How to get the best 0% balance transfer credit card; saving money on credit cards

How to get the best 0% balance transfer credit card; saving money on credit cards

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If you owe money on your credit card and know you won’t be able to clear it in a few months, you could consider getting a 0% balance transfer credit card. There are some competitive 0% balance transfer credit card deals around. Find out how to get the best 0% balance transfer credit card.

How to get the best 0% balance transfer credit card

If your credit score is good enough you can qualify for the best deals, and there are some competitive offers around. Here is a list of the top offers available, in order starting with the longest balance transfer times:

Sainsbury’s Bank – 0% balance transfer for 30 months

Charges 0% interest on balance transfers for 30 months. The balance transfer fee is 3% (minimum £3). You get 0% interest on purchases for the first three months. If you want to transfer money to your current account at the standard cash interest rate, the fee is 4% (minimum £4) when you apply. There is no annual fee. At the end of the 0% offer, you will be charged 19.9% APR (variable) on new purchases and any outstanding balance transfer and purchase balances.

Extras: You can earn 750 bonus Nectar points each time you spend £35 or more on Sainsbury’s shopping with your credit card, up to ten times in your first two months, that’s 7,500 points. You can also collect two Nectar points per £1 spent on Sainsbury’s shopping and fuel, and one point for every £5 spent on your card elsewhere.

SAVVY TIP: This is for new customers with a Nectar card.

Santander All in One Credit Card – 0% balance transfer for 30 months

Charges 0% interest on balance transfers for 30 months and there is no balance transfer fee.

SAVVY TIP: There is no balance transfer fee but the sting is that there’s a £3 monthly fee. However, Santander will refund the £3 monthly fee for the first six months if:

  • You’ve had the card for less than a year, and have activated it;
  • You open or already have any of their qualifying 1l2l3 current accounts, Select Current Account or Private Current Account;
  • You set up a monthly Direct Debit to pay your card from the current account within 30 days of opening the current account or credit card, whichever happens latest.

You can earn 0.5% cashback on purchases. At the end of the 0% offer period, balance transfer fees apply and interest is charged on new purchases and any outstanding balance transfer and purchase balances. The rate is 21.7% APR (variable).

Santander has an online calculator where you can work out what you might save. You won’t be able to transfer from other Santander or Cahoot credit cards, or from any loans or current accounts.

Barclaycard Platinum – 0% balance transfer for 29 months

Charges 0% interest on balance transfers for 29 months. The balance transfer fee is 2.5%. You get 0% interest on purchases for six months. You’ll pay 19.9% APR (variable) on purchases once the 0% offer has run out.

Extras: You can get £20 cashback if you transfer £2,000 or more within 60 days of opening your account (offer ends 4th February 2019). They also say you can get free, ongoing access to your Experian credit score, however this is something Experian offers free to anyone. You manage your account online.

SAVVY TIP: You may not get this balance transfer offer if your credit score is not good enough. You also must have a personal income of more than £20,000 per year. You can take a test to find out whether you’d likely be accepted and it won’t harm your credit rating. Use the Check your eligibility tool on the Barclaycard site.

Virgin Money Credit Card – 0% interest balance transfer for 29 months

Charges 0% interest on balance transfers for 29 months, and 0% interest on money transfers for 20 months. You’ll pay 20.9% APR (variable) once the 0% has run out. There’s also 0% on purchases for the first three months then 20.9% APR (variable). The fee for balance transfers is 1.75%, and for money transfers is 4%. I like the fact that the fees are straightforward.

SAVVY TIP: You can check whether you’d be eligible for this card using Virgin Money’s card checker (there’s a box you can click on next to every card). Virgin Money also do 29 month and 18 month balance transfer cards.

M&S Bank – 0% interest balance transfer for 28 months

Charges 0% interest on balance transfers for 28 months. This is available for 90 days from when you open your account. A fee of 0.99% applies, minimum £5. You also get 0% interest on purchases for six months. You’ll pay 19.9% APR (variable) on purchases once the 0% has run out.

Extras: You’ll collect M&S points every time you shop anywhere in the world with your M&S Credit Card. You’ll get one point for every £1 you spend in M&S, and one point for every £5 you spend elsewhere. You’ll also be sent a 500 M&S points voucher worth £5, when you spend on food, clothing or home at M&S.

