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0% Balance Transfer & Spend Top all-rounder card up to 18 mths 0%

What's an all-rounder card?

Lots of banks offer great intro deals to entice new customers. On cards, these tend to be either good balance transfer credit card deals - where you shift expensive debt to a new card offering a cheap rate - OR an offer of low rates on new spending, for example, 0% interest for a year on all purchases (see Best 0% Credit Cards).

As their name suggests, all-rounder cards shout for custom by offering cheap intro rates on BOTH balance transfers AND purchases.

The intro deals available on these cards aren't ever likely to knock the more-specialised cards off their top spots individually. But if you want to both move debts from an existing expensive card, and also need to use a card to spend on, these are worth checking out as they won't damage your credit score with unnecessary applications.

When to use it?

These cards aren't for everyone. So make sure you fit the criteria, as it's possible another card could be better.

Who are they good for?

  • If you have a decent credit score, but are worried about too many applications, they could be good for you. These cards give you two uses, but with just one credit check.
  • If you don't want the hassle of multiple cards. Many people struggle to juggle their cards, so having an all-rounder will save some of the difficulty, as you won't have to worry about whether or not it's the right card to spend on.

Who shouldn't get it?

  • If you're mainly looking to shift existing debt, don't bother getting one of these. You can get longer deals with pure balance transfer cards. See Best Balance Transfers.
  • If you only want the card for new spending, then the all-rounder cards come close. But there are some other spending cards offering similar length 0% offers, which also allow you to build up points which can go towards freebies. See Best 0% Cards for Spending.

What's the advantage of getting balance transfers & spending together?

A folder with a fileLots of credit searches - the notes left on your file when you apply for cards, loans, mortgages or car insurance, even phone contracts - in a short space of time hurt your credit rating. These could affect your ability to get new products.

The all-rounder cards serve a dual purpose, but - if the application is successful - require only one credit check, protecting your credit rating. This allows you to space out applications more effectively, so your file isn't smashed hard and fast with multiple searches.

There's more you can do to manage and boost your credit rating. Make important applications before big upheavals (such as moving house, or if you've got maternity leave or suspected redundancy coming up) - though if you're asked about them on applications, never lie. Full details and loads more tips in the full Credit Rating guide.


Pre-apply to check eligibility with NO credit file mark

You'll see that most cards in this guide have a link to our Eligibility Checker tool, which we've designed to allow you to see the probability of getting the card.

We do a 'soft' credit search which YOU can see, but lenders CAN'T, so it has no impact on your future creditworthiness - and lets you see the chance of you getting the card without applying for it.

We map the details you give us against lenders' criteria, and show your chances for all the cards on this page that we can do so for. A new development allows us to check without you following a link from a specific card.

Ensure your borrowing stays free

Debt is like fire. Used well it's a great tool, used badly, you'll get burned. It's always worth borrowing as little as you need, and where possible using savings instead of borrowing.

The worst thing to do with a credit card is to use it to fill the gaps your income doesn't meet each month. That will see borrowings constantly grow and can leave you in a debt spiral (see the Stop Spending guide for more).

Quick steps to keep the cost down

However if you need to borrow for a defined purchase, then used correctly, credit cards are cheaper than loans. Spending with an all-rounder credit card

This may be for a football season ticket, as buying one is cheaper than getting individual match tickets. You may need a new sofa as the old one's kaput. Or it might be to pay for a year's car insurance, as the insurer's interest rate for paying by the month is huge (often 30%).

Done right, it's possible to borrow at no cost.

  • Work out how much you need

    Don't borrow more than you need. Use the Budget Planner to ensure you can meet repayments, use the card to do the specific job and stay disciplined.

  • Make at LEAST the minimum repayments

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

  • Clear the card within the 0% period

    Go even one month past the 0%'s end and the rate will rocket. Calculate the monthly repayment needed needed to clear the balance by then - for £600 on 12mths 0%, divide by the number of months, so £600 / 12 = £50 - and set your direct debit to pay that.

  • Diarise the end dates and SWITCH

    It's vital you make a note of the 0% end date (or use the Tart Alert), then ensure you pay off the debt by then, or switch again at that point (see Best Balance transfers guide) - otherwise, the interest cost will swiftly outweigh the card's benefit.

Best buys: Top 0% transfer & purchase cards

All these deals require you to pay a one-off fee when you do the debt transfer. The trade-off is you get it interest-free for a long time.

Sainsbury's Nectar*18 months 0% on purchases and transfers with 3% fee

Sainsbury's Nectar
  • BT and spending length and fee: 18 mths 0%, 3% BT fee
  • Representative variable APR: 18.9% (Official APR Example)
  • Card issuer: Mastercard
  • Min income: n/a
  • Min repay : Greater of 1% of balance plus interest, 2.25% or £5

The Sainsbury's Nectar* Bonus credit card (you can use our eligibility checker for this card) is a good card if you want to both spend and transfer debt as it's got the longest symmetric 0% period - though the fee is higher than the cards below.

