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Is MBNA's 22-Month 0% Platinum Visa credit card any good?

John Fitzsimons
by Lovemoney Staff John Fitzsimons on 08 February 2013  |  Comments 0 comments

Yet another new 0% balance transfer credit card has been launched, this time by MBNA. But with competition stiff, how does it compare?

Is MBNA's 22-Month 0% Platinum Visa credit card any good?

Another day, another new balance transfer credit card to consider. This time it’s MBNA, which has unveiled a new version of its Platinum Visa card.

But is it any good?

Interest-free borrowing

The idea of a balance transfer credit card is to offer the borrower a decent period free from interest. That way they can clear their debt in manageable chunks, with every penny going directly towards erasing their debt, without any of it being diverted off to cover interest payments.

And this area has become incredibly competitive, with recent weeks seeing three different cards jump to 24-month 0% periods and one stretching beyond two years to an incredible 25 months.

The longest 0% balance transfer periods

The new MBNA card only offers 22 months interest-free. That’s certainly not to be sniffed at, giving you an awful long time in which to clear that balance before you start having to pay interest again. But it’s a fair way down the list when it comes to the very longest 0% offers, as the table below demonstrates.

Card

0% period

Barclaycard 25-Month Platinum Visa

25 months

Barclaycard 24-Month Platinum Visa

24 months

Halifax 24-Month MasterCard

24 months

NatWest Platinum MasterCard

24 months

RBS Platinum MasterCard

24 months

MBNA 23-Month Platinum

23 months

Tesco Clubcard Credit Card for Balance Transfers

22 months

MBNA 22-Month Platinum Visa

22 months

Lloyds TSB Platinum MasterCard

21 months

Nationwide Visa

20 months

So as you can see, six cards – including one from MBNA itself – offer longer interest-free periods on balance transfers than this new card.

However, there is another factor to bear in mind…

The balance transfer fee

When moving the balance over to the new card, you will have to pay a balance transfer fee. This is worked out as a percentage of the balance you’re transferring, and is typically around 3%. However, the new 22-month MBNA card comes with a fee of just 2.5%. Take a look at how that compares.

Card

0% period

Balance transfer fee

Fee paid on a £5,000 transfer

Barclaycard 25-Month Platinum Visa

25 months

3.2%

£160

Barclaycard 24-Month Platinum Visa

24 months

2.8%

£140

Halifax 24-Month MasterCard

24 months

3%

£150

NatWest Platinum MasterCard

24 months

2.9%

£145

RBS Platinum MasterCard

24 months

2.9%

£145

MBNA 23-Month Platinum

23 months

2.85%

£142.50

Tesco Clubcard Credit Card for Balance Transfers

23 months

2.9%

£145

MBNA 22-Month Platinum Visa

22 months

2.5%

£125

Lloyds TSB Platinum MasterCard

21 months

1.5%

£75

Nationwide Visa

20 months

1.55%

£77.50

So the new MBNA card offers a saving of up to £15 on the balance transfer fee, so long as you are happy to sacrifice as much as three months of 0% interest. However, for one month less interest-free, you could shave another £50 off the transfer fee with the Lloyds Platinum MasterCard.

This new MBNA card strikes me as a bit mediocre really. It’s nowhere near the best when it comes to lengthy 0% periods, and it’s not even that good when it comes to the cards that base their appeal on smaller balance transfer fees.

It’s about as middle-of-the-road as you are going to get with balance transfer cards. And that’s really disappointing – with so many great options for borrowers with existing credit card debt, card providers need to think a little more creatively when launching new cards. They need to offer something different to ensure they stand out from the crowd.

The MBNA 22-Month Platinum completely fails to do that. If you have debt on a card and are considering a balance transfer, I think you have plenty of better options.

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