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Money Transfers

Shift cash to your account at 0%

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Helen S

Updated July 2016

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 41 months.

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

What is a money transfer?

A few special credit cards let you pay money straight into your bank account from the credit card for a fee. This is called a 'money transfer' and by doing this you now have the cheap debt on the credit card and the cash in your bank account. But it's crucially important that you pay off or shift the debt before the 0% intro period ends.

You can use a money transfer card to...

  • Undercut high street loan rates. Even the cheapest high street loan to borrow £2,000 is around 12.3% representative APR. But, if you can pay it off in just over two-and-a-half years, doing a money transfer and paying for whatever you were planning to buy with the cash will cost you just a 1.69% fee. That works out at an APR of about 1.2%.
  • Pay off expensive overdrafts. This effectively shifts the overdraft to the card (alternatively, see bank accounts with 0% overdrafts below).

    When doing this, it's important you're disciplined and don't just drift back into the red, leaving yourself in even more debt. Do a budget so you're in control of your spending.
  • Paying off nasty payday loans. Once the money's in your bank account, use the cash to pay your payday loan off. But make sure you then pay off the card – and DON'T take out any more loans. Read our Payday Loans guide for alternatives.
  • Making a big purchase. As the money is in cash, it's a way of paying for something where credit cards won't usually be accepted. Ensure you borrow as little as possible, and do a budget to check repayments are affordable. It's best to buy on a credit card where you can, to benefit from extra Section 75 protection.
    For more information on how to do this, see our Cheap Credit Card Loans guide.
  • Stoozing. This is an advanced technique for making free cash from credit cards. See the Stoozing guide for more.

Make sure that you NEED to borrow

Money transfers aren't like shifting debt between cards, where you're just moving around existing debt. 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.

Money transfers

The top money transfers

First and foremost, a huge warning. Many cards allow you to pay cash into your bank account. The difference is most charge a fortune for it. The key to a money transfer is that you're charged the special promotional interest rate.

So, to get this, never ever withdraw cash and never spend on the credit card. Instead, just ask the card provider to...

"Do a money transfer to my current account."

This way you'll get the cheap transfer deal, 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.

Also, it's crucial you set up a direct debit to make AT LEAST the minimum repayment each month. If not, you'll lose the special deal and pay the 20%+ APR on all debts.

Though try to pay more than the minimum amount, so the debt is cleared by the end of the intro deal, or you'll pay that 20+% APR on the debt that's left.

Which cards let you do this?

Currently, there are five cards on the market that allow you to do a money transfer for a low fee (other cards let you do this, though they're not as good a deal). But always treble-check the details before making any payment, as terms and conditions can be changed at any time.

Plus just like when applying for any card, you'll need to pass a a credit check (see the Credit Rating guide). We've developed a tool to help you see which cards you could be eligible for.

Check my eligibility for the cards before I apply

You can find out your chances of getting these best buy money transfer credit cards by using our eligibility calculator tool. It works with all the cards below except Tesco.

  • We'll check your details against what credit card firms are looking for in customers.
  • It's a 'soft' search. YOU can see it, but lenders CAN'T, so there's no impact on your credit file.
  • We'll show you your chances of being accepted for the card.
  • Some cards now come with pre-approval, meaning we can tell many people they've a 100% chance of getting that exact deal (subject to passing ID and fraud checks).

Unless you're pre-approved, it's not a guarantee you'll be accepted – but you'll get a good idea of your chances for each card.

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

Long 0% and cheapest money transfer fee on the market

Virgin Money* 32 MONTHS 0%, 1.69% FEE

This Virgin Money* card gives more than two and a half years at 0%, for a market-leading fee of 1.69%. As with other Virgin Money cards you'll definitely get the full 0% period if you're accepted.

Need-to-knows
  • You'll initially be charged a fee of 3.5%, then Virgin will refund the difference back to you within 14 days, making the effective fee 1.69% of the amount you transfer.
  • After the 0% deal ends if you've still got a balance on the card, you'll pay 19.9% interest a year on it, so budget to pay off within the 32 months.
  • This Virgin card also offers 0% on balance transfers for 32 months, with a 1.69% fee. After which, you'll pay interest of 19.9% a year on any remaining balance.
  • Always pay at least the minimum monthly repayment, or you'll lose the 0% deal.
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: 32 months 0%, 1.69% fee (min £3)
  • Annual interest rate on money transfers after the 0%: 19.9%
  • Representative variable APR on spending: 19.9% (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

Low money transfer fee, but shorter 0% period

MBNA* UP TO 24 MONTHS 0%, 1.99% FEE

This MBNA* card has a low money transfer fee, at 1.99%, but it's slightly higher than the longer card above. Our eligibility calculator can tell you if you're pre-approved for it, so it's another option if your chances of getting the Virgin Money card are low.

