The top credit cards for paying off your debt

The battle between credit card companies to offer the best balance transfer deal is hotting up. And it means you can have a record length of time to pay off your debts.

The competition between credit card companies has never been fiercer, particularly when it comes to 0% balance transfer credit cards.

Barclaycard has increased its longest interest-free introductory period to 27 months, in response to NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) increasing their 0% periods to 26 months. And Virgin Money has come to the party too with its own 26-month card.

This is great news for anyone who has credit card debts and a good credit history.

The longest 0% period
There are currently nine credit cards offering a 0% introductory period of two years or longer.

Credit card

0% balance transfer periodBalance transfer feeCost of transferring £2,500
Barclaycard 27-Month Platinum Visa27 months3.5%£87.50
NatWest Platinum MasterCard26 months2.65%£66.25
Royal Bank of Scotland Platinum MasterCard26 months2.65%£66.25
Virgin Money MasterCard26 months2.99%£74.75
Barclaycard 25-Month Platinum Visa25 months2.4%£60
Halifax BT 25-Month MasterCard25 months2.5%£62.50
Tesco Clubcard Credit Card for Balance Transfers25 months2.9%£72.50
MBNA Platinum24 months2.85%£71.25
Fluid 24-Month Balance Transfer Visa24 months2.89%£72.25

As it stands the Barclaycard 27-Month Platinum Visa is the most expensive longer-lasting deal, charging 3.5%, which is 0.85% (or £21.25 on a debt of £2,500) more than NatWest and RBS. However, you get the longest period currently available (an all-time record) to pay off your debts.

However, the Barclaycard 25-Month Platinum Visa charges a fee of 2.4%, which would save you £27.50 if you're transferring £2,500 of debt. We should point out though that you can't transfer balances from other Barclaycards.

Could you avoid interest on your debt? Take a look at the top 0% balance transfer credit cards

The cheapest balance transfer fee
If you're chasing the cheapest balance transfer card rather than the longest lasting, the Halifax All in One credit card and the Lloyds TBS Platinum MasterCard, which both offer 15 months with no interest to pay, charge 1% balance transfer fees, meaning you would only pay £25 to move £2,500 worth of debt.

It's important you make sure you can repay your debts during the 0% period or you'll end up paying interest. If you take out the Halifax or Lloyds cards you will be charged 17.9% APR after 15 months on any debt you have left.

Once your deal ends you could try transferring whatever you have left onto another balance transfer credit card, but there is no guarantee you will be successful.

Take a look at the credit cards with the lowest balance transfer fees

Personal loans
If you have larger debts, for example over £7,500, you could consolidate them into one personal loan. Right now, loan rates from mainstream lenders have fallen to as low as 5%.

The top mainstream loan rate for borrowing over £7,500 comes from Derbyshire Building Society at 5%, followed by Clydesdale, Sainsbury's (dropping to 5% if you can pay it back in three years or less) and Tesco at 5.1%.

Consolidating your debts into one loan repayment can make sense, but only if you can afford your monthly repayments and you don't go out and start spending again.

Compare the latest loan rates

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