Credit cards Updated:
Does the thought of opening your credit card bills fill you with fear? If so, you're not alone! The summer holidays may be over, but unfortunately, many people will still be paying for them after turning to credit to cover the cost of their summer spend. There's no need to panic though - if you switch to a balance transfer credit card, you could clear your holiday debt 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 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 summer debt, so here are the top six that can help you do just that!
Halifax 41 Month Balance TransferCredit Card MasterCard
Easily taking the top spot in the balance transfer sector is this card from Halifax, offering 0% interest on all balances transferred for the first 41 months - the joint-longest introductory balance transfer period currently available. As an added bonus, customers can also benefit from 0% interest on purchases for the first six months, and with minimal application criteria, it could be suitable for a broad range of borrowers.
MBNA Platinum 41 MonthBalance Transfer Credit Card Visa
Sitting comfortably in second place is this card from MBNA, offering a joint market-leading 41-month 0% interest term. Customers can also benefit from 0% interest on money transfers for the first 20 months, which could make this card a viable option for those who could use an interest-free cash injection.
Virgin 40 Month Balance TransferCredit Card MasterCard
Achieving a top-three spot is Virgin Money's MasterCard, which offers an introductory 0% on balance transfers for 40 months, just shy of the market-leaders. It also offers 0% interest on money transfers for 40 months as well as 0% on purchases for three months, meaning it gives borrowers the complete interest-free package.
Bank of Scotland Platinum 40 Month Balance Transfer MasterCard
In fourth place is this deal from Bank of Scotland, another card to offer a 0% interest rate on balance transfers for the first 40 months. Its low balance transfer fee, combined with the addition of a six-month 0% interest purchase term and a competitive APR, makes it an appealing option for those seeking a straightforward deal.
Lloyds Bank Online Platinum 40Month Balance Transfer MasterCard
Securing a top-five spot is this card from Lloyds Bank, which boasts 0% interest on balance transfers for the first 40 months as well as a 0% purchase term for six months, mirroring the deal from Bank of Scotland to offer a competitive choice for those needing more than three years to clear their debts.
Tesco Bank Clubcard Credit Cardfor Balance Transfers MasterCard
Just making the top six, this card from Tesco Bank offers the whole package: it comes with 0% interest on both balance transfers and money transfers for the first 40 months as well as a 0% purchase term for three months, while the addition of Tesco Clubcard points makes it a great choice for loyal Tesco shoppers.
Information & Rates correct as at: 27.09.2016
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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