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Zero per cent credit card numbers fall

Zero per cent credit card numbers fall

Category: Credit cards

Updated: 18/03/2010
First Published: 18/03/2010

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.
The number of balance transfer cards is falling, credit card borrowers have been warned.

Earlier this week, Virgin Money announced that it has reduced the zero per cent transfer period from 16 to 14 months, following a trend that other credit card providers have adopted in recent months.

In fact, the number of credit cards offering zero per cent balance transfers has fallen by ten per cent since the outset of the credit crunch in 2010, figures from have revealed.

There are currently 152 cards available to consumers that offer such a facility, 140 of which charge no interest on the balance transferred for a set number of months.

In March 2008, there were 204 balance transfer cards were available, with almost eight in ten offering a rate of zero per cent.

Since 2007, the average zero per cent balance transfer period has remained relatively static, from 8.8 months to nine months.

Data from shows that the current top zero per cent balance transfer cards are offered by some of the sector's biggest names.

Following Virgin Money's cut, Santander and Barclaycard Platinum now lead the way, with cards offering zero per cent on balance transfers for 15 months and a typical APR of 15.9 per cent.

Virgin Money's 14 month card (16.6 per cent APR) is now the third best option, followed by Egg's card, which offers the same zero per cent period with an APR of 16.9 per cent.

"Transferring debt to a card with a better rate has been a popular choice with borrowers for a long time. With many providers offering zero per cent balance transfer periods, cardholders had previously been spoilt for choice," Louise Holmes, spokesperson for, commented.

"There were many opportunities to transfer to a better rate and pay off the outstanding amount before the zero per cent period expired.

"The main reason for this decline lies with risk. Providers are wary of attracting debt from customers who could default at any time, and have the possibility of unemployment and economic hardship hanging over them."

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