Anyone thinking of using those checks, BE CAREFUL. They are another minefield planted by the CC companies to separate us from our money.This is too general a warning. Convenience checks are not always bad things. I average a mailing of these checks about once a week. True, many of them are loaded with traps, complete with cash advance fees and high APRs. Those checks go straight to the shredder.However, I do occassionally (once a month on average) receive good deals with cash advance fees waived and low teaser rates. When I get these checks, I reevaluate my current debt allocation and see if using one of these checks puts me in a better position.I recently used two convenience checks from AT&T Universal Card (formerly with no balance) to transfer balances from two other cards. The terms? No cash advance fee, the ability to use up to my entire credit line and, the best part: 4.9% APR until the debt is completely repaid!!Tell me I wasn't Foolish to pay off two other credit cards and accept 4.9% fixed until the debt is repaid. About 2/3rds of my total credit card debt is now locked into this 4.9% fixed.The only catch is that the regular APR for the card is high (not sure what...it doesn't matter because I always used to pay it in full). After I paid off the previous month's charges (had a zero balance again), I did the transfers. Now I don't use the card because if I did, the purchases would accumulate interest at the higher rate and would not be able to be paid off until I paid off all the 4.9% stuff first.The end result? Most of my debt is locked securely into 4.9% until I pay it off. It lets me sleep much more soundly, without chasing any more teaser rates.The bottom line is that it's important to read the fine print before using convenience checks. Some of the time the terms are really attractive; some of the time they are not.DanaFoolishEngineer
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