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Balance Transfer Credit Card Comparison

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Product Name Representative APR (variable) Balance Transfers Intro Purchases
Intro
Rewards
 
  • Barclaycard Platinum with Balance Transfer

  • 18.9%
    APR

  • 0%
    36 mths
    2.39% fee

  • 0%
    6 mths

  • Barclaycard Unwind

Representative Example: 18.9% APR representative (variable). Based on a credit limit of £1,200 and a purchase rate of 18.9% p.a. (variable).

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  • Halifax 36 Month Balance Transfer

  • 18.9%
    APR

  • 0%
    36 mths
    2.45% fee

  • 0%
    6 mths

  • No Rewards

Representative Example: 18.9% APR representative (variable). Based on a credit limit of £1,200 and a purchase rate of 18.95% p.a. (variable).

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  • Virgin Extended Balance Transfer

  • 18.9%
    APR

  • 0%
    36 mths
    2.50% fee

  • 0%
    6 mths

  • Travel, Wine & Entertainment

Representative Example: 18.9% p.a. (variable) on card purchases. This is equivalent to 18.9% APR representative (variable) based on a credit limit of £1,200.

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  • Lloyds Bank Platinum 36 Month Balance Transfer

  • 18.9%
    APR

  • 0%
    36 mths
    3.00% fee

  • 0%
    6 mths

  • No Rewards

Representative Example: 18.9% APR representative (variable). Based on a credit limit of £1,200 and a purchase rate of 18.94% p.a. (variable)

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  • Tesco Clubcard Credit Card with Balance Transfer

  • 18.9%
    APR

  • 0%
    35 mths
    2.70% fee

  • 0%
    3 mths

  • Clubcard Points

Representative Example: 18.9% APR representative (variable). Based on a credit limit of £1,200* and a purchase rate of 18.9% p.a. (variable). *Your credit limit may vary depending upon your circumstances.

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  • Virgin Balance Transfer Card

  • 18.9%
    APR

  • 0%
    34 mths
    2.25% fee

  • 0%
    6 mths

  • Travel, Wine & Entertainment

Representative Example: 18.9% p.a. (variable) on card purchases. This is equivalent to 18.9% APR representative (variable) based on a credit limit of £1,200.

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  • Sainsbury's Nectar Balance Transfer Credit Card

  • 18.9%
    APR

  • 0%
    34 mths
    2.89% fee

  • 0%
    6 mths

  • Nectar Points

Representative Example: 18.9% APR representative (variable). Based on a credit limit of £1,200 and a purchase rate of 18.95% p.a. (variable)

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  • Tesco Clubcard Credit Card with 33 Mths Balance Transfer

  • 18.9%
    APR

  • 0%
    33 mths
    2.50% fee

  • n/a

  • Clubcard Points

Representative Example: 18.9% APR representative (variable). Based on a credit limit of £1,200* and a purchase rate of 18.9% p.a. (variable). *Your credit limit may vary depending upon your circumstances.

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  • Lloyds Bank Platinum 32 Month Balance Transfer

  • 18.9%
    APR

  • 0%
    32 mths
    1.54% fee

  • 0%
    6 mths

  • No Rewards

Representative Example: 18.9% APR representative (variable). Based on a credit limit of £1,200 and a purchase rate of 18.94% p.a. (variable).

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  • Bank of Scotland 32 Month Balance Transfer

  • 18.9%
    APR

  • 0%
    32 mths
    1.54% fee

  • 0%
    6 mths

  • No Rewards

Representative Example: 18.9% APR representative (variable). Based on a credit limit of £1,200 and a purchase rate of 18.95% p.a. (variable).

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  • Barclaycard Platinum 32 Mths Balance Transfer

  • 18.9%
    APR

  • 0%
    32 mths
    1.54% fee

  • 0%
    6 mths

  • Barclaycard Unwind

Representative Example: 18.9% APR representative (variable). Based on a credit limit of £1,200 and a purchase rate of 18.9% p.a. (variable).

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  • Virgin Classic Balance Transfer

  • 18.9%
    APR

  • 0%
    32 mths
    1.75% fee

  • 0%
    6 mths

  • Travel, Wine & Entertainment

Representative Example: 18.9% p.a. (variable) on card purchases. This is equivalent to 18.9% APR representative (variable) based on a credit limit of £1,200.

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  • Barclaycard Platinum 28 Mths Balance Transfer

  • 18.9%
    APR

  • 0%
    28 mths
    1.35% fee

  • 0%
    6 mths

  • No Rewards

Representative Example: 18.9% APR representative (variable). Based on a credit limit of £1,200 and a purchase rate of 18.9% p.a. (variable).

