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Credit unions start new year with zero APR balance transfer offers

By , CardRatings contributor
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Editor's Note:  These offer's have expired and are no longer available.

Two of the country's largest credit unions celebrated last year's membership gains by kicking off 2013 with some of the personal lending industry's strongest balance transfer offers. Navy Federal Credit Union and Pentagon Federal Credit Union both announced zero APR credit cards designed for members to transfer balances from traditional banks.

In a statement to reporters, Navy Federal spokesman Jack Gaffney said that his organization opened 250,000 new credit card accounts in 2012. With more than $1 billion in new credit card balances on its books since the previous year, Navy Federal's portfolio grew significantly larger than those of rival banks. Gaffney said that members could take advantage of a new balance transfer offer during January, with no balance transfer fee and a fixed, zero percent APR for twelve months.

As the world's largest credit union, Navy Federal serves a membership that includes all Department of Defense personnel and contractors, other U.S. government personnel assigned or stationed at a Department of Defense installation, and family members. The not-for-profit organization operates with a mission to meet the financial needs of its members for their lifetime, using member retention as its primary benchmark.

Meanwhile, Pentagon Federal Credit Union released details of its own credit card balance transfer campaign for the new year, titled "It's My Life." PenFed members can qualify for zero percent APR balance transfers on six of the credit union's credit cards, bearing the American Express, Visa, and MasterCard logos. Although the balance transfers require an upfront, 3 percent processing fee, members will pay no finance charges for 18 months on balances transferred by March 31, 2013.

The PenFed Promise Visa Card and the PenFed Defender American Express Card start the year with their own special offers, enabling members to enjoy a 4.99 percent APR on balance transfers for the life of the balance. Both cards have waived balance transfer fees until March 31, 2013. Although PenFed's member base overlaps with that of Navy Federal, PenFed also allows civilians to become members by donating to partner charities that support military families.

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