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Credit card transfers peak on 20 Jan

Balance transfer applications are expected to peak between 9pm and 10pm on 20 January, according to Confused.com’s analysis of credit transfer trends over the past three years.

January is the most popular month of the year for balance transfers overall.

One in 10 credit card owners have already carried out a balance transfer so far this year, the research shows.

This is thought to be due to the fact people traditionally increase their credit-card spending over the festive period.

New Year financial hangover

This can often lead to an unwelcome financial hangover in the New Year as card balances remain un-cleared and interest payments start to kick in.

And, as the end of the month approaches, the thought of a first post-Christmas credit card bill is usually enough to kick-start many people into switching.

Despite this, more than half of credit card holders - 61 per cent - admit to not transferring balances even though they may be paying interest.

One of the main reasons for not doing so, according to 14 per cent of cardholders, is because they think the process is too complicated.

Meanwhile, 10 per cent said they don’t know how to do it and 15 per cent said they didn’t think a balance transfer was worth the effort.

‘Act now before your balance becomes costly debt’

Nerys Lewis is head of credit cards at Confused.com.

She says: "If consumers have spent a little too much on a credit card in the run-up to Christmas, they should act now before it becomes a costly debt.

"For those who cannot afford to repay the full balance when it's due, it’s well worth considering a balance transfer card.

"Here, the entire debt can be switched to a credit card where you don’t have to pay any interest for up to two years or more in some cases."

Barclaycard offers 30 months 0% on balance transfers

When it comes to interest-free deals, the current market-leader is the Barclaycard Platinum credit card.

This offers cardholders up to 30 months interest-free on balance transfers for a 2.89 per cent handling fee.

This is the amount you pay for moving your debt from one card to another.

Only new customers can apply for the deal, so if you already hold a Barclaycard you’ll have to look at other options.

More top 0% balance transfer credit cards

Fortunately, the credit card market is highly competitive at the moment so you shouldn’t be short of options.

"This time two years ago the longest 0 per cent period available in the UK was 23 months, while only four cards offered 20 months or more interest-free.

"Now, 19 cards offer 20 months or more interest-free on balance transfers," adds Lewis.

For example, the MBNA Platinum credit card offers 29 months interest-free on balance transfers for a 2.89 per cent handling fee.

Meanwhile, if you don’t need such a long 0 per cent deal you may save money by choosing a credit card with a slightly shorter 0 per cent period as it could have a lower transfer fee.

For example, the Post Office credit card offers 18 months interest-free for a low 1.49 per cent handling fee.

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Adam Jolley

Adam Jolley

Adam Jolley is a writer at Confused.com, focusing on credit cards and financial products. Wannabe mountaineer Adam joined us from the world of financial services PR.

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