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0% Balance Transfer & Spend

Get up to 29 months 0% with the top all-rounder card

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Eesha | Edited by Helen S

Updated Weekly

Most credit cards are either good for new spending OR cutting the cost of existing debts. But some offer cheap intro rates on both.

These all-rounder cards can be great but aren't for everyone. Plus, the intro deals available on these cards aren't ever likely to knock the more specialised cards off their top spots. So before you get one, read this guide to make sure it's the right choice.

The seven golden rules

Before applying for an all-rounder card ensure you follow the seven golden rules.

  • Only get one if spending AND shifting debt

    If you're mainly looking to shift existing debt, or only want a card for new spending, don't bother getting one of these. You can get longer deals with pure balance transfer cards or 0% cards for spending. But, if you need both, these cards can be a handy way to minimise the impact on your credit score – as you only need make one application to get both functions.

    Quick question

    Do these cards come close to the best buys for balance transfers and spending?

  • Beware of 'asymmetric deals' – where there's a longer 0% period on balance transfers than purchases

    Sometimes a 0% spending period is different from the 0% balance transfer period – so do watch out for this. For example, an all-rounder card could offer 20 months 0% on balance transfers and only 15 months 0% on purchases. In this example, after 16 months of holding the card you'd still be within the 0% interest-free period on existing debt but any further spending will immediately incur interest.

    Even if this is the case, it's not as bad as it used to be, as your credit card provider now has to put repayments towards the most expensive debt first. So, even if your purchase deal does run out before your balance transfer deal, any repayments you make will go towards paying off your remaining, interest-attracting purchases balance first – helping to clear that.

  • Ensure your borrowing stays free. Clear debt or shift again before the 0% or cheap rate ends, otherwise costs rocket

    Cheap all-rounder cards are designed to make lenders money when you fail to pay them off. At that point, the interest rate jumps massively, to a standard 15%-20% APR.

    Your aim should always be to clear the amount you transferred during the cheap period, minimising interest. If that's not possible, your next best bet is to shift again before the intro deal ends – or even back to the original card you shifted the debt from, if that's cheaper than the go-to rate on the all-rounder card.

  • Repay AT LEAST the set monthly minimum (preferably more) or you may lose the cheap rate

    Set up a direct debit for at least the minimum repayment as soon as you're accepted. Even though it's at 0%, or a low rate, you still need to make repayments. If you miss one, you'll lose your cheap deal – the rate will jump to the APR and you'll get a £12 charge.

    Quick question

    How much should I aim to pay?

  • Use our eligibility calculator before applying for a speedy check of which cards you're most likely to get - and protect your credit score

    Usually, the only way to know if you'll be accepted is to apply, but each application marks your credit file. But our all-rounder cards eligibility calculator quickly shows your odds of getting almost every top all-rounder card so you can find the ones most likely to accept you, thus minimising applications.

    Quick questions

    How does the eligibility calculator work?

    Will credit scoring affect the deal I get and my credit limit?

  • Or join our Credit Club for a full credit health check, including free your Experian Credit Score, Affordability Score and Credit Hit Rate

    The new MSE Credit Club is a game-changer. For years the credit market has been shrouded in mystery but our revolutionary tool brings together the key components to give you the full picture, and crucially, what it means for your acceptance chances and how to boost your creditworthiness.

    A credit score alone isn't enough to borrow, as there are other factors at play (it's why many with perfect scores still get rejected). Credit Club shows you...

    1. Free Experian Credit Score - how lenders rate your past credit behaviour.
    2. MSE Affordability Score - how lenders assess if you can afford a product.
    3. Your Credit Hit Rate -
    how likely you actually are to be accepted when you apply.
    4. Credit Card & Loan Eligibility Calcs
    - what your odds are of getting specific top deals.
    5. How to improve your credit profile - we show where your profile's strong and weak, & how to improve it.

  • Understand 'up to' deals mean you might not get the headline deal you apply for

    There's a catch to watch out for. Some card firms give those with lesser credit histories fewer months at 0% than they advertise. You could, for example, apply for a 20-month 0% all-rounder card, be accepted, but be given 16 months at 0% – sometimes with a higher fee too.

    We highlight cards that do this by putting 'up to' before their headline offer, and tell you the other 0% lengths they may offer in the write-ups of the products below.

    Quick questions

    Is there any way to know what deal I'll get before I apply?

    Why do lenders give some applicants worse deals?

