June 16, 2010, 7:38 am

Credit Card Balance Transfer: My Experience with MBNA Reviewed

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Banks and You,Pay off your Debts
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Last week, I mentioned that I applied for a low interest rate balance transfer credit card. I need some temporary financing and I think that such credit cards can give me a nice cash advance for a low rate. I had been looking around to see what my options were. Sadly enough, there are no 0% balance transfer offers available in Canada at this time! The cheapest one I have found was at 1.99%. All right, 1.99% on $10,000 only makes $199 of interest after a year. So in the end, it’s not that bad (especially if you compare it to a 8% loan or a 15% credit card!). Since I have had a positive experience with MBNA in the past (I once had a Montreal Canadiens credit card ;-) ), I decided to go with them once again.
 
 
After applying online, I decided to call MBNA to see if they had received my application (the last page of my application didn’t refresh properly). Interesting enough, I waited less than 2 minutes on the line before speaking to a human being.
 
 
The lady was really helpful and found my application right away. She asked me if I wanted to review the application on the spot so they can issue an immediate approval (thinking that my credit card bill was due in mid-June, I jumped at the offer!).
 
 
The MBNA process is quite straight forward. They validate your identity, the information that you filled in the application and go a little bit deeper (they asked me if I was a home owner, the amount of my mortgage payment, they looked at my credit bureau with me and validate all debt there are).
 
 
The nice thing is that they take your word for it. For example, she asked for more info on my salary but never asked for any proof. I just had to describe what percentage of my income was base salary and how much was variable.
 
 
After she had validated my application, she was able to give me my authorized limit… drum roll please…. $13,000! I was quite happy because this means that I will be able to pay off my parents in full 2 weeks from now!
 
 

The problem with balance transfer credit card offers

 
 
I have noticed that there is one huge catch to making a balance transfer to another credit card. The catch is that we are human! What does this mean? It means that while I might only need to transfer 8 or 9K, I will likely transfer 12,000$ to my regular credit card to ensure I have enough room to pay everything. The problem is that I have just created a $12,000 debt at 1.99% payable in full 10 months (or pay through the nose)… I will have to be very careful to pay it off on time!
 
 
How the credit card balance transfer works
 
 
Once I get my card, I simply have to call to activate the card. Then, they ask me how much to transfer and to which credit card. They make the payment for you so you don’t have to worry about anything. The most important thing is to make sure that your credit card bill is not due on short notice. If you are planning to get a 1.99% balance transfer credit card, I would suggest that you start the process just after you paid your credit card bill. Therefore, it will give you about a month to complete the transfer. In my case, it will take about 2 weeks to have everything completed (the card approved, receive it and transfer the credit card balance over to MBNA).
 
 
I received my card only a few days after calling. When I called to activate the card, they were quite fast to complete the whole process. A big thanks to Trevor and Ticker for the comment on my previous posts about the credit card terms and balance transfer fees. This gave me the occasion to ask the guy what the exact process was. Here it is:
 
 
-         The balance transfer is done within a week. They send the money to the other credit card company by electronic transfer.
 
-         If you miss a payment on your credit card, the 1.99% rate disappears and you jump to the killer regular credit card rate.
 
-         If you go over your credit card limit, the balance transfer deal ends as well and you go back to a normal credit card rate.
 
-         You have 10 months at 1.99%, after that, it’s over. So you are better off not fooling around with this debt!
 
-         There is a fee of 1% of the amount transfered to organise the balance transfer
 
-         The payment to my credit card took 3 days (they say 2 to 5 business days).
 
-          The card is platinum but doesn’t look like one. The design  is not that great ;-)
 
-          But, the fact that the card is platinum doubles your warranty on your purchases up to 2 years.
 
 
Overall, the credit card balance transfer won’t cost me too much and it will help me paying off the loan from my parents faster than expected. On the other hand, I will shortly setup a payment plan to make sure I pay off and remove this debt from my balance sheet by the end of the year!
 
 
So if you are thinking about doing a balance transfer, I truly suggest to try the 1.99% MBNA Platinum credit card:
 
 

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Comments

Ok I am curious. When doing a balance transfer, is there any kinf of impact on my credit rating? I ask because if I’m not mistaken, these are often done by those who have a lot of debt…so just wondering?

