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Balance Transfer Credit Cards

Up to 42mths 0%, 2.79% 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.

What is a balance transfer?

A balance transfer is where you get a new card that pays off existing debt on other credit and store cards, so you owe it instead, but at 0%. This means more of your repayments go to reducing the debt, rather than paying interest, so you clear it quicker.

Most balance transfer cards will charge a small fee when you make the transfer, so always go for the card with the lowest fee within the time you know you can pay it back in. If in doubt, go long, even with a bigger fee.

Good / Evil Credit Card

Rather watch than read? This helpful little video gives you the balance transfer lowdown...

The seven golden rules

Before you do a balance transfer there are seven 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?

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

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

    Quick questions

    How does the eligibility calculator work?

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

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

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

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

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

  • 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?

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 43 months

Joint-longest 0% card, though you could be offered fewer months

MBNA* up to 42mths 0%, 2.79% fee (20.9% interest after)

This MBNA* card offers the joint-longest 0% balance transfer period, though you could be accepted and offered fewer months which wouldn't make it as good.

Need-to-knows
  • We say 'up to' 42 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 42 months at 0%.
  • If you've already got an MBNA or Nuba card, you can't balance transfer to this one.
  • This card accepts transfers from non-MBNA issued Amex cards.
  • 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 42 months 0%, 2.79% fee
  • Min payment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest, or £25 | Min balance transfer amount: £25
  • Min income: N/A | Card issuer: Visa | Balance transfer time limit: First 60 days
  • Rate: 18.9% representative APR (see Official APR Examples)
Nuba Balance Transfer Credit Card 41 months

Higher fee than the card above but get a £20 Amazon gift card if you transfer £1k+

Nuba up to 42mths 0%, 3.29% fee (20.9% interest after)

This Nuba card, a brand from MBNA, offers the same 0% period as the card above, but comes with a higher fee to transfer your balance. If you transfer more than £1,000 you'll also get a £20 Amazon voucher, which could make it a better deal - though you could be accepted for the card and offered fewer 0% months.

Need-to-knows
  • You'll receive a £20 Amazon gift card if you balance or money transfer at least £1,000 within the first 60 days of account opening. The card will be emailed to you within 60 days of transferring.
  • We say 'up to' 42 mths as some may get fewer months at 0%, depending on credit score.
  • If you've already got an MBNA or Nuba card, you can't balance transfer to this one.
  • After your 0% deal ends, you'll pay 20.9% interest a year on any balance transfer debt left over.
  • You need to transfer the balance within 60 days, or you won't get the 0% period and you'll pay a 5% fee.
  • Always pay at least the minimum monthly repayment, or you'll lose the 0% deal.
  • Don't 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: Up to 42 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)

Virgin 40 months

Shorter 0% period but lower fee and 40mths guaranteed if accepted

Virgin Money* 40 mths 0%, 1.7% fee (20.9% interest after)

This Virgin Money* card offers two fewer 0% months than the cards above, but comes with a lower fee to shift your debt. Plus, if you're accepted, you'll definitely get the full 40 interest-free months.

Need-to-knows
  • 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 40 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: 40 months, 1.7% 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: 20.9% 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
Halifax* Halifax logo Up to 41 mths 2.59% 18.9% You can use our eligibility calculator for this card - are you pre-approved?
Sainsbury's* Sainsbury's logo 41 mths 2.89% (min £3) 18.9% You can use our eligibility calculator for this card
Virgin Money* Virgin Money logo 41 mths 3% 20.9% You can use our eligibility calculator for this card - are you pre-approved?
Bank of Scotland* Bank of Scotland Up to 40 mths 1.69% 18.9% You can use our eligibility calculator for this card - are you pre-approved?
Lloyds* Lloyds Up to 40 mths 1.69% 19.9% You can use our eligibility calculator for this card - are you pre-approved?
Sainsbury's* Sainsbury's logo 40 mths 1.78% (min £3) (1) 18.9% You can use our eligibility calculator for this card
Tesco*Tesco card Up to 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.

Lloyds Balance Transfer Credit Card 37 months

More than three interest-free years with a lower fee than the cards above

Lloyds* up to 37mths 0%, 1.39% fee (18.9% interest after)

This Lloyds* card 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.

