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The best low-fee balance transfer credit cards

lovemoney staff
by Lovemoney Staff lovemoney staff on 08 April 2014  |  Comments 0 comments

A number of balance transfer cards are offering a decent period of interest-free payments, with only a minimal transfer fee to pay.

The best low-fee balance transfer credit cards

When looking for a good balance transfer credit card it's important to strike a balance between the length of the interest-free period on offer and the size of the balance transfer fee. After all, you don’t want to pay over the odds to take control of your debt, but you also don’t want to run out of time to pay it off before interest starts being charged.

It’s a tough balancing act, particularly as providers do not follow logical rules when creating these products. Paying a higher fee doesn’t automatically mean you get the best interest-free period and vice versa.

Cheapest 0% balance transfers cards

Here are the best cards around at the moment that offer balance transfer fees at 1.50% or under on 0% balance transfers. The table is ordered by the cheapest cards, in terms of balance transfer fee, and then length of interest-free period.

Credit card

0% period

Balance transfer fee

Fee paid on £2,000 transfer

Representative APR after 0% period ends

Tesco Clubcard Credit Card with Low Balance Transfer fee

12 months

0.65%

£13

18.9%

Bank of Scotland 15-Month Platinum Balance Transfer MasterCard

15 months

0.7%

£14

17.9%

Lloyds Bank 15-Month Platinum Balance Transfer MasterCard

15 months

0.7%

£14

17.9%

Halifax All In One Online MasterCard

15 months

0.8%

£16

17.9%

TSB 15-Month Online Platinum Balance Transfer MasterCard

15 months

0.8%

£16

17.9%

Santander Low Balance Transfer Fee

17 months

0.9%

£18

18.9%

Post Office Platinum MasterCard

18 months

1.49%*

£29.80

17.8%

Halifax 24-Month Low Balance Transfer

24 months

1.5%

£30

18.9%

Bank of Scotland Platinum 24-Month

24 months

1.5%

£30

17.9%

Lloyds Bank Platinum 24-Month

24 months

1.5%

£30

17.9%

*Transfer must be minimum of £2,500

There are plenty of cards offering the chance to transfer your debts for a 1% fee or less.

The cheapest balance transfer credit card overall comes from Tesco, with a fee of just 0.65% for a 12-month 0% period. After that come the market are the Bank of Scotland 15-Month Platinum and Lloyds Bank 15-Month Platinum. They attract an initial 3% fee but a partial fee refund will be applied on any balance transfer made within 90 days of opening the account, reducing the fee to just 0.7%.

Alternatively the Halifax 24-Month Low Balance Transfer, Bank of Scotland Platinum 24-Month and Lloyds TSB Platinum 24-Month cards offer two years with no interest to pay on your debt for a very low 1.5% fee.

You could even pay no transfer fee at all. Well, sort of. Sainsbury's Bank is currently offering to refund the 3% balance transfer fee on its Nectar MasterCard (which offers 12 months of 0% interest on spending and balance transfers) in the form of Nectar points.

So while you will pay a fee, you'll get it back in the form of reward points which you can spend on anything from cutting your weekly shop to getting money off holidays and days out.

Note that you may be offered a slightly different deal if your application is successful; only 51% of accepted borrowers have to be given the maximum 0% period. You may be given a 0% period of as little as 18 months, with an APR ranging from 17.9% to 25.9%.

If you think you'll need even longer, there are 0% balance transfer credit cards offering up to 31 months interest free, but they come with far higher balance transfer fees. You can read more about these in The best 0% balance transfer credit cards.

It's worth pointing out that you'll need to have a good credit rating to qualify for most of these cards.

If you think your credit rating is a bit blemished, for example you've missed a payment or two in the past, you might want to try for the Fluid Low Fee Visa card. This allows you to pre-check your eligibility without it being recorded on your credit report.

If you keep being turned down, don't carry on applying, as you'll hurt your credit rating. Instead, try to make some cutbacks if you can and pay off more of your debts. Make sure you keep up your repayments and your credit rating will, in time, improve.

If you're in serious trouble, seek free, independent help from a debt charity. You can find out more about these in Where to get free debt advice.

Low-rate alternatives

If you don't think you can keep up on moving your debt around then a lifetime low-rate balance transfer credit card might suit you better.

Instead of remaining interest free for a certain amount of time, these credit cards have a low APR applied to the balance from the start of the transfer that lasts as long as you take to pay it off. Some of the best cards in this category don’t charge a transfer fee and those that do keep it very low.  

This article is updated as products change

Compare low-rate 0% balance transfer credit cards

More on credit cards

The best 0% balance 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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