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0% Balance Transfer & Spend

Get up to 30 months 0%

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Eesha | Edited by Helen S

Updated Weekly

Most credit cards are either good for new spending OR cutting the cost of existing debts. But some offer cheap intro rates on both.

These all-rounder cards can be great but aren't for everyone. Plus, the intro deals available on these cards aren't ever likely to knock the more specialised cards off their top spots. So before you get one, read this guide to make sure it's the right choice.

The seven golden rules

Before applying for an all-rounder card ensure you follow the seven golden rules.

  • Only get one if spending AND shifting debt

    If you're mainly looking to shift existing debt, or only want a card for new spending, don't bother getting one of these. You can get longer deals with pure balance transfer cards or 0% cards for spending. But, if you need both, these cards can be a handy way to minimise the impact on your credit score – as you only need make one application to get both functions.

    Quick question

    Do these cards come close to the best buys for balance transfers and spending?

  • Beware of 'asymmetric deals' – where there's a longer 0% period on balance transfers than purchases

    Sometimes a 0% spending period is different from the 0% balance transfer period – so do watch out for this. For example, an all-rounder card could offer 20 months 0% on balance transfers and only 15 months 0% on purchases. In this example, after 16 months of holding the card you'd still be within the 0% interest-free period on existing debt but any further spending will immediately incur interest.

    Even if this is the case, it's not as bad as it used to be, as your credit card provider now has to put repayments towards the most expensive debt first. So, even if your purchase deal does run out before your balance transfer deal, any repayments you make will go towards paying off your remaining, interest-attracting purchases balance first – helping to clear that.

  • Ensure your borrowing stays free. Clear debt or shift again before the 0% or cheap rate ends, otherwise costs rocket

    Cheap all-rounder cards are designed to make lenders money when you fail to pay them off. At that point, the interest rate jumps massively, to a standard 15%-20% APR.

    Your aim should always be to clear the amount you transferred during the cheap period, minimising interest. If that's not possible, your next best bet is to shift again before the intro deal ends – or even back to the original card you shifted the debt from, if that's cheaper than the go-to rate on the all-rounder card.

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

    Set up a direct debit for at least the minimum repayment as soon as you're accepted. Even though it's at 0%, or a low rate, you still need to make repayments. If you miss one, you'll lose your cheap deal – the rate will jump to the APR and you'll get a £12 charge.

    Quick question

    How much should I aim to pay?

  • 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 all-rounder cards eligibility calculator quickly shows your odds of getting almost every top all-rounder 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.

  • Understand '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, for example, apply for a 20-month 0% all-rounder card, be accepted, but be given 16 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 questions

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

    Why do lenders give some applicants worse deals?

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...

Purchases don't have a fee, but balance transfers charge a one-off fee based on 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 with 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.

Sainsbury's Balance Transfer Credit Card 41 months

Joint-longest 0% on spending and balance transfers plus earn Nectar points on spending

Sainsbury's Bank* 30mths 0%, 2.74% bal trans fee

This Sainsbury's Bank* card offers the joint-longest 0% period on both spending and balance transfers, with a 2.74% fee to transfer your debt. If you're accepted for this card you'll definitely get the full 30 months 0% period. You'll also earn Nectar points on all spending (though not on transfers).

Plus, you'll get 1,000 bonus Nectar points worth £5 each time you spend £35+ in Sainsbury's in the first two months from receiving your card (max 10,000 points, worth £50). Doing a big shop? You can split it into smaller £35 chunks to max the bonus, getting 1,000 points on each transaction.

Need-to-knows
  • New customers applying by Thu 28 Dec will get 1,000 bonus Nectar points worth £5 each time they spend £35+ in Sainsbury's in the first two months from receiving their card – but don't use this as an excuse to spend more than you normally would.
  • You can also shop online at Sainsbury's to trigger the points bonuses, but buying fuel at Sainsbury's petrol stations doesn't count.
  • You need to give your Nectar card number when you apply for the credit card.
  • The bonus points will be added to your Nectar account within two months of the end of the offer period.
  • You'll initially be charged a 3% fee, which will be refunded down to 2.74% within 60 days.
  • If you transfer your balance after the first three months you'll pay 3% fee (min £3).
  • You also earn Nectar points when using this card for spending. It gives 2 points for every £1 spent in store at Sainsbury's or at a Sainsbury's petrol station. Other spending earns 1 Nectar point for every £5.
  • If you're accepted for the card you'll definitely get the full 30 month 0% period – you won't be offered fewer months at 0% as with some other cards in this guide.
  • After the 0% period ends, it's 18.9% APR, but poorer credit scorers will get 21.9% or 28.9%.
  • Always pay at least the minimum monthly repayment, or you'll lose the 0% deal.
  • 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)

Protect your credit score and check chances of getting card

Stats box
  • BT and spending length and fee: 30 months 0%, 2.74% BT fee (min £3)
  • Balance-transfer time limit: First three months
  • Representative variable APR: 18.9% (Official APR Example)
  • Card issuer: Mastercard
  • Min income: N/A
  • Min repay: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest, 2.25% or £5
Nuba Balance Transfer Credit Card 41 months

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

Nuba up to 28 months 0%, 2.94% bal trans fee

This Nuba card, a brand from MBNA, offers a long 0% period for spending and balance transfers. You also get a £20 Amazon gift card if you transfer more than £1,000.

