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Balance transfer deals don’t pay for one in three cardholders

34% of customers with balance transfer credit cards will not clear their debt in the introductory 0% period, according to new survey

Regionally, the North East were most likely to say that they did not expect to clear their debt during the balance transfer offer period

The North East were most likely in the UK to say that they did not expect to clear their balance in time

Balance transfer credit cards with 0% introductory offers are not long enough to allow 34% of Brits to clear their debts, according to a survey by Consumer Intelligence.

The independent market research firm found that one in three either did not clear their debt or expect to during the introductory offer period.

At the end of the 0% introductory offer, the average outstanding debt for those who did not complete their repayments in time was £2,400.

Further to this, one in five have had their 0% balance transfer deal terminated mostly due to late or missed payments.

The study also shows around 11.2 million UK adults have applied for 0% balance transfer credit cards in the past two years as the length of 0% deals has continued to rise.

0% Balance transfer debt cleared by region

Regionally, consumers in the North East were most likely to say that they did not expect to clear their debt in time, with 29% of cardholders in East Midlands failing to clear their debt.

Just over half of Londoners said they managed to clear their debt during the 0% introductory offer window.

The table below shows by region the percentage of balance transfer credit card holders who managed to clear their debt, intend to clear their debt, and haven’t or don’t expect to clear their debt before the 0% offer expires.

East 50% 19% 22% 9%
East Midlands 35% 26% 29% 10%
London 51% 20% 21% 9%
North East 44% 13% 23% 20%
North West 44% 27% 17% 13%
Scotland 47% 16% 22% 15%
South East 47% 21% 17% 14%
South West 40% 33% 23% 4%
Wales 35% 34% 19% 12%
West Midlands 46% 20% 20% 15%
Yorkshire & Humberside 38% 18% 26% 19%
TOTAL 44% 22% 22% 12%

Fierce competition on 0% deals

Competition in the credit card market has seen 0% credit card deals lengthen to as much as 30 months as providers fight for customers, but Consumer Intelligence has advised consumers to plan their debt repayments carefully.

“Zero per cent balance transfer deals can be a significant help for people trying to cut debts and interest rate charges and the longer the deals become the better they are for customers although it’s worth taking account of the balance transfer fee,” said David Black of Consumer Intelligence.