By Deborah Nayrocker
Dear Deborah: I recently received some convenience checks in my mailbox from my credit card issuer. The checks come with a promotional 0 percent APR. I don’t use my credit card that much and when I do, I always pay off my bill when I get it. Should I go ahead and use these convenience checks? – Karen
Answer: Advertised as an easy way to transfer balances or to get cash, these checks are usually linked to your credit card account. This may look like a good deal, with the offer of 0 percent APR in large print. But don’t let the large print fool you.
Read the fine print with terms and conditions for any hidden fees. This will show what kind of a deal you are really getting.
It’s probably best to avoid using these promotional checks. They are a more costly way of borrowing money.
Here are some of the high costs:
- There is usually a fee of 3 to 4 percent of the check amount.
- Consumers are likely to be charged the interest rate for a cash advance.
- Users will be paying interest right away since there isn’t a grace period.
- The convenience checks don’t have the same purchase protections as credit cards.
- These checks usually don’t earn rewards.
- If you do not plan to use these convenience checks, it’s best to shred them. This helps protect you from possible fraud. You can also contact the credit card company and request that it stop sending the checks.
Deborah Nayrocker is an author and columnist. She is the award-winning author of The Art of Debt-Free Living and Living a Balanced Financial Life.
Copyright by Deborah J. Nayrocker. All rights reserved.