Q: I know these credit card deals that give 0% for the life of the balance are rare, but I remember seeing them occasionally a few years ago. Are they available from anyone in 2014?
A: Although these weren’t extremely common, indeed there were several credit card companies that did occasionally offer 0% balance transfer for life of balance. Unfortunately, those deals are long gone and unlikely to reappear. Here’s why:
Tighter Lending: Ever since the “great recession” banks have gotten much tougher with lending. It used to be that practically anyone with a pulse could borrow to their hearts content. However today, even those with the best credit scores sometimes have difficulty just getting a decent amount of credit.
Credit Card Reform: One of the drawbacks was that the reform made 0% balance transfer for life offers much less lucrative for the card issuers. It’s extremely difficult for them to raise rates on a customer’s account now even if their creditworthiness deteriorates significantly, making these types of long term offers more risky for the bank. And to be honest, these so called lifetime deals were just an illusion. Banks could and eventually would take them away at some point since they could reprice balances at any time for any reason.
Will 0% for life balance transfer offers ever make a comeback?
Unfortunately no. Due to the stricter underwriting standards and new consumer protection laws there is really no way that we will ever see promotions like this again.
What’s the next best option?
There are still some techniques you can employ to save money on interest:
The “Balance Transfer Game” – If you plan on carrying the balance for more than a year, you can always shuffle the balance between cards. For example, you could put it on one card that offer 0% interest for 15 or 18 months and then move the balance to another card with the same promotion once the period is up.
Low Interest Rate Cards: If you want to keep the balance on only one card for the entire time, your best bet would be to of course put it on a card with an extremely low rate. Before the recession it was possible for those with excellent credit to get cards with standard APRs under 5%, however not even those are available anymore. These days average rates even for those with excellent credit start at around 11 or 12 percent, unfortunately.
What’s the current best card for balance transfers in 2014?
We maintain a sponsored listing that is updated daily with the absolute best offers on the market. Here’s where you can check them out: Best Credit Cards For Balance Transfers