Credit cards that will let you move your debt for free

Credit cards that will let you move your debt

If you want to shift debt to another 0% credit card, you're usually asked to pay a percentage of the debt up front in the form of a transfer fee, which is the lender's way of making a profit.

The longest deals on the market (up to 39 months at the time of publishing) also tend to come with the heftiest fees, often in excess of 3%.

While these are still far cheaper than letting debt rack up costly interest, there is an even better option out there for those able to pay off their debt in under 30 months.

Fee-free balance transfer cards allow you to move debt without paying a penny. The catch? The 0% periods on offer are understandably shorter.

In this article, we look at the handful of truly free balance transfer cards on the market.

The best cards available right now

Credit Card

0% period on balance transfers

Representative APR after 0% period ends

Halifax 29 Month Balance Transfer Credit Card

29 months

18.9%

TSB Platinum 28 Month Balance Transfer Credit Card*

28 months

18.9%

Bank of Scotland Platinum 25 Month Balance Transfer Card

25 months

18.9%

Barclaycard Platinum 25 Month Balance Transfer Card

25 months

19.9%

Lloyds Bank Platinum 25 Month Balance Transfer Credit Card

25 months

19.9%

Virgin Money No Balance Transfer Fee Credit Card

24 months

19.9%

Tesco Bank Clubcard 24 Month No Balance Fee Credit Card

24 months

18.9%

As you can see, Halifax leads the way on 29 months, but the recently-launched TSB Platinum card isn't far behind.

Note that you have to switch your debt within 30 days of opening the account or TSB will hit you with a sneaky 0.5% fee on this particular card.

Will I get the headline rate?

As you can imagine, you've got to have a stellar credit rating to get the best deal.

If your score is poor, it's a better idea to give it a boost. Find out more at How to build an excellent credit history.

Lowest fee vs longest 0% period: finding the right balance

If you are certain that you can clear your debt within that two-year window, then one of these balance transfer credit cards are worth going for as they'll always be cheapest.

The second category of cards are those that offer the longest 0% balance transfer window, but you have to pay a hefty fee up front for the privilege.

Those who have a fair chunk of debt to pay off might want to consider the latter.

Whichever you go for, make sure you can make the minimum repayments on time and in full every month otherwise you'll be hit with fees that will negate any benefit that comes with the card.

Compare 0% balance transfers and find the right one for you

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How to dispute your credit record
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How to dispute your credit record

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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