As it's an 'up to' card, be aware that if accepted, you could be offered fewer months, though if our eligibility calculator shows you as pre-approved, you'll definitely get the full 28 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' 28 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 28 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, and 18.9% on purchases.
  • 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 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
  • BT and spending length and fee: Up to 28 months 0%, 2.94% BT fee
  • Balance-transfer time limit: First 60 days
  • Representative variable APR: 18.9% (Official APR Example)
  • Card issuer: Mastercard
  • Min income: N/A
  • Min repay: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest or £25

More 0% balance transfer and purchase cards

The deals above are our current top picks, but if you didn't find a card above to suit you, here are details of the next best cards – ranked in order of balance transfer fee.

Card 0% length purchases 0% length balance transfer BT fee APR† Eligibility Calculator
Tesco Bank* 15 months 15 months 0.85% 18.9% You can use our eligibility calculator for this card
Barclaycard* Up to 25 months Up to 25 months 1.49% 19.9% You can use our eligibility calculator for this card - are you pre-approved?
MBNA Up to 28 months Up to 28 months 2.49% 19.9% -
Halifax Bank
Up to 29 months Up to 29 months 2.5% 18.9% -
Santander* 30 months 30 months 2.75% 18.9% You can use our eligibility calculator for this card
Post Office*
30 months 30 months 2.75% 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.

Best Buys Long-term low-rate cards

Here, the aim is to get a card where the low rate is for the long term, not just an introductory offer. While not 0%, it does mean you don't have to remember to shift from card to card, and you know you've got a deal for the long term.

lloyds

Cheapest low-rate card for life

Lloyds Platinum* – 5.7% rep APR, no fee

The Lloyds* Platinum card gives 5.7% representative APR on both balance transfers and spending, with no fee to transfer your debt.

While this card isn't at 0% like some other cards in this guide, the low rate is guaranteed for the life of the card.

Need-to-knows
  • To transfer your debt with no fee, you must do a balance transfer within the first 90 days (3% fee after).
  • Lloyds can increase the rate after a year. But you can reject this rate hike.
  • Not everyone will get the low 5.7% APR. Some will get a higher APR of 14.9%.
  • 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)

Protect your credit score and check chances of getting card

Stats box
  • BT and spending rate and fee: 5.7% representative APR, no fee (see Official APR Examples)
  • Min income: N/A
  • Card issuer: Mastercard
  • Min repayment : Greater of 1% of balance plus interest, or £5
Tesco Low Rate*

Cheap long-term, low-rate card plus earn Clubcard points

Tesco Bank* 5.9% rep APR, no balance transfer fee

The Tesco Bank* Low APR credit card offers 0% on spending and balance transfers for one month, and then a low 5.9% representative APR on all spending and 6.05% on balance transfers after that. There's no fee to transfer your balance if you do so within the first month, plus you can earn Clubcard points on purchases.

Need-to-knows
  • Not everyone will get the low 5.9% APR. Some will get higher APRs of up to 10.9% on spending and 11.5% on balance transfers.
  • You get Clubcard points on your spending – one point for every full £4 spent at Tesco stores or petrol stations, one point for every £8 elsewhere.
  • You must balance-transfer within the first month; transfers after this attract a 3% fee.
  • You can't transfer a balance from another Tesco Bank credit card, or apply if you hold more than one Tesco Bank credit card already.
  • Tesco Bank 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.
  • 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)

Protect your credit score and check chances of getting card

Stats box
  • BT and spending rate and fee: 5.9% APR on spending and 6.05% on BT, no fee (see Official APR Examples)
  • Min income: £5,000
  • Card issuer: Mastercard
  • Min repayment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest or £25
MBNA Low Rate

Low interest rate for five years, 0.5% BT fee

MBNA* – 4.9% for 60 months, 0.5% fee

The MBNA 5* credit card offers a low interest rate on both balance transfers and spending for five years, though balance transfers incur a 0.5% fee.

We've ranked this card below the Lloyds and Tesco cards above as the 4.9% representative APR for five years only applies balance transfers and purchases made within the first 60 days. Spend or transfer after that, and you’ll pay the 8.9% rep APR

Need-to-knows
  • The low 4.9% rate only applies to balance transfers and purchases made within the first 60 days.
  • 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.
Eligibility Calculator
(MSE's free tool)
APPLY*
(at lender site)

Protect your credit score and check chances of getting card

Stats box
  • BT and spending rate and 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)

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

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

All-rounder cards Q&A

  • How much can I save with an all-rounder card?

  • 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?

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

Get Our Free Money Tips Email!

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