Need-to-knows
  • You must do your money transfer within 60 days of opening the card to get the promotional 1.99% fee and the 0% rate; do it later and you'll pay a 5% fee and 22.9% APR.
  • This card also offers 0% balance transfers for up to 32 months, with a handling fee of 1.14%.
  • Poorer credit scorers might get fewer months at 0%, instead of the full 24. Try our eligibility calculator to see if you're pre-approved for the headline deal.
  • Always pay at least the minimum monthly repayments or you'll lose the 0% deal.
  • Never spend on the card, as there's no 0% period so it's at a much higher APR.
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 24 months 0%, 1.99% 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

Best buys Long 0% money transfers

The cards below have higher money transfer fees than the cards above but offer longer 0% periods, so they're best if you will need more than two years to repay your debt.

virgin money

Long money transfer card

Virgin Money* 36 MONTHS 0%, 2.39% FEE

This Virgin Money* card gives three years at 0% on money transfers, with a fee of 2.39%. So if you'll need 36 months to pay off the debt, it could be the best option.

Need-to-knows
  • You'll initially be charged a fee of 3.5%, then Virgin will refund the difference back to you within 14 days, making the effective fee 2.39% of the amount you transfer.
  • In addition, this card offers 0% balance transfers for 36 months, with a fee of 2.39%.
  • You'll pay interest on any remaining money transfer balance at a rate of 20.9% after the 0% is over.
  • Always pay at least the minimum monthly repayments or you'll lose the 0% deal.
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%, 2.39% fee (min £3)
  • 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

Long money transfer card, but with a higher fee

MBNA* up to 36 MONTHS 0%, 2.99% FEE

This MBNA* card gives accepted applicants money transfers for up to 36 months at 0%, for a higher fee than the cards above of 2.99%. But, if you try our eligibility calculator, it can now tell you if you're pre-approved for this card – and if you are, you'll get the full 36 months at 0%.

Need-to-knows
  • You must do your money transfer within 60 days of opening the card to get the promotional 2.99% fee; after this, the fee rises to 5%.
  • 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 36 – 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% is over.
  • Always pay at least the minimum monthly repayments or you'll lose the 0% deal.
  • Never spend on the card, as there's no 0% period so it's at a much higher APR.
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%, 2.99% 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
virgin money

Longest money transfer card

Virgin Money* 41 MONTHS 0%, 4% FEE

This Virgin Money* card gives a massive 41 months at 0% on money transfers, the longest interest-free period currently available. However, it has a higher fee than the other cards in the guide, so consider if you'll need the full 41 months to pay it off before applying.

Need-to-knows
  • If you're accepted for the card you'll definitely get the full 41 months 0%.
  • In addition, this card offers 0% balance transfers for 41 months, with a fee of 4%.
  • You'll pay interest on any remaining money transfer balance at a rate of 20.9% after the 0% is over.
  • Always pay at least the minimum monthly repayments or you'll lose the 0% deal.
  • You must do your money transfer within 60 days of opening the card account to get the 41 months at 0%.
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: 41 months 0%, 4% fee (min £3)
  • 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

Pay it off or shift the debt before the 0% ends

Of course, once you've got the cash in the bank, you can use it for whatever you intended. Yet as well as always meeting the minimum repayments, remember to ensure the debt is cleared before the end of the 0% period.

There are two simple ways to do this. Hopefully you can simply repay it. If not, six weeks before it ends, shift the debt to a new 0% card. If you want a free text or email reminder to do this, use the Tart Alert.

If you know you can't pay the debt off within 36 months, you may want to consider the long term, low rate card below.

Best buys Low-rate money transfers

With long-term, low-rate cards, you've a longer time to repay your debt though there's no 0% period – instead, you pay a low rate of interest and a small (or zero) 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 will repay in under that then the cards above may work out cheaper.

