Paying down debt is one of the best steps consumers can take to get through a recession.

What's on your credit card is one of the most important types of debt to rein in. One way to get control over multiple cards with varying balances and interest rates is to transfer your balances to a new card with a lower rate. In fact, many cards advertise balance transfer rates as low as 0% for a set period, which is an appealing alternative to the annual interest rates of 15% or more.

But as is often the case with credit cards, the devil is in the details. If you are planning on a balance transfer to solve your revolving debt issues, here are a few things to consider.

Teaser rates don't last: Thanks to the Federal Truth in Lending Act, credit card companies are required to outline the card's fees and rates in a table called the Schumer Box. While the information has to be present in the table, it can be confusing, given the myriad of rates and percentages included in the summary. When you locate the table (often found under the "Pricing and Terms" section of the card's introductory materials), find the section that describes the balance transfer APR (annual percentage rate). There will be a number of rates listed, one of which is the 0% APR (or other low rate) that first caught your eye. That rate is the teaser rate, and it can last for just a few months or more than a year. After that introductory period, your rate will automatically switch to the card's higher regular rate.

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