Best Buys Longest 0% cards

The best credit card deals currently break all records, though acceptance is tough (see eligibility calculator info above). When deciding which to choose, a good rule of thumb is...

Purchases don't have a fee, but balance transfers charge a one-off fee based on the amount transferred. Go for the lowest fee provided you're CERTAIN you can clear the card within its 0% length.

A lower fee can be trivial compared with interest if you don't clear the card or shift again before the 0% ends. A card with a 1% fee is £10 per £1,000 transferred. And a card with a 3% fee is £30 per £1,000, only a £20 difference, which could quickly be eaten up by interest. If unsure, go long; to help, we built the Which Card Is Cheapest? calculator.

MBNA Balance Transfer Credit Card 41 months

Longest 0% on spending and balance transfers

MBNA* up to 29mths 0%, 2.95% bal trans fee

This MBNA* card offers the longest 0% period on both spending and balance transfers. However, if you can pay off the card a month earlier, the Nuba card below also offers a £20 Amazon gift card with the same fee - so could be a better deal.

Do be aware that if accepted, you could be offered fewer months, though if our eligibility calculator shows you as pre-approved, you'll definitely get the full 29 months.

Need-to-knows
  • We say 'up to' 29 mths as some may get fewer months at 0%, depending on credit score – but our eligibility calculator can tell you if you're pre-approved for it – and if you are, you'll get the full 29 months at 0%.
  • If you've already got an MBNA or Nuba card, you can't balance transfer to this one.
  • After your 0% deal ends, you'll pay 20.9% interest a year on any balance transfer debt left over.
  • You need to transfer the balance within 60 days, or you won't get the 0% period and you'll pay a 5% fee.
  • Always pay at least the minimum monthly repayment, or you'll lose the 0% deal.
  • Don't withdraw cash on this card. It usually isn't at the cheap rate and cash withdrawals hit your credit file.
Eligibility Calculator
(MSE's free tool)
APPLY*
(at lender site)

Protect your credit score and check chances of getting card

Stats box
  • BT and spending length and fee: up to 29 months 0%, 2.95% BT fee.
  • Balance-transfer time limit: First 60 days.
  • Representative variable APR: 18.9% (Official APR Example)
  • Card issuer: Visa
  • Min income: N/A
  • Min repay: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest, or £25.
Nuba Balance Transfer Credit Card 41 months

Long 0% and get a £20 Amazon gift card if you transfer £1,000+

Nuba* up to 28 months 0%, 2.95% bal trans fee

This Nuba* card, a new brand from MBNA, offers a long 0% period for spending and balance transfers. You also get a £20 Amazon gift card if you transfer more than £1,000.

As it's an 'up to' card, be aware that if accepted, you could be offered fewer months, though if our eligibility calculator shows you as pre-approved, you'll definitely get the full 28 months.

Need-to-knows
  • You'll receive a £20 Amazon gift card if you balance or money transfer at least £1,000 within the first 60 days of account opening. The card will be emailed to you within 60 days of transferring.
  • We say 'up to' 28 mths as some may get fewer months at 0%, depending on credit score – but our eligibility calculator can tell you if you're pre-approved for it, and if you are, you'll get the full 28 months at 0%.
  • If you've already got an MBNA or Nuba card, you can't balance transfer to this one.
  • After your 0% deal ends, you'll pay 20.9% interest a year on any balance transfer debt left over, and 18.9% on purchases.
  • You need to transfer the balance within 60 days, or you won't get the 0% period and you'll pay a 5% fee.
  • Always pay at least the minimum monthly repayment, or you'll lose the 0% deal.
  • Don't withdraw cash on this card. It usually isn't at the cheap rate and cash withdrawals hit your credit file.
Eligibility Calculator
(MSE's free tool)
APPLY*
(at lender site)

Protect your credit score and check chances of getting card

Stats box
  • BT and spending length and fee: up to 28 months 0%, 2.95% BT fee.
  • Balance-transfer time limit: First 60 days.
  • Representative variable APR: 18.9% (Official APR Example)
  • Card issuer: Mastercard
  • Min income: N/A
  • Min repay: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest, or £25.
Barclaycard 25 months 0% balance transfer and spending

Long 0% spending and balance transfer deal with low fee

Barclaycard* up to 25 months 0%, 1.49% bal trans fee

This Barclaycard* gives up to 25 months 0% for both spending and balance transfers. While it offers 3 months fewer at 0% than the 'like-for-like' Nuba card above, it does have a much lower fee to transfer your debt. However, unlike the Nuba card, it doesn't come with any cashback so only consider this card if you plan to transfer over £1,400 (to cancel out the Nuba £20 cashback) and you're certain you can clear your debt within 25 months.

