Banks increasing zero percent offers

In an effort to lure consumers with strong credit ratings who are also dealing with large amounts of debt, many of the nation’s largest credit card lenders are now increasing offers for cards with zero percent introductory rates.

Four of the largest credit card lenders in the U.S. are now sending out this type of balance transfer offer in hopes of getting cash-conscious, creditworthy consumers to switch to their company, according to a report from Bloomberg News. For example, Bank of America, the largest bank in the U.S. by assets, is offering consumers a zero percent rate through June 2012, significantly longer than most previous introductory periods. In return, it is charging a balance transfer fee of either $10 or 4 percent of the value of the balance, whichever is greater.

Competing banks – including JPMorgan Chase, Citi and Wells Fargo – are also releasing similar offers, the report said. Perhaps the most generous of these is offered by Citi, which is granting some customers an introductory rate of 0.99 percent through February 2013.

Many consumers have made a greater effort to pay down their outstanding credit card debt in recent months, leading to fewer instances of delinquency and default for lenders.