About balance transfer credit cards
What is a balance transfer credit card?
A balance transfer credit card is a card that allows you to transfer the balance from an existing credit account to it. They typically offer 0 per cent introductory periods, allowing you to pay down the balance on the card without paying interest. The cards allow you to transfer from several cards at once to your new card, so if you currently have several credit cards that you are paying interest on, you may be able to save money by transferring all of the balances to a new card.
What types of balance transfer cards are there?
Credit cards that accept balance transfers come in all shapes and sizes, with some cards offering nearly two years interest free on any transfers. It’s important to pick the card to best suit your needs as typically the cards with longer introductory periods have higher balance transfer fees. If you think that you will be able to clear your balance within 12 months, then you may be able to find a card with a lower transfer fee offering a 12 month introductory period rather than one offering over 12 months. There are some balance transfer cards that offer low balance transfer fees, but they tend to have short introductory periods.
Some balance transfer cards offer a lower rate of interest for the length of the balance, rather than for a fixed period. This type of balance transfer card may be more suitable if you have a larger debt that will take longer to pay off.
You can find more information about balance transfers in our guide to moving your existing balance.
Which is the best card?
Everyone has a different financial situation, so it’s impossible to say what the best card is – but you can decide what the best card for you is by taking into account several factors; the amount you need to transfer, the time you think it will take you to clear the balance, and your credit rating. Once you know your situation you can pick the best card for your own circumstances. Once you’ve picked which card you think will suit you, you can check how much you could save using our balance transfer calculator and inputting information about both your current card and the new card.
Can everyone get a balance transfer card?
Typically balance transfer cards are aimed at customers with a good credit rating. If you are struggling to keep up with payments on your current cards then it could mean that you may not be accepted for a balance transfer credit card. If you are worried about your credit rating you can use our free Card Matcher tool to check your likelihood of acceptance for all the credit cards on our panel.
You can also check your credit rating for free to find out what you can do to make sure you get the credit you want.
Which providers offer balance transfer cards?
Many credit card providers offer cards with zero per cent introductory rates on balance transfers, but typically the longest introductory periods are provided by Barclaycard, MBNA, Lloyds Bank, or Nationwide.