This content originally appeared in the MSE weekly email on 9 September 2015.
If you've debts on credit cards, a 0% balance transfer's the key weapon. It's where a new card pays off old card(s) for you, so you owe it instead.
The low interest means your repayments clear the actual debt, so you get debt-free quicker. Yet don't just apply in hope, that'll mark your credit file – instead find the odds of getting each top card via our Eligibility Calc first.
- Apply by 11.59pm Wed. 40mths 0% balance transfer (2.99% fee). Virgin Money's* card is by far the longest 0% balance transfer ever, plus for a higher 4% fee, it allows money transfers too to clear costly overdrafts or other debts. You must transfer within 60 days for the 0%.
- Long 32mth 0%, low 1.4% fee plus new free £25 cash. If you can repay quicker, the HSBC* card has a long 0% but a far lower fee. Plus if you apply this month and shift £100+ it'll give you £25.
So here's how these compare – always aim for the LOWEST FEE card you're sure you've enough time to clear.
TOP NEW CARDHOLDER BALANCE TRANSFER DEALS
|Card||Balance transfer deal (one-off fee)||Rep APR after|
|Virgin Money* - longest 0% card EVER (apply by Wed)||40mths 0%, (2.99% fee)||18.9%|
|Barclaycard* – next longest 0% card||36mths 0%, (1.75% fee) (1)||18.9%|
|Lloyds* – long low-fee card||32mths 0% (1.39% fee) (1)||18.9%|
|HSBC* – long low-fee card plus £25 cash (2)||32mths 0% (1.4% fee)||18.9%|
|Tesco* – longest NO-FEE 0% card||19mths 0% (NO FEE)||20.6%|
|Post Office* – 2nd longest NO-FEE 0% card||18mths 0%, (NO FEE)||18.9%|
|If you already have one of these cards, you usually can't shift debt from that to it. That's why we include a range of cards. 1) 'Up to' deals, ie, some get a shorter 0%. (2) Min £100 transfer. More info & options: Best Balance Transfers, APR examples|
- The Balance Transfer Golden Rules. It's not just about picking the right card, it's about using it the right way...
a) Never miss the min monthly repayments, or the bank is allowed to end your 0% deal and charge far more.
b) Ensure you clear the card or transfer again before the 0% ends or the rate rockets to the rep APR.
c) Don't spend/withdraw cash on these. It usually isn't at the cheap rate & cash withdrawals hit your credit file.
d) Unsure what to pick? Use our Which Card Is Cheapest? tool. Full help in Best Balance Transfers (APR Examples).