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Balance Transfer Credit Cards

41mths 0%, 3.18% fee

Martin

Updated Daily

A balance transfer can cut £100s or £1,000s off the cost of existing borrowing. It's where you get a new credit card to pay off debts on old cards for you so you owe the new card but at a far lower rate; meaning you're debt free quicker.

This guide takes you through how to safely shift your debts, compares the longest 0% and no fee 0% deals and includes our unique 'eligibility calculator' to find the cards you've the best chance of being accepted for.

Good / Evil Credit Card

The six golden rules

Before you do a balance transfer there are six things you need to know. Get this wrong and it can cost you large, so please read the following (even if you only have time to read and remember the headlines it should help protect your pocket).

  • Always clear debt or shift again before the 0% or cheap rate ends, otherwise costs rocket

    Cheap balance transfer deals are designed to make lenders money when you fail to pay them off, or switch to a new 0% before the low rate ends. At that point, the interest rate jumps massively, to a standard 15%-20% APR.

    Quick question

    What can I do if I can't pay off my debt within the 0% period?

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

    Just because you grabbed a 0% deal, it DOESN'T mean you can get away with paying nothing – you must pay at least the minimum monthly payments. Otherwise you will be hit with penalties and some card providers will withdraw the deal, leaving you on an expensive rate.

    Quick question

    How much should I aim to pay?

  • Don't spend or withdraw cash on cheap balance transfer cards. It's not usually at the cheap rate

    Credit cards let you spend, shift debt or withdraw cash but banks must put repayments towards the most expensive debt first. So spending on a balance transfer card isn't as bad as it was, as repayments first clear the spending, but it can still cost, as you only avoid interest if you pay off the FULL balance, including transfers and purchases.

    Quick questions

    If I need to spend, what is the best option?

    Why do I pay interest on my cash withdrawal if I've paid it off in full?

    Does withdrawing cash on a credit card affect my credit score?

  • To protect your credit score use our eligibility calculator before applying to find which cards you're most likely to get

    The only way to know if you'll be accepted is to apply, but each application marks your credit file. Some cards let you do a pre-application check to work out whether to go ahead, or you can use our balance transfer eligibility calculator, which shows your odds of getting almost every top card so you can hone your choice to minimise applications.

    Quick questions

    How does the eligibility calculator work?

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

  • Know '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, say, apply for a 38-month 0% balance transfer deal, be accepted but given a fewer 20 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 question

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

    Why do lenders give some applicants worse deals?

  • You may be able to cut your interest WITHOUT new cards

    Most cards in this guide are 0% deals, but usually require a good credit score. If your score is patchy, the Credit Card Shuffle could be the solution. It isn't the latest poker trick but our technique to allow you to shift debt around cards you have (if you're not maxed out). It's complex, but it's saved people £100s, without new cards.

    Quick question

    How do I do the credit card shuffle?

Rather watch than read? Martin Lewis balance transfer video briefing

Some people find it easier to watch than read – if that's you, here's a full video run-down on how balance transfers work.

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...

Balance transfers charge a one-off fee of 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 to 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% with the lowest fee

Halifax* up to 41mths 0%, 3.18% fee (18.9% interest after)

This Halifax* card offers the longest 0% period with the lowest fee to transfer your balance. Do be aware that you could be accepted and offered fewer months, unlike the Virgin card below which will definitely offer you the full 41 months if accepted - though it has a higher fee.

The Nuba card below also offers 41 months with a slightly higher fee than the Halifax and Virgin cards but offers a £20 Amazon voucher so may be a better option. Plus if you can pay off the debt a month earlier, the Lloyds card below is likely to be cheaper as it has a much lower fee.

