
Before the economic collapse, it wasn’t uncommon to see all types of high-risk credit card balance transfer offers.
Credit card issuers were constantly pushing the envelope to win over new customers, offering 0% APR for up to 16 months in some cases.
These same balance transfer offers had no fee, which made them quite lucrative for savvy consumers playing the balance transfer arbitrage game.
But it wasn’t long before the economy came crashing to its knees, leaving many consumers out of balance transfer options.
It seemed the party was over, with many credit card issuers reluctant to offer any type of balance transfer for a while.
In fact, card issuers were more interested in closing accounts than opening new ones, as default rates were climbing and banks had capital concerns.
But as time went on, the balance transfer offers reappeared, this time with higher balance transfer fees and shorter introductory APR.
Instead of 0% APR for 12 months, it was 0% APR for just six months. And that balance transfer fee that used to be 3% with a max dollar amount of $150 was now 5% with no maximum fee.
That persisted for a year or so, but now card issuers are back to fighting for your business.
The 0% APR for 15 months offers are back and some credit card issuers are waiving the balance transfer fee.
So is this telling of an economic recovery, or just a sign that we haven’t learned our lesson and probably never will?
Either way, it appears as if there are more options for consumers looking to avoid finance charges and that should save us all some money during these trying times.
Read more: Can a balance transfer hurt your credit score?