What rate will you be paying after those 10 months?

Couldn’t you simply transfer to another ard at that point?

When doing this I look at the final interest to be paid, in this case 2.99%:
- 1% of the amount transferred added to your credit card balance when the transfer occur. (you will be paying 1.99% ARP on this amount as well)
- 1.99% ARP for the term.

@IS

the fact of transferring your balance from one card to another won’t affect your beacon score. However, what does affect it, is when you keep your credit card balance to the maximum or if you miss any payment.

In my situation, this should not affect my credit score as I applied for additional credit. Therefore, instead of having 11K on a 12K card, I have 11K owed on a possibility of 25K (since I just got an additional credit card of 13K).

@BMSP,

this is why you better not miss a payment and go back to the “normal rate”. It is 19.95%! I rather pay it off within the next 10 months instead, I don’t want to jump from one card to another. Keeping balance on credit cards is not something I like!

Mnn, I thought 0% are still around for 15 months (gotta check RFD on that)

For me, it did impact my AMEX as AMEX noticed I have a large revolving credit line (19K more from MBNA 0% with 1% BT fee) and reduced my limit for $8K to $1.8K
No matter, I stop using AMEX then

and those application do mean hard inquiry so should reduce beacon score a bit

My VISA and MC remain unaffected

I BT’ed to my LOC and use it as cash :)

Once the 15 months is up, if promo is still there, you close the card, rinse, and repeat again. This is my 2nd 0% BT, and gladly used them in the recession as S.M.

@ Jerry,

If you find a 0% deal, let me know, I wasn’t able to find any on my side :-(

The inquiry will temporary affect my credit score but if I don’t do any other inquiries for the next 3 to 6 months, it will go back to its original state.

when did you do your last transfer?

I have two cards from MBNA: one holds my debt balance (currently down to $8000) and the other, the platinum, for purchases, and to receive 1% back on my May statement annually.

A good thing about this card is that you can opt out of paper bills. When you sign up for online billing, you can ask for an email reminder when the billing period ends and the statement is ready. This way you will not miss a payment, resulting in the skyrocketing interest rate!

The bad thing is that I already forget when the interest rate goes from 0.99% (in my case) to 9.99% (an interest rate I negotiated with them for being a good customer for nine years ;) )

by: The Financial Blogger | June 17th, 2010 (6:27 am)

@ARP299

I must admit that I was a bit disappointed to find out that there was a 1% fee for the transfer. While 2.99% is still a good deal, it is still annoying to find out about fees during the transaction.

@Karissa,
got to be careful with credit cards, they should not be a long term financing tool. Try a consolidation loan, you will get a smaller rate and monthly payments will force you to pay it down faster ;-)

Interesting enough, they have it all listed online and you just have to click it

http://www.mbna.ca/card_directory.html

Platinum Plus – 0% for first 15 months

0% introductory annual interest rate† on balance transfers* and cheque cash advances for 15 months
Around-the-clock fraud protection
Online access to your credit card account
Unparalleled 24-hour customer service
International acceptance at millions of locations
No annual fee

@ Jerry Hung,

Thx for the info but this card is not for balance transfer.

Be carefull, the 0% is applicable on new purchase, they charge 19.99% on balance transfer.

So it’s only good if you are about to make a major purchase, not to do balance transfer. Nonetheless, 0% for 15 month is a good deal.

is there any restriction to keep the 0% over that period (always read the fine prints ;-0 )

Okay, I’m curious. Since the day I read this post, I am wandering if the transfer is only between credit cards or can it work with a margin or a personnal loan?

