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0% Balance Transfer & Spend

Top all-rounder card up to 23 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 around 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 balance transfer. The trade-off is you get it interest-free for a long time.

Santander Credit Card 23 months

Longest symmetrical deal and no transfer fee, but £24/yr fee

Santander* 23 months 0%, no fee

This Santander* credit card has a market-leading 23 months 0% on both spending and balance transfers, plus it charges no fee to transfer debt. But don't rush to get it quite yet, as although there's no balance transfer fee, there is a £24 annual fee - so over the two years you'd be paying a fee of £48 (unless you have a Santander 123 bank account, where the first year fee could be refunded). You'll also earn up to 3% cashback on some of your spending, so this could cover the annual fee for some. We've done a full analysis in the key questions.

Need to knows
  • There's no balance transfer fee, but there's a £24 annual fee.
  • If you're a 123 bank account holder, you can get the first year's annual fee refunded (see key questions).
  • You either get the full 23 months or you get rejected.
  • You must shift debt within the promotional period, otherwise there's a fee of 3% (min £5).
  • You can't transfer from another Santander card.
  • After 23 months, you pay 12.7% interest on both purchases and transferred debt
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: 23 mths 0%, no fee
  • Balance transfer time limit: during promotional period
  • Representative variable APR: 16.5% (12.7% on spending/BTs; See Official APR Examples)
  • Card issuer: Mastercard
  • Min income: £7,500
  • Min repay: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest or £5
Key Questions

Is this card a good deal? This card has the longest 0% period on both spending and balance transfers and charges no fee to transfer to debt. BUT don't be fooled into rushing to get this card because although there's no balance transfer fee, there is still an annual fee of £24.

Assuming you kept the card for the full 23 months, you'd pay two annual fees amounting to £48. It's hard to see how this compares to the cards below because there's no all-rounder card that has a similar 0% length, but if we compare it to the second symmetrical deal, the 18 month 0% Sainsbury's card below, on that card you could transfer £1,600 before you'd pay £48 in balance transfer fees, but you'd get fewer months at 0%.

So, you need to carefully consider what’s more important to you - longer 0% to clear the debt but paying a more in fees or a lower fee with slightly fewer 0% months. Remember, if in doubt always opt for the higher fee, it's always better to pay the higher fee than interest at around 18%.

I'm a Santander 123 bank account customer. Does this work out better for me? Well, it could. If you get this card and pay it by direct debit from your 123 bank account, then you get the first year's annual fee refunded. That means the card would only cost you £24 over the life of the balance transfer, making it a better deal than the Sainsbury's providing you're transferring £800 or more.

What about the cashback? You'll earn 3% cashback on fuel/rail travel (max £9/mth), 2% on department store spending and 1% on supermarket spending, though any spending outside of these gets no cashback.

While you can spend on this card at 0% for 23 months, do budget the extra spending in on top of your balance transfer debt, so that you'll clear both from the card by the time the 0% period ends.

Lloyds Balance Transfer Credit Card 28 months

Second longest symmetrical deal but high balance transfer fee

Sainsbury's* 18 months 0%, 3% fee

The Sainsbury's Nectar* Bonus credit card has the second longest 0% period for both spending and balance transfers. But for this you'll also pay a high balance transfer fee of 3%. So only opt for this card if you need the full 18 months, otherwise the cards below may work out cheaper.

Need to knows
  • You'll earn eight Nectar points for every £1 spent in Sainsbury's stores/petrol (capped at £1,000 spend/month for the first three months only). After, it's two points per £1 spent. Elsewhere, it's one point for every £5.
  • After 18 months, you're charged 18.9% interest on both purchases and balance transfers.
  • You can't apply for this card if you already have another Sainsbury's credit card.
  • To get this credit card you'll need to have its free Nectar card.
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: 18 months 0%, 3% (min £3) BT fee
  • Balance transfer time limit: n/a
  • 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
Santander Credit Card 15 months

No fee to transfer your debt, absolutely zilch

Santander* 15 months 0%, No fee

The Santander* credit card gives 15 months 0% on both purchases and shifted debts, and there's absolutely no fee to transfer your debt. So if you think you can fully repay the card in full by month fifteen, or are prepared to do another balance transfer, then this card could be a winner.

Need to knows
  • You either get the full 15 months or you get rejected.
  • You must shift debt within the promotional period, otherwise there's a fee of 3% (min £5).
  • You can't transfer from another Santander card.
  • After 15 months interest is charged at 18.9% interest on both purchases and spend.
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: 15 mths 0%, No BT fee
  • Balance transfer time limit: First 90 days
  • Representative variable APR: 18.9% (Official APR Example)
  • Card issuer: Mastercard
  • Min income: £7,500
  • Min repay: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest or £5
Halifax Balance Transfer Credit Card 15 months

Good alternative if you're transferring debt from a Santander card

Halifax* 15 months 0%, 0.8% fee

The Halifax* credit card also gives 15 month 0% on both balance transfers and spending and is a good alternative if you want to transfer debt from a Santander card. The balance transfer fee is slightly higher at 0.8% of the amount transferred compared to the Santander card above, but if your credit score isn't great you could get a lower number of months rather than being rejected outright.