  • Get rewarded for spending. You earn Nectar points when spending on this card (not on balance transfers). For the first 3 months you get 8 points for every £1 spent in-store at Sainsbury's (incl petrol, 2 points per £1 when the 3 months end). Elsewhere, it's 1 Nectar point for every £5.
  • When the 0% deal ends, the rate goes to 18.9% representative APR for both purchases and transfers, so make sure you've paid it off, or you're ready to shift the debt to a new balance transfer card.

How good is this card? This Sainsbury's deal is the top symmetric deal - so it's the one to go for if you're afraid you may be caught out. Plus, you get rewarded for spending.

Halifax* 16mths 0% spending & 19mths 0% on BTs

Lloyds Platinum
  • BT and spending length and fee: 19mths 0%, 2% fee & 16mths spending
  • 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 £5

The Halifax* (check if you're eligible to get it) balance transfer & spending offer is the best on the market, but it's an asymmetric deal (you get different numbers of months on the debt shift and spending) so watch out for sneaky interest after the 16mth 0% on purchases is up.

  • 19mth balance transfers, 2% fee. This can be beaten by a straight balance transfer card, but if you're specifically looking for the dual purpose card, it's the one with the longest deals.
  • You may get a higher APR. Some poorer credit scorers will face higher APRs of 21.9% or 25.9%.
  • Other cards from the Lloyds Banking Group have a similar deal. Lloyds* (check eligibility) and Bank of Scotland* (check eligibility) offer 18 months 0% on balance transfers (one month less than Halifax) and 16 months on purchases. The only reason to go for these deals is if you're wanting to transfer debt from a Halifax card. Both Lloyds & Bank of Scotland cards have 18.9% rep APRs.

How good is this card? We're not a big fan of these asymmetric deals, as they can catch you out - if you haven't paid off all purchases you've made by month 16, you'll be charged interest until you do, as you'll still have debt from your transferred balance - so be careful, and clear the whole card's balance by the end of 16 months if you're unsure.

Halifax* 15mths 0%, 0.8% fee - lowest fee for balance transfers

Halifax
  • BT and spending length and fee: 15 mths 0%, 0.8% BT fee
  • Representative variable APR: 17.9% (Official APR Example)
  • Card issuer: Mastercard
  • Min income: N/A
  • Min repay: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest or £5

The Halifax* All-in-One credit card (you can use our eligibility checker for this card) offers 0% on purchases and shifted debts for 15 months, with a low balance transfer fee of 0.8% of the amount transferred.

  • There's a fee refund in place. Initially, you'll be charged a 3% fee. Halifax will then refund the difference (2.2%) within 30 days of the balance transfer.
  • Some poorer credit scorers will get a higher APR. You might be given an APR of 21.9% or 25.9%. It's therefore important to make sure you've paid it off, or you're ready to shift the debt to a new balance transfer card after.

How good is this card? If you only need 15 months to clear the debt that you've transferred over then this card beats the other Halifax card above - although you'll get fewer months at 0%, the fee is more than halved. But if you do need longer, it's far cheaper for most to pay a higher fee to transfer a balance than to pay interest.

Tesco Clubcard*15 months 0% on purchases and transfers with 0.85% fee

tesco
  • BT and spending length and fee: 15 mths 0%, 0.85% BT fee
  • Representative variable APR: 18.9% (Official APR Example)
  • Card issuer: Mastercard
  • Min income: £5,000
  • Min repay : Greater of 1% of balance plus interest, or £25

The Tesco Clubcard* credit card also gives 15 month 0% on both balance transfers and spending and is a good alternative to the Halifax card above. The fee to transfer debt is only a smidgeon higher at 0.85% of the amount transferred, plus you can earn reward points on your spending.

  • Get rewarded for spending. Every time you spend you get Tesco Clubcard points - five for every £4 spent in Tesco stores/Tesco fuel and one for every £4 spent elsewhere. If redeemed for Tesco's Clubcard Rewards, they're worth about 3p each, making this equivalent to a 0.75% cashback card.
  • When the 0% deal ends, the rate goes to 18.9% representative APR for purchases and 20.6% for transfers, so make sure you've paid it off, or you're ready to shift the debt to a new balance transfer card. Some poorer credit scorers may get up to 23.9% APR on purchases and 26.6% APR on transfers.

How good is this card? This Tesco deal is a good symmetric deal, but it can be beaten by the cards above. It's a good alternative if you've already got one of the cards above. Plus if you're a Tesco shopper, you can boost your reward points on spending.

Barclaycard Platinum*19 months 0% transfer, 2.49% fee & 14 months spending

Barclaycard Platinum
  • BT and spending length and fee: 19mths 0% 2.49% fee & 14mths spending
  • Representative variable APR: 18.9% (Official APR Example)
  • Card issuer: Visa
  • Min income: £20,000
  • Min repay : Greater of 1% of balance plus interest, 2.25% or £5

The Barclaycard* Platinum purchase card (you can use our pre-apply eligibility checker for this card) offers 0% on purchases for 14 months and shifted debt for 19 months, with a fee of 2.49% of the amount transferred.

