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0% Balance Transfer & Spend Top all-rounder card up to 16 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*16 months 0% on purchases and transfers with 3% fee

Sainsbury's Nectar
  • BT and spending length and fee: 16 mths 0%, 3% fee
  • Representative variable APR: 16.9% (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* credit card (you can use our pre-application eligibility checker for this card) is the top card on the market if you want to both spend and transfer debt as it's got the longest 0% period - though the fee is higher than the cards card below.

When the 0% deal ends, the rate goes to 16.9% 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. Some poorer credit scorers may get 19.9% or 22.9% APRs.

You also earn Nectar points when using this card for spending. it gives 2 points for every £1 spent in-store at Sainsbury's or at a Sainsbury's petrol station. Other spending earns 1 Nectar point for every £5.

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

Halifax
  • Bal transfer & spending length + fee: 15 months 0% (with 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 pre-apply 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.

Initially, you'll be charged a 3% fee. Halifax will then refund the difference (2.2%) within 30 days of you making the balance transfer.

The interest rate after the promo period is 17.9% representative APR for both purchases and balance transfers but some poorer credit scorers will get 21.9% or 25.9% APR. 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.

18 months 0% transfer & 14 months spending*Barclaycard Platinum purchase: 18 months 0% with 2.49% fee

Barclaycard Platinum
  • Bal transfer + fee & spending length: 18mths 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 18 months, with a fee of 2.49% of the amount transferred.

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.

When the 0% deal ends, the rate goes to 18.9% representative APR for both purchases and BTs, so make sure you've paid it off, or you're ready to shift the debt to a new balance transfer card.

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'll be charged a fee of 2.9% of the amount transferred initially, then Barclaycard will credit back 0.41% of the balance transferred, meaning your overall fee you pay is 2.49%.

You won't be able to shift balances from other Barclaycards to this one. If that's what you need then try one of the other cards.

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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!Try it now →

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.

Sainsbury's*Long-term 6.9% APR spend & transfer card

Sainsburys
  • Promo rate & 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 lowest long-term rate card comes is Sainsbury's Nectar* (you can use our pre-application eligibility checker with this card) card has a low 6.9% rep APR on spending and debt shifted to it, with no transfer fee.

The card also allows you to collect 1 Nectar points for every £5 you spend, double points on in-store Sainsbury's shopping and 2 points for every £1 spent on Sainsbury's fuel.

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 lower rate on spending

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

The next lowest long-term rate card is from Tesco*, with 7.8% representative APR.

You'll also earn one Clubcard point for every £4 spent on the card, in addition to the points you'd usually earn shopping in a Tesco store. Sainsbury's offers a lower deal (see above) but with in-store cashback. 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.

How to turn it into a loan. If you need to borrow less than £5,000, and want to use the lump sum to buy something that can be put on a credit card, this rate smashes the cheapest normal personal loans.

Yet the big danger of using a card as a loan is that you choose your repayments, so there's a temptation to spend more later. Proper loans are fixed to clear the debt in a set time and you can't borrow more. Read Cheap Credit Card Loans for more details.

To replicate the discipline of a loan, once you've done your 'loan' spending, lock the card away and set up a direct debit to repay a fixed monthly amount, designed to clear the loan within a set time (use the loan calculator to work this out).

Think before adding the 'insurance'

Payment protection insurance is commonly sold with credit cards - the idea is it'll make some payments for you, usually for a year, if you are unable to (eg, if you lose your job).

But in a huge number of cases, it was mis-sold. Borrowers didn't realise they were signing up for it, or it was totally unsuitable, and some big lenders have been fined.

The protection isn't always bad, though policies sold with cards are often overpriced (you pay a monthly amount depending on the size of your balance). If you want it, compare the lender's cover with standalone providers such as Paymentcare or Best Insurance.

Always make sure you aren't getting more than you bargained for when you fill in the application, then check your statement each month to check you aren't inadvertently paying for extras if you didn't ask for them.

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 15 months
£60

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