Introductory Credit Card Offers

Updated 6 October 2021

Credit card providers have to deal with some intense competition in the market, which means there are often lots of great deals that you can take advantage of. One of the most popular ways for card issuers to get attention is the introductory offer.

Introductory offers come in a range of shapes and sizes. However, there can be drawbacks. Here are some things to look out for when checking out introductory offers:
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Balance Transfer Offers

For a specified period of time, you will pay a lowered amount of interest on balances transferred onto the card from other credit cards. The amount of interest you will pay will vary but will usually be far below the standard purchase rate while the time period could be anywhere from a few months to over a year.

The 0% offers usually last for shorter periods of time, but spend time comparing all of your options to see what you can get. If you think you can pay off your existing credit card debt quickly, you might want to choose the shorter time frames with lower interest. If you think it will take you longer to pay off your debt, it may be wiser to choose a slightly higher introductory interest rate that runs over a longer period.

Be aware of what the rate will revert to at the end of the introductory period. Depending on the card, any balance transfers left unpaid at the end of the introductory period will either revert to the standard purchase rate or the cash advance rate. The cash advance rate will usually be high, so it’s always best to pay off as much of the transferred balance as possible.

Purchase Rate Offers

Some cards may offer lowered interest rates on purchases for an introductory period. This means that purchases made during this period will attract a lower than normal interest rate, helping you to save money if you accrue interest.

Again, be aware of what the rate will revert to at the end of the introductory period. Sometimes cards that offer low rates to start off may revert to higher-than-normal rates when the introductory period finishes.

Annual Fee Offers

If you want to save money, choosing a credit card with no annual fee is a great way to do it. Introductory offers may give you the first year free from annual fees, or alternatively, there are cards that offer no annual fee ever.

There’s no real downside to this type of offer. If you only have no annual fee for a year, just be aware of when you will have to pay it, and how much you will have to pay annually in the years that follow.

Bonus Rewards Points

Rewards cards will often offer bonus points for signing up. Be sure to find out if there are any catches to being eligible for the extra points. Some offers will give you a certain number of points with your first purchase, some will give you points if you spend a certain amount on the card in the first few months, and other cards may only give you the bonus points if you purchase from a specific retailer.

The main thing to remember when it comes to introductory offers is to know what will happen at the end of the introductory period and what date this will begin to apply. If it is unclear, ensure to check with the issuer and ask them to confirm in writing. If you have not read the terms and conditions, you may not be aware that you are paying more in interest rates or that the annual fee is now being charged.

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