Credit cards Updated:
A war appears to have broken out in the credit card market with the winners set to be the borrowers who are struggling to pay off their debts.
Barclaycard has increased the interest-free balance transfer deal on its Platinum Extended Balance Transfer Visa from 20 to 24 months, seemingly in response to the recent launch of a 20-month interest-free credit card by Halifax.
"At 0% for 24 months, the new deal from Barclaycard is the longest balance transfer deal ever offered on the market," said Michelle Slade, spokesperson for Moneyfacts.co.uk.
"In the last year the number of longer term balance transfer deals has soared as competition has returned to the credit card market."
Ms Slade said Barclaycard has been leading the way for customers looking for interest-free balance transfer deals, by topping the best buy charts for the last few months.
She added that Barclaycard was already offering the longest interest-free balance transfer deal on the market, but said the increased term had now put the card 'head and shoulders above its competitors'.
Amongst its other rivals, MBNA and Virgin Money are currently offering 0% for 19 months.
Barclaycard customers also benefit from a reduced balance transfer fee of 2.80%, down from 3.20%, while £20 cashback is available to those who transfer over £3,000 and apply through a price comparison website such as Moneyfacts.co.uk.
Despite the welcome news, however, Ms Slade had a final warning for people about to get carried away with their spending.
"If customers want to fully utilise a balance transfer deal they should refrain from spending on the card," she cautions.
"The average interest rate on credit cards stands at 18.7%, meaning any new purchases will accrue interest at a much higher rate."
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