If you can pay it off in less time, then it's also worth looking at the cards below which offer fewer interest-free months but have lower fees to shift your debt.

Need-to-knows
  • You'll be charged a fee of 3% of the amount transferred, then Lloyds will credit back 1.61% within 90 days, so the effective fee is 1.39%.
  • We say 'up to' 37mths as some poorer credit scorers may get 18 months at 0% – but if you've a Lloyds current account, our eligibility calculator can tell you if you're pre-approved for it – and if you are, you'll get the full 37 months at 0%.
  • You can't transfer from a Lloyds card but you can from its sister firms, Halifax and Bank of Scotland.
  • After your 0% deal ends, you'll pay 18.9% interest a year on any balance transfer debt left over, though poorer credit scorers could pay up to 27.9% APR.
  • You need to transfer the balance within 90 days, or you won't get the 0% period and you'll pay a higher 3% 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 37 months 0%, 1.39% fee (min £3)
  • Min payment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest or £5 | Min balance transfer amount: £100
  • Min income: N/A | Card issuer: Mastercard | Balance transfer time limit: First 90 days
  • Rate: 18.9% representative APR (see Official APR Examples)
Lloyds

Fewer 0% months than the card above but lower fee and £20 cashback

Lloyds* – up to 33 months 0%, 0.59% fee (18.9% rep APR after)

This Lloyds* card offers fewer 0% months than the Lloyds card above, but comes with a lower fee for shifting your debt. Plus, those who apply by Tue 11 July and transfer at least £100 will also get £20 cashback, so it could prove a better deal than the other Lloyds card if you don't need the extra 0% months.

Need-to-knows
  • To get the £20 cashback, apply for the card by Tue 11 July and balance transfer at least £100.
  • The cashback will be paid to your credit card account within 90 days of doing the balance transfer.
  • You'll be charged a fee of 3% of the amount transferred, then Lloyds will credit back the difference within 90 days, so the effective fee is 0.59%.
  • We say 'up to' 33mths as some poorer credit scorers may get fewer months at 0% – but if you've a Lloyds current account, our eligibility calculator can tell you if you're pre-approved for it – and if you are, you'll get the full 33 months at 0%.
  • You can't transfer from a Lloyds card but you can from its sister firms, Halifax and Bank of Scotland.
  • After your 0% deal ends, you'll pay 18.9% interest a year on any balance transfer debt left over. Poorer credit scorers could pay up to 25.9%.
  • 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 33 months 0%, 0.59% fee (min £3)
  • Min payment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest or £5 | Min balance transfer amount: £100
  • Min income: N/A | Card issuer: Mastercard | Balance transfer time limit: First 90 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%, 0.55% fee (19.9% interest after)

This Virgin Money* credit card offers fewer months than the cards above, but comes with a lower fee. If you're accepted for the card you'll definitely get the full 30 months, and our eligibility calculator can tell you if you're pre-approved for the card.

If you're transferring more than £1,000, it's worth looking at the MBNA card below which comes with a slightly higher fee but also offers £20 cashback.

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.
  • This card accepts transfers from UK-issued Amex cards.
  • 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, 0.55% fee
  • Min payment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest, or £25 | Min balance transfer amount: £1
  • Min income: N/A | Card issuer: Mastercard | Balance transfer time limit: 60 days
  • Rate: 19.9% representative APR (see Official APR Examples)
MBNA Balance Transfer Credit Card 41 months

Higher fee than the card above, but get £20 cashback if you transfer £1,000+

MBNA* up to 30mths 0%, 0.64% fee (20.9% interest after)

This MBNA* card offers the same 0% period as the Virgin card above, but has a slightly higher fee to shift your debt. Transfer at least £1,000 within 60 days and you'll get £20 cashback, which makes it a better deal than the Virgin card if you're shifting more than £1k.

However, you could be accepted and offered fewer months which wouldn't be as good.

