The best low-fee and fee-free 0% balance transfer credit cards

Our pick of the best low-fee and fee-free 0% balance transfer credit cards for those who don't want to pay a massive fee up-front.

Interest-free terms on balance transfers have been cut considerably.

A year ago it was possible to get a card with a 36-month interest-free term, but now there aren't even any 30-month cards in the market. 

That said, it is still possible to get balance transfer cards without any fees whatsoever, giving you a vital opportunity to pay off your debt without incurring any extra costs. 

In this article, we take a look at the best low-fee and no-fee balance transfer cards available. 

Lowest fee vs longest 0% period: finding the right balance 

Most balance transfer cards tend to fall into one of three categories: the first is those that offer the longest 0% balance transfer window, for which you'll generally have to pay a hefty fee.

As an example, the Virgin Money 29 Month Balance Transfer Credit Card is the joint-longest 0% offer on the market, but you'll have to pay 3% of the total value of your transfer to get it.

For this reason, you might find you could actually save money by opting for the second type of card, the low-fee balance transfer card, instead. 

The 0% window on such cards is slightly shorter, but you can save a fortune on fees. For example, this Platinum Barclaycard offers just one month less (28), but the fee is just 1.75%. 

If you're willing to sacrifice a few more months of interest-free borrowing you could take advantage of a truly fee-free balance transfer deal, which is the third type of card in this market.

The longest at present is 20 months from NatWest/RBS, but these are only available to the banks' existing customers. You can get up to 18 months (plus £20 cashback) with this Barclaycard, while Santander offers the same length on its Everyday Credit Card

Note all the cards we've mentioned above require that you have an excellent credit rating to qualify, so consider using a card eligibility checker to work out your chances of getting a deal without leaving a mark on your credit report.

Best no-fee balance transfer cards

If you are certain that you can clear your debt within the specified window, then fee-free balance transfer cards are worth going for as they'll always be cheapest.

Here's a more detailed look at the fee-free deals available at the time of publishing.

Credit card

0% period on balance transfers

Balance transfer fee

Fee paid on £1,000 transfer

Representative APR after 0% period ends

NatWest/RBS Balance Transfer card

20 months

0%

£0

19.9%

Barclaycard Platinum 18 Month Balance Transfer Credit Card

18 months

0%

£0

21.9%

Santander Everyday Credit Card

18 months

0%

£0

18.9%

Best low-fee balance transfer cards

If you want a few extra months and are willing to pay a small fee, then here are some top picks.

We've ranked them by longest 0% balance transfer offer (but charging less than 2%). If you can pay your balance off a little quicker, do look at the fee-free options above. 

Credit card

0% period on balance transfers

Balance transfer fee

Fee paid on £1,000 transfer*

Representative APR after 0% period ends

Barclaycard 28-Month Platinum Card

28 months

1.75%

£17.50

21.9%

Virgin Money 27 Month Balance Transfer Credit Card  27 months 1.45% £14.50 21.9%
Halifax Balance Transfer Credit Card 25 months 1% £10 19.9%

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

If you get 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.

Be sure to keep up your repayments and your credit rating will, in time, improve. Have a read of this guide for more tips to boosting your rating.

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

Compare balance transfer offers of all kinds with loveMONEY 

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