Need-to-knows
  • You'll be charged an initial fee of 3.5% of the amount transferred, then Halifax will credit back 0.32% within 90 days, so the effective fee is 3.18%.
  • We say 'up to' 41 mths as some may get fewer months at 0%, depending on credit score.
  • You can't transfer from a Halifax card but you can from its sister firm, Bank of Scotland.
  • After your 0% deal ends, you'll pay 18.9% interest a year on any balance transfer debt left over.
  • You need to transfer the balance within 90 days, or you won't get the 0% period.
  • Always pay at least the minimum monthly repayment, or you'll lose the 0% deal.
  • Don't spend/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
  • Balance transfer length & fee: Up to 41 months 0%, 3.18% fee
  • Minimum payment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest, or £5
  • Min income: N/A | Card issuer: Mastercard | Balance transfer time limit: 90 days
  • Rate: 18.9% representative APR (see Official APR Examples)

Virgin 40 months

Joint-longest 0% balance transfer card

Virgin Money* 41 mths 0%, 3.19% fee (20.9% interest after)

This Virgin Money* card offers the joint-longest 0% period on balance transfers, though the fee is a smidgeon more than the Halifax card above. However if you're accepted, you'll definitely get the full 41 interest-free months.

The Nuba card below also offers 41 months with a slightly higher fee but also offers a £20 Amazon voucher so could be a better deal. Alternatively, if you can pay off the debt a month earlier, the Lloyds card below has a much lower fee so consider this card instead.

Need-to-knows
  • Our eligibility calculator can tell you if you're pre-approved for this card.
  • You need to transfer a balance in the first 60 days to get the 0% interest period.
  • Our eligibility calculator can tell you if you're pre-approved for this card, and if you are, you'll get the full 41 months at 0%.
  • You can't transfer a balance from another Virgin Money card.
  • After the 0%, it's 20.9% interest on any remaining transferred debt.
  • Always pay at least the minimum monthly repayment, or you'll lose the 0% deal.
  • Don't spend/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
  • Balance transfer length & fee: 41 months, 3.19% fee (min £3)
  • Minimum payment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest, or £25
  • Min income: N/A | Card issuer: Mastercard | 0% balance transfer time limit: First 60 days
  • Rate: 20.9% representative APR (see Official APR Example)
Nuba Balance Transfer Credit Card 41 months

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

Nuba* up to 41mths 0%, 3.29% fee (20.9% interest after)

This Nuba* card, a new brand from MBNA, offers the joint-longest 0% period fee to transfer your balance. You also get a £20 Amazon gift card if you transfer more than £1,000.

Be aware that you could be accepted and offered fewer months, which won't make it as good a deal. Plus if you can pay the card off in one month fewer, the Lloyds card below could prove cheaper if you've more than £1,500 of debt to transfer, as it has a much lower fee.

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' 41 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 41 months at 0%.
  • If you've already got an MBNA or Fluid 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 spend/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
  • Balance transfer length & fee: Up to 41 months 0%, 3.29% fee
  • Minimum payment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest, or £25
  • Min income: N/A | Card issuer: Mastercard | Balance transfer time limit: First 60 days
  • Rate: 18.9% representative APR (see Official APR Examples)

Lloyds card image

One month fewer than the longest 0%, but with a much lower one-off fee

Lloyds* up to 40 mths 0%, 1.94% fee (18.9% interest after)

This Lloyds* card offers just one month fewer at 0% than the longest offering, but it has a much lower fee, so unless you're desperate for that extra interest-free time, this card's likely to be a better deal. Be aware that you could be accepted and offered fewer months, though, which wouldn't make it competitive.

Need-to-knows
  • You'll be charged an initial fee of 3% of the amount transferred, then Lloyds will credit back 1.06% within 90 days, so the effective fee is 1.94%.
  • We say 'up to' 40 months as some may get 20 months 0% depending on credit score.
  • You can't transfer a balance from another Lloyds card.
  • Bank of Scotland* (eligibility calc), which is part of the same banking group, offers the same deal on its 40mth 0% card.
  • After the 0% period ends, it's 18.9% interest. But poorer credit scorers will get either 21.9% or 27.9%.
  • Always pay 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. 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
  • Balance transfer length & fee: Up to 40 months, 1.94% fee
  • Minimum payment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest, or £5
  • Min income: N/A | Card issuer: Mastercard | 0% balance transfer time limit: First 90 days
  • Rate: 18.9% representative APR (see Official APR Example)

Got those above? More 0% balance transfer cards

If the cards above don't suit you, here are some quick details of the next best. The 0% periods aren't as long, or they come with a slightly higher fee, but they're still good alternatives.

