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Balance Transfer Offers Can Help Pay Bills

You can find credit cards that charge 0% APR for a year or longer.The holiday shopping season is over. The holiday paying season has just begun.

Fortunately, credit card issuers are offering some of the best balance transfer deals in years, meaning you’ll be able to pay off your balances over time without costing a lot in finance charges or balance transfer fees.

Of course, the best way to finance your holiday shopping is to pay off your bills in full without incurring interest charges. But, if you can’t, there are some good balance transfer deals out there.

The best deal we’ve found comes from Discover, which recently improved the balance transfer offer on several of its cash-back credit cards.

On one of its More Card promotions (follow the link above), you can get 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months. That’s good, but the big kicker here is this: For a limited time, you’ll pay no balance transfer fee.

That’s right. None.

Other More Card options allow you to get 0% on balance transfers for up to 18 months. But this option comes with a 3% fee on all balance transfers made until July 10, 2012. After that, the fee increases to 5%.

Another great deal comes from Pentagon Federal Credit Union (www.penfed.org).

On just about all of its credit cards, except its new Promise card, the credit union offers a 1.99% promotional APR for 24 months on balance transfers made between Jan. 1 and March 31, 2012.

In addition to the low interest rate, the balance transfer fee is just 1% of the balance, up to a maximum of $250. So if you transfer a $1,000 balance, you’d pay a fee of just $10.

If you don’t want to pay interest and don’t mind paying a higher balance transfer fee, many banks are offering 0% interest for long periods with relatively low balance transfer fees, at least for a limited time.

For example, the Citi Simplicity card offers 0% on both purchases and balance transfers for 21 months, one of the longest periods we’ve seen. Not only that, but the balance transfer fee is a low 3%.

The card also claims that it doesn’t charge any late fees or a penalty interest rate if you’re ever late with a payment.

The AARP Visa Card from Chase Bank is offering 0% on all purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months, with a 3% balance transfer fee.

In addition, the card has a pretty good rewards program. You earn 5%, or five points per dollar, on all your purchases during the first six months you have the card. After that you earn 3% back on travel purchases and 1% on all other purchases.

None of these cards has an annual fee.

These aren’t the only good balance transfer offers available. The credit card industry has never been more competitive than it is now, so take advantage of it.

Transferring a high-rate card balance to a low-rate competitor makes great financial sense.

Just make sure you pay offer the entire balance before the low-rate period expires — on many of these cards, the standard APR is in the high teens, so if you don’t pay off the balance in time you could get hit with a big finance charge.

Compare these deals with the balance transfer credit card offers in our database.

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