April is the month when we all enjoy the first blooms of spring. It’s also the month that 0% balance transfer cards bloomed. The average term length ofbalance transfer credit cards leaped from 11.64 months in March to 12.17 months in April. It’s not all making consumers feel lightheaded with spring fever, though. While balance transfer fees have decreased by 12% since September 2010, there are still no opportunities for cards with zero balance transfer fees and these long-stemmed offers may have peaked.
In March, we saw the average term length of 0%balance transfer credit cards increase to 11.64 months. And it didn’t stop there. In April, the term length kept on rising to 12.17 months, which is the first time the average ofcredit card offers exceeded one year since the credit crisis. According to a recent balance transfer credit card report released by SmartBalanceTransfers.com, April is likely to be the peak of these credit card offers.
Discover took the lead in April for longest balance transfer term length with 24 months at 0% APR. However, there were some drawbacks to this offer which ended in April, including only 6 months of 0% APR on new purchases and fees totaling 5%. Citibank offered the Platinum Select MasterCard with 21 months of 0% APR on balance transfers and purchases with fees of 3%, which is still currently being offered.
Although the length of these 0% balance transfer offers can be appealing, it’s important to keep the associated fees in mind. According to SmartBalanceTransfers.com, balance transfer fees also increased in March from 3.36% to 3.47%. This rate held steady through April, although they have still decreased by 12% since September 2010. Depending on the length of time needed to pay off outstanding balances, the credit card with the longest term of 0% balance transfers might not always be the smartest option.
The average term length of balance transfer offers has increased by 14% since September 2010 as credit card companies competed with one another for more assets. Moving into May, it is likely we will see credit card offers with shorter term lengths and possibly higher balance transfer fees. Discover’s 24 months of 0% balance transfer offer has ended, and we will probably see other offers wilt too.