Switching to a 0% balance transfer credit card can save you hundreds of pounds if you’re juggling credit card debt and trying to pay it off. There are several offers and right now, the best 0% balance transfer card can bag you as much as three years to pay off your debt - interest free.
When you take out a 0% transfer balance credit card you get a brand new card to pay off debt on an old credit card - so you still owe the debt but at 0% interest. The new card will have a 0% period - from three months up to 34 months - during which you won’t pay any interest.
There may be a fee to pay for the transfer, though some cards do not have a fee but have a shorter timeframe in which to repay the balance.
It essentially means it’s a cheaper way to become debt-free as you won’t be paying interest on your repayments.
To make sure you don’t pay any interest, you’ll need to make at least the minimum repayment each month, and repay the whole debt within the interest-free period. It is important to keep up with the repayments and do not use the card to spend on, or you will be charged a hefty interest.
When the 0% period ends, you’ll be charged interest on any balance on the card - so aim to pay off your debt in the timeframe you get.
Top 0% balance transfer credit cards
Here are some of the longest 0% balance transfer cards available. These ones include a transfer fee, but if you don't need as long to pay off your debt, then further below, we have also listed some cards with no transfer fee, but fewer months on the 0% balance period.
You will need a good credit score to get the top deal; our links take you to the eligibility checker (opens in new tab) on our sister site GoCompare (select 0% balance transfer on the drop down menu) so that you can see how likely you are to be accepted.
This list is updated regularly, with guidance from data analyst Defaqto (opens in new tab).
Sainsbury’s Bank | up to 34 months 0% interest | 2.88% transfer fee.
Once the interest free period is over, you will pay 21.9% interest. Check to see if you can get the Sainsbury’s Bank deal via GoCompare's eligibility checker now (opens in new tab).
Halifax | up to 34 months 0% interest | 2.89% transfer fee
Interest is 21.9% once the 0% period is over. Check to see if you can get the Halifax deal via GoCompare's eligibility checker now (opens in new tab).
Santander | up to 33 months 0% interest free | 2.89% transfer fee.
Interest is 21.9% once the 0% period is over. Check to see if you can get the Santander deal via GoCompare's eligibility checker now (opens in new tab).
The best no-fee 0% balance transfer cards
If you are confident of paying off your debt sooner - within 22 months - then you can avoid the transfer fee by picking a card that offers you a fee-free balance transfer, but with a shorter time-frame to clear your debt.
You will need a good credit score to get the top deal; our links take you to the eligibility checker on our sister site GoCompare (select 0% balance transfer on the drop down menu) so that you can see how likely you are to be accepted.
These are some of the best no-fee, 0% transfer cards available. This list is updated regularly, with guidance from data analyst Defaqto (opens in new tab).
Santander All in One Credit Card | up to 26 months 0% interest on transfers. Up to 23 months 0% interest on purchases| No transfer fee
The interest is 24.7% after the 0% period. The account has a £3 monthly fee. Check to see if you can get the deal via GoCompare's eligibility checker now (opens in new tab).
Sainsbury’s Bank | up to 22 months 0% interest | No transfer fee
Interest is 21.9% after the 0% period. You may have to pay a low 1% transfer fee if you do not get accepted for the top 22 months deal. Check to see if you can get the deal via GoCompare's eligibility checker now (opens in new tab).
Santander Everyday No Balance Transfer Fee Credit Card | up to 21 months 0% interest| no transfer fee
After this interest charged is 21.9%.
Check to see if you can get the deal via GoCompare's eligibility checker now (opens in new tab).
BALANCE TRANSFER CARD PITFALLS TO AVOID
Here is our guide to ensure you use your 0% balance transfer card to your advantage. It can prove to be very costly if used incorrectly.
Your 0% balance transfer card should be used to move your balance, so don’t make the big mistake of using it to make purchases or withdraw cash, because you will be charged an expensive rate. For example, the Sainsbury’s Bank no fee 0% transfer card offers a 3 month 0% on purchases. But after that, you will get stung by a 21.95 % rate.
Aim to pay off the balance before the 0% period ends, as you will face high interest charges after that. If you haven’t cleared it before the 0% term ends, switch to another balance transfer deal.
Always keep up with the minimum monthly payments. If you miss any, you will face a fee and could even lose the 0% deal. Set up a direct debit to minimise the risk of missed payments.
Complete your transfer within one to three months to get the 0% deal; transfer after this time period will be charged at a high interest rate.
You can't transfer a balance between cards from the same bank or banking group. So where you're transferring debt from will narrow down the choice. For example, Lloyds Banking Group owns Lloyds Bank, Halifax, Bank of Scotland so you couldn’t transfer debt from a Halifax credit card to a Bank of Scotland credit card.
WHO CAN GET A 0% BALANCE TRANSFER CREDIT CARD?
Overall, you need a good credit score. It usually depends on the term you are going for, so for example to get a 34 month 0% balance transfer rather than a credit card that offers a 22 month 0% balance transfer, your credit score needs to be exceptionally good.
Legally, credit card firms only need to give their advertised deals to 51% of successful applicants, so you may be offered a shorter 0% interest period than advertised.
Katie is staff writer at The Money Edit. She was the former staff writer at The Times and The Sunday Times. Her experience includes writing about personal finance, culture, travel and interviews celebrities. Her investigative work on financial abuse resulted in a number of mortgage prisoners being set free - and a nomination for the Best Personal Finance Story of the Year in the Headlinemoney awards 2021.
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