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The best 0% balance transfer credit cards

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Last updated on

19 September 2014

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When you choose a balance transfer credit card, you shouldn't just focus on the card with the longest 0% period.

It’s easy to compare credit cards that offer interest-free periods on purchases. All you need to know is how long the 0% period is – the longest offer will be the best card.

Things are more complicated with 0% balance transfer credit cards. As a general concept, these are great products. You can transfer an existing credit card debt to a new card and then not pay any interest on that debt for a long period – currently up to 34 months with Barclaycard.

However, the problem is that you will have to pay a balance transfer fee. This is a percentage of the debt you’re transferring to your new balance transfer card. Many cards now charge around 2.5% but there are a few that are significantly cheaper.

So when you’re choosing a balance transfer card, you need to look at both the length of the 0% period and how expensive the fee is.

0% balance transfer cards with long interest-free periods

Let’s start by looking at the cards with the longest 0% periods.

Credit card 0% period on balance transfers Balance transfer fee Cost of transferring £2,000 balance Representative APR

Barclaycard 34-Month Platinum Visa

34 months

2.99%

£59.80

18.9%

Barclaycard 33-Month Platinum Visa

33 months

2.79%

£55.80

18.9%

Sainsbury's Bank Nectar Balance Transfer MasterCard

33 months

2.89%

£57.80

18.9%

Tesco Clubcard Balance Transfer MasterCard

33 months

2.9%

£58

18.9%

Halifax 32-Month Balance Transfer MasterCard

32 months

2.65%

£53

18.9%

MBNA 32-Month Platinum Credit Card

32 months

2.69%

£53.80

18.9%

Lloyds Bank 32-Month Balance Transfer MasterCard

32 months

2.8%

£56

18.9%

Bank of Scotland Platinum 32-Month Balance Transfer MasterCard

32 months

2.8%

£56

18.9%

Halifax 30-Month Balance Transfer MasterCard

30 months

2.5%

£50

18.9%

HSBC Credit Card*

30 months

3.3%

£66

18.9%

*HSBC current account customers only

Compare the credit cards with the longest 0% period

0% cards with low balance transfer fees

However, if you’re willing to go for a card with a shorter interest-free period, you can pay a much lower fee or even no fee at all, as the table below shows.

Credit card 0% period Balance transfer fee Fee paid on £2,000 transfer Representative APR after 0% period ends

Tesco Clubcard with No Balance Transfer Fee

12 months

None

£0

18.9%

Nationwide Select Low Balance Transfer Fee*

15 months

0.55%

£11

15.9%

Nationwide Low Balance Transfer Fee

15 months

0.65%

£13

17.9%

Santander 17-Month Low Balance Transfer Fee MasterCard

17 months

0.9%

£18

18.9%

Halifax 28-Month Balance Transfer MasterCard

28 months

1.5%

£30

18.9%

Bank of Scotland Platinum 28-Month Low Balance Transfer Fee MasterCard

28 months

1.5%

£30

18.9%

Lloyds Bank Platinum 28-Month Low Balance Transfer Fee MasterCard

28 months

1.5%

£30

18.9%

*Nationwide current account customers only

Average credit rating

Sadly, some people won’t be able to get any of the cards we’ve highlighted in this article. That’s because the credit card companies are only willing to give these cards to people with good credit ratings.

If you want to improve your credit rating, follow the tips in How to build an excellent credit history.

Other options

If you want even longer to get back into the black, you could apply for a personal loan and use the money you’ve borrowed to pay off your credit card debt. Right now, the top personal loans are charging around 4% in interest.

0% is best

But if you can get one of the top 0% cards, go for one of them. Just make sure you pay off your minimum monthly repayment promptly every time. Otherwise your credit card provider will use your late payment as an excuse to withdraw your 0% deal.

Compare credit cards

This article is regularly updated as credit cards are launched and withdrawn

More on credit cards

Why cash and credit cards don’t mix

The best 0% money transfer credit cards

The best credit cards to use on your travels

Best credit cards if you have a bad credit history

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