Need to knows
  • You'll initially be charged a fee of 3% of the amount transferred, then Halifax will credit back 2.2% within 30 days, so the effective fee is 0.8%.
  • You can't transfer from another Halifax card but you can from its sister firm, Bank of Scotland.
  • After 15 months interest is charged at 17.9% interest on both purchases and spend. Poorer credit scorers will get a higher APR of either 21.9% or 25.9%.
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: 15 mths 0%, 0.8% BT fee
  • Balance transfer time limit: First 90 days
  • 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
Barclycard

Longest balance transfer deal but shorter 0% on spend

Barclaycard* 23 months 0%, 2.49% fee

If you need longer to clear your debt the Barclaycard* Platinum purchase card gives the longest number of 0% months for balance transfers - 23 months, with a 2.49% fee. But you'll get a much lower 14 months 0% for purchases, meaning you'll have to keep on top of your game to make sure you clear your purchases in full by the 14th month, to avoid being caught out.

Need to knows
  • You initially pay 3.5% of the amount transferred, but Barclaycard will credit 1.01% back, so overall you pay 2.49%.
  • You must transfer your balance in the first 60 days of opening the card to get the reduced fee.
  • Depending on your credit rating, you may be given seven months 0% on purchases (instead of 14 months) and/or 11 months 0% on transfers (instead of 23 months), and face a higher APR of either 24.9% or 29.9%.
  • You can't transfer from an existing Barclaycard. If that's what you need then try one of the other cards.
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: 23 months 0% 2.49% fee & 14 months spending
  • Balance transfer time limit: 60 days.
  • 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

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.

Be aware the cards below are asymmetrical deals, which we're not a big fan of. If you go for one of these deals you must make sure you pay off all purchases you've made by month 16, or 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.

Card 0% length purchases 0% length balance transfer BT fee APR Eligibility Calculator
Tesco* 15 mths 15 months 0.85% 18.9% -
Halifax* Halifax card 16 mths 19 months 2% 18.9% You can use our eligibility calculator for this card
Lloyds* Lloyds card 16 mths 18 months 2% 18.9% You can use our eligibility calculator for this card

Bank of Scotland* Lloyds card

16 mths 18 months 2% 18.9% You can use our eligibility calculator for this card
  • Representative variable APR, your balance transfer interest may be different
  • See all Official APR Examples

Simple reminders for card tarts!

Enter the date your 0% (or other intro rate) expires in the Tart Alert Tool and you'll be sent a text or e-mail reminder to ditch and switch. Like everything else on this site, it's completely free too!

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.

Lloyds Balance Transfer Credit Card 28 months

Cheapest low-rate, long-term card

Lloyds Platinum* 6.4% APR on spending and balance transfers

The top card offering a long-term low rate is the Lloyds* Platinum card. It gives 6.4% representative APR on all spending and transferred debt, plus there's no fee to do a balance transfer, so long as you do so within the first 90 days. Otherwise, you'll be hit with a 3% fee on the amount transferred.

Need to knows
  • Although this card has a low rate for the long-term it isn't fixed - Lloyds is allowed to increase the rate after a year. But you can reject this rate hike, see rate jacking rules.
  • Poorer credit scorers won't get the low 6.4% rate, some will be given higher rates of 10.9% or 14.9% APR.
  • There is no fee for balance transfers, so long as you do it within the first 90 days. Otherwise, there's a 3% fee.
  • You can’t transfer a balance from another Lloyds card. Transfers are allowed from TSB, Halifax and Bank of Scotland (even though owned by Lloyds Banking Group).
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: 6.4% APR, no fee (see Official APR Examples)
  • Balance transfer time limit: 90 days
  • Min income: n/a
  • Card issuer: Mastercard
  • Min repayment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest, or £5
MBNA Low Rate*

Slightly costlier card, but top alternative if you have a Lloyds card

MBNA* 6.5% interest, no fee

The next low-rate, long-term card is the MBNA* card, which gives 6.6% representative APR on all spending and 6.5% annual interest on transferred debt. The rate is only slightly higher than the Lloyds card, but is a good alternative if you need to shift debt from a Lloyds card.

Need to knows
  • MBNA can increase the rate after a year. But you can reject this rate hike, see rate jacking rules.
  • Poorer credit scorers won't get the 6.6% rate, some will be given higher rates of 8.9% or 11.9% APR.
  • Balance transfers can't come from other MBNA cards, including Virgin Money cards and MBNA-issued Amex cards.
  • You can transfer your balance at any time, to benefit from the no-fee.
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: 6.6% representative APR, no fee (see Official APR Examples)
  • Balance transfer time limit: n/a
  • Min income: N/A
  • Card issuer: Mastercard
  • Min repayment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest, or £25
Sainsbury’s* 6.9%, no fee

Slightly higher rate, but also gives Nectar points on spending

Sainsbury’s 6.9% APR on both spending and balance transfers, no fee

Another long term low rate card is the Sainsbury's Nectar card, which charges interest at 6.9% rep APR on both spending and debt shifted to it. This is a good alternative if you can't get the cards above, plus you'll earn Nectar points on your spending (not on transfers though).

Need to knows
  • The rate is variable, but can’t rise during the first year.
  • Most will get 6.9% APR, some slightly poorer credit scorers will be given higher rates of 9.9% or 11.9% APR.
  • 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.
  • You can’t transfer a balance from another Sainsbury's card.
Stats box
  • BT and spending length and fee: 6.9% APR, no fee (see official rate example)
  • Balance transfer time limit: n/a
  • Min income: n/a
  • Card issuer: Mastercard
  • Min repayment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest, 2.25% of balance or £5

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 18.9% £260
Balance transfer card 0% on BTs & 18.9% on spending £160
Low rate card 6.4% on BTs & spending £80
Top all-rounder card 0% for 18 months £60