Grab these savings on credit cards and loans before they go

credit card machineMake sure you don't miss on these limited-time best buy offers.

June has been a very good month for financial offers. There was the Tesco fee-free balance transfer credit card, although sadly that has already disappeared. However, there are still plenty of good savings to be made if you either want to pay off credit card debts or borrow money for less.

But be aware that many of these rates are only available for a little whle longer, so you need to act fast if you want to take advantage.

Pay off your credit card debts for less
Barclaycard has reduced the balance transfer fee on several of its market-leading balance transfer credit cards for June only. So you need to be quick if you want to grab one.

Its Platinum 27-Month balance transfer credit card, at 27 months the longest interest-free period available, now has a balance transfer fee of 2.98%, down from 3.5%. This means if you transferred a £2,000 debt you'd pay a fee of £59.60, down from £70.

Barclaycard has also increased the interest-free period on another Platinum card, meaning it now offers 26 months without interest rather than 25. The balance transfer fee on this card is 2.47%, the cheapest of all the 26-month cards out there. That works out as a fee of £40.80 on a £2,000 debt, a near-£20 saving on the 27-Month card with just a month's less interest-free period.

Here are the cards with the longest interest-free periods currently available:
Credit card 0% period Balance transfer fee Representative APR
Barclaycard Platinum 27-Month 27 months 2.98% 18.9%
Barclaycard Platinum 26-Month 26 months 2.47% 18.9%
Virgin Money Credit Card 26 months 2.99% 17.9%

Compare the balance transfer credit cards with the longest interest-free periods

If you can afford to pay off your debts more quickly, the Barclaycard Platinum 16-Month card has had its balance transfer fee cut from 1.5% to 1.28%. That would mean a transfer of a £2,000 debt would cost £32.

Halifax and Lloyds TSB are top of the low balance transfer fee table as they both offer 15 months interest free for a 1% fee.
Credit card 0% period Balance transfer fee Representative APR
Halifax All In One 15 months 1% 17.9%
Lloyds TSB Platinum 15-Month 15 months 1% 17.9%
Lloyds TSB Platinum Purchase 13 months 1% 17.9%
NatWest Platinum Low Balance Transfer Fee 13 months 1% 18.9%
Royal Bank of Scotland Platinum Low Balance Transfer Fee 13 months 1% 18.9%
Barclaycard 16-Month Low Balance Transfer Fee 16 months 1.28% 18.9%

However, if you think you'll need longer to pay off your debts, it might be better to bite the bullet now in terms of a higher balance transfer fee, take a much longer interest-free period and get rid of your balance once and for all.

Be aware that you can't transfer debts from one Barclaycard onto another one and you'll need to have a very good credit history to be accepted.

See the balance transfer credit cards with the lowest fees

Borrow money for less
Personal loan rates have been falling for some time due to increased competition.

Peer-to-peer company Zopa, which allows people who want a decent return on their money to deposit money which is then lent to people wanting to borrow, is now the market leader for people looking to borrow between £7,500 and £15,000.

For the second time in as many months, it's cut the rate on its loans down to 4.9%. You will, however, need a good credit rating to qualify.

And the last time it cut its rate like this the rate was withdrawn after a week. There's no guarantee it'll be around long this time either.

See how Zopa compares to the competition

Beware the small print
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Grab these savings on credit cards and loans before they go

It is reasonable to assume that if you take out a mobile phone contract at £30 a month for 24 months that's exactly what you'll pay unless you exceed the tariff. Yet mobile phone providers have come under fire for a snag buried in the small print – a clause to allow mid-contract price rises.

Prices are rising by a median of 81p a month and 70% of consumers are completely unaware off this sneaky move, according to Tesco Mobile, so be sure to check any new contracts before you sign the dotted line.

Financial service providers always refer to 'typical APR' in advertising to attract customers with favourable rates of interest.

Yet the typical APR on loans and credit cards is only available for those applicants who have a squeaky clean credit record, everyone else could end up with a much higher rate. For example, under EU rules, credit card providers only have to provide the typical APR advertised to 51% of applicants.

So always consider this when applying for accounts and products, and if approved – look out the actual APR that you will be charged.

The highest paying savings accounts on the market tend to come with a string of strict terms, which if you fall foul of, result in a drop in interest. Common requirements include paying in a set sum each month and not making withdrawals during a set period.

Make sure to fully understand these terms before opening a savings account and if you choose an account with a six or 12 month bonus, remember that this will plummet when the bonus period ends.

Cashback credit cards that pay you a small percentage each time you spend on the card are full of loopholes in the small print. All have a maximum spend, but many have a minimum spend too.

For example, the Sainsbury's Cashback Low Rate card advertises that it offers users 5% cashback for the first three months. However the 5% cashback is capped at £50 a month. A further 5% cashback is subject to you spending £500 a month on the card (£250 of that at Sainsbury's).

Attempt to repay your mortgage early and you may be greeted with a hefty fee in the form of an early repayment charge. These penalties vary from lender to lender and even deal to deal, but are typically be around 10% of the outstanding balance.

Details of any early repayment charges should be clearly outlined in your mortgage contract but it is worth double-checking with your lender before you try to make a payment.

Insurance is an incredibly complex area of personal finance and different forms of cover are riddled with different hitches that make it crucial to read the small print. Failure to do so could lead you to pay for a product you would be never be able to claim upon, or unknowingly do something that invalidates your claim.

Always buy the right level of cover for your needs and pay close attention to any exclusions in the policy wording. For example, many travel insurance policies for winter sports won't pay out for treatment of injuries incurred while under the influence of alcohol.

Think a credit card can't do any damage at home in your drawer? Think again. Some credit and store cards charge a dormancy fee if you don't use them regularly.

For example, all Santander-issued store cards, including Topshop and Laura Ashley cards among others, charge a fee of £10 if you remain in debit for three consecutive months.

Exceed the monthly usage allowance in your broadband deal and you could be hit with a huge fee. Common with the cheapest broadband deals on the market, penalty charges for going over your contracted limit can push your bills up even higher than if you paid for a deal with unlimited usage.

According to Talk Talk, some households are being forced to pay an additional £40 per month for exceeding their usage allowance. BT for example, charges £5 per every 5GB extra used.

Familiarise yourself with the download limit in your package and the penalties for exceeding it, decide whether you are better off with an unlimited deal.


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