Card 0% length BT fee APR† Eligibility Calculator
MBNA* MBNA logo Up to 41 mths 3.19% 18.9% You can use our eligibility calculator for this card - are you pre-approved?
Sainsbury's* Sainsbury's logo 40 mths 1.95% (min £3) (1) 18.9% You can use our eligibility calculator for this card
MBNA* MBNA logo Up to 40 mths 2.35% 18.9% You can use our eligibility calculator for this card - are you pre-approved?
Tesco*Tesco card 40 mths 2.69% 18.9% You can use our eligibility calculator for this card
  • (1) Nectar customers only. 2.89% fee without a Nectar card
  • †Representative variable APR, your balance transfer interest may be different | See all Official APR Examples

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Best buys Long low-fee 0% cards

If you can clear your debts more quickly – even by a couple of months – than the 0% periods above, it's possible to slash the fee you pay, cutting the overall cost of paying off your debts. Pick the one that allows the lowest fee and the most realistic timeframe for you to pay it off.

The faster you can pay your debts off, the lower the fee you'll pay. We've ordered them starting with the longest 0% and getting shorter, but if you can't pay it off as quickly as you'd need to with these low-fee cards, check the longer options above.

Our Which card is cheapest? tool is a ready reckoner if you're not sure.

Barclaycard Balance Transfer Credit Card 41 months

More than three interest-free years with a relatively low fee

Barclaycard* Up to 37mths 0%, 1.44% fee (18.9% interest after)

This Barclaycard* offers more than three years at 0%, with a lower fee than the cards in the section above which offer just a few months more, so it's a good option if you're sure you can clear your debt in 37 months.

Need-to-knows
  • You'll be charged a fee of 3.5% of the amount transferred, then Barclaycard will credit back 2.06% within 2 working days, so the effective fee is 1.44%.
  • We say 'up to' 37 mths as some may only get 18 months at 0%, depending on credit score which won't make it as good a deal.
  • You can't transfer a balance from another Barclaycard.
  • After your 0% deal ends, you'll pay 18.9% 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.
  • Always pay at least the minimum monthly repayment, or you'll lose the 0% deal.
  • Don't spend/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
  • Balance transfer length & fee: Up to 37 months 0%, 1.44% fee
  • Minimum payment: Greater of 2.25% of balance, 1% of balance plus interest, or £5
  • Min income: N/A | Card issuer: Visa | Balance transfer time limit: First 60 days
  • Rate: 18.9% representative APR (see Official APR Examples)
Virgin 30 months

Long 0% card with a low fee, and gives the full 30 months if you're accepted

Virgin Money* 30 mths 0%, 0.59% fee (19.9% interest after)

This Virgin Money* credit card offers a long 30 months at 0% for a low fee, and if you're accepted for the card you'll definitely get the full 30 months. Plus, our eligibility calculator can now tell you if you're pre-approved for the card.

Need-to-knows
  • You need to transfer a balance in the first 60 days to get the 0% interest period.
  • You'll either get the whole 30 months 0% or be rejected.
  • You can't transfer a balance from another Virgin Money card.
  • After the 0%, it's 19.9% interest on any remaining transferred debt.
  • Always pay at least the minimum monthly repayment, or you'll lose the 0% deal.
  • Don't spend/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
  • Balance transfer length & fee: 30 months, 0.59% fee (min £3)
  • Minimum payment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest, or £25
  • Min income: N/A | Card issuer: Mastercard | Balance transfer time limit: 60 days
  • Rate: 19.9% representative APR (see Official APR Examples)

Got those above? More 0% balance transfer cards

If you didn't find a card above to suit you, here are quick details of the next best cards.