Need-to-knows
  • To be eligible for the £20 cashback, you need to make balance transfers of at least £1,000 within the first 60 days of opening the account.
  • The cashback will be credited to your account within 60 days of the transfer being processed.
  • We say 'up to' 30 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 30 months at 0%.
  • If you've already got an MBNA or Nuba card, you can't balance transfer to this one.
  • After your 0% deal ends, you'll pay 20.9% interest a year on any balance transfer debt left over.
  • You need to transfer the balance within 60 days, or you won't get the 0% period and you'll pay a 5% fee.
  • Always pay at least the minimum monthly repayment, or you'll lose the 0% deal.
  • Don't 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 30 months 0%, 0.64% fee
  • Minimum payment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest, or £25
  • Min income: N/A | Card issuer: Visa | Balance transfer time limit: First 60 days
  • Rate: 18.9% 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
Barclaycard* Barclaycard
Up to 37 mths 1.4% 18.9% You can use our eligibility calculator for this card - are you pre-approved?
MBNA* Barclaycard Up to 37 mths 1.45% 18.9% You can use our eligibility calculator for this card - are you pre-approved?
Halifax* Halifax card Up to 35 mths 1.49% (min £3) 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
Sainsbury's* Sainsbury's card 33 mths 0.59% (min £3) 18.9% You can use our eligibility calculator for this card
Virgin Money* Virgin Money card 32 mths 0.6% 19.9% You can use our eligibility calculator for this card - are you pre-approved?
Barclaycard* Barclaycard Up to 32 mths 0.6% 19.9% You can use our eligibility calculator for this card - are you pre-approved?
Tesco* Tesco logo Up to 32 mths 0.65% 18.9% You can use our eligibility calculator for this card
Halifax* Halifax card Up to 32 mths 0.7% (min £3) 18.9% You can use our eligibility calculator for this card - are you pre-approved?
  • †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 29 months 0%, no fee

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

Halifax* up to 29 mths 0%, no fee (18.9% interest after)

This Halifax* credit card offers the longest-ever interest-free period 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 14 months.

But, if you've a current account with Halifax, our eligibility calculator can tell you if you're pre-approved for it – and if you are, you'll get the full 29 months at 0%.

Need-to-knows
  • You can't transfer from a Halifax card but you can from its sister firms, Lloyds and 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 29 months 0%, NO fee
  • Min payment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest, or £5 | Min balance transfer amount: £100
  • Min income: N/A | Card issuer: Mastercard | 0% balance transfer time limit: 90 days
  • Rate: 18.9% representative APR (see Official APR Example)
Sainsbury's Balance Transfer Credit Card 42 months

Joint second-longest no-fee 0% card

Sainsbury's Bank* 28mths 0%, no fee (18.9% interest after)

This Sainsbury's Bank* card offers one fewer interest-free month than the Halifax card above, but if you're accepted you'll definitely get the full 0% period. Oddly, it charges a 1.5% fee when you do the transfer, but then refunds it in its entirety within 60 days.

Need-to-knows
  • If you're accepted, you'll definitely get the full 28mths at 0%. Sainsbury's isn't one of the lenders that will accept you, and then offer fewer 0% months.
  • After the 0% period ends, it’s 18.9% interest. But poorer credit scorers will get either 21.9%, or 28.9%.
  • If you transfer your balance after the first three months you'll pay 3% fee (min £3).
  • 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: 28 months 0%, no fee
  • Min payment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest, 2.25% or £5 | Min balance transfer amount: £100
  • Min income: N/A | Card issuer: Mastercard | Balance transfer time limit: Three months
  • Rate: 18.9% representative APR (see Official APR Examples)
TSB 28 months 0%, no fee

Joint second-longest no-fee card, though you may get fewer 0% months

TSB* up to 28 mths 0%, no fee (18.9% interest after)

This TSB* card offers the same number of 0% months as the Sainsbury's card above, and has no balance transfer fee. However, you could be accepted and offered fewer interest-free months. You'll initially be charged a 0.5% fee, which'll be refunded in 60 days.

