During the past few months, credit card companies have dramatically increased the length of 0% APR credit card offers. Before the credit crisis, most credit card companies offered 0% rates for six months to one year. A very long offer at that time would last 15 months.
During 2009 and much of 2010, credit card companies sharply cut back on 0% APR offers, with many only offering 0% rates for 6 months and others abandoning 0% deals altogether. Things started to change in late 2010 and have held steady in 2011. Introductory rate periods increased from 6 to 12 and then all the way up to 21 months in some instances.
Today, average 0% credit card offers still last around 12 months. However, a number of credit card companies are offering significantly longer 0% introductory periods. Here is a rundown of what the major credit card companies are offering today.
Citibank: Citibank offers the longest 0% rate on purchases and balance transferws available today – 21 months. This offer is available on the Citi Platinum card and also applies to balance transfers. Other Citi cards offer 0% rates on purchases and balance transfers that last either 7, 12, or 15 months.
Discover: Discover currently offers the second longest 0% rate on balance transfers at 18 months. This is a full six months longer than typical offers. Discover also has a range of cards that provide 0% rates on purchases for up to 15 months.
Bank of America: Bank of America largely avoids 0% balance transfer offers. They have only one card with a 0% rate on this type of transaction available. Bank of America cards that do come with 0% rates on purchases provide these rates for 12 billing cycles.
Chase: The longest 0% rate from Chase is offered on the Slate card and lasts “up to 15 months.” While this rate applies to purchases and balance transfers, not all applicants will get the fully advertised rate. In the fine print, Chase notes that applicants may be approved and offered this rate for as little as 6 months. Other Chase cards offer 0% rates lasting between 6 and 12 months.
American Express: After the credit crisis, American Express all but ceased offering 0% credit cards. At present, they have no 0% balance transfer offers and one offer with a 0% APR on purchases that lasts either 6 or 12 months, based on the credit of the applicant.
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