First of all, no credit card is going to offer 0% financing forever. Let’s just make sure that is understood that at some point after you activate your low interest credit card, usually 6 to 12 months, your APR will increase to whatever your credit rating dictates. If you were approved for a 0% credit card offer, then your rating is probably pretty good and your APR should be competitive.
There may be fees associated with your credit card during and after the introductory period, and we will take a look at them here:
Annual Fee ? If your card has an annual fee, then there is no way you are going to get around it. The fee will be applied to your card either the second billing cycle after you receive the card, or the first billing cycle after your intro period. Annual fees are not as common as they used to be, and range anywhere between $15.00 to over $100.00 depending on the card. The terms and conditions will clearly define any annual fee that may apply.
Minimum Finance Charge ? This is fairly self explanatory. Regardless of how much balance you leave on your credit card at the end of any billing cycle, there will be a minimum finance charge. This charge differs from card to card, but is usually around $1.00. If you have an APR of 11%, and you leave a balance of fifty cents on your card, you will be charged the minimum finance charge, in this case $1.00.
Transaction Fees For Balance Transfers ? Obviously this only applies if you have made a balance transfer, but many consumers apply for 0% credit cards for the specific purpose of transferring a balance to a new card to avoid finance charges for a limited time. There will almost always be a fee applied the moment the balance transfer goes through, as well as a minimum fee. An average transaction fee is around 3% of the total amount transferred, and a common minimum fee of $10.00.
Late Payment Fee ? Another self explanatory fee, this is applied anytime you make a late payment. As it relates to 0% credit card intro offers, if you make a late payment to your creditor, then you owe the late payment fee and your APR immediately increases to either its normal rate, or its default rate which will be much higher. The fee itself is usually determined by the amount of your current balance. An example would be “$15.00 if the balance is up to but not including $250.00; $39.00 if the balance is $250.00 and over.” This of course can differ between issuers.
Over-the-Credit-Limit Fee ? This fee has become very rare in today’s market, but it’s still there. If you somehow manage to charge more than the limit of your card, which is difficult to do now that all purchases are checked electronically, then you will be accessed a fee for doing so. This fee ranges around the $35.00 area, but can be much more.
International Transactions ? Anytime currency is exchanged through the use of a credit card a conversion fee is levied. This means if you are on vacation in Italy and make a purchase using your American credit card, there will be an additional fee added to the transaction. This fee is usually around 3% of the dollar amount of the purchase. Don’t let the word International fool you though. You can get hit with this fee through internet purchases as well if the seller takes payment in anything other than US dollars.
None of these fees are so exorbitant that they look malicious, but they should be avoided if at all possible. Every fee you incur lessens the value of your 0% credit card, and could possibly increase your APR to something you would not want.