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0% Purchase Credit Cards (With a Little Help From Jane Austen)

As Austen (almost) said: it is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a long 0% purchases deal.

However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering the credit card market, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the providers, that he is considered as the rightful property of some one or other of their products.

In Austen's novel, pride and prejudice lead the characters to make poor romantic judgements and so it is in the world of personal finance where the dual reign of blanket advertising and universally acknowledged truths often lead consumers to make choices that don't suit their financial situations.

This is most particularly the case in the field of credit card comparison which tend to promote the 'best' deals, often to the detriment of the person looking for a card.

For, just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder and one man may find plain that which another sees as beautiful simplicity, so 'best' is a term unsuited to the wide application thrust upon it by comparison websites.

This is particularly the case where the product in question comes replete with an introductory offer.

For example, it is the case that 0% purchase credit cards - though their deals are widely compared by length alone - are more often than not in possession of a number of other facilities which could be turned to the advantage, or indeed the detriment, of the everyday credit card user.

This is the case when one uses a 0% balance transfer offer in conjunction with a 0% purchases rate.

If one is longer than the other then it's possible for one higher-interest rate to become 'trapped' and continue to accrue interest even as one reaps the rewards of the zero percent interest rate.

For this reason, a product such as the Halifax All in One credit card is much in demand even though - at nine months - the introductory offer is hardly at the top of any tables.

If it's acceptable to draw two examples on this subject from the - infinitely more complex - world of romance then I shall do again: it is a rare gift to be honestly blind to the follies and nonsense of others but common to be deceived by an affection and in that way to take the good of a character, make it still better and say nothing of the bad.

Nowhere is this more common in the credit card as in the case of cash transactions.

These are truly snakes in the grass of a common transaction - charging far more interest than an ordinary sale, although the action appears very much the same to the consumer.

In this case, foreign currency transaction and taking out cash, whether from an ATM or as cashback at the till, are to be avoided as far as possible. 

Julia Cook is a staff writer for a site which allows users to make a credit card comparison between products. The site also allows users to compare specific types of products such as instant decision credit cards. 

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