Five best-buy 0% balance transfer deals have been cut this week, with the longest card now offering up to 36 months at 0%, and the longest no-fee card 28 months. If you've credit card debt to shift, act now before deals worsen.

Barclaycard today became the latest provider to cut a top deal it's reduced the 0% period on its balance transfer card from up to 36 months to up to 35 months, while the fee's fallen from 1.85% to 1.35%.

That means the longest available balance transfer is now from MBNA, which offers up to 36 months 0% for a 2.49% fee. But that card was cut from 37 months on Wednesday, while the 0% length of its sister brand Nuba's card was shortened from 37 to 36 months the same day, with its fee worsening to 2.5%.

Meanwhile Sainsbury's Bank pulled its 36-month 0% card entirely on Monday and on Wednesday Halifax reduced the length of its no-fee 0% card from 29 to 26 months.

While all of the top deals are still long historically, they pale in comparison to a year ago, when the longest 0% length offered was a massive 43 months.

For a full rundown of how balance transfers work and all our current top picks, see our Balance Transfers guide.

Martin Lewis
Get Our Free Money Tips Email!

What is a balance transfer?

A balance transfer is where you get a new card that pays off existing debt on other credit and store cards, so you owe it instead, but at 0%. This means more of your repayments go to reducing the debt, rather than paying interest, so you clear it quicker.

Most balance transfer cards will charge a small fee when you make the transfer, so always go for the card with the lowest fee within the time period eg, 36 months that you know you can pay it back in. If in doubt, go long, even with a bigger fee.

For most with ongoing debt the challenge is being accepted, so use our Balance Transfer 0% Eligibility Calculator which shows which 0% deal you're most likely to get before you apply, without affecting your creditworthiness.

Which cards now offer the longest deals?

MBNA now offers the longest 0% up to 36 months for a 2.49% fee. Barclaycard has slipped to second place up to 35 months for a 1.35% fee. Barclaycard's cheaper fee means it may be a better deal for those who don't need the extra month though.

We say 'up to' as some poorer credit scorers may be offered shorter 0% deals, though both of the cards above offer pre-approval meaning if you use our Balance Transfer Eligibility Calculator you can see if you'll definitely get the full 0% period if accepted.

Alternatively, a Virgin Money card offers the same 35 months at 0% as the Barclaycard it has a higher 2.8% fee, but it's not an 'up to' so everyone who gets accepted will definitely get the full 35 months at 0%.

The top no-fee 0% deal has also been cut

As above, on Wednesday Halifax reduced the length of its no-fee 0% card from 29 to 26 months. The best no-fee deal is now from Sainsbury's Bank, at 28 months 0%, followed by Santander offering one month fewer.

For more info on these see our No-fee 0% card best buys.

Have your say