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Money Transfers

Shift cash from a card to your bank account at 0%

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Helen S

Updated September 2017

While it's most common to shift debt from one credit card to another, a 0% money transfer allows you to shift cash from the card to your bank account. Then you can use it to clear your overdraft or give yourself a 0% cash loan for up to 39 months.

This is a complex technique, but powerful. Read the guide and follow the steps to minimise interest while you budget to pay off your debt.

The seven golden rules

Before you do a money 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).

  • Don't withdraw the cash, ask them to do a money transfer to your current account

    If you take the money out as cash, you'll be charged interest on it (even if you pay it off in full at the end of the month) and the cash withdrawal will be recorded on your credit report. To get the money transfer, you just need to ask the card provider to...

    "Do a money transfer to my current account."

    This way you'll get the transfer deal, the debt will end up at the cheap rate on the card, and the cash will end up in your bank. For double surety, you can even explain exactly what you think will happen, and get them to confirm.

    Quick question

    What are the best ways to use a money transfer?

  • Only do it if you NEED to borrow

    Money transfers aren't like shifting debt between cards, where you're just making existing debt cheaper. For most, it means new borrowing – which can be dangerous. If you are borrowing to buy something, ensure that you've planned for it, and budgeted for how you're going to pay it back.

    The best way to handle these debts is to treat them like a loan. Once you've done the money transfer, add the balance that you transferred to the fee you paid. Then, divide this by the number of months your 0% period lasts.

    This is how much you need to pay back each month to ensure you've cleared the card before interest kicks in. Setting up a direct debit or standing order for that amount as soon as your paycheck comes in is a wise move – that way you know you'll pay it off in time.

    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% or cheap deal, DOESN'T mean you can get away with paying nothing – you must pay at least the minimum monthly amount. Otherwise you'll be hit with penalties and some card providers will withdraw the deal, leaving you on an expensive rate.

    Money transfers often have higher interest rates than purchases or balance transfers once the 0% or cheap rate ends, so it's crucial you pay off or shift the debt to another card before it ends.

    Quick question

    How much should I aim to pay?

  • Don't spend or withdraw cash on cheap money 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 money transfer card isn't as bad as it was, as repayments first clear the spending, though 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's 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 money transfer eligibility calculator quickly shows your odds of getting almost every top money 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 free your 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.

  • You won't always get the headline deal even if you're accepted for the card

    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 24-month 0% money transfer deal, be accepted, but be given fewer months at 0% – sometimes with a higher fee or APR too.

    We highlight which cards providers do this with 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 questions

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

    Why do lenders give some applicants worse deals?

Best buys Low-fee money transfers

The top-pick cards below offer the cheapest money transfer fees on the market. If you need longer to repay your debts then go for one of the longer 0% money transfers.

Virgin Money Card

Cheapest fee for a 0% money transfer

Virgin Money* 25 MONTHS 0%, 2% FEE

This Virgin Money* card gives more than two years at 0%, and it has a lower fee than the cards in the section below, so it's a good option if you think you can clear the debt in time. As with other Virgin Money cards you'll definitely get the full 0% period if you're accepted for this one.

Need-to-knows
  • After the 0% deal ends, if you've still got a balance on the card you'll pay 22.9% interest a year on it, so budget to pay it off within the 25 months.
  • This Virgin card also offers 0% on balance transfers for 25 months, with a 1.5% fee. After this you'll pay interest of 20.9% a year on any remaining balance.
  • Always pay at least the minimum monthly repayments 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
  • Money transfer length & fee: 25 months 0%, 2% fee
  • Annual interest rate on money transfers after the 0%: 22.9%
  • Representative variable APR on spending: 18.9% (Official APR Example)
  • Card issuer: Mastercard
  • Min income: N/A
  • Min repayment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest or £25
  • Any restrictions? Must transfer within 60 days

Best buys Long 0% money transfers

The cards below have higher money transfer fees than those above, but offer longer 0% periods, so they're best if you'll need more than 25 months to repay the amount you borrow.

virgin money

Long money transfer card

Virgin Money* 36 MONTHS 0%, 2.9% FEE

This Virgin Money* card gives three years at 0% on money transfers, with a fee of 2.9%. So if you'll need 36 months to pay off the debt, it could be the best option. Plus, our eligibility calculator can tell you if you're pre-approved for the card.

