Virgin Money's best-buy 0% for debt shifts, new spending and money transfers (cash loans) now has a £50 freebie too and there are ways to manipulate it so you don't need to spend big to get it. But hurry, the deal ends at 23.59 on Thursday.

It's always best to pick a 0% credit card on the deal, not a freebie, but Virgin Money's free six bottles of red, white or mixed wine (usual price £50) includes existing best buys in many categories. So if you need one anyway, the wine's a corking boon...

What's the best way to get the free wine deal?

Apply for a Virgin Money card by Thursday 20 August then spend or transfer (or combined) £1,000 on it within the first 60 days. But don't just apply in hope, as that'll mark your credit file – instead find odds of getting each card via our eligibility calculator first.

We've assessed the relevant cards from Virgin's range and think only two are worth highlighting:

1. The Virgin Money 3in1 card* – massively the top all-rounder card and a best-buy in three separate categories. It gives:

  • 24 months 0% spending: In other words, pay on the card and you've interest-free borrowing (second longest such deal).
  • 24 months 0% (1% fee) balance transfer: Lets you shift debts from other cards to it, so you owe it instead at 0%.
  • 24 months 0% (1.9% fee) money transfer: This is a rare feature offered by some balance transfer cards – it lets you pay cash into your bank account (then you owe it at 0%) then you can use it to clear your overdraft, or as a loan.

2. The Virgin Money 36 month 0% card* – a long balance transfer for a 2.5% fee and money transfer for a 4% fee, and that should be its main purpose as the 0% on spending is just six months – far from a best buy.

Here's how the Virgin Money cards compare to other best buys:


(We've highlighted below which category each card is a best buy in)
Card (rep APR after 0%) Spending 0% deal Balance transfer deal (money transfer fee)
Virgin Money 3in1 wine card* (18.9%) 24mth 0% 24mth 0%, 1% fee (1.9% fee)
Virgin Money balance transfer wine card* (18.9%) 6mth 0% 36mth 0%, 2.5% fee (4% fee)
Post Office* - longest 0% spending (18.9%) 25mth 0% (i) 16mth 0%, 2.98% fee (N/A)
Tesco Bank* - longest no fee 0% balance transfer (18.9%) 1mth 0% 19mth 0%, NO FEE (N/A)
Lloyds Bank* - long low fee 0% balance transfer (18.9%) 6mth 0% 32mth 0%, 1.54% fee (N/A) (ii)
MBNA* - 0% balance & money transfer (18.9%) N/A 32mth 0% 1.55% fee, (24mth 0%, 1.99% fee) (ii)
Barclaycard* - longest 0% balance transfer (18.9%) 6mth 0% 36mth 0%, 2.39% fee (N/A) (ii)
i) First spend must be within 3mths. ii) 'Up to' deals, ie, some get a shorter 0%.

It’s worth noting the Virgin 36mth 0% balance transfer card is the joint longest on the market, and its fee is only 0.11% points more than Barclaycard's. This equates to just £1.10 per £1,000 transferred, yet you get £50 of wine – so for most people it’s a better deal.

With the 24mth 0% card too, it's worth factoring the wine into the cost when choosing. In most cases it wins (though please be Drinkaware).

Always follow the 'Golden Rules'

It's not just about the right card, it's about using it the right way. So...

  • Don't get new borrowing unless you have to. If it's for a needed new purchase, always budget to repay the card before its 0% deal ends.
  • With balance transfers, always get the lowest-fee card within the time you're sure you can clear it, as the shorter the time, the lower the fee.
  • Never miss minimum monthly repayments, or the bank can end your 0% deal and put you on the standard interest rate for the card.
  • Clear the card or do a balance transfer to a new card before the 0% ends, or the rate rockets to your card's standard APR.
  • Never withdraw cash. It's usually charged at high interest, and just doing it can hurt your creditworthiness as it's recorded on your credit file.

Full info in Best Balance Transfers, Top 0% Cards and APR Examples

Get free £50 of wine on two top 0% cards
Get free £50 of wine on two top 0% cards

Is there a way to manipulate it to get the freebie?

There's still a way to get the wine, even if you've no debt to transfer, or no big items that you're planning to buy in the next month or two.

To get the offer, just do all your normal spending on the card during the next two months, instead of using cash or a debit card. So, while you won't be able to pay your mortgage or bills on this card, use it for the weekly shop, fuel, your daily coffee and anything else to get you to the £1,000 target.

If you've done all your normal spending and still haven't hit the £1,000 spend required, buy essential non-perishable items such as washing powder. Then just pay the card off at the end of each month with the cash lying unused in your bank account.

Be aware you've only 60 days from the day you open the account to reach the £1,000 spend, so you've likely only around 50 days to do it once you receive the card.

- What happens if I don't reach the £1,000 limit within the 60 days?

You don't get the wine offer, but provided you’ve obeyed the golden rules and fully clear any borrowing, there’s no cost. If needed, you could do a money transfer for the remainder into your bank account, for a 4% fee of the amount shifted (min £3).

- What's the implication of getting this card on my credit score?

Every application you make for credit has a minor negative impact on your credit file. Yet one application isn’t a big deal, though if you’ve an important application to make within a few months, eg, a mortgage, it's probably not worth it. More info in our Credit Scores guide.