Helpfully our eligibility calculator can tell you if you're pre-approved for this card without affecting your credit score.

Need-to-knows
  • You'll be charged a fee of 2.5% of the amount transferred, then Barclaycard will credit back 1.01% within two days, so the effective fee is 1.49%.
  • After the 0%, it’s 18.9% interest on any remaining transferred debt and spending, but poorer credit scorers could get up to 29.9%.
  • You must balance transfer to it within the first 60 days to get the 0% period.
  • You can't transfer debt from other Barclaycards.
  • We say this card's 'up to' 25 months as some may get 12 months at 0% depending on credit score.
Eligibility Calculator
(MSE's free tool)
APPLY*
(at lender site)

Protect your credit score and check chances of getting the card.

Stats box
  • BT and spending length and fee: up to 25 months 0%, 1.49% BT fee.
  • Balance-transfer time limit: First 60 days.
  • Representative variable APR: 18.9% (Official APR Example).
  • Card issuer: Visa.
  • Min income: N/A.
  • Min repay: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest, 2.25% of balance or £5.
Virgin Money All-Rounder Credit Card

Long 0% on spending, balance transfers and money transfers

Virgin* 25 months 0%, 1.5% bal trans fee

This Virgin Money* card offers just over two years 0% on spending, balance transfers and money transfers. Our eligibility calculator can also tell you if you're pre-approved for this card.

Need-to-knows
  • After the 0%, it's 18.9% interest on any spending, 20.9% on any remaining balance transferred debt and 22.9% on any remaining money transferred debt.
  • You must balance transfer to it within the first 60 days to get the 1.5% fee. After 60 days, you'll be charged a 5% fee (min £5).
  • You can also do a money transfer with this card, getting 25 months 0% for a 2% fee. This must also be done within the first 60 days.
  • If you're accepted for the card you'll definitely get the full 25 month 0% period - you won't be offered fewer months at 0% as with some other cards in this guide.
  • You can't transfer debt from another Virgin Money card.
  • Always make at least the minimum repayment, else you could lose the 0% deal.
  • Don't withdraw cash on this. It isn't at the cheap rate and cash withdrawals hit your credit file.
Eligibility Calculator
(MSE's free tool)
APPLY*
(at lender site)

Protect your credit score and check chances of getting the card.

Stats box
  • BT, money transfer and spending length and fee: 25 months 0%, 1.5% BT fee, 2% money transfer fee.
  • Balance-transfer and money-transfer time limit: First 60 days.
  • Representative variable APR: 18.9% (Official APR Example).
  • Card issuer: Mastercard.
  • Min income: N/A
  • Min repay: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest or £25.

More 0% balance transfer and purchase cards

The deals above are our current top picks, but if you didn't find a card above to suit you, here are details of the next best cards – ranked in order of balance transfer fee.

Card 0% length purchases 0% length balance transfer BT fee APR Eligibility Calculator
Tesco* 15 months 15 months 0.85% 18.9% You can use our eligibility calculator for this card
Santander* 27 months 27 months 2.75% 18.9% You can use our eligibility calculator for this card
Virgin Money* 27 months 27 months 2.7% 18.9% You can use our eligibility calculator for this card
Sainsbury's Bank
+ 5,000 Nectar (2)
28 months 28 months 3% 18.9% You can use our eligibility calculator for this card
  • Representative variable APR; your balance transfer interest may be different.
  • (1) Poorer credit scorers could get fewer months.
  • (2) Apply by 26th March 2017 and spend £250 at Sainsbury's during your first month to qualify for the bonus.
  • See all Official APR Examples.

Best Buys Long-term low-rate cards

Here, the aim is to get a card where the low rate is for the long term, not just an introductory offer. While not 0%, it does mean you don't have to remember to shift from card to card, and you know you've got a deal for the long term.

AA Low Rate*

Cheapest long-term, low-rate card

The AA* 5.85% interest, no balance transfer fee

The AA* Low Rate credit card offers 0% on spending and balance transfers for three months, and then a low ongoing 5.85% interest, so is a decent option if you want a guaranteed rate for the life of the card.