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  • Tesco Clubcard Credit Card with 28 Mths Balance Transfer

  • 18.9%
    APR

  • 0%
    28 mths
    1.49% fee

  • 0%
    3 mths

  • Clubcard Points

Representative Example: 18.9% APR representative (variable). Based on a credit limit of £1,200* and a purchase rate of 18.9% p.a. (variable). *Your credit limit may vary depending upon your circumstances.

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  • Lloyds Bank Choice Rewards

  • 23.7%
    APR

  • 0%
    28 mths
    3.00% fee

  • 0%
    12 mths

  • Reward Points

Representative Example: 23.70% APR representative (variable). Based on a credit limit of £1,200* and a purchase rate of 18.95% p.a. (variable) *Your credit limit may vary depending upon your circumstances

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  • Lloyds Bank Avios Rewards

  • 23.7%
    APR

  • 0%
    28 mths
    3.00% fee

  • 0%
    12 mths

  • Avios Points

Representative Example: 23.7% APR representative (variable). Based on £24 annual fee, assumed borrowing of £1,200* and a purchase rate of 18.94% p.a. (variable) *Your credit limit may vary depending upon your circumstances

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  • Lloyds Bank Premier Avios Rewards

  • 52.1%
    APR

  • 0%
    28 mths
    3.00% fee

  • 0%
    12 mths

  • Avios Points

Representative Example: 52.1% APR representative (variable). Based on £140, assumed borrowing of £1,200* and a purchase rate of 18.94% p.a. (variable) *Your credit limit may vary depending upon your circumstances

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  • Lloyds Bank Platinum 28 Month Balance Transfer

  • 18.9%
    APR

  • 0%
    28 mths
    1.50% fee

  • 0%
    12 mths

  • No Rewards

Representative Example: 18.9% APR representative (variable). Based on a credit limit of £1,200 and a purchase rate of 18.94% p.a. (variable)

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  • Halifax 28 Month Balance Transfer

  • 18.9%
    APR

  • 0%
    28 mths
    1.50% fee

  • 0%
    12 mths

  • No Rewards

Representative Example: 18.9% APR representative (variable). Based on a credit limit of £1,200 and a purchase rate of 18.95% p.a. (variable)

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  • Bank of Scotland 28 Month Balance Transfer

  • 18.9%
    APR

  • 0%
    28 mths
    1.50% fee

  • 0%
    12 mths

  • No Rewards

Representative Example: 18.9% APR representative (variable). Based on a credit limit of £1,200 and a purchase rate of 18.95% p.a. (variable).

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  • TSB Platinum 28 Month Balance Transfer

  • 18.9%
    APR

  • 0%
    28 mths
    3.00% fee

  • 0%
    3 mths

  • No Rewards

Representative Example: 18.9% APR representative (variable). Based on a credit limit of £1,200 and a purchase rate of 18.94% p.a. (variable)

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  • Nationwide with Balance Transfer

  • 17.9%
    APR

  • 0%
    26 mths
    2.40% fee

  • 0%
    3 mths

  • Simply Rewards

Representative Example: 17.9% APR representative (variable). Based on a credit limit of £1,200 and a purchase rate of 17.9% p.a. (variable).

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uk.creditcards.com offers credit card comparison tables which are free to the user, but we receive commissions from the issuers we refer users to. This table comprises a range of credit cards offering individuals the opportunity to balance transfer their credit card debt sorted by duration of the balance transfer. Other tables (found via the left hand navigation) feature products with other attributes. Please note - table position does not imply suitability, strength or superiority.
While reasonable efforts are made to keep information updated, credit card terms cannot be guaranteed for accuracy. Please ensure that you fully read the terms & conditions of any product or policy before you decide to proceed and are fully aware of the total costs and the benefits and any exclusions or limitations applicable to the product.
Please note that the ‘More info’ or ‘Apply here’ product links will take you directly to the product suppliers's website and we cannot be held responsible for the information which they provide.
 
         
 

What are balance transfer credit cards?

 

First introduced to the UK credit card market in the early 1990's by issuers who had used them to great effect to challenge the established order of banks and issuers in the United States, balance transfer cards were instantly popular. Established UK credit card issuers quickly followed suit, adding balance transfer products to their own product portfolio, and they remain perhaps the most popular type of credit card available in the UK.

Although many balance transfer products now come with a range of other features, their popularity with customers is primarily driven by their main benefit - their ability to save people money.

