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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 and 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, and 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.

Barclaycard 25 months 0% balance transfer and spending

Longest 0% all-rounder card and you can be pre-approved

MBNA* up to 30 months 0%, 2.72% bal trans fee

This MBNA* card offers up to 30 months for spending and balance transfers with the lowest fee to transfer your debt. We say this card's 'up to' 30 months as some may get fewer 0% months depending on credit score – though if you're pre-approved you'll definitely get the headline deal.

Do be aware that purchases must be made within 60 days to get the 0% interest period.

Need-to-knows
  • You need to make your purchases or transfer a balance in the first 60 days to get the 0% interest period. After 60 days, you''ll be charged 19.9% on new purchases and 21.9% on new balance transfers.
  • You're charged a 2.72% one-off fee to transfer a balance from another card.
  • Make sure you fully clear the card by the end of the 30 months or you'll be charged 19.9% APR on any remaining purchases balance and 21.9% on any left over balance transfer debt.
  • If you've already got an MBNA or Nuba card, you can't balance transfer debt from that to this one.
  • 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: Up to 30 months 0%, 2.72% BT fee
  • Balance-transfer time limit: 60 days
  • Representative variable APR: 19.9% (Official APR Example)
  • Card issuer: Visa
  • Min income: N/A
  • Min repay: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest, or £25
Sainsbury's Balance Transfer Credit Card 41 months

Long 0% all-rounder card and you'll get the full 0% period if accepted

Virgin Money* 28mths 0%, 2.9% bal trans fee

This Virgin Money* card offers 28 months 0% on spending and balance transfers with a 2.9% fee to transfer your debt.

While it has a higher balance transfer fee and a shorter 0% period than the MBNA card above, it's not an 'up to' card, so you'll definitely get the full 28 months if accepted.

Need-to-knows
  • You must transfer your balance in the first 60 days to get the 0% deal. Transfers made after this time will pay 20.9% APR and a 5% fee.
  • You can't transfer a balance from another Virgin Money card.
  • After the 0%, it's 20.9% APR 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
  • BT and spending length and fee: 28 months 0%, 2.9% BT fee
  • Balance-transfer time limit: 60 days
  • Representative variable APR: 18.9% (Official APR Example)
  • Card issuer: Mastercard
  • Min income: £7,000
  • Min repay: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest, or £25
Sainsbury's Balance Transfer Credit Card 41 months

Long 0% on spending and balance transfers with a low fee

Barclaycard* Up to 27mths 0%, 1.45% bal trans fee

This Barclaycard* card offers a long 0% period on spending and balance transfers, with a 1.5% fee to transfer your debt.

While it's a shorter 0% period than the cards above, its lower balance transfer fee is likely to make it a winner unless you need the extra months.

Plus, you can be pre-approved through our eligibility calculator and if you are, you'll definitely get the full 27 months at 0%.

Need-to-knows
  • If using the card for a balance transfer, you'll initially be charged a 3.5% fee, which will be refunded down to 1.45% within two working days.
  • If you transfer your balance after 60 days you'll pay a 3.5% fee.
  • After the 0% period ends, it's 19.9% APR, but poorer credit scorers might get up to 29.9%.
  • 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: Up to 27 months 0%, 1.45% BT fee
  • Balance-transfer time limit: 60 days
  • Representative variable APR: 19.9% (Official APR Example)
  • Card issuer: Visa
  • Min income: N/A
  • Min repay: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest, 2.25% of balance or £5

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
Halifax Bank Up to 29 months Up to 29 months 2.5% 18.9% -
Post Office
25 months 25 months 2.89% 18.9% -
M&S Bank*

25 months 25 months 2.9% 18.9% -
  • †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.

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.

If you're just looking to make a one-off purchase, the MBNA card below could be a better option as it has a lower rate of interest for four years as long as you spend within 60 days.

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 CHECK NOT AVAILABLE
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 four years, 0.5% BT fee

MBNA* – 4.9% for 48 months, 0.5% fee

The MBNA* Low Rate credit card offers an interest rate of 4.9% for four years, with a one-off fee of 0.5%, as long as you make your transfer within 60 days of account opening.

We've ranked this card below the Tesco Bank card above as the low 4.9% interest (for four years) only applies to 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 a 0.99% fee and 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 48 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 four 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 48mths 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