Need-to-knows
  • The AA can increase the rate after a year. But you can reject this rate hike.
  • Not everyone will get the low 5.85% APR. Some poorer credit scorers will get a higher APR of 10.4% or 14.9% APR.
  • Always pay at least the monthly minimum payment or you'll get a penalty for late payment and a mark on your credit file.
  • You can't transfer a balance from another AA or Bank of Ireland UK card.
  • Don't withdraw cash on this card. It usually isn't at the cheap rate and cash withdrawals hit your credit file.
Eligibility Calculator
(MSE's free tool)
APPLY*
(at lender site)

Protect your credit score and check chances of getting card

Stats box
  • BT and spending rate and fee: 5.85% representative APR, no fee (see Official APR Examples)
  • Min income: £8,000
  • Card issuer: Mastercard
  • Min repayment : Greater of 1% of balance plus interest, 2.5% of balance or £5
Sainsbury's Low Rate

Cheap long-term, low-rate card and gives Nectar points on spending

Sainsbury's* 5.9% rep APR, no balance transfer fee

The Sainsbury's* Low Rate credit card offers a low 5.9% representative APR on spending and balance transfers so is a good option if you want a guaranteed low rate for the life of the card. Plus you'll earn Nectar points on your spending (though not on transfers).

Need-to-knows
  • New customers applying by 26 March 2017 will get 5,000 bonus Nectar points if they spend £250 in Sainsbury's in the first months – but don't use this as an excuse to spend more than you normally would.
  • You'll earn 2 points for every £1 spent in Sainsbury's and on Sainsbury's fuel, and 1 point for every £5 you spend elsewhere.
  • Not everyone will get the low 5.9% APR. Some poorer credit scorers will get a higher APR of 12.9% or 15.9%.
  • Sainsbury's can increase the rate after a year. But you can reject this rate hike.
  • You can't transfer a balance from another Sainsbury's card.
  • Always pay at least the monthly minimum payment or you'll get a penalty for late payment and a mark on your credit file.
  • Don't withdraw cash on this card. It usually isn't at the cheap rate and cash withdrawals hit your credit file.
Eligibility Calculator
(MSE's free tool)
APPLY*
(at lender site)

Protect your credit score and check chances of getting card

Stats box
  • BT and spending rate and fee: 5.9% representative APR, no fee (see Official APR Examples)
  • Balance transfer time limit: N/A
  • Min income: N/A
  • Card issuer: Mastercard
  • Minimum repayment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest, 2.25% of balance or £5
Tesco Low Rate*

Cheap long-term, low-rate card plus earn Clubcard points

Tesco* 5.9% rep APR, no balance transfer fee

The Tesco* Low APR credit card offers 0% on spending and balance transfers for one month, and then a low 5.9% representative APR on all spending and 6.05% on balance transfers after that. There's no fee to transfer your balance if you do so within the first month, plus you can earn Clubcard points on purchases.

Need-to-knows
  • Not everyone will get the low 5.9% APR. Some will get higher APRs of up to 10.9% on spending and 11.5% on balance transfers.
  • You get Clubcard points on your spending – one point for every full £4 spent at Tesco stores or petrol stations, one point for every £8 elsewhere.
  • You must balance-transfer within the first month; transfers after this attract a 3% fee.
  • You can't transfer a balance from another Tesco credit card, or apply if you hold more than one Tesco credit card already.
  • Tesco can increase the rate after a year. But you can reject this rate hike.
  • Always pay at least the monthly minimum payment or you'll get a penalty for late payment and a mark on your credit file.
  • Don't withdraw cash on this card. It usually isn't at the cheap rate and cash withdrawals hit your credit file.
Eligibility Calculator
(MSE's free tool)
APPLY*
(at lender site)

Protect your credit score and check chances of getting card

Stats box
  • BT and spending rate and fee: 5.9% APR on spending and 6.05% on BT, no fee (see Official APR Examples)
  • Min income: £5,000
  • Card issuer: Mastercard
  • Min repayment : Greater of 1% of balance plus interest or £25

Cashback sites may pay you for signing up

As an extra boon, members of specialist cashback websites can be paid when they sign up to some financial products. Do check it's exactly the same deal though, as terms can be different. And remember that cashback is never 100% guaranteed until it's in your account. 

Full help to take advantage of this and pros and cons in our Top Cashback Sites guide.

All-rounder cards Q&A

  • How much can I save with an all-rounder card?

  • Why did it reject me? I've got a great credit score!

  • Does a lower interest rate mean I pay less each month?

  • What if the credit limit I get isn't high enough?

  • I already have a lot of debt. Will this help me?

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For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes - join the 10m who get it. Don't miss out