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6 of the best balance transfer credit cards

6 of the best balance transfer credit cards

Category: Credit cards

Updated: 28/03/2017
First Published: 06/01/2017

Does the thought of opening your credit card bills fill you with fear? If so, you're not alone! Christmas may be over, but unfortunately, many people will still be paying for it, after turning to credit to cover the cost of their festive spend. There's no need to panic though - if you switch to a balance transfer credit card, you could clear your financial hangover without interest adding to the bill.

Balance transfer cards allow you to transfer your credit card balance and benefit from a lengthy 0% interest period, which means they can be a great way to pay off debts without accumulating huge amounts of interest in the process. You could have plenty of time to clear the balance, too - competition is fierce with providers always looking to out-do each other, and some cards now offer 0% on balance transfers for well over three years.

However, as with any credit card, balance transfer varieties need to be managed effectively. You should aim to pay off the full amount by the end of the interest-free period - divide the total balance by the length of the term to see how much you should ideally repay each month - and with purchases being subject to a separate interest rate, you should try to avoid using these cards for further spending.

It's also important to remember that failing to make the minimum monthly repayment could mean that the 0% deal is cancelled and higher interest rates will be applied, effectively cancelling out the benefits, so you should be confident that you can keep up with regular repayments. If you can manage that, balance transfer cards could be the perfect way to clear your Christmas debt, so here are the top six that can help you do just that!

Top balance transfer credit cards


Representative purchase APR (variable)
Card details

MBNA Platinum
MBNA Platinum 43 Month
Balance Transfer Credit Card Visa

18.9% APR
  • Introductory 0% on balance transfers for 43 months from date of issue
  • Introductory balance transfer fee of 3.29%
  • Introductory 0% on money transfers for first 20 months (with a 4% fee)
  • Cashback incentive: get £20 cashback if a £1,000 balance or money transfer is made in first 60 days
  • No annual fee
  • Customers must be at least 18 years old and can apply online, by phone or by post

Easily taking the top spot in the balance transfer market is this card from MBNA, offering 0% interest on all balances transferred for a record 43 months. As an added bonus, customers can also benefit from 0% interest on money transfers for the first 20 months - making it ideal for those who could use an interest-free cash injection - and can get a cashback incentive too. However, the lack of 0% purchase term means this is a true balance transfer card that shouldn't be used for further spending.


Representative purchase APR (variable)
Card details

Barclays Platinum
Barclaycard Platinum 42 Month
Balance Transfer Visa

18.9% APR
  • Introductory 0% on balance transfers for the first 42 months
  • Introductory balance transfer fee of 2.99%
  • Introductory 0% on purchases for six months
  • No annual fee
  • Cashback incentive: get £20 cashback if a £500 balance transfer is made within first 60 days
  • Customers must be at least 18 years old and can apply online, by phone or by post

Sitting comfortably in second place is this deal from Barclaycard, offering a 42-month 0% interest term, still one of the longest currently available. Customers can also benefit from 0% interest on purchases for the first six months, which could make it ideal for those who need a bit of help to cover their January spend following December's excesses.


Representative purchase APR (variable)
Card details


nuba Transfer Credit
Card MasterCard

18.9% APR
  • Introductory 0% on balance transfers for 42 months from date of issue
  • Introductory balance transfer fee of 3.29%
  • Introductory 0% on money transfers for first 20 months (with a 4% fee)
  • No introductory purchase term
  • Get an Amazon gift card of £20 if a transfer of at least £1,000 is made with 60 days (terms apply)
  • No annual fee
  • Customers must be at least 18 years old and can apply online or by phone

Achieving a top-three spot is this deal from nuba, another card to offer a 0% interest rate on balance transfers for the first 42 months. It comes with a 20-month 0% money transfer term, too, while the lack of introductory purchase deal makes it an appealing option for those seeking a straightforward balance or money transfer option.


Representative purchase APR (variable)
Card details

Sainsbury's Bank Card
Sainsbury's Bank 42 Month Long Balance
Transfer Credit Card MasterCard

18.9% APR
  • Introductory 0% on balance transfers for the first 42 months
  • Introductory balance transfer fee of 3.50% (min £3)
  • Introductory 0% on purchases for first three months
  • Reward scheme: earn two Nectar points per £1 spent on Sainsbury's shopping and fuel, and one point for every £5 pent elsewhere.
  • Bonus rewards: earn 5,000 bonus Nectar points if you spend £250 on Sainsbury's shopping or fuel 40 days from account opening (until 26.03.17), and an extra 3,000 points if you transfer a balance of at least £1,000 within the first month (if card is taken out by 31.01.17
  • No annual fee
  • Customers must be at least 18 years and can apply online or by phone

In fourth place is this deal from Sainsbury's Bank, which offers 0% interest on balance transfers for the first 42 months as well as a three-month 0% purchase term. It comes with a generous reward scheme, making it ideal for loyal Sainsbury's shoppers, who can benefit even more if they're eligible for the scheme's bonus rewards.


Representative purchase APR (variable)
Card details

Santander All in One Card
Santander All In One
Credit Card MasterCard

21.7% APR
  • Introductory 0% on balance transfers for the first 41 months
  • No introductory balance transfer fee
  • Introductory purchase rate of 0% for first six months
  • Cashback of 0.50% on spending (of over £1/month)
  • £3 per month card fee
  • Customers must be at least 18 years old with a minimum income of £7,500
  • Can be applied for online, in branch or by phone

Securing a top-five spot is this card from Santander, which boasts 0% interest on balance transfers for the first 41 months as well as a 0% purchase term for six months, offering a highly competitive choice for those needing more than three years to clear their debts. It comes with a monthly card fee, but this should be offset by the lack of balance transfer fee. As an added bonus, it offers cashback of 0.50%, making those first six months of interest-free spending even more rewarding.


Representative purchase APR (variable)
Card details

Virgin Credit Card
Virgin 41 Month Balance Transfer
Credit Card MasterCard

20.9% APR
  • Introductory 0% on balance transfers for 41 months from date of issue
  • Introductory balance transfer fee of 3.09% (min £3)
  • Introductory 0% on money transfers for 41 months (with a 3.79% fee, min £3)
  • Introductory 0% on purchases for first three months
  • No annual fee
  • Customers must be at least 18 years old and can apply online or by phone

Just squeezing into the top six is Virgin Money's MasterCard. It offers an introductory 0% on balance transfers for 41 months, together with 0% interest on money transfers for the same term as well as 0% on purchases for three months, meaning it gives borrowers the complete interest-free package.

Information & Rates correct as at: 04.01.2017

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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