Most of you have probably received multiple offers in the mail from your credit card provider(s) to transfer a balance from other another account. Usually, the offer will be for 0% for 6 months, sometimes even with no transaction fee. Before jumping at these "deals," you should know there's a catch. (Isn't there always?) To preface, I always pay my balance in full each month, so I normally throw these invitations away. However, when I received the latest offer for 0% interest until Feb/04, I decided to transfer a $6,000 carpeting bill I had just received. I figured, what the heck, it's free money--I'll invest the $6,000 and pay it all off at once in Feb/04. When it came time to pay my credit card bill, I was curious how the bank would keep my new charges ($4,000 this month) separate from the $6,000 balance transfer. In other words, I wanted to pay all $4,000 of current purchases and leave the $6,000 balance alone. I was surprised to learn that it is impossible to do so. The bank applies any payments to the lowest APR balance first. Thus, my payment of $4,000 would go toward the $6,000 balance transfer, and I would immediately begin incurring finance charges on the remaining balance (0% for the $2,000 left on the balance transfer but 13% on the $4,000 in new charges). After speaking to two customer service reps, I learned that this practice is the norm amongst credit card companies. They basically admitted that the only way you can achieve the 0% deal for 6 months is if you transfer the balance and then not use your card at all for the next six months, which kind of goes contrary to the point of having a credit card. If you continue to make substantial charges on the card, which I did, you are essentially negating the deal in the first month or two. So, if you want to take advantage of one of these offers, my advice is to use the balance transfer by itself and use a different credit card for new purchases. Otherwise, the bank will force you to pay the entire balance off immediately (including the balance transfer that was hyped as a 6-month freebie) to avoid finance charges. While I'm sure this is all listed in the fine print, I think it's a deceptive practice.