A credit card balance transfer simply means moving your credit card debt from one card to another. However, balance transfer credit cards come with a 0% interest offer, allowing you to pay off your credit card debt within a specified time period with 0% interest.
It’s often a good way to save money on the cost of paying back credit card debt, with many credit card providers offering new customers an interest-free period on the amount being transferred.
It can also be a good way to consolidate your debts from multiple credit cards into one manageable repayment plan.
Balance transfer credit cards in our comparison table are displayed by the duration of the 0% balance transfer offers and include the cost of the transfer (handling fee) and the APR that kicks in once the introductory offer comes to an end.
The transfer fee is usually around 3% of the debt being transferred but this varies depending on the credit card. Some credit cards will include 0% on money transfers, allowing you to pay off debt from other areas, including your bank overdraft for example.
If you want to compare balance transfer credit cards then read on for our five top tips to help you find the right credit card deal for you from the comparison table above.
0% balance transfer credit card deals - Top five tips
A 0% credit card balance transfer allows you to transfer debt from one credit card to one with a 0% introductory deal. This means you can pay off your debt over a longer period without worrying about paying extra in interest repayments.
Playing the balance transfer game could save you a fortune in credit card interest rate payments, provided you stick to a few basic rules.
Typically, balance transfer cards compete on price in the form of lowest APRs, longest 0% periods and lowest balance transfer fees. So a hard nosed approach would be to conider the cheapest balance transfer credit cards to be the best, but there may be other things you’d like to take into account.
Our top five tips on how a 0% credit card balance transfer deal can help you save money. Compare and find the best 0% credit cards balance transfer in the market.
1. Know how long the 0% balance transfer offer lasts
Credit card balance transfer offers don’t last forever so when you transfer your credit card balance to a new card, always make a note of when the introductory 0% interest rate ends. This means you can calculate how much you’ll need to pay back each month to complete your repayments within the 0% interest period. When the period is up, credit cards with 0% interest will revert to a more expensive standard rate, so make sure you keep on top of this.
If you haven’t paid off your balance by the time the 0% period is up, it might be a good idea to switch to another 0% balance transfer deal.
Start looking for your new card about six weeks before your deal is due to end to allow plenty of time to arrange your next transfer.
2. Double check the rate
The rate you see advertised isn’t necessarily the rate you will get. Credit card providers only have to give the typical APR they advertise to around 50% of successful applicants – this means that if you’ve had credit problems in the past, you may be given a higher APR.
Check that the rate you see advertised is the rate you will actually get to avoid a shock when your first statement arrives.
3. See what the 0% rate covers
Credit cards with long 0% rates on balance transfers often have much shorter 0% deals on purchases – for example, a card with 0% on transfers for over 20 months may only give 0% on spending for three or six months.
Make sure you know what rates you’ll be paying on other credit card use, not just transfers. However, you’ll want to avoid making extra purchases if you have a large debt to pay off over the 0% interest period. Generally it’s better to have your balance transfer credit card just for balance transfers, but it’s certainly worth knowing its other uses just in case you need them.
Some balance transfer credit cards will also include a money transfer option, which allows you to pay money from your credit card into your current account and pay off overdraft debt, not just credit card debt. These 0% credit card deals will also come with a handling fee, usually around 4% but this will vary from provider to provider. Such credit cards can be vital for consolidating debt from a variety of areas, so could be worth considering if you have debt elsewhere and not just from your credit card.
4. Don't spend on your 0% balance transfer card
Balance transfer credit cards are always best for easing the pain of existing debt – start spending on the card and you risk ending up in deeper trouble.
The best advice would be not to spend on a card after transferring a balance to it. Instead, take out a separate card with a long 0% on purchases deal, or look for a card offering a good 0% deal on both purchases and transfers. If you know you can pay off the balance within the 0% interest period, including any extra purchases you make, then a credit card with a length 0% purchases and 0% balance transfer deal could work for you.
5. Check the balance transfer fee
Most credit card providers charge a balance transfer fee of around 3% when you shift your debt from one card to another, though this varies between cards and providers.
Consider whether paying a fee might outweigh the benefits of a 0% deal - balance transfers on credit cards with a low APR could be cheaper in the long run than doing so on 0% APR credit cards deals. It all comes down to individual circumstances and preferences, so check you have the facts before looking for the best credit cards for balance transfers.
The handling fee, or cost of the transfer will rise with the amount you transfer and is part of the deal of getting a 0% balance transfer deal. Some credit cards will offer a discount on the initial balance transfer fee provided you meet their terms and conditions, which usually includes paying off your balance on time each month.
What are top deals?
One way to sort our table is by ‘top deals’, whereby we highlight cards that are market leaders for particular features. For example, of all the credit cards charging no transfer fee, the one with the best overall offering might be a top deal called ‘No transfer fee’.
We do this to highlight that it is the best in its class on uSwitch. We check these deals weekly to ensure they really are the best on uSwitch in that area, so you can rest assured that our top deals are just that - the top deals on uSwitch.
We compare credit over 100 credit cards from all of the major banks and credit card providers.
However, we do not compare all the credit cards that are available in the UK.
This is because some credit card providers have offers that are only available exclusively through their own website or branch, or through other comparison websites - in the same way some credit cards are exclusively available through uSwitch.
There are also many credit cards that are only available to people in member organisations and clubs.
We sometimes receive payment from card providers to display their cards in prominent locations.
These are adverts and are designed to be distinct and separate from the other cards on our comparison tables. We hope this makes it clear which cards are top-of-table deals and which cards are paid for promotions.