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Money

The www.FedPrimeRate.com Personal Finance Blog and Magazine

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

No Balance Transfer Fee Credit Cards

No Fee Balance Transfer, Zero Percent Introductory Annual Percentage Rate (APR) Credit CardsI'd really like to see 0% intro APR, no fee balance transfer credit card return to the U.S. Credit card offers have been improving, but, these days, banks are very keen on charging a fee for all kinds of services, including credit card balance transfers.

I know from experience that the best way to raise your credit score above 800 is to spend plenty of money with credit cards, then pay all that money back. That's what I did during the last decade, as I built my business. As of last month, my TransUnion credit score is still above 800; 804 to be exact.

I very rarely use my personal credit cards these days. I use my business cards for business spending, and for personal stuff I use my personal debit card.

I was thinking of transferring some of my business-credit-card debt to another business credit card that includes an attractive, no fee balance transfer, 0% intro APR deal, but I can't find any. And I can't transfer my business debt to a personal card, since, technically, that would be breaking the rules.

Before the financial crisis of 2008, there were plenty of no fee balance transfer deals out there, with both business and personal cards. Bank of America, Citi, Discover -- they all had at least one no transfer fee 0% card.

So I guess I'll just have to wait and do my best to pay down my business cards, so that I don't get overwhelmed with finance charges.

Used My Citi Personal Card, Just In Case

Last weekend, I decided to use my Citi personal credit card, just to use it.

My Citi card has a credit limit above $30,000. The APR isn't good, but I keep the card as a backup in case of a financial emergency, and to keep my credit score high. Closing a credit-card account that has a zero balance and a high credit limit would almost certainly cause my credit score to drop. As you probably already know, having lots of credit available to you, and not using it, looks very good to credit scoring algorithms.

So I used my Citi card to keep the account active. I don't want Citi to close it due to inactivity.

Spent a little more than $69 on some gas, then paid it off right away via an online payment.

I don't drive anymore (sold my car) but I was riding shotgun in my friend's car on a trip to New York. Trip was mostly benefiting my todo list, so I paid for the gas.

I was very surprised to find that at Sunoco stations, you can't use a credit or debit card more than once in a day. This is true even if you use a credit card to pay for fuel in one state, then try to use it again in another. VERY annoying.

So I found myself with limited cash and a debit card that I can't use to pay for gas. Seemed like the perfect opportunity to dust off my Citi card and send a clear signal to the good folks at Citi that I want to keep this card alive!

Why do I insist on using Sunoco? I like the quality of the fuel, and I also very much like the fact that the company gets not a drop of crude oil from the Middle East. Does all Persian Gulf oil money fund radical Islam? Of course not! But if even $0.01 goes to support terrorism, I'm spending my money elsewhere.

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