I might buy a new (used) car and was thinking how can I avoid the prohibitive 11% to 14% rates «offered» by financial institutions ;-)

@mamazen: with both of my MBNA cards, with a phone call they will transfer the amount I authorize into my bank account. A reminder of the 1% fee though which can be costly.

by: The Financial Blogger | June 24th, 2010 (7:52 am)

@Mama Zen,

they even told me they could send me a check, so yes, you can do the transfer to pay off whatever you want ;-)

Cool, thanks for the answers, I’ll take a serious look at it! Even if it is only for a year, it might be worth it to transfer to a lower interest… and put the balance after 1 year on my regular line of credit.

by: The Financial Blogger | June 30th, 2010 (8:11 am)

It will give you a break for 10 months :-)

Nope: now there is an offer at 0% for 15 months! :-) I seriously think to make this move, according to my estimations I might save around 700$ by doing this. It would be 700$ more in my pockets ;-)

by: The Financial Blogger | July 2nd, 2010 (10:18 am)

@ Mama Zen,

be careful, this offer is only on new purchases, not balance transfer!

The request form mentionned: Promotional rate on balance transfers (including cheque cash advances): 0% for your first fifteen billing cycles that post to your Account within 120 days of your Account opening.

My Visa is actually paid automatically each month (rate 9,9%). My upcoming problem is… MY CAR. So I chose to ask for this specific card because the promotional rate included cheque cash advances.

I’ll wait to receive the whole documentation before making any final decision.

The point is that actually, if you want to buy a used car, most banks offer rates of 10% to 18%! To me, it’s simply impossible to accept ;-) it’s robbery!!! My credit line cost me about 7%. I don’t want to use my credit line because if I do so, I will use more than 80% of it, which is too much stress for me. I prefer to manage fix monthly payments for 15 months. After, if there is a balance due, I will pay it with my credit line if I have no other solution (but I’ll work hard to pay it off in 15 months!).

Right now, I don’t want to buy a new car. It’s too expensive and my husband is still at school. But our car will not «survive» until fall so it’s kinda time to make a move with a «transitionnal car».

Anyways, if it doesn’t work I will simply cancel the request, no stress… and pray for my car to survive until october!

by: The Financial Blogger | July 4th, 2010 (2:32 pm)

that’s kind of stupid to offer both (the 1.99% and the 0%)… I don’t get it… and I feel that I got fooled too !

That’s really weird, I agree. Just click your own link in this post… you’ll see the offer at 0% for 15 months. I called and they asked for a «priority code» which I was unable to provide (there’s no code on the eform!). And because I am with Desjardins, balances transfers cannot be done automatically by them so… I had to call anyway.

I asked for the card at 0% for 15 months, the girl took my coordinates and… the communication got cut. I called back, talked to a guy who filled the right form for me (this was on last Friday) but no news yet… I was annoyed because I had the feeling that the first girl cut the line and it wasn’t an accident. I was kinda feeling like «now miss we have your coordinates, you’ re gonna receive letters from us again every month or so». And yesterday… guess what was in my mailbox! A letter for a gold card, 1,99% for 10 months… God I am mad!!! Anyways… Wait and see what happens next.

UPDATE: nothing happened. I never received anything but the letter for a gold card offer they mailed me.

Anyways, I bought my new car already, without them. Maybe it’s better this way… rien n’arrive pour rien.

Interesting, maybe the card doesn’t exist after all ;-) hahaha!

I had put a rush on mind when I ordered it and they sent me 2 cards… I wonder if the 2nd works ;-D

LOL! They called me back yesterday for a follow up… I was really surprised. I asked them to cancel the request. I would’nt know what to do with this card now that I bought my car. I love my new car :-)

But I am sorry to say that I am really far from impressed by MBNA. They made a follow up almost 3 MONTHS after my request… faiiiillll! ;-)

You can even use this technique to pay off high interest rate cards with their OWN offers. I recently received a credit card check offer at a low percentage rate for 12 months. My small debt on that card was at a high interest rate, so I decided to write the check for cash, and then use the cash to pay off the credit card debt. There was a small transfer fee, but I still came out way ahead. Now, as the author said, if I stay current and pay the loan off in 12 months, I will have saved a large sum of money. Anyone can do this, just stay observant for these offers, and then be committed to a repayment plan. It will work.

[...] The Financial Blogger discusses his Balance Transfer experience with MBNA which is the Canadian partner of Bank of America. [...]

You should check out the MBNA 0% 15 mo card thread on Red Flag Deals. I’ve used it successfully. There is a code in there to use.

You can also negotiate the balance transfer fee down to 0.5%.