Best alternatives to Barclaycard's balance transfer card

BarclaycardBarclaycard has topped the balance transfer credit card best buy tables for a while now. But its cards won't be an option for some - so where else should they look?
This week Barclaycard announced it was slashing the fees on all of its balance transfer cards.
As we highlighted, it now has the top two cards when it comes to the all-round balance transfer package, one offering a 0% period of 21 months with a 1.3% fee and another on 22 months with a 1.45% fee. These are the best deals around, but the half-priced rate only lasts until the 9th August so you need to act fast if you want to benefit.

This isn't the first time Barclaycard has caught the eye with an attractive balance transfer credit card deal. In fact, it has pretty much dominated the market for the last couple of years.

And that leaves some borrowers in a sticky position. If they've already got a Barclaycard balance transfer card, but still have debt on there that means they'll need to move it to a new card, they have to look beyond Barclaycard's range. So where should they be looking?

What is a balance transfer credit card?
First, let's cover the basics - what is a balance transfer credit card? If you've built up debt on a credit card and are coughing up high interest payments each month, balance transfer cards can help. They work by allowing you to transfer over your existing debts onto the new card with a 0% rate of interest.

During the 0% period you won't pay any interest so you can concentrate on paying off the debt and some of the best deals around last for almost two years.

The catch is that you will have to pay a fee in order to move that debt over. That's typically around 3% of the debt transferred, so it can be a pretty significant sum if you're transferring a large debt.

The longest 0% deals
For those people seeking out a longer deal, you can actually better the longest Barclaycard offering with the HSBC 23-month Visa. However, be warned that deal is only available to existing current account customers. Other deals worth a look come from NatWest/RBS, Halifax, MBNA, Nationwide and Virgin, which I've detailed in the table below.


0% deal

Transfer fee




23 months



The UK's longest 0% transfer.

No interest on purchases for three months.


22 months



No interest on purchases for six months


22 months



Minimum income of £20,000 a year.

No interest on purchases for three months.


20 months



No interest on purchases for three months.


20 months



You can't transfer over from another MBNA/Virgin card


20 months



No interest on purchases for three months.

The lowest fees
Most of these cards carry fees around the 3% mark, such as the Natwest/RBS card which charges 3.2% which means a £1,000 balance carried over would cost you £32. But what if you don't think you'll need the best part of two years in order to clear that debt? In that case, going for a card which charges just a low balance transfer fee is a good idea.

One card definitely worth a look is the new Fluid card, launched this week from MBNA. The charges are substantially lower than most at 1.5% although the 0% period is slightly shorter at 15 months. If you're looking for a low-fee alternative to the Barclaycard range, you won't find a better card.

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