The best 0% balance transfer credit cards

Sainsbury's Bank has launched the longest-ever 0% balance transfer credit card - but is it actually the best deal?

If you’ve run up debts on your credit cards and are looking to clear them in the cheapest way possible, you should consider a 0% balance transfer credit card.

Sainsbury's Bank has just launched the longest-ever 0% balance transfer card, offering to freeze your debt for an impressive 42 months (provided you're a Nectar cardholder).

So at first glance it would appear this is the best deal on the market. However, it's not quite that straightforward.

Compare the credit cards with the longest 0% period

Fee vs 0% offer

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

However, things are more complicated with 0% balance transfer credit cards.

Generally speaking, these are great products. You can move an existing credit card debt to a new card and then not pay any interest on that debt for a long period.

The problem is you will usually have to pay a balance transfer fee up front. This is a percentage of the debt you’re transferring to your new balance transfer card.

This varies from one provider to the next. Some charge nothing at all, while others charge a hefty 4% of the total debt transferred.

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

As we pointed out earlier, Sainsbury's Bank has the longest balance transfer offer, but it charges a 4% fee - the joint highest on the market.

If you look slightly lower down the best buy tables, you'll see that there are a number of 40 month balance transfer deals which come with far lower fees.

Both the Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Bank charge a 2.39% fee, which is much cheaper when you consider the 0% offer is only two months shorter. 

So the longest balance transfer offer on the market probably isn't the cheapest overall (you can read more about this in our article on why "market-leading" credit cards aren't always the best deals). 

And just to further confuse matters, Santander has recently launched a 40-month card with a transfer fee of just 1%.

You'd think that makes it the best offer, but the card comes with a £3 monthly fee. There's also a 0.5% cashback offer, so you could negate the fee provided you spend £600 on the card every month. 

You can read our detailed analysis of the All in One card here, but in summary the card definitely isn't for everyone.

Compare the credit cards with the longest 0% period

0% balance transfer cards with long interest-free periods

Let’s take a look at the cards with the longest 0% balance transfer offers to see how they stack up. This table is ranked purely on length of offer.

Credit card

0% period on balance transfers

Balance transfer fee

Cost of transferring £2,000 balance

Representative APR after 0% period ends

Sainsbury's Nectar only Long Balance Transfer Card* 42 months 4% £80 18.9%
Virgin 41 Month Balance transfer Credit Card 41 months 3.29% £65.80 20.9%

Halifax 41 Month Balance Transfer Card

41 months




MBNA Platinum 41-Month Credit Card

41 months




Nuba Transfer Credit Card 41 months 3.49% £69.80 18.9%

Santander All in One Credit Card**

40 months




Bank of Scotland 40-Month Balance Transfer Credit Card

40 months




Lloyds Bank Platinum 40-Month Balance Transfer Credit Card

40 months




*Only available to Nectar cardholders

**Card has a £3 monthly charge

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.

Here are some of the best deals for various 0% periods between 24 and 34 months.

Credit card

0% period on balance transfers

Balance transfer fee

Cost of transferring £2,000 balance

Representative APR after 0% period ends

Halifax 25-Month Balance Transfer Credit Card

25 months




Virgin 30-Month Balance Transfer Credit Card

30 months




Barclaycard Platinum 32-Month Balance Transfer Credit Card

32 months




Virgin Money 34 Month Balance Transfer Credit Card

34 months




Just make sure you weigh up how long you'll need to pay off your debts. It's better to have longer at 0% interest and pay a slightly larger fee than run out of time and end up paying interest.

Find even more deals by reading The best low-fee balance transfer credit cards

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.

If you need to borrow right now, have a look at our round up of the best credit cards for people with a poor 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 as little as 3.2% 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


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