HSBC – 0% interest balance transfer for 28 months

Charges 0% interest on balance transfer for 28 months. They charge 1.4% (minimum £5) fee on balances transferred within the first 60 days. There is 0% interest on purchases for three months and no annual fee. You’ll pay 21.9% APR (variable) on purchases once the 0% has run out.

Extras: You can earn cashback with Visa Offers, plus get instant discounts from well-known brands with their Home & Away rewards programme. 

MBNA – 0% interest on balance transfers for up to 28 months

Charges 0% interest on balance transfers for up to 28 months. The balance transfer fee is 2.72%. You can transfer money to your current account and pay no interest for up to 28 months. The fee is 4%. You can also get 0% on card purchases for up to 28 months. These rates apply to transfers and purchases made within the first 60 days.

You’ll pay 21.9% per year (5% handling fee applies) on balance transfers once the 0% the deal has run out. You’ll pay 23.9% per year (5% handling fee applies) on money transfers once the 0% offer has run out. You’ll pay 19.9% APR (variable) on card purchases once the 0% offer has run out.

You may not get approval for this rate, it is dependent on your personal circumstances. You can’t transfer a balance from another card issued by MBNA.

SAVVY TIP: We found this information from the comparison website MoneySuperMarket, as it wasn’t available on MBNA’s website at the time of writing.

Halifax – 0% balance transfer for 28 months

Charges 0% for up to 28 months on balances you transfer in the first 90 days. There’s a 3% fee for each balance you transfer and each transfer much be at least £100. You pay 0% interest for the first three months on any purchases you make. You’ll pay 19.9% APR (variable) once the balance transfer and 0% on purchase periods run out.

SAVVY TIP: You can transfer balances from most credit cards and some store cards, excluding Halifax products.

Bank of Scotland Platinum Balance Transfer Card – 0% balance transfer for 20 months

Charges 0% for 20 months. There’s also 0% interest on purchases for six months. There is no transfer fee for the first 90 days; it’s then 3% after that. You can transfer balances (£100 minimum) from most credit cards and some store cards (if they have the Mastercard, Amex or Visa logo). This excludes Bank of Scotland cards. You’ll pay 19.9% APR (variable) once the 0% period runs out. You are not guaranteed this rate.

Lloyds Bank – 0% balance transfer for 20 months

Charges 0% for 20 months. There’s also 0% interest on purchases for six months. There is no transfer fee for the first 90 days; it’s then 3% after that. You can transfer balances (£100 minimum) from most credit cards and some store cards (if they have the Mastercard, Amex or Visa logo). This excludes Lloyds Bank credit cards. You’ll pay 19.9% APR (variable) once the 0% period runs out. You are not guaranteed this rate.

What’s the representative APR?

Credit card companies (and other lenders) use an APR to tell you how much interest you’ll pay.

  • In the case of credit card companies, it assumes you’re borrowing £1,200.
  • The APR is based on the rate of interest you pay for purchases and includes any fees (such as an annual fee) that you have to pay.

SAVVY TIP: The representative APR is the interest rate that the credit card company has to offer at least 51% of successful applicants. That means almost half of those who successfully apply for the card may get a different (higher) rate. That’s why you could end up paying a lot more than the rate that is advertised.

What you must watch out for – 5 tips

  1. These deals often look great on the surface but the hardest part will be qualifying for them at the rate that’s advertised.
  2. The balance transfer fee can be as high as 3% (sometimes higher). That means if you transferred a balance of £1,000, you’d pay a balance transfer fee of £30. So, although the card wouldn’t charge you any interest during the 0% interest period, it’s not ‘free’.
  3. 0% balance transfer cards may only work in your favour if you use them to clear your debt but don’t necessarily keep the same card for purchases (unless they have a ‘0% interest on purchases’ offer as well). That’s because the interest rates don’t tend to be the most competitive once the 0% deal runs out.
  4. You must pay off your balance before the 0% interest rate runs out, otherwise you’ll be charged interest and the rate could be quite high.
  5. Normally, you must transfer your balance within a specified time – often 60 or 90 days. In some cases you may qualify for a lower balance transfer fee if you do this.

Related articles:

How to pay off credit card debt

Knowing your rights to credit card protection under section 75 – even if the card companies don’t

How to get a better deal on credit cards, insurance and loans

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