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Are 40 month balance transfer cards here to stay?

Over 2015 balance transfer cards were elusive, appearing only for short periods of time, but now it seems they could be back for good.


40 months is the longest 0% balance transfer period the credit card market has ever seen.

Confused? Watch our short tutorial on how balance transfer cards work.

Cards with 40 month 0% periods first appeared at the end of 2015, but were hard to catch, typically only appearing for a few weeks or a month or so during seasonal peaks when credit card providers try their hardest to win new customers.

After the last seasonal rush (post-Christmas) came to an end, we expected that might be the last we’d see of 40 month cards for a while. But we were wrong…

Cards with 40 months 0% interest

At the time of writing, there are three 40 month 0% balance transfer cards on the market (or four if you include Tesco’s money transfer card).



Do you want a card with the longest 0% period?

Balance transfer cards typically compromise the length of their 0% period against their upfront transfer fees. In essence the longer the 0% period, the higher the upfront fee.

If you think you could pay off your balance quicker than 40 months, you might be better off with a card with a shorter 0% period and a lower transfer fee.

Take a look at our calculator to see how long it could take you to repay your balance.

If you think you could pay off your balance within two years you could even avoid fees altogether with some cards such as the Santander 123 Card, or the Halifax 23 Months Balance Transfer Card.


Is 40 months the new normal?

Virgin’s 40 month card is disappearing after 1 April 2016, Tesco’s are hanging about to 28 April 2016 and Halifax haven’t put a deadline on theirs.

We are well outside the peaks when credit card providers typically put on special one-off deals, so this could be the beginning of the balance transfer market leader always having a period of 40 months. A similar market shift to a 36 month 0% period becoming the ‘new normal’ happened at the start of 2015.

But this being true likely depends on a number of market factors not changing.

Mainly, it has never been cheaper to borrow money across the financial industry with the base rate of interest (the interest rate banks borrow at) remaining at historic lows for what could be another year.

So banks could be taking advantage of this and using the cheap money to entice in long term customers.

How balance transfer cards work

Not found what you’re after?

Take a look at the selection of balance transfer credit cards we compare to see if there’s card that’s right for you.

Or read through our credit card guides if you’d like to learn more.