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Credit cards from the best 0% balance transfer providers with low fees

Cliff D'Arcy
by Lovemoney Staff Cliff D'Arcy on 04 December 2011  |  Comments 3 comments

These credit cards from the best 0% balance transfer providers may not be the longest, but they win by charging the lowest fees!

Credit cards from the best 0% balance transfer providers with low fees

For borrowers looking to cut the cost of their credit card debts, 0% balance transfers are a brilliant move.

Quite simply, 0% transfers allow you to shift balances from high-charging credit cards to those offering interest-free deals. Given that the typical credit card charges an average yearly interest rate above 19% APR, this is a great way to kill your interest bill.

Transfer fees

However, as the old saying goes, "There's no such thing as a free lunch" -- and this is certainty the case with 0% transfers.

In return for, say, up to 22 months of interest-free credit, you'll pay an upfront transfer fee. Typically, this is 3% of the transfer balance, which comes to £60 on a debt of £2,000. Even so, it's still well worth paying these transfer fees.

What's more, the longer the 0% deal and the lower the transfer fee, the better the deal. However, the longest balance transfers aren't always the best, because they all charge fees of around 3%. In some cases, choosing a shorter 0% deal with a lower fee produces the biggest saving.

Let me show you what I mean:

1.     Seven long 0% balance transfers

Here are seven transfers offering 20 months or more of interest-free credit: 

Card

0% deal

Transfer fee

Purchase rate

Barclaycard Platinum Extended Balance Transfer Visa

22 months

2.90%

(Min. £7.25)

17.9% APR

Halifax Balance Transfer Credit Card MasterCard

22 months

3.50%

(Min. £3)

17.9% APR

Barclaycard Platinum Balance Transfer Visa

21 months

2.60%

(Min. £7.25)

17.9% APR

Virgin Money Credit Card MasterCard

20 months

2.99%

(Min. £3.00)

16.8% APR

Halifax 20 Month MasterCard

20 months

3.00%

(Min. £3)

16.9% APR

NatWest Platinum Credit Card MasterCard

20 months

3.20%

(Min. £5)

17.9% APR

RBS Platinum Credit Card MasterCard

20 months

3.20%

(Min. £5)

17.9% APR

As you can see, the Barclaycard Platinum Extended Balance Transfer Visa offers the longest deal. For a fee of 2.9%, it provides a 0% transfer lasting 22 months. This fee works out at 0.132% a month, which is the second-lowest in my table.

However, the cheapest 0% deal in this table is offered by the Barclaycard Platinum Balance Transfer Visa, which charges 2.6% for a 21-month 0% transfer. This works out at 0.124% a month, just beating its stable mate into first place.

The remaining five cards all charge fees equivalent to between 0.15% and 0.16% a month, making them lesser bargains -- but great deals, all the same!

2.     Three low-fee 0% balance transfers

Now let's find the 0% transfers with the lowest fees, to see how these compare: 

Card

0% deal

Transfer fee

Purchase rate

Northern Bank (NI) Visa

5 months

Nil

22.9% APR

Virgin Money All Round Credit Card

16 months

1.99%

(Min. £3)

15.8% APR

Barclaycard Low Fee Platinum Visa

16 months

2.10%

(Min. £7.25)

18.9% APR

As you can see, the Northern Bank (NI) Visa is unique, as it charges no transfer fee. Then again, its 0% deal lasts a mere five months, plus this card is available only to residents of Northern Ireland.

The Virgin Money All Round Credit Card charges a fee of 1.99% for a 0% transfer lasting 22 months. This fee works out at 0.124% a month, beating all seven cards in my first table.

The third and final 0% deal is from the Barclaycard Low Fee Platinum Visa. This charges 2.1% for 16 months, or 0.131% a month. However, a special refund offer reduces this fee to the equivalent of 1.6% for everyone. Thus, at just 0.1% a month, it wins the gold medal as the cheapest 0% transfer deal!

In summary, if you want the longest 0% balance transfer possible (and the least hassle), then choose one of the seven credit cards in my first table. Otherwise, if you want the best-value transfer deal, then choose one of the three cards in my second table. The choice is yours!

More: Compare 0% balance transfers | Free trials are a massive rip-off | The cheapest loan is a credit card

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Comments (3)

  • SiGl26
    Love rating 26
    SiGl26 said

    Cliff - you should know better than to divide an upfront % charge by a number of months and claim it is the same thing... To work out what the equivalent interest is, you need to back out the compounding effect and the falling balance (as you make minimum payments) over the period. The smaller the minimum payment the better, all else being equal.

    gr8it - 2.9% or 3% or whatever upfront fee is still better than the interest charged if you have a CC debt you can't clear... All the companies claim is that there is no monthly interest charged, though admittedly it can be tough to find out what the transfer fee is in all the small print

    Report on 15 December 2011  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • SiGl26
    Love rating 26
    SiGl26 said

    I reckon if you pay off a 2% per month minimum the APR for the Barclaycard 22 month deal is 1.86%... and the 21 month deal is 1.74%

    Report on 15 December 2011  |  Love thisLove  0 loves

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