Card 0% length BT fee APR† Eligibility Calculator
MBNA* Barclaycard Up to 37 mths 1.45% 18.9% You can use our eligibility calculator for this card - are you pre-approved?
Sainsbury's* Sainsbury's card 35 mths 1.5% (min £3) 18.9% You can use our eligibility calculator for this card
Virgin Money* Virgin Money card 34 mths 1.49% (min £3) 19.9% You can use our eligibility calculator for this card - are you pre-approved?
Sainsbury's* Sainsbury's card 33 mths 0.64% (min £3) (1) 18.9% You can use our eligibility calculator for this card
Barclaycard* Barclaycard Up to 32 mths 0.63% 18.9% You can use our eligibility calculator for this card - are you pre-approved?
MBNA* MBNA card Up to 32 mths 0.64% 18.9% You can use our eligibility calculator for this card – are you pre-approved?
Tesco* Tesco logo 32 mths 0.65% 18.9% You can use our eligibility calculator for this card
Virgin Money* Virgin Money card 32 mths 0.66% (min £3) 19.9% You can use our eligibility calculator for this card - are you pre-approved?
Halifax* Halifax logo Up to 32 mths 0.7% 18.9% You can use our eligibility calculator for this card
TSB* TSB logo Up to 28 mths 0.5% 18.9% You can use our eligibility calculator for this card
  • (1) Nectar customers only. 0.69% fee without Nectar card.
  • †Representative variable APR, your balance transfer interest may be different | See all Official APR Examples

Best buys No fee 0% cards

If you can clear your debts in under two years, it's possible to slash the fee you pay to nothing meaning that you could – with discipline – clear your debts for free.

We've ordered these cards from the longest fee free card on the market down to the shortest. As it's not costing you any extra, the best card is the longest no fee card, but use the Eligibility Calculator first to see if you'll get it.

These cards are all short-ish lengths, so only go for these if you know you can pay off in time, or that you'll definitely switch again once the 0% period ends. If you know you'll need longer, it's almost always better to pay a (higher) fee than it is to pay interest. Our Which card is cheapest? tool is a ready reckoner if you're not sure if these cards are for you.

Halifax’s* 23 months 0%, no fee

Longest EVER no-fee card, though you may get fewer 0% months

Halifax* up to 25 mths 0%, no fee (18.9% interest after)

This Halifax* credit card offers a longest-ever 25 months at 0% with no balance transfer fee. However, there's a possibility you could be accepted but not get the headline deal – some accepted could get just 13 months, making it a worse offering.

Need-to-knows
  • You can't transfer from a Halifax card but you can from its sister firm, Bank of Scotland.
  • You must balance transfer within the first 90 days from account opening, otherwise a 3% fee will be charged.
  • After the 0%, it's 18.9% interest on any remaining transferred debt, but poorer credit scorers will get 21.9% or 25.9%.
  • Always pay at least the minimum monthly repayment, or you'll lose the 0% deal.
  • Don't spend/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
  • Balance transfer length & fee: up to 25 months 0%, NO fee
  • Minimum payment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest, or £5
  • Min income: N/A | Card issuer: Mastercard | 0% balance transfer time limit: 90 days
  • Rate: 18.9% representative APR (see Official APR Example)
Virgin Balance Transfer Credit Card 40 months

Long no-fee balance transfer card and you can be pre-approved

Virgin* 24mths 0%, no fee (19.9% interest after)

This Virgin* card gives the next longest 0% period with no balance transfer fee - exactly two years. If you're accepted, you'll definitely get the full 0% period, and our eligibility calculator can also tell you if you've a 100% chance of getting it.

Need-to-knows
  • Our eligibility calculator can now tell you if you're pre-approved for the card.
  • You can't transfer balances from other Virgin cards.
  • If you're accepted for the card, you'll definitely get the full 24 months 0%.
  • After the 0%, you'll pay 19.9% interest on transferred debt, so budget to pay off your debt within the 24 months.
  • Always pay at least the minimum monthly repayment, or you'll lose the 0% deal.
  • Don't spend/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
  • Balance transfer length & fee: 24 months, NO fee
  • Minimum payment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest, or £25
  • Min income: N/A | Card issuer: Mastercard | 0% balance transfer time limit: First 60 days
  • Rate: 19.9% representative APR (see Official APR Example)
Tesco’s* 24 months 0%, no fee

Long no-fee balance transfer card

Tesco* 24 months 0%, no fee (20.6% interest after)

This Tesco* credit card offers the same 0% period as the Virgin card above. Like that one, if you're accepted you'll definitely get the full two interest-free years.

