06 Apr, 2018 | Bankis
Balance transfer cards are a good way to decrease the amount of interest paid on credit card debt. With Christmas extra expenditures, many consumers want to consolidate their debts and cut on interest payments which make them consider moving to an interest-free card with a better repayment time frame. Cards that offer the longest 0% introductory periods are often relatively high in balance transfer fees, which can often vary between 2-3 per cent of the amount of the transfer.
For those who are not able to settle a debt balance any time soon, the best option is to use a credit card which gives the most time as possible to clear the debts interest-free, even if a balance transfer fee applies. If, however, one will be able to pay off a balance relatively fast, a card with no fee which means a shorter 0 per cent introductory period is probably the more cost-effective option. Here are five competitive balance transfer cards currently available:
Barclaycard Platinum 35 months Balance Transfer • Interest-free for up to 38 months • 1.4 per cent transfer fee • 19.9 per cent interest On this deal, Barclaycard will charge a 3.5 per cent fee but will credit the difference back within two working days, leaving an effective fee of 1.4 per cent. The debt must be transferred within 60 days to qualify for the interest-free period with a limitation of not allowing transferring a balance from another Barclaycard. An offer lesser than 38 interest-free months may be available depending on one’s current credit score.
MBNA Platinum Credit Card • Interest-free for up to 38 months • 1.44 per cent transfer fee • 21.9 per cent interest The MBNA card has a slightly higher fee transfer comparing to Barclaycard, and a higher interest rate after the interest-free period ends. The balance must be transferred to the card within 60 days to qualify for the interest-free period. Again, an offer lesser than 38 interest-free months may be available depending on one’s current credit score.
Sainsbury’s Bank 36 month Balance Transfer Credit Card • Interest-free for 36 months • 2.89 per cent transfer fee • 18.9 per cent interest The the Sainsbury’s card offers a shorter interest-free period, and all applicants who qualify receive the full 36 months grace period. This could be a better option and that is needed is a Nectar card to apply, which are free of charge. There will be a charge of 2.89 per cent for any balances transferred after the first three months.
Halifax No fee 0% Balance Transfer • Interest-free for up to 29 months • 0 per cent transfer fee • 19.9 per cent interest For this deal the balance must happen within 90 days to qualify for the fee-free transfer, after which it increases to 3 per cent. The balance cannot be transferred from another Halifax card, but it can from other Lloyds brands such as Bank of Scotland. The offer may be less than 29 interest-free months depending on the applicant’s credit score.
TSB Platinum 28 month Balance Transfer Card • Interest-free for up to 28 months • 0 per cent transfer fee • 18.9 per cent interest On this card there will be a charge of 0.5 per cent fee to transfer balances, but this charge will be refunded for transfers made within 30 days. An offer lesser than 28 interest-free months depending on the credit score.
The traps to watch... Regardless on which card deal offered, it is always good to remember to make at least the minimum monthly payment or else the interest-free period may be revoked. Also, never use these cards to make cash withdrawals if possible as these will cost in charges and could affect negatively the credit score.