The best 0% balance transfer credit cards

The best 0% balance transfer credit cards

%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%When you choose a balance transfer credit card, you shouldn't just focus on the card with the longest 0% period.

It's easy to compare credit cards that offer interest-free periods on purchases. All you need to know is how long the 0% period is – the longest offer will be the best card.

Things are more complicated with 0% balance transfer credit cards. As a general concept, these are great products. You can transfer an existing credit card debt to a new card and then not pay any interest on that debt for a long period – currently up to 33 months with Barclaycard.

However, the problem is that you will have to pay a balance transfer fee. This is a percentage of the debt you're transferring to your new balance transfer card. Many cards now charge around 2.5% but there are a few that are significantly cheaper.

So when you're choosing a balance transfer card, you need to look at both the length of the 0% period and how expensive the fee is.

0% balance transfer cards with long interest-free periods

Let's start by looking at the cards with the longest 0% periods.
Credit card0% period on balance transfersBalance transfer fee
Cost of transferring £2,000 balance
Representative APR
Barclaycard 33-Month Platinum Visa33 months2.79%£55.8018.9%
Barclaycard 32-Month Platinum Visa32 months2.69%£53.8018.9%
Halifax Balance 32-Month Balance Transfer MasterCard32 months2.7%£5418.9%
Lloyds Bank 32-Month Balance Transfer MasterCard32 months2.8%£5618.9%
Tesco Bank Clubcard 32-Month Balance Transfer Credit Card32 months2.9%£5818.9%
Bank of Scotland Platinum 32-Month Balance Transfer MasterCard32 months3.5%£7018.9%
MBNA 31-Month Platinum31 months2.88%£57.6018.9%
Sainsbury's Bank Nectar Balance Transfer31 months2.89%£57.8018.9%

Compare the credit cards with the longest 0% period

0% cards with low balance transfer fees

However, if you're willing to go for a card with a shorter interest-free period, you can pay a much lower fee,as the table below shows.
Credit card0% periodBalance transfer feeFee paid on £2,000 transferRepresentative APR after 0% period ends
Barclaycard Low Fee Platinum Visa6 monthsNone£019.9%
Lloyds Bank Platinum 10-Month Balance Transfer MasterCard10 months0.4%£818.9%
Sainsbury's Bank Nectar Low Balance Transfer Fee MasterCard12 months0.5%£1018.9%
Fluid Low Fee Visa12 months0.5%£1018.9%
Nationwide Select Card*15 months0.55%£1115.9%
Nationwide Credit Card15 months0.65%£1317.9%
Post Office Platinum MasterCard18 months0.7%£1417.8%
Halifax 28-Month Balance Transfer MasterCard28 months1.5%£3018.9%
Bank of Scotland Platinum 28-Month Low Balance Transfer Fee MasterCard28 months1.5%£3018.9%
Lloyds Bank Platinum 28-Month Low Balance Transfer
Fee MasterCard
28 months1.5%£3018.9%

*Nationwide current account customers only

Average credit rating

Sadly, some people won't be able to get any of the cards we've highlighted in this article. That's because the credit card companies are only willing to give these cards to people with good credit ratings.

If you want to improve your credit rating, follow the tips in How to build an excellent credit history.

Other options

If you want even longer to get back into the black, you could apply for a personal loan and use the money you've borrowed to pay off your credit card debt. Right now, the top personal loans are charging around 4% in interest.

0% is best

But if you can get one of the top 0% cards, go for one of them. Just make sure you pay off your minimum monthly repayment promptly every time. Otherwise your credit card provider will use your late payment as an excuse to withdraw your 0% deal.

Compare credit cards

How to dispute your credit record
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The best 0% balance transfer credit cards

Don't wait until you need to apply for credit to view your credit record – do it now so you know where you stand and can deal with any disputes. When applying for credit, you give the lender permission to view your record, so it makes sense to view it yourself first.

You can access your record via any of the main credit agencies in the UK. By law, all the credit agencies are required to provide you with a one-off copy for just £2 so don't be hoodwinked into signing up to pay a monthly fee.

Your report shows what credit accounts you've had and whether you've made repayments on time and in full. According to Experian, items such as missed or late payments stay on your credit report for at least three years, while Court Judgments for non-payment of debts, Bankruptcies and Individual Voluntary Arrangements stick around for around six years.

Your credit report shows the current address at which you are registered to vote as well as details of other addresses you've been linked to in the last six years. Another section lists people you have a financial connection with, such as a joint mortgage. When you apply for credit, lenders are able to look at their credit history as their circumstances could affect your ability to repay what you owe.

Scrutinise your record to make sure there are no mistakes. Even a minor error such as an incorrect address or wrongly linked account could hinder your chances of being approved for credit so make sure all your details are correct and that all your borrowings are on record. If there is a discrepancy, contact the three main credit agencies to get it corrected.

A default notice is note that a lender puts on your credit file if you fall behind with your payments. It is a warning sign to future lenders about your reliability to repay credit and could mean that they will be less likely to lend to you or will increase the interest rate.

If the default notice is incorrect, perhaps because you have repaid the loan in full or did not take out the credit and suspect that you have fallen victim to fraud, you can apply to have a default notice removed. A default notices will only be removed if it is factually incorrect – not simply because you are embarrassed by it.

Start by writing to the agency asking it to either remove or change the entry that you think is wrong. It will investigate the matter and find out whether you have been the victim of ID theft or a bank's mistake.

Within 28 days from receipt of your letter the agency should tell you how the bank has responded. If the bank agrees to change the entry, they will authorise the agency to update their records. They should also send updates to any other credit reference agencies they use.

You can also contact your lender directly to query a mistake. If the lender agrees to the discrepancy, ask them to confirm this in writing on their letterhead and send a copy to the agency, asking them to update your file.

If you are unhappy with the response or would just like to explain a missed payment on your file you can send a Notice of Correction. This is a statement of up to 200 words that will be added to your file. Although lenders don't have to take this information into account, it at least gives you the chance to tell your side of the story.

Experian states that agencies will also help you escalate the dispute to a third party arbitrator if necessary, such as the Information Commissioner's Office.


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