Need-to-knows
  • You must balance transfer within the first 90 days to get the 0% offer.
  • You can't transfer a balance from another Tesco credit card, or apply if you hold more than one Tesco credit card already.
  • After the 0%, you'll pay 20.6% interest on any remaining transferred debt, but poorer credit scorers could pay up to 26.7%.
  • Always pay at least the minimum monthly repayment, or you'll lose the 0% deal.
  • Don't spend/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
  • Balance transfer length & fee: 24 months 0%, NO fee
  • Minimum payment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest or £25
  • Min income: £5,000 | Card issuer: Mastercard | 0% balance transfer time limit: 90 days
  • Rate: 18.9% representative APR (see Official APR Example)

Got those above? More no-fee 0% balance transfer cards

If you didn't find a card above to suit you, here are quick details of the next best cards.

Card 0% length BT fee APR† Eligibility Calculator
Barclaycard* Post Office card Up to 24mths None

18.9%

You can use our eligibility calculator for this card - are you pre-approved?
Post Office* Post Office card 22mths None 17.8% You can use our eligibility calculator for this card
Sainsbury's* Sainsbury's card 22mths None 18.9% You can use our eligibility calculator for this card
Lloyds* Lloyds card Up to 20 mths None 18.9% You can use our eligibility calculator for this card
Bank of Scotland Bank of Scotland Up to 20 mths None 18.9% -
Santander* Santander card 15 mths None 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

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Best buys Long-term, low-rate cards

This route can be simpler – get a card, shift your debt, then put the card away and pay it off, knowing it's cheap.

If you can pay off a 0% card in the stated time, then do that. But if you may need longer or you prefer a stable relationship to trying to be a credit card tart by switching 0% cards every time a deal runs out, a low-rate, life-of-balance card could be for you.

These cost money in interest each month, but could nevertheless work out the lower interest rate option overall as you won't ever end up on a sky-high rate as you would if you let a 0% deal lapse while still owing money on it.

However, there are the two big things to consider...

0% cards can be cheaper than long-term deals

You can use life-of-balance cards like a personal loan

MBNA Low Rate

Low interest rate for five years, 0.5% fee

MBNA* – 4.9% for 60 months, 0.5% fee

The MBNA 5* credit card offers a low interest rate of 4.9% for five years, as long as you make your transfer within 60 days of account opening. It also has a one-off fee of 0.5% to make the transfer.

We've put this card above the life-of-balance cards below because after crunching the numbers on balances up to £7,500 (as larger limits are rarer), we found it’s cheaper, even with the fee, as long as you budget to pay off your debt within five years. Any longer, and the three cards below win.

Need-to-knows
  • You must transfer within the first 60 days to get the low 4.9% rate.
  • After your low rate ends, you'll pay 8.9% interest a year on any money-transfer debt leftover.
  • Some poorer credit scorers getting this card may be given initial interest rates of 8.9%, jumping to 10.9% at the 60 months' end.
  • You can't transfer a balance from another MBNA card.
  • This card also offers money transfers at 4.9% interest for five years, with a 0.5% fee.
  • Always pay at least the minimum monthly repayment, or you'll lose the low-rate deal.
  • Don't withdraw cash on it; it's not 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
  • Balance transfer rate & fee: 4.9% for 60mths then 8.9%, 0.5% fee
  • Minimum payment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest or £25
  • Min income: £20,000 | Card issuer: Mastercard | Time limit: 60 days
  • Representative variable APR on spending: 8.9% (Official APR Examples)
Sainsbury's Low Rate

Cheapest long-term, low-rate card

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

The Sainsbury's* Low Rate credit card lets you balance transfer at a low 5.9% APR for the life of the balance, with no fee to do so.

If you know you'll be able to clear your debt within five years, our analysis on balances up to £7,500 (as larger limits are rarer) shows the MBNA card above will probably be cheaper due to the lower rate, in spite of its 0.5% fee. But if you need longer, this or the cards below are best.

Need-to-knows
  • 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.
  • Always pay at least the monthly minimum payment or you'll get a penalty for late payment and a mark on your credit file.
  • This card also has a low rate on spending, charging 5.9% rep APR. Poorer credit scorers could be accepted for the card but charged a higher APR, up to 15.9%.
  • Always pay 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 isn't at the cheap rate and cash withdrawals hit your credit file.
ELIGIBILITY CHECK NOT AVAILABLE
APPLY*
(at lender site)

Protect your credit score and check chances of getting card

Stats box
  • Balance transfer length & fee: 5.9%, no fee
  • Minimum payment:Greater of 1% of balance plus interest, 2.25% of balance or £5
  • Min income: N/A | Card issuer: Mastercard | Time limit: N/A
  • Rate: 5.9% representative APR (see Official APR Examples)
Key questions

What happens if it increases the rate? If a rate change is announced, 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 our Rate Jacking guide for the full rules.

