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I have a wide array of credit cards that I use to maximize rewards. Every now and then I get an offer in the mail from one of the cards I haven't used in a while, offering 0% APR on balance transfers for an x amount of months. The catch is that they always come with a balance transfer fee between 2% and 5%.

I just found out that there are credit cards out there that do not charge a balance transfer fee:

  • PenFed Promise
  • BarclayCard Ring
  • CapitalOne VentureOne
  • And a few others

Now, ignoring the offers they usually come with at account opening, do these cards still not charge a balance transfer fee when they run a 0% APR offer on balance transfers to current customers later on? Or because they don't charge balance transfer fees do they not run these special offers at all?

  • This seems hard to answer since the scope is so narrow. The company has to make money somehow, so having no fee and zero interest seems too good to be true. – JPhi1618 Apr 13 '16 at 13:48
  • I have a PenFed Promise card, and can confirm that the balance transfer fee is 0%, but there is an APR on BT, I think it's around 4-5% right now. I don't recall the APR for BT on that card ever being offered at 0%. – TTT Apr 13 '16 at 18:36
  • Citibank once had a negative balance transfer fee (ie, reduced how much you owed), but that was ages ago. Most banks are more cautious now about assuming consumers will revolve debt after they transfer. – barrycarter Apr 15 '16 at 14:54
  • Such deals did exist at least 10+ years ago. I eliminated my credit card debt by transferring between several such offers so principal reduction was maximized by not paying any fees or interest. – topshot May 22 at 19:17
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Many credit card companies "offer" no transfer fee and 0% interest rate in offers that they send out via USPS or by e-mail, but when a person with reasonably good credit scores actually responds to such an "offer", the terms magically change to a transfer fee of x% of the amount transferred. It is only the people who have relatively poor credit ratings who actually get the no-transfer fee and 0% interest for y months (3 to 18, perhaps even 24) offers.

See the answers to Can I negotiate a 0% transaction fee with my credit card company? or How to interpret this paragraph from a crest card company? and Why do credit card companies keep advertising balance transfer offers to those who don't carry a balance? for some details on how these offers really work in real life as opposed to that the ads tell you.

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It depends. I've had a Penfed Promise before and even though there are no balance transfer fees (or maybe even because of it), I was never offered a 0% APR. However, I have seen two true "zero/zero" balance transfer offers, and neither of them was with banks known as "no-fee" cards:

  1. My wife received a no-fee 0% APR from Amex (an image can be found here)
  2. I was offered zero/zero from BofA on a new card, which I ultimately accepted to take advantage of the 0% for 15 months.

Ultimately each bank independently makes it's own decision about who they want to market zero/zero offers to, and it doesn't seem to matter what their normal rates/fees are. Using your wording, I'd call no fee 0% APR an "exception" to the rule.

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