MemberSince99 wrote:This is exactly right. While it may or may not hurt your score, it's still not a good idea. Think about why they are letting you carry a balance for a while at 0%. Is it because they are nice guys trying to save you money? NO. It's because they hope you'll make a habit out of this practice and end up paying them a LOT of interest. They make a lot of money off that part of human nature that gets complacent about things like this until you find yourself paying a lot of interest or worse are in over your head.
That's why I never carry a balance, even though a lot of my cards have had 0% for X months (and the Duck card does right now), because I don't care to start thinking that's a good thing to do.
While I agree that is why the banks offer 0%, to collect a lot of interest once the promo ends, I disagree on not taking advantage of the 0% offer - especially if you are already carrying a balance at a higher rate.
First off as others have said, it all comes down to utilization. If your limit is $4k and you are carrying a $3k balance then yes that looks bad and will drop your credit score probably by about 20-30 points.
However, your credit score uses all of your cards limits and combines them. A single bank may not extend more credit to you if you have their card maxed out, but if you have cards from say Amex, Chase, Citi, and Barclays all with $4k limits and you have a $3k balance transfer on one card and the others not being used (3k / 16k) it will not impact your score.
As for taking advantage of the offer, only you can decide if you have the self control to keep it under control and make sure it is paid off in time.
I take $20k balance transfers from Barclays occasionally - they usually come with a minimum of 12 months 0% with only a 1% transaction fee. $200 (the 1% transfer fee) is "cheap" to borrow $20k interest free for a year but I make sure I have a plan in place to pay it off in full before the promo ends. I am not using their "free" money for stock investing, but I usually can find something to use their "free" money on for a year.
As for credit score, my limits are above $200k across my cards and my score does not change at all if I put a $20k balance transfer on a card. The utilization is very small when factoring in all of my cards.
If you have the self control, why not take advantage of the bank? They do the exact same thing to you and want to take advantage of your situation so I take advantage of their offer. The key is self control and making sure you can pay it back in time!