Tesco Low Rate*

Second lowest-rate card, with no balance transfer fee

Tesco* 6.05% on balance transfers

This Tesco* credit card lets you balance transfer at 6.05% interest rate for the life of the balance, with no fee as long as you transfer within one month. As a bonus, there's 0% interest for the first month.

If you know you'll be able to clear your debt within five years, our analysis on balances up to £7,500 (as larger limits are rarer) shows the MBNA card above will probably be cheaper due to the lower rate, in spite of its 0.5% fee. But if you need longer, this or the cards below are best.

Need-to-knows
  • 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.
  • Some poorer credit scorers accepted for the card will be charged up to 11.5% on balance transfers, which isn't such a good deal.
  • This card also has a low rate on spending, charging 5.9% rep APR – though again, you get the first month at 0%. Poorer credit scorers could be accepted for the card but charged a higher APR, up to 10.9%.
  • Always pay 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 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
  • Balance transfer length & fee: 6.05%, no fee
  • Minimum payment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest or £25
  • Min income: N/A | Card issuer: Mastercard | Time limit: One month
  • Rate: 5.9% representative APR (see Official APR Examples)
Key questions

What happens if it increases the rate? If a rate change is announced, 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 our Rate Jacking guide for the full rules.

Is there a time limit to transfer balances? Yes. You must transfer balances within one month to avoid a fee. After one month, the fee is 3%.

Best buys Cards for poorer credit scorers

To be accepted for most of the card deals in this guide, you need you to have a decent credit score – so people who need cheap credit the most often struggle to get it.

The two cards in this section are aimed at different people. The Barclaycard is for those with only a short credit history, while the Capital One card's designed for people with a history of defaults & CCJs who are trying to rebuild their credit history.

Barclaycard Platinum card

Best balance transfer card if you haven't had much credit before

Barclaycard* 18mths 0%, 2.99% fee (24.9% interest after)

If your credit history's short and you need to build it up to get decent products, the Barclaycard Platinum* card gives 18 months at 0%. If you've debts on high-interest cards, but maybe have only had one card in the past, then this is aimed at you. It's a mid-range 0% offer, but with a higher fee. But, use this card well, and it's a route out of debt.

Need-to-knows
  • It's easier to qualify for than other cards in this guide that require a top credit score.
  • If accepted, you'll get 18 months. Barclaycard doesn't operate risk-based offers for this card.
  • You can't transfer a balance from another Barclaycard.
  • After the 0% period ends, interest varies depending on your credit score, but will be at least 24.9% so aim to clear it by then, or shift the debt again.
  • It is NOT for those with serious credit problems, such as recent CCJs or defaults.
  • Always pay at least the minimum monthly repayment, or you'll lose the 0% deal.
  • Don't spend/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
  • Balance transfer length & fee: 18 months, 2.99% fee
  • Minimum payment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest, 2.25% of balance, or £5
  • Min income: £17,500 | Card issuer: Visa | 0% balance transfer time limit: First 60 days
  • Rate: 24.9% representative APR (see Official APR Example)
Key questions

Will I definitely get 24.9% APR?
Some accepted applicants with a slightly poorer credit score will be given a 29.9% interest rate as Barclaycard operates rate-for-risk pricing. This can hit the cost of your balance transfer, especially if you find you can't pay it off within the 18-month 0% period.

What should I do when the 0% ends?
After the 18 months 0% is up, any debt left on the card will start to accrue interest at 24.9% or 29.9%. Either clear the card before interest hits, or, if you can't, do a balance transfer to another card.

Unlike the Barclaycard above, this Capital One card is specifically designed for people who have had past credit problems.

