Important Junk Mail Offers Aren't The Same

MSE_Martin Posts: 8,273
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Money Saving Expert
I opened an envelope from Capital One today telling me "congratulations you've been pre-approved for a six month 0% balance transfer card". Yet says I - surely Capital One is offering 14 months at 0% (with a balance transfer fee) and of course it is (see best balance transfers article).

What's the problem?

Sadly most people don't know current credit card deals off the top of their head. And this means that they believe the junk mail deal will be the same as the openly available deal.

Countless people apply after such mailings not realising that they are forgoing a range of other opportunities and cards which may be better. I'm remember when Mint launched, and I lived somewhere with a shared mail entrance for three flats.

Each Mint envelope had a different standard interest rate on it. This wasn't due to credit scoring, this was due to market testing.

What's the rule?

Never apply for direct mail offers without comparing them for the standard offer. Now you'll note I'm not saying 'never apply for direct mail offers'. That's because occassionally you win with them, getting a better deal than that available on the open market.

However don't believe them, forget pre-approved, forget 'top deal', be clinical and do your research.
Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert.
Please note, answers don't constitute financial advice, it is based on generalised journalistic research. Always ensure any decision is made with regards to your own individual circumstance.
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