MBNA 5

New. 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 getting the card. 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 8.9%, jumping to 10.9% at the 60 months' end.
  • 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 60mths then 8.9%, 0.5% fee
  • Representative variable APR on spending: 8.9% (Official APR Examples)
  • Card issuer: Mastercard
  • Min income: £20,000
  • Min repayment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest or £25
  • Any restrictions? None
MBNA Low Rate

Permanent 7.4% for life, no fee

MBNA Everyday Plus 7.4%, NO FEE

Unlike most money transfer cards, the MBNA Everyday Plus credit card has no fee to make the transfer. It also has no time limit, so you can do as many transfers as you want, whenever you want to make them – the 7.4% is a standard rate rather than a promotional rate. If you can repay within 36 months then 0% wins, but if you're not sure, this low rate card may be a better option.

Need-to-knows
  • The card is variable rate, meaning MBNA is allowed to increase it. Saying that, credit card regulations mean it's not allowed to increase it within the first year.
  • After that, 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 the Rate Jacking guide for the full rules.
  • Some poorer credit scorers who get this card may get given interest rates of 9.9% or 12.9%, which can hit the cost severely.
  • This card also offers balance transfers at 7.4% interest.
Stats box
  • Money transfer rate & fee: 7.4% for life, no fee
  • Representative variable APR on spending: 7.4% (Official APR Example)
  • Card issuer: Amex
  • Min income: N/A
  • Min repayment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest or £25
  • Any restrictions? None

Other ways to cut overdraft costs

Overdrafts are debts, and often much more expensive than credit cards, especially when the latter are handled well. Avoid paying overdraft interest by using the free Budget Planner, and give yourself a Money Makeover.

If you have already run up an overdraft, as well as trying the money transfer route above, there are other things to try...

Get a 0% overdraft

Nationwide logo

12 months 0% overdraft – 50p/day after

Nationwide* 5% AER in credit interest

The Nationwide* FlexDirect account has a 0% EAR arranged overdraft for the first 12 months, and reduced fees after that. Never stray more than £10 over your arranged overdraft limit, as there's a £5 charge for each day you're over.

Need-to-knows
  • Your overdraft limit depends on your credit score. So if you're switching an overdraft, or other payday debts, there's no guarantee Nationwide will match it.
  • Arranged overdraft free for 12 months, then 50p each day you're more than £10 overdrawn.
  • Once you go over the £10 buffer, you'll be charged £5 a day, capped at £60 a month. There's also a £5 charge for each paid/unpaid item, capped at £35 a month.
  • Nationwide won't charge more than £95 a month in unarranged overdraft charges.
  • It's best to use the overdraft as a short-term respite, though if you can stay within your agreed overdraft limit 50p a day is one of the cheaper overdrafts on the market.
  • Always plan – if you can – to clear the overdraft by the end of the 0% period.
  • If you're in credit, you'll be paid 5% interest on balances up to £2,500, provided you've paid in £1,000 a month.
  • If you don't pay in £1,000 a month, all that happens is you don't earn any interest. The overdraft itself isn't affected.
Stats box
  • First year overdraft: 0% EAR
  • In-credit interest: 5% AER up to £2,500 balance in year one, 1% AER after
  • Arranged overdraft cost: 50p/day (£10 buffer)
  • Unarranged overdraft fees: 50p/day (if under £10 in unarranged overdraft). Then £5/day over £10 in unarranged overdraft (capped at £60/mth)
  • Min monthly pay-in: N/A

Spend on a 0% card

Spending your way out of your overdraft might sound dangerous, and it is if you aren't organised. The premise is simple – make your usual purchases on a 0% credit card, and let your earnings build up to pay down the overdraft. Follow these steps to the letter:

  • Step 1. Apply for a cheap 0% card for spending.
    Apply for a 0% card for spending on so that everything you spend on that card is then at a cheap rate.
  • Step 2. Use that credit card instead of a debit card/taking cash out.
    Now use the credit card for your normal day-to-day spending. Then set up a direct debit to make only the minimum monthly repayments on it. This means your monthly income pays off your overdraft as there's no money being taken out. Instead the debt builds up on the credit card, but at 0%.
  • Step 3. Stop using the card once your bank account is in credit.
    Doing this is technically the best solution for those with self-discipline, but don't spend more on this card or build up more debt. Stop using the card once your account is in credit. The aim is to try to pay the card off by the end of the 0% period, or at the worst, shift it to a cheap 0% deal.