From the longest interest-free period to the lowest handling fee, we round up some of the best balance transfer credit cards on the market.
A 0 per cent balance transfer credit card can be great way to clear debt, potentially saving you hundreds of pounds if you’re paying interest on your current credit card.
Credit card companies are offering a wide variety of balance transfer cards – with interest-free periods ranging from around 12 to 24 months.
This is good news for consumers, says head of credit cards at Confused.com Nerys Lewis.
She says: "Increasingly, card companies are offering balance transfer cards to suit whatever 0 per cent period you need, with the general rule being the shorter the period the lower the handling fee."
Choosing the right card
Lewis adds that picking between cards can seem unnecessarily complicated.
"Simply start by asking yourself, ‘How big is the balance I want to move?’, and then work out how long it will take you to pay this off.
"This will help you decide on the length of the 0 per cent period you need: then you simply pick a card in this range with the lowest handling fee.
"There are a couple of other factors that may come into consideration, but that’s essentially all there is to it," she explains.
The longest 0% period ever
The Barclaycard Platinum credit card is the current 0 per cent market-leader.
It offers you 24 months interest-free on balance transfers – the longest 0 per cent period ever.
Cardholders are charged a handling fee worth 3.2 per cent of the total debt by Barclaycard for completing a transfer.
Switch and save money
Lewis says by switching to the Barclaycard Platinum card many people could save hundreds of pounds.
"If you have a balance of £2,100 accruing interest at 18.3 per cent – about the average debt and annual interest rate on credit cards in the UK, you could save £539.67 in interest charges over the 24 months.
"That’s after paying the balance transfer fee and assuming you pay off 1 per cent of your balance plus any charges or fees, on time each month," she says.
‘Effectively a loan’
While it’s not a 0 per cent card, Barclaycard’s 36-month balance transfer credit card is also worth mentioning.
There is no transfer fee to pay, but cardholders are charged a flat 4.9 per cent rate of interest every month.
Lewis says this makes it a good option for people with larger sums to clear and could be a reasonable alternative to a loan.
"The three-year offer and low rate of interest effectively makes this credit card a loan.
"The lowest rate of interest for a loan of more than £7,500 is currently 5.2 per cent.
"So at 4.9 per cent, people making big purchases might want to consider switching to the Barclaycard credit card instead."
While long interest-free periods can be great, if you’re willing to go for a card with a shorter period you can pay a much lower fee.
Barclaycard again is the leader when it comes to low fees.
Its Platinum Low BT Fee credit card offers 0 per cent for 12 months on balance transfers, plus a low handling fee of 1.2 per cent, currently reduced to 0.9 per cent.
‘A range of great deals’
Lewis adds: "While Barclaycard currently occupies a number of the top spots when it comes to long 0 per cent periods and low fees, there’s a range of great deals out there form other providers.
"It’s important to remember, however, that the best balance transfer credit cards are generally aimed at so-called prime customers and so only accept people with a good credit profile.
"With this in mind, Confused.com offers a Card Matcher service that can help you to judge whether your application for a credit card will be successful before you apply."