Why I Took Advantage of a Competitive Balance Transfer Offer

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Why I Used Barclay's Balance Transfer Offer

Why I Used Barclay’s Balance Transfer Offer

***Before I get into my offer and why I ultimately used it, I want to caution everyone that you should never spend money you don’t have for credit card rewards. If you are going to carry a balance you’ll almost always pay more in interest than your points are worth.***

There are so many ways to go a little overboard in this hobby. I recently committed myself to meeting the sign up bonus spend requirements for 4 cards then to top it off I realized I had only met 1/2 the 15k spend for my Hilton free night. Basically what I’m saying is that I needed to spend around 20k in a short period and to make matters worse, I was a little lower on cash than usual due to a recent large purchase.

During that same period I received a balance transfer offer from my JetBlue Plus card and this time I actually opened it. Surprisingly the offer was for up to $12k with 0% APR for 4 months and only a 1% transfer fee. Generally the fee is 3% so this was a good offer as fair as transfer offers go. No points are earned on transfers.

Conclusion

If I was to meet all my spending requirements and pay off all the balances without incurring any extra interest I needed a little extra cash. Of course I could have withdrew money from investments but then I’d be losing interest and have extra administrative steps. It was actually easy for me to justify the 1% fee for a quick 10,000 loan.

To be clear, if I didn’t think I was going to be able to pay back the 10k by the time the into APR ended I never would have done it. Barclay’s also make the process painless by allowing you to transfer the money directly into your checking account.


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17 COMMENTS

  1. I have used this offer on both my Jet Blue Plus and Arrival Plus several times. It is an excellent way to obtain short term cash as Bethany reports. I receive these offers all year round on both cards!

  2. The Arrival card sends out these 1% offers good for 15 months pretty often, usually up to your credit limit. I’ve used them twice now.

  3. Yikes! You are falling into the trap. As soon as you say “I needed to spend around 20k in a short period” you will find a way to convince yourself to spend money on every possible thing. You should stop right away

    • This might be good advice for the masses, but anytime you delve down the rabbit hole of MS and churning you’ll find that many people like Bethany know how to do the dance without actually buying anything and thus keeping it profitable (otherwise she wouldn’t do it). In this case she bought herself an additional 4 months with only a 1% fee.

  4. @ Bethany — This is an excellent way to temporarily destroy your credit score. I took a “free” (0 fee, 0% interest) Barclay balance transfer last year just to earn interest on the “free” money. My credit score dropped from over 800 to under 700. Please let us know how much your’s dropped.

    • Mine didn’t drop enough to register an alert, so if it did go down it couldn’t of been more than three or four points. I only took out 10k which is a very low percentage of my available credit. Perhaps the amount you took increased your credit utilization ratio to an amount high enough to hurt your score

      • I was wondering about this factor as well. When you say “I only took out 10k which is a very low percentage of my available credit.” Are you referring to your total available credit across all of your CC’s, or are you referring to the credit utilization ration for just this one specific card?

        I’ve found that even allowing one credit card to close with a high util. rate can crater my credit score. It immediately bounces back the next statement period once things are paid off so it isn’t a huge deal but definitely something to be aware of.

      • Mark/Bethany: I routinely take 90% of my avail credit (but only when the xfer fee & interest are both 0) & my score drops maybe 30 points for 1-2 months & then back up when it is evident I am PAYING IT OFF (substantial monthly repayments, not just mins).

        Interest rates are rising – I can take a free loan & earn a guaranteed 2-3%? Yes please!

    • Utilization has no memory, so even if your score did drop by 100 points due to a high UR (which I don’t believe was the only thing that impacted your huge drop) it’s not something I’d concern myself with unless I needed to apply for a loan within a few months after paying it off.

  5. I don’t have Barc anymore. Is there anyway to find out online from other banks if a balance transfer offer is available?

    • I would click around in your online accounts for offers, if you don’t see anything definitely call and ask what balance transfer offers are available. You should have one on most cards it just may not be a great offer

  6. I got one a few months back for 12 months 0% APR for a 1% transfer fee. I took them up on it, I make 1.9% on my Ally account, so the money is just sitting at Ally and I’m banking a small profit. If it clouded up my credit score I wouldn’t consider something like this, but there’s no reason not to play some interest rate arbitrage if they’re going to make it this easy.

    • Can you add a few more details. How much of your credit line are you using? Like if you have a $10,000 credit limit are you using the full 10,000 or some other number? And what impact has it had on your credit score?

  7. A few months ago, I had a similar cash flow issue, and kept watching for convenience checks. All of the no interest convenience checks I received had at least 3% fees. I never got an offer I considered usable.
    The frequency of the checks seems to have dropped dramatically from a few years ago.

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