Credit cards Updated:
The 0% balance transfer credit card market is ending the year on a high note, as it currently boasts the most products seen in December for three years.
As 2010 draws to a close, the total number of 0% balance transfer credit cards stands at 74, comfortably more than in December 2009 when there were 65 and December 2008 when the number stood at 57.
To beat this month's, you have to go back three years to December 2007 – when the full effects of the financial crisis had not yet been realised – when there were 86 credit cards that offered 0% on balance transfers.
As the table below shows, the number of credit cards offering longer terms to clear debt at 0% has also risen.
There are currently eight cards that allow borrowers a 0% period of 16 months. This week Barclaycard announced that its Platinum with Balance Transfer VISA is now charging balance transfers at 0% interest for 17 months.
It is the longest 0% period that has ever been offered.
This new deal offers a rate of 0% for 17 months on balances carried over from other cards, subject to the borrower paying a one off 2.9% fee, earning a minimum income of £20,000 per annum and passing the relevant credit checks.
Should applicants wish to transfer over £3,000 or more by the end of January 2011, they will receive a rebate of £20.
These types of cards are ideal for people looking to pay off their credit card debts, as they allow a sizeable period of time where holders can concentrate on clearing their balance, while no longer accruing additional interest.
"When household budgets are stretched, the first thing customers forgo is unsecured borrowing and this increased risk is passed on through higher rates," commented Michelle Slade, spokesperson for Moneyfacts.co.uk
"Competition has returned to the credit card market, bringing with it competitive deals for customers.
"A third more 0% balance transfer deals of 12 months and upwards, are on the market today compared with two years ago.
"While an increased number of deals are on the market, credit card companies remain risk adverse and only applicants with exemplary credit files are likely to be accepted."
Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.
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