Concerned about Balance Transfer Offers with fees

This one’s just for you because of your expertise.

One of the money saving techniques I’ve been employing when we have a big expense is this:  charge it to the DiscoverCard, get my 1%…then in the meantime, apply for a credit card that gives 0% APR on balance transfers for a year and transfer the Perfectcard balance to the new card when the bill comes in.  As long as I don’t charge anything
else on it, I get use of their money for nothing and we pay it off within about eight months just to be safe.  But now, the credit cards have caught on and they’re charging a balance transfer fee.

I looked on your site,, and read about the ATT Universal card ( ) and it sounds like it would work…no balance transfer fee, no annual fee…is there any catch?  Also, I’m kind of in a hurry because we bought all our new appliances this afternoon and I’d rather use somebody else’s money than cash in our mad money savings bonds.

Any info, tips, or snags to watch out for (besides the obvious, pay on time and charge nothing else on the card until the balance transfer’s paid off)?  Thanks for any additional info you can give me.  I was thinking of trying to do it by phone if it’ll get me the card faster (my Perfectcard bill will come in within about two weeks and they give me
only about ten days to pay it off) but I think you say on the site that you have to apply online to get the balance transfer with no fee?

Also, if you know of any other cards that would work for this purpose (no balance transfer fee, no annual fee, etc.), let me know…we’re going to be paying for flooring and shutters soon and those will be big tabs too.

Anyway, let me know what you think…and thanks, your site is very helpful, I just want to make sure.

-Nancy Gray

It looks like you do the exact thing that I do when it comes to the 0% offers.  That is funny.  I guess a lot of people do that.  It is like free money for 8 months or so and I normally do it for 10 months to be safe if it’s for a year.  You just don’t want to accidentally miss a payment and make sure that card is either torn up so you don’t use it or stashed away with a note on it.  I noticed more and more offers are for 6 months instead of 12 though which does not help too much.

I just looked at the ATT Universal card and looked at the fine print below to make sure but it does not charge a balance transfer fee.  Before you apply for a card make sure you scroll down after you click on a link to the cards website and read the fine print and make sure it includes this:

“The transaction fee for balance transfers is 3% of the amount of each balance transfer, $5 minimum, $75 maximum. However, there is no balance transfer transaction fee on balances you transfer in response to this offer. The annual membership fee is $0.

This basically says you get the Balance Transfer fee-free in response to this offer only.  So make sure you put in the BT information when you apply.

Most Citibank cards do not have balance transfer fees and some Bank of America Cards are the same.  Chase normally charges them and you can’t transfer to a Chase card anyway since it’s a Chase card you made the purchase on.  So I recommend either a BOA or Citi Card.  Here is a link to my list of cards that are not supposed to have BT Fees.  Make sure you double check the fine print before applying or transferring because these card companies change things on a weekly/daily basis:

Thanks for writing!
*RewardsCards Support*

Okay, wait, I hate to be dense but

1-should I NOT apply for the ATT card?

2-I should apply for a BOA or Citi card instead?

Yes, I put the cards I do this with in a drawer with a note (just like you said) saying “DO NOT USE”…I don’t even carry it with me.

Okay, never mind…I applied for the Citibank Upromise (gotta send those cats to college) because it gives a year…the first one on the list only gave six months…and yes, it did have the “there is no balance transfer fee” line.


Did you fill out the application and submit it?  If you filled out the application and it did not mention the BT then don’t worry about it.  I am surprised it did not ask you that on the application though.

I do not see a BT area on the application but it may be on the 2nd page after you fill it out.

You do not have to have the current Chase bill to do a BT you can just say any amount like $3,000 and put in the address/info from an old statement (if it asks for that).

-RewardsCards Support

I didn’t know that, should have read your first email more carefully the first time.  I didn’t notice anything re balance transfer but there was an additional page with offers for things like credit protection etc and maybe it was on that page, I didn’t read the whole thing.  I’ve never done this online before; always apply by phone because somehow it seemed safer.

This is the first time I’ve applied for credit with our new reduced income.  Hope it doesn’t slow down the works.  Felt so poor filling in the new amount.  But we’re fine; we’d already been living on pretty much that amount because of all the money we had taken out for thrift savings plans.  Which is, I think, the best financial advice anyone ever gave us…someone told me to get used to living on what we’re going to get in retirement and save the difference…they were absolutely right, made for a smooth transition, at least so far.

Thank you again for all your help…by the way, your site is REALLY GOOD, gives a lot of information in an easy-to-understand, friendly tone… Congratulations, no wonder the Wall Street Journal gave you props!



Thanks for the compliments.

I hope you did not put down a lower income than what you made last year.  They will not count what your new income is until you do taxes next year (from what I understand).

If you need to call them to add the balance transfers or you can prob add it when you get your card but ask the rep that there is no fee.  I think you will be ok…
AT&T Universal Card Customer Service is available 24/7 at 1-800-423-4343.

Thanks Again!
-RewardsCards Support