Capital One - 0% until April 2015, 3% fee

A short-term respite from interest if you've a poor credit history

Capital One* 0% for 6mths, 3% fee (34.9% interest after)

For those who've had past credit problems, Capital One's* Balance card provides a rare lifeline – even if you've had past defaults or CCJs. The 0% on balance transfers only lasts for six months, so treat it as an opportunity to shift debt short-term, giving you a respite from interest which you should use to clear the card, if you can.

Need-to-knows
  • After the 0%, the rate jumps to a huge 34.9% interest so clear it by then or transfer again.
  • Credit limits are low, ranging from £200 to £1,500.
  • You still have to pass a credit check and CCJs or defaults must be more than a year old.
  • Always pay at least the minimum monthly repayment, or you'll lose the 0% deal.
  • Don't spend/withdraw cash on this card. It usually isn't at the cheap rate and cash withdrawals hit your credit file.
ELIGIBILITY CHECK NOT AVAILABLE
APPLY*
(at lender site)

Protect your credit score and check chances of getting card

Stats box
  • Balance transfer length & fee: 6 months 0%, 3% fee
  • Minimum payment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest, or £5
  • Min income: N/A | Card issuer: Mastercard | 0% balance transfer time limit: N/A
  • Rate: 34.9% representative APR (see Official APR Example)
Key questions

How do I use this card best? In a perfect world, you'd shift all your debts to it, repay in six months and be debt-free. Yet if your debts are too big, that may not be possible. So, here's the best way to use it:

  • Shift as much debt as possible from the card(s) you have with the highest APR.
  • Use the 0% period on this card to pay as much off as possible, so that when it hits 34.9% you've little debt left.
  • After the 0% ends, if you shifted it from a card with a lower APR than this 34.9%, try to shift the remainder back on to the original card. There should be room if you've not spent on it – see the Credit Card Shuffle. If you can't shift back, then try to pay this card off as quickly as possible.

What happens when the deal ends?
This is only a short-term deal so ensure you diarise the end date and check to see if you can transfer the balance to another card then, if you still owe cash.

This will be easier if you make sure you always make the minimum repayments – if you don't, you may lose the deal anyway and have little chance of a new deal if your credit rating takes another hit.

Can I spend on the card?
All spending is at the huge 34.9% representative APR from day one – AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE.

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 that it's exactly the same deal though, as terms can be different. And remember the cashback is never 100% guaranteed until it's in your account. 

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

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Calculator Which card is cheapest for you?

Choosing your balance transfer weapon's more complicated than it used to be.

The aim should still always be to repay within the interest-free time, or switch after that to another 0% deal if you haven't repaid. However, if you can't, don't automatically jump for a long-term deal, as it may not be cheapest.

This calculator gives you an indication of which card might be cheapest, based on your debt and likely repayments. However, do note that not every card above is included within the tool.

What's the cheapest card? Quick tool compares cost and length of using top deals

£1500
£0 £10,000
£100
£0 £1,000

Be careful, this is just an ESTIMATE

The calculator estimates total costs and interest, yet it makes some assumptions.

  • It assumes repayments are fixed: If not, be safe and pick the min you'll repay in a month.
  • It assumes you won't spend on the card: As this isn't usually at the 0% rate, so avoid.
  • It assumes you pay the representative APR when the 0% ends: If your input monthly payment won't clear the debt before the end of the 0%, the tool adds interest for the remaining time.
  • Not all cards are included

Caution, this is an ESTIMATE. See assumptions.


Last Updated: September 2016

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 email reminder to ditch and switch. Of course, like everything else on this site, it's completely free. Try it now

Balance transfers Q&A

  • How do I actually do a balance transfer?

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

  • How much should I pay off each month?

  • If a lower interest rate doesn't mean I pay less, why bother?

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

  • Will transferring a balance close my old card for me?

  • Should I cancel my old card?

  • How many times can I balance transfer?

  • Can I transfer my partner's debt onto my 0% card?

  • At what point during tarting should I apply for a new card?

  • Will card tarting hurt my credit score?

  • What if my card's got a 0% spending deal?

  • Is the balance transfer fee interest-free as well?

  • Which cards give the best limits?

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

  • Why did it give me a different card to the one I applied for?

  • Any other things I should look for when picking a 0% card?

  • My question hasn't been answered yet, what should I do?

Glossary