Christie Matherne, Credit Card Writer
You can potentially extend a 0% APR on a credit card by calling the credit card company and asking them if they can extend the promotion. Success could depend on which credit card company it is, your relationship with them, your current account balance, and other factors that the credit card company won’t publicly disclose. There is no exact science to getting an extension on a 0% APR period, and it’s unlikely to work. So it’s important to remember that your mileage may vary.
How card issuers determine who gets a 0% APR extension
Think about it from the card issuer’s perspective. Promotional 0% APR periods aren’t a product of a card issuer’s kindness - they’re business decisions. And granting a 0% APR extension is also a business decision.
The current balance on your credit card may play a part in whether or not you’ll receive a 0% APR extension after you ask. If you have been racking up a big balance over the course of a long 0% interest period and you want more time to pay off the debt with no interest, you’re unlikely to fit the criteria for an extension. The card issuer stands to make more money from your high balance by charging interest. That’s why card issuers offer 0% APR periods in the first place.
On the other hand, if your balance is $0 when you call for an extension, you’re more likely to get one. That’s because the issuer will earn more in processing fees from your future purchases than they would by charging you interest on a $0 balance. Plus, the card issuer has another chance that you’ll spend more than you can afford to pay off before the end of the zero-interest period.
Threatening to close your account
Some users in forums online have had success with threatening to cancel their credit card unless the 0% APR promotion is extended. This could be a good idea, because you may get sent to a retention representative who is able to offer an extension or some other promotion.
However, other reports suggest that if your account doesn’t meet certain criteria, the card issuer may simply take your threat as an order to close your account, and send you a bill for the remaining balance on your card. If your account is closed, your credit score could take a hit, and you’ll still owe any balance on the card plus the interest that accrues while you pay it off. This is clearly a risk, so it’s important to weigh out other options before you call with a threat.
Other options for extending a 0% APR period
Consider actually taking your business elsewhere. There are lots of credit card companies out there, and many have 0% APR periods for purchases and balance transfers. Some don’t even have balance transfer fees. If you have a balance on your credit card and your credit is good, consider applying for a balance transfer credit card with a 0% interest period and no transfer fee.
Keep in mind, however, that 0% APR offers won’t always be readily available, and may be less available in an economic downturn, for example. So it’s a risky move to rely on this as a future strategy.
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