Need-to-knows
  • You must balance transfer within the first 90 days from account opening, otherwise a 3% fee will be charged and you won't get the 0% deal.
  • After the 0%, it's 18.9% interest on any remaining transferred debt, but poorer credit scorers will get 22.9% 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 28 months 0%, NO fee
  • Min payment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest, or £5 | Min balance transfer amount: £100
  • Min income: N/A | 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
Bank of Scotland* Bank of Scotland Up to 25 mths None 18.9% You can use our eligibility calculator for this card - are you pre-approved?
Lloyds* Lloyds card Up to 25 mths None 19.9% You can use our eligibility calculator for this card - are you pre-approved?
Virgin Money* Virgin Money 24mths None

19.9%

You can use our eligibility calculator for this card - are you pre-approved?
Barclaycard* Barclaycard Up to 24mths None

18.9%

You can use our eligibility calculator for this card - are you pre-approved?
Tesco* Tesco logo Up to 24 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 debt leftover.
  • Some poorer credit scorers getting this card may be given initial interest rates of 9.9%, jumping to 11.9% at the 60 months' end.
  • You can't transfer a balance from another MBNA card.
  • This card accepts transfers from non-MBNA issued Amex cards.
  • 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.
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Stats box
  • Balance transfer rate & fee: 4.9% for 60mths then 8.9%, 0.5% fee
  • Min payment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest or £25 | Min balance transfer amount: £25
  • Min income: £20,000 | Card issuer: Mastercard | Time limit: 60 days
  • Representative variable APR on spending: 8.9% (Official APR Examples)
AA Low Rate*

Cheapest long-term, low-rate card

The AA* 5.85% interest, no balance transfer fee

The AA* Low Rate credit card offers 0% on balance transfers for three months, and then a low 5.85% interest for the life of the card, with no balance transfer fee.

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
  • The AA can increase the rate after a year. But you can reject this rate hike.
  • Poorer credit scorers may be given higher rates of 10.4% or 14.9% APR.
  • Always pay at least the monthly minimum payment or you'll get a penalty for late payment and a mark on your credit file.
  • Don't withdraw cash on this card. It usually isn't at the cheap rate and cash withdrawals hit your credit file.
Eligibility Calculator
(MSE's free tool)
APPLY*
(at lender site)

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Stats box
  • Balance transfer length & fee: 5.85%, no fee
  • Min payment : Greater of 1% of balance plus interest, 2.5% or £5 | Min balance transfer amount: £100
  • Min income: £8,000 | Card issuer: Mastercard | Time limit: N/A
  • Rate: 5.85% representative APR (see Official APR Examples)
Sainsbury's Low Rate

Cheap 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 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: 5.9%, no fee
  • Min payment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest, 2.25% or £5 | Min balance transfer amount: £100
  • 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

Next 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 accepts transfers from Amex cards, though you'll need to phone up to get it processed.
  • 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
  • Min payment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest or £25 | Min balance transfer amount: £1
  • 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 if you haven't had much credit before as it's a decent 0% period

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* gives 18 months 0%. If you've debts on high-interest cards, but maybe have only had one card in the past, this is aimed at you. It's a mid-range 0% offer, but with a higher fee. Though 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 (ie, it doesn't offer fewer months to poorer credit scorers).
  • 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)
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Stats box
  • Balance transfer length & fee: 18 months, 2.99% fee
  • Min payment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest, 2.25%, or £5 | Min balance transfer amount: £100
  • 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?
Although you won't be offered fewer months on this card, 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-month 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, these cards are 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 in the 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 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 months 0%, 3% fee
  • Min payment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest, or £5 | Min balance transfer amount: £50
  • 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.

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

Another option if you've a poor credit history

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

Like the Capital One card above, this Aqua* card is also designed for those with a poor credit history, accepting those with past defaults, CCJs or bankruptcies. It offers the same six month 0% period on balance transfers, giving you a short-term break 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, starting between £250 and £1,200.
  • You still have to pass a credit check. CCJs must be more than a year old, and you must not have been registered bankrupt in the past 18mths or have bankruptcy proceedings against you.
  • Marbles (eligibility calc / apply*), issued by the same provider as Aqua, also offers a card with 0% for six months for a 3% fee (34.9% APR after).
  • You won't be eligible for the card if you've had an Aqua or Marbles card within the last year.
  • 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: 6 months 0%, 3% fee (min £3)
  • Min payment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest, or £5 | Min balance transfer amount: £100
  • 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: May 2017

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

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 video run-down of Martin answering your balance transfer questions. Otherwise, scroll below for the full 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?

  • Can I do a balance transfer from an Amex 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

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