Credit Cards Low Interest Credit Cards

Interest Rate Promotions Can Be Deceptive

Written by Hank Coleman

There are a lot of credit card promotional rates in the market available to consumers. There are so many choices that many get confused and overwhelmed. Some credit card companies have also taken advantage of consumers by luring them into deals that aren’t always clear and fine print that isn’t easily understood.

Like all financial products and purchases, you should choose a new credit card with a promotional rate that serves a purpose. Do you need to transfer balances amongst cards? Do you need to consolidate your credit card debt? Are you look to save travel reward points or airline miles?

Promotional interest rates for credit cards can be a great tool to help you take better control over your finances and save money. But, you have to be careful with the deals you sign up for and read the fine print for credit card company’s promotional interest rates. There are often a lot of stipulations that you should be aware of before you sign on the dotted line.

Understanding the Fine Print

There’s a lot of fine print that’s associated with introductory interest rate offers from credit card companies. There are terms such as introductory rate, introductory period, and balance transfer fees that you should understand as well.

Introductory Rate

The introductory rate is the initial low rate, which may be even 0%. The introductory rate is what credit card companies use to lure you to them with either a new card or a balance transfer. An introductory rate may also eliminate or significantly reduce your monthly finance charges, which can help you pay off your credit card balances faster. Typically, the introductory rate is only good for a certain period.

Introductory Period

The introductory period is the amount of time that your new, low rate lasts. The low requires credit card companies to maintain promotional interest rates for at least six months. But, consumers with good credit can often find introductory interest rate promotions that can last as long as 18 or 24 months.

Balance Transfer APR

You should look at the balance transfer APR that takes affect once the introductory period expires. In some cases, the balance transfer APR may be the same as your regular purchases APR. You’ll want to take specific note of what your new rate is after your promotional interest rate period ends.

Balance Transfer Fee

Most credit card companies charge consumers a balance transfer fee in addition to their introductory offer. Balance transfer fees can range from 3% to 5% of the amount you transfer to your new credit card. Be sure that you consider this fee when applying for a new credit card. You don’t want the balance transfer fee to eat up the amount of savings that you’ll enjoy with the new introductory offer.

Interest Rate Promotions Can Be Deceptive

The federal government often warns credit card companies against deceptive marketing of their interest rate promotions. The credit card companies often use interest rate promotions to lure consumers with zero or low-interest rates if they switch credit cards. Then, they often hit card users with surprise interest charges after a certain amount of time or if they’re late with a payment.

About the author

Hank Coleman

Hank Coleman is the publisher or the popular personal finance blog, Money Q&A. He’s also a freelance journalist specializing in retirement planning, investing, and personal finance. You can also find him on Twitter @MoneyQandA.


  • If I could only believe in people or companies that would stop scamming people, I could keep my credit cards in good shape, but when a company like FirstUSA Business Development in fl. build you a web site and never teach you how to run it for marketing, than you get scammed and have to pay the total of three maxed out credit cards off, because of these type of companies. If I had of know they we’re not going to live up to what they told me, I could of had one built for nothing, with someone else, but if you’re a dumb old poor boy you get ripped-off. These big companies have all the right answers to send your card people, so you loose.

  • May still be interested in your services. Mulling it over. However, have a question.
    1. If I order a SECURED (with my own $/deposit) as the limit to TRY to start working on my credit,. WHAT IS THE BEST COMPANY to get a visa/ MasterCard from? I Do NOT want a card specifically used at ONLY a certain store, catalog or website. Thank you.

  • I love your advice. I’m in so much debt right now , but I don’t know who to trust to help me. But also I don’t want to file bankruptcy. Thank you for always sending your help and advice.

  • This whole preoccupation with interest charges wouldn’t occur at all if the consumers were properly focused on paying off their balances in the first place.

  • Hey mike I got my credit up to 717 thanks to u but I applied for a new credit card and it went down to a 647 can u please help me with this explain why it went down so far

  • I have 0 credit after the fall in 2008 but before that, I had a bankruptcy and credit at many different institutions. Now after that fall I have 0 credit and because I did as I was told and got rid of my cards I only have accounts open in Idaho and I live in Minnesota. Can’t charge stuff and have it shipped to Minnesota for installation. I lost my house to foreclosure after losing my job and filing Chapter 7 in 2002 discharged in July of 03, in Boise. Had I found a job, I would still be living there maybe or I may have been able to sell my house. Now, because I did as I was told, since the crash I can’t get a card to save my life and I am looking for work but because I have applied twice and been turned down both times, my rating went from 696 to 636. How do I pay off my Tax Lien if I can’t earn enough to do so? Catch 22 that has not been addressed.

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