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CU System
New Balance Transfer Day focuses on credit cards
CHICAGO (12/5/11)--Bank Transfer Day proved so successful that it has spawned a number of other special dates devoted to moving money around in the nation's financial system. Among them: Balance Transfer Day, earmarked for Dec. 11 and targeting credit card accounts.

Balance Transfer Day calls for consumers to apply en masse for low-interest credit cards on Sunday to send another message capitalizing on anti-big bank sentiment. It aims to get credit card holders to transfer their outstanding debts from high-interest-rate credit cards to cards with 0% interest and zero-balance transfer fees issued by credit unions and small community banks, said The Street.com (Nov. 30) and Huffington Post (Dec. 2).

Balance Transfer Day is not associated with Bank Transfer Day or its founder, Kristen Christian, whose Facebook page became a major national social media event when it swelled with thousands of supporters after she designated Nov. 5 as Bank Transfer Day.  Although that event was not sponsored or run by credit unions, credit unions became the beneficiaries of the anti-bank sentiment when nearly 700,000 people switched accounts to credit unions in the weeks leading up to Nov. 5.  The Street.com article quoted the Credit Union National Association's statistics on the sudden growth about the impact.

The people behind the Dec. 11 event, Music for Change, worked on a financial literacy campaign with the Occupy movement last summer to educate people about how banks and credit card providers attract consumers with introductory 0% interest rates that end several months later and switch to much higher rates.

Balance Transfer Day, however, has a much larger hurdle than pulling deposits from an account: credit ratings. Zero-percent rates are used to attract consumers with high credit scores. Not every consumer has the credit rating to obtain a lower rate on their credit cards, said the Huffington Post. CardRatings.com noted that consumers with a FICO score lower than 700 are unlikely to qualify for the promotional deals.

In addition, another campaign called "Move Our Money" is made up of churches, community organizations and labor unions that say they want to remove $1 billion from big banks and put them into local credit unions and banks, said TheStreet.com.


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