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Balance Transfer Fees on American Express Credit Cards

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Credit cards are tightening their standards and no longer being generous with low promotional interest rates on balance transfers. In fact, many cards have balance transfer fees even with their promotional offers. This information is not always immediately apparent.

I’m assembling a list of current balance transfer fees by credit card. The other day, I listed balance transfer fees on CitiBank credit cards, and today I’m adding American Express to the list.

Balance transfer offers are not for the faint of heart. They can be used to earn interest on a credit balance transfered to a bank account, but credit card issuers build traps into this process.

  • Don’t send a payment late. If you do, you will owe back interest and late payment fees.
  • Pay your entire transferred balance off before the term of the introductory offer has ended, otherwise you will owe back interest.
  • Don’t use the card for purchases; payments you make will go to your balance with the lowest interest rate first, increasing the amount of interest you’ll owe.

Updated January 12, 2011 and originally published March 12, 2008.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar 1 Anonymous

Are there all 0% balance transfers offered by these cards? If not, I am not really sure why the fee alone is important. The fee and the rate need to be examined together.

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avatar 2 Luke Landes

Steve: True — the rate is usually easy to find in the introductory offer. The fee is usually buried. That is why I’m compiling this list. At some point, I’ll go back and update the list of APRs on introductory balance transfer offers, but they’re not nearly as great as they used to be.

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avatar 3 Anonymous

I apologize if I am inquiring about this in the wrong thread; however, I am trying to transfer my balances over to one card and I’m reading the rates at american express and need help interpreting what it means. The card is 0% introductory rate for 15 months but on balance transfers submitted with this application and/or within the first 30 days of cardmembership, it’s 4.99% for life of balance. After the 30 days it goes in as a regular purchase. If I know I would be able to pay off the balance within 12 months should I wait til after the first 30 days and have it go in as a purchase and only pay the transfer fee but no APR? Or does the 4.99% get added on after the 15 months?

I think what I’m asking is, what happens within the first 30 days with balance transfers vs. after the 30 days and if I know I would be able to pay my balance before the end of the introductory period, what would be the best option for me?

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