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I am trying to decide between a CitiBank and Discover balance transfer offer. When reading the terms for CitiBank, it appears as if the transfer can take up to 4 months. Is this true? If so, would paying the higher Discover fee but getting a faster transfer make more sense?

By , CardRatings Contributor

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Question: I am trying to decide between a CitiBank and Discover balance transfer credit card offer. When reading the terms for CitiBank, it appears as if the transfer can take up to 4 months. Is this true? If so, would paying the higher Discover fee but getting a faster transfer make more sense?

Answer: Great question. Actually, if you're looking into Citibank cards, a CardRatings.com advertiser, four months is the window of time you have to make any balance transfers to the new account if you want to take advantage of Citi's zero-percent introductory APR. The actual transfer doesn't take anywhere near that long--two weeks for most credit cards.

Whatever credit card you decide to apply for, you'll want to keep the new card around a while for the sake of your credit history. So as with any credit card, you should compare credit cards and select the card that is best for your particular situation based on factors such as:

  • Length of zero-percent promotion
  • Regular APR interest rate after the promotion ends
  • The type of rewards provided
  • The amount of credit offered
  • Any other particular features you like

    So let's say you find a card with a 18-month zero-APR promotion and you apply that day. The 18-month promotion starts the moment the account is activated. If you transfer $1,000 that day, and then another $1,000 three weeks later, and another $1,000 three months later, you'll pay zero interest on those transfers during the first 18 months your account is active. After that, the interest charged on any remaining transferred balance will revert to the regular rate at that time.

    But once the four-month window closes, you'll pay the prevailing interest rate on any new transfers. Hope that helps!

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