Balance transfer cards help their holders save money by reducing the amount of credit card interest they pay on their debts. Individuals who have amassed debt on their credit card(s) can transfer the debt (or 'balance') to a new balance transfer credit card at a pre-determined interest rate, 0% in the vast majority of cases, for a set introductory period (after which the interest rates returns to the issuer's standard interest rate). In doing so, usually for a small fee, balance transfer card holders can reduce the interest they pay on their balance from the standard APR of their original card to 0% on a new card (for a limited time). This enables them to clear their credit card balance(s) far quicker than they might otherwise be able to do, as more of their monthly repayments goes directly to paying down their card balance, rather than paying accrued debt interest.

The specific interest rates, the length of the introductory period and the fees associated with transferring vary by issuer and product. To complicate matters still further, many (if not most) credit card issuers use something called "risk based pricing" to determine the specific details of the product they offer any given applicant. This means that although the majority (51%) of customers will get the advertised rate/offer, almost half will be offered a product with less advantageous terms (shorter balance transfer period, higher transfer fee, higher standard APR etc).

How do I get the best balance transfer offer?

 

Getting the best balance transfer card is not an exact science, as card suitability is driven as much by the specific circumstance of an individual (which often change over the period the customer holds a particular product) as the product applied for.

However, individuals can increase their potential of getting the right product by firstly determining a realistic view of their current and future financial circumstances. Armed with this information, applicants can then try to find the optimal balance between the 3 main attributes which constitute the balance transfer offer, whilst retaining as much flexibility as possible, to guard against potential financial shocks.

Balance Transfer Fees

Although balance transfer cards typically incur no interest on balances transferred to them; most require customers to pay a fee (balance transfer fee) for them to undertake the transfer. These fees are charged at the time consumers undertake a transfer, and tend to be added to the overall account balance. This has the advantage for customers that they do not need to find additional money instantly to undertake a transfer, but can be disadvantageous to customers who miss minimum payments and are returned to their card's standard APR, as they then pay interest on fees for a service they may have gained very little benefit from.

Typically balance transfer fees are charged as a percentage of the total amount transferred, although most issuers have a 'minimum transfer fee' (usually around £5.00) to discourage consumers transferring smaller sums. Transfer fees can vary considerably between different issuers and products, and given that they are typically the only charges associated with transferring balances (assuming you make your minimum payments on time and your card is not one of the few UK credit cards which charges consumers an annual fee), it is worth understanding what you'll pay and how many months at a given interest rate a particular balance transfer fee will buy you.

Often, although not always, cards with lower fees offer applicants shorter periods at the introductory rate, but those who can clear their balance quickly might not need to pay the high fees often associated with cards offering longer balance transfer periods.

Balance Transfer Rates

Although many people associate balance transfers exclusively with 0% introductory periods, other interest rates are available and can be better suited to an individual than 0% deals, depending on their circumstances.

Low rate credit cards, some of which offer fee free balance transfers, can offer people who believe that they are likely to be able to repay their balance in full in the imminent future, but wish to avoid the immediate threat of reverting to a standard APR at the end of a 0% balance transfer or 0% purchase card deal, the opportunity to minimise their costs, by eliminating the need to pay a balance transfer fee for a 0% deal they are unlikely to derive much value from.

Equally, given many card issuers' policies regarding "risk based pricing", it can be prudent for people without spotless credit histories to avoid applying for cards they are unlikely to be accepted for. Given that frequent applications for credit can ring alarm bells for most issuers, applicants can feel compelled to accept considerably weaker 'down sell' propositions from issuers who show no compunction to offer competitive products to people with more limited opportunities to access credit. Given that products with less generous balance transfer periods often have more accessible acceptance criteria than products which top the best buy tables and multiple credit applications can negatively impact credit scores, it often makes sense for people to give serious consideration to cards that are with higher transfer rates from the outset of their search.

Balance Transfer Periods

As the UK economy rebounds from the worst of the credit crunch and issuers again vie for our custom, balance transfer periods have relentlessly marched upwards (more than doubling from their credit crunch low) and show no signs of abating. But, whilst issuers try to catch the eye of customers with ever longer balance rates, there has been little increase customer credit limits. Equally, much to the surprise of many commentators, UK credit card customers have been diligently clearing their balances during the recession. Having lower balances on their cards means the longer introductory periods are no longer as useful to customers as they once were. Indeed as transfer periods have increased, so too have the standard APRs on many cards - meaning those who can afford repayments and have sizable balances have 'never had it so good', whilst individuals who run into difficulty are penalised more than ever before.

In acquiring the optimal balance transfer card, applicants should try to remain dispassionate. For many years credit cards where marketed on the basis of their balance transfer periods (transfer fees being broadly similar), but impartial reflection leads many people to conclude that they no longer require the balance transfer periods afforded by the 'leading' products and given that there is now healthy competition amongst issuers on transfer fees, they have more opportunity of getting their ideal card by better balancing the different balance transfer card attributes.
 

 
       

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