Pros and Cons of Using Free Balance Transfer Checks to Pay Down Debt

It's a temptation many of us face every time we bring in mail from the mailbox: should we use those free 0% interest balance transfer checks that come packaged with credit card offers?

With many Americans now carrying debts of $10,000 or more on cards that charge anywhere from 20% to 35% interest, a low- to no-introductory rate can seem like a godsend - a chance to finally get those high-interest debts under control. But there's more to the story, caution Chicago bankruptcy attorneys.

In the best case scenario, you'll transfer your debt to the new card and use every cent that you save on interest to pay down your balance quickly. Instead of paying $1,000 or more a year in interest, you'll be shaving that thousand off your balance, further helping you lower overall debt. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work that way.

Often times, we get so excited about not having to pay interest, that we neglect to pay attention to the fine print--which usually states that our rate will bounce back up after an introductory period of anywhere from 24 months to just six months. Instead of working hard to pay more than the minimum, we just keep doing what we were doing before. And when the promotional period expires, our rate jumps up to, say, 25%. In some cases, we end up paying even more than before since many 0% offers actually require 4% or so upfront to transfer the balance.

Debt transfers can work wonders for some folks - but more often than not, they take your debt from bad to worse. If you're hoping for a quick fix, a 0% interest credit card will only bring disappointment. Instead, why not seek out a long-term solution? Bankruptcy can lower debt over a time period and payment schedule that works for you - in some cases, your debts may even be discharged. Imagine paying lower interest permanently, not because of a soon-to-expire promotion, but because you simply have way less debt. Bankruptcy can make it possible. And it's free to find out more when you give a complimentary personal debt analysis with a Chicago bankruptcy lawyer a try.

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