NEW YORK (Creditnet) -- If you use credit cards, you should be accustomed to receiving balance transfer checks in the mail all the time. It's no secret that credit issuers love tempting their customers with quick money!
I get these types of checks from my credit card companies on a weekly basis, but they promptly end up in a shredder along with the rest of the junk mail that overflows from my tiny mailbox. In fact, I rarely even take the time to look at them anymore.
If you ever find yourself tempted to use a balance transfer check because an attractive 0% intro APR or some other feature sparks your interest, here are two major reasons why that check should quickly find its way to being fed into your shredder.
1. You can score a better 0% interest promotion elsewhere
Credit card issuers typically treat new customers much better than existing customers. This means that you should be able to find numerous credit card offers on the market with longer 0% interest promotions than what your credit issuer is willing to offer you in the form of a balance transfer check. If you're going to take advantage of a no interest promotion, you might as well take advantage of the longest one possible.
Balance transfer fees generally run from 3% to 5% when you use a balance transfer check, and that can certainly add up fast if you're writing a check for a large sum. However, if you have a decent credit score and are willing to add a new credit card to your wallet, you can actually avoid balance transfer fees altogether. For example, Slate from JPMorgan Chase (JPM) currently waives the balance transfer fee when new cardholders transfer balances within 60 days of receiving the card. Furthermore, the Slate from Chase is a no annual fee card that offers 0% interest on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, which really makes this the ideal credit card for anyone with great credit who is interested in initiating a balance transfer. The bottom line is that the balance transfer check you receive in the mail probably isn't the best balance transfer option available to you. Consider applying for a new credit card instead, and you could enjoy decreased transaction fees and longer 0% interest promotional periods. To illustrate how this works, let's take a close look at three scenarios to see just how much more you could save by transferring a $10,000 balance from a high-interest credit card to the Slate from Chase card with no balance transfer fee.
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