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Turn 0% on Purchases into 0% on Balance Transfers

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If you’ve been in the market for cards that offer 0% on balance transfers, you’ll probably see that a lot of cards now have decided to instead only offer 0% on purchases instead (such as this 0% on purchases for 15 months offer by Blue from American Express). Now, I don’t know what has led to this increase other than the cards wanting to end the whole 0% balance transfer arbitrage game but here’s a little way to turn your offer of 0% APR on purchases into a 0% balance transfer offer.

  • Sign up for Google Checkout as a vendor. You will need a website with a privacy policy, you can just start a site with Blogspot.
  • Send an invoice to yourself.
  • Pay the invoice with your 0% on purchases card.
  • Laugh at the card company’s feeble attempts to stop 0% balance transfer arbitrage gaming.

This will only work until February 2008 because Google Checkout has waived all the processing fees until then. If you’re concerned about reporting this an income, Google doesn’t track payments from the perspective of reconciling income (just like eBay doesn’t care how much you sell), and since in theory you’re paying yourself, it’s not really income. If you’re concerned about the tax and legal ramifications, I recommend you contacting a tax attorney on that.

Here are some good no annual fee, 12+ month 0% on purchases offers (if you’ve exhausted all the 0% balance transfers, which is pretty hard to imagine):

{ 8 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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8 Responses to “Turn 0% on Purchases into 0% on Balance Transfers”

  1. Hal says:

    Bad news dudes…this has already been done and Google is wise to it. Several people over on FatWallet can testify to this. I tried this in November for this very purpose and this is the nasty-gram I got from Google:

    Hello XXX,

    Thank you for using Google Checkout.

    During a recent review, we’ve found that several of your Google Checkout
    orders appear to be between buyers and sellers with similar account

    In accordance with our policies, Google will cancel and refund all future
    Checkout orders where buyers and sellers are the same individual or party.

    We appreciate your understanding. For more information, please review our
    Terms of Service at
    If you have additional questions, please feel free to respond to this

    If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to respond directly to
    this email.


    The Google Checkout Team

  2. Hmmmm……invoicing yourself for a non-existent transaction to obtain a benefit from a bank that you would not otherwise be entitled to????

    Has anyone looked into the legal issues involved?

  3. jim says:

    I haven’t looked into the legality and it seems as thought Google Checkout will prevent it… but the email does say that people were doing multiple transactions.

  4. dave says:

    been done and google’s been cracking down on it. check out this threat at fatwallet:

  5. samerwriter says:

    Further, I’m sure that just because google is waiving transaction fees doesn’t mean they aren’t paying them. If you bill yourself $10k, then pay for it with a credit card, google is likely coughing up a couple hundred bucks to the credit card company.

    I don’t mind the credit card company dealing with the 0% loan, since they’re offering the deal in the first place. But making another company pay for it doesn’t sit right with me.

    In my opinion, the more ethical way to do this is to just get a 0% card, and use it for your regular card. But rather than paying off the balance each month, just send the money to your high interest checking account instead. If you charge much at all, after a few months you’ll effectively have the same result as the balance transfer would have given you.

  6. Steve Meyers says:

    Why not purchase items with you credit card which you would normally pay cash for. Place the cash, which you haven’t spent, into a savings account each time you use your charge card. The deposits will add up and after awhile you will have a chunk of dollars.

  7. ramesh says:

    Be very careful while doing this. I did this with American express using google checkout and American express cancelled all my and my wife’s credit cards, all at once.

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