Need-to-knows
  • In addition, this card offers 0% balance transfers for 36 months, with a fee of 2.9%.
  • You'll pay interest on any remaining money transfer balance at a rate of 20.9% after the 0% period is over.
  • Always pay at least the minimum monthly repayments 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
  • Money transfer length & fee: up to 36 months 0%, 2.9% fee
  • Annual interest rate on money transfers after the 0%: 20.9%
  • Representative variable APR on spending: 20.9% (Official APR Example)
  • Card issuer: Mastercard
  • Min income: N/A
  • Min repayment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest or £25
  • Any restrictions? Must transfer within 60 days
mbna

Longer 0% period than the card above, but with a higher fee

MBNA* up to 39 MONTHS 0%, 3.45% FEE

This MBNA* card gives accepted applicants money transfers for up to 39 months at 0%, for a higher fee than the card above, of 3.45%. You could be accepted for the card and offered fewer 0% months but if you try our eligibility calculator, it can tell you if you're pre-approved for this card – and if you are, you'll get the full 39 months at 0%.

Need-to-knows
  • You must do your money transfer within 60 days of opening the card to get the 0% period and lower fee. Transfers made after this will pay 22.9% interest and a 5% fee.
  • In addition, this card offers 0% balance transfers for up to 24 months, but with a handling fee of 3.45% – not great, so don't use the card for this.
  • Poorer credit scorers might get fewer months at 0% instead of the full 39 – try the eligibility calculator to see if you're pre-approved for the headline deal.
  • You'll pay interest on any remaining money transfer balance at a rate of 22.9% after the 0% period is over.
  • Always pay at least the minimum monthly repayments 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
  • Money transfer length & fee: up to 39 months 0%, 3.45% fee
  • Annual interest rate on money transfers after the 0%: 22.9%
  • Representative variable APR on spending: 18.9% (Official APR Example)
  • Card issuer: Visa
  • Min income: N/A
  • Min repayment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest or £25
  • Any restrictions? Must transfer within 60 days to get 0%
virgin money

Higher fee than the card above but will get the full 0% period if accepted

Virgin Money* 39 MONTHS 0%, 3.8% FEE

This Virgin Money* card gives the same 0% period as the MBNA card above. It has a higher fee than that one, but if you're accepted for the card you'll definitely get the full 39 interest-free months.

Need-to-knows
  • In addition, this card offers 0% balance transfers for 39 months, with a fee of 2.4%.
  • You'll pay interest on any remaining money transfer balance at a rate of 20.9% after the 0% is over.
  • You must do your money transfer within 60 days of opening the card account to get the 39 months at 0%.
  • Always pay at least the minimum monthly repayments 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
  • Money transfer length & fee: 39 months 0%, 3.8% fee
  • Annual interest rate on money transfers after the 0%: 20.9%
  • Representative variable APR on spending: 20.9% (Official APR Example)
  • Card issuer: Mastercard
  • Min income: N/A
  • Min repayment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest or £25
  • Any restrictions? Must transfer within 60 days

Best buys Low-rate money transfers

With long-term, low-rate cards, you've a longer time to repay your debt. But there's no 0% period – instead, you pay a low rate of interest and a small (or no) fee to do the transfer. These cards are best if you'll need longer than 40 months to repay the debt – if you think you'll repay in under that, the cards above may work out cheaper.

MBNA 5

Low 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, but if you can budget to pay it off within the low interest period, it's a good alternative to getting a loan for smaller amounts.

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 9.9%, jumping to 11.9% at the 60 months' end.
  • Always pay at least the minimum monthly repayments.
  • Don't withdraw cash on this card. It usually isn't at the cheap rate and cash withdrawals hit your credit file.
  • This card also offers balance transfers at 4.9% interest for up to five years, with a 0.5% fee.
Stats box
  • Money transfer rate & fee: 4.9% for 60 months then 8.9%, 0.5% fee
  • Representative variable APR on spending: 8.9% (Official APR Example)
  • Card issuer: Mastercard
  • Min income: £20,000
  • Min repayment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest or £25
  • Any restrictions? None

Money transfers Q&A

  • I already have a lot of debt. Will this help me?

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

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

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

  • Can I use money transfers for stoozing?

Get Our Free Money Tips Email!

For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes - join the 12m who get it. Don't miss out