The best low-fee 0% balance transfer credit cards

Our pick of the best low-fee 0% balance transfer credit cards for those who don't want to pay a massive fee upfront but also want a fairly lengthy 0% window.

Interest-free terms on balance transfers have been cut considerably over the last few years.

In 2019, it was possible to get a card with a 36-month interest-free term, but at the time of writing, the longest term is now 29 months.

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. 

We're working with Compare the Market* where you can find out what credit cards you are eligible for without harming your credit score. Click here to find out more or jump straight in and discover which credit cards you're likely to qualify for.

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, HSBC, M&S Bank, MBNA and Sainsbury's Bank all offer the longest 0% offer on the market with up to 29 months, but you'll have to pay around 3% of the total value of your transfer to get it.

At the other end of the scale, you have the truly fee-free balance transfer deal. Because there are no fees, you'll get a far shorter 0% window: the longest at present is 18 months from Santander and Royal Bank of Scotland/NatWest. 

In between these two extremes is the low-fee transfer card, which offers a balance between duration and cost. 

For example, Sainsbury's Bank offers three months less than the longest cards on the market, but the balance transfer fee is lower at 1%.

It's worth stressing that all the cards we've mentioned above require that you have an excellent credit rating to qualify.

So, it’s worth using a card eligibility checker to work out your chances of getting a deal without leaving a mark on your credit report.

The best fee-free 0% balance transfer cards

Best low-fee balance transfer cards

If the low-fee option appeals, then here are some top picks.

We've ranked them by the longest 0% balance transfer offer (but charging 2% or less).

If you can pay your balance off a little quicker, do look at these fee-free options instead.

We're working with Compare the Market* where you can find out what credit cards you are eligible for without harming your credit score. Click here to find out more or jump straight in and discover which credit cards you're likely to qualify for.

Credit card

0% period on balance transfers (months)

Balance transfer fee

Fee paid on £1,000 transfer

Representative APR after 0% period ends

Virgin Money 26 Month Balance Transfer Card*

26

1.25%

£12.50

21.9%

MBNA Low Fee 0% Balance Transfer Card*

Up to 26

          1%**

£10

20.9%

Sainsbury’s Bank 26 Month Balance Transfer Card***

Up to 26

1% (min £3)

£10

21.9%

Barclaycard Platinum 24-Month Balance Transfer Card*

Up to 24

1%

£10

21.9%

*0% on all balance transfers made within the first two months of account opening.

**You could get charged 3.49% depending on your individual circumstances.

*** Balance transfer fee applies on transfers made at application.

It's worth reiterating that you'll need a good credit rating to qualify for most of these cards. You could also receive a shorter interest-free period or a higher fee, depending on your credit score.

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.

We're working with Compare the Market* where you can find out what credit cards you are eligible for without harming your credit score. Click here to find out more or jump straight in and discover which credit cards you're likely to qualify for.

Low-rate alternatives

Compare credit cards (Image: CTM)

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.

Still not found the right card for you? View our complete guide to credit cards to see all your options.

*loveMONEY has teamed up with Compare the Market to provide credit card price comparison services. Compare the Market Limited acts as a credit broker, not a lender. To apply you must be a UK resident and aged 18 or over. Credit is subject to status and eligibility.

 

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