  • There's a fee refund on this card. You'll be charged a fee of 2.9% of the amount transferred initially, then Barclaycard will credit back 0.51% of the balance transferred, meaning your overall fee you pay is 2.49%.
  • Some may get fewer 0% months. Depending on your credit rating, you may be given a 7 month 0% purchases period (instead of 14 months) on purchases, and face a higher APR of 29.9%.
  • You can't shift debt from other Barclaycards. If that's what you need then try one of the other cards.

How good is this card? As we said above, we're not a big fan of these asymmetric deals, as they can catch you out - if you haven't paid off all purchases you've made by month 14, you'll be charged interest until you do, as you'll still have debt from your transferred balance - so be careful, and clear the whole card's balance by the end of 14 months if you're unsure.

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Cheapest long term low rate deals

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.

MBNA* 6.6% APR on spending, no fee

mbna
  • Spending rate & fee: 6.5% annual interest rate (see Official APR Examples)
  • Min income: N/A
  • Card issuer: Mastercard
  • Min repayment : Greater of 1% of balance plus interest, or £25

The top card offering a long-term low rate is the MBNA* card (you can use our eligibility checker with this card). It gives 6.6% representative APR on all spending and 6.5% annual interest on transferred debt.

Is the rate fixed? The card is variable rate, meaning MBNA is allowed to increase it. But credit card regulations mean it's not allowed to increase it within the first year.

After that, as long as you agree not to borrow more, you have a right to reject any rise and pay off your balance at the current rate. See the Rate Jacking guide for the full rules.

Like all credit cards, to get it you'll be credit scored. While 51% of accepted applicants will get 6.5%, some slightly poorer credit scorers will be given higher rates of 8.9% or 11.9% APR. It also has the same rate on debts shifted to the card with no fee, though if you need this it may be better to look at the Best Balance Transfer cards.

Sainsbury's*Long-term 6.9% APR, plus earn Nectar points

Sainsburys
  • Spending fee: 6.9% APR, no fee (see official rate example)
  • Min income: N/A
  • Card issuer: Mastercard
  • Min repayment : Greater of 1% of balance plus interest, 2.25% of balance or £5

The Sainsbury's Nectar* (you can use our eligibility checker with this card) long-term rate card has a low 6.9% rep APR on spending and debt shifted to it, with no transfer fee.

You can also earn Nectar points on your spending on the card. You'll get 2 points for every £1 spent in Sainsbury's and on Sainsbury's fuel, and 1 Nectar point for every £5 you spend elsewhere.

Is the rate fixed? While the card is variable rate, credit card regulations mean it's not allowed to increase within the first year. After that, as long as you agree not to borrow more, you have a right to reject any rise (see Rate Jacking guide for full rules).

Like all credit cards, to get it you'll be credit-scored. While 51% of accepted applicants will get 6.9% representative APR, some slightly poorer credit scorers will be given higher rates of 9.9% or 11.9% APR.

Tesco* Long-term 7.8% APR, plus earn Clubcard points

Tesco
  • Spending rate: 7.8% APR, no fee (see official rate example)
  • Min income: £5,000
  • Card issuer: Mastercard
  • Min repayment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest or £25

If you wan't to earn extra clubcard points, you can get the Tesco* low rate credit card which offers 7.8% representative APR on all spending and transferred debt.

You'll also earn 5 Clubcard points for every £4 spent on the card in Tesco stores, and 1 Clubcard point for spending elsewhere. Sainsbury's offers a lower deal but with Nectar points - so if you're a bigger Sainsbury's shopper, this could be a better option.

Is the rate fixed? While the card is variable rate, credit card regulations mean it's not allowed to increase within the first year. After that, as long as you agree not to borrow more, you have a right to reject any rise (see the Rate Jacking guide for full rules).

Like all credit cards, to get it you'll be credit scored. While 51% of accepted applicants will get 7.8%, some slightly poorer credit scorers will be given higher rates of up to 12.8% APR. It also has the same rate on debts shifted to the card with no fee, though if you need this it may be better to look at the Best Balance Transfer cards.

Beware of varying length deals

Credit cards allow us to do a number of different things such as spend, shift balances or withdraw cash.

Since 2011, banks have had to put any repayments towards the most expensive debts first. This means spending on a balance transfer card isn't as bad as it used to be, but can still cost you if you're not careful.

With all-rounder cards, you don't have to worry as much as they're designed for both functions. Though if you have an intro deal, then it's important to keep an eye on what the rates will change to, and if you'll need to switch again.

The size of the saving

As the table shows, if you were to do a balance transfer of £2,000 and spend £2,000 over a year, whilst paying off £350 per month, you could save £200 by using an all-rounder card instead of a standard one.

Remember that over longer time periods, the all-rounder cards can be beaten by using two separate cards; one for purchases and one for balance transfers.

Comparing all-rounders with other credit cards
Interest & fee after 1 year
Standard card
16.9%
£260
Balance transfer card
0% on BTs & 16.9% on spending
£160
Low rate card
7.8% on BTs & spending
£80
Top all-rounder card
0% for 16 months
£60

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Duplicate links of the * links above for the sake of transparency, but this version doesn't help MoneySavingExpert.com: Barclaycard 14mths, Halifax 15 months, Halifax 16 months, Sainsbury's 18 months, Sainsbury's 6.9%

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