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Save £1,000's with a 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards

Are you paying interest charges on your Credit Cards? Our Money Dad Dan explains how you could save £1,000's on unnecessary interest charges with the best 0% balance transfer credit card deals

A photo of Daniel Sharpe-Szunko, the author

By Daniel Sharpe-Szunko

Published on: 27 June 2024

8 min read

Save Money with 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards

Do you regularly pay interest on your credit card because you can’t clear your balance? Balance transfer credit cards are a quick and simple way for you to save £1,000’s on unnecessary interest charges.

This is our comprehensive guide to the latest and best balance transfer credit card deals for you and your family. One of the simplest and best ways to save your family money and to prevent mounting up charges is to transfer your credit card balance to an interest free balance transfer card.

You can get as much as 29 months on a new balance transfer credit card deal which could help to spread your payments over a longer term and save you £1,000’s in charges.

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60-Second Summary – Find the Best Balance Transfer Credit Card Deals

One of the quickest and easiest ways to reduce your credit card charges is to transfer any outstanding balances to a 0% balance transfer card. This can help to relieve some financial pressures for families for major purchases (e.g. holidays, cars, school fees, etc.) and spread payments over several years.

  • 0% balance transfer have been a major part of our financial options for many years and are now one of the top ways to reduce monthly outgoings.
  • Credit card debt and balances can be spread over periods of up to 29 months without paying any interest on the unpaid balances.
  • Typical charges for 0% balance transfer credit cards range from ‘No fee’ to around 3.5%, with an average fee of 3.2% of the balance being transferred (so they’re not free).
  • We recommend that you set up a regular monthly payment (direct debit) for the balance being transferred over the balance transfer limit period (e.g. £3,000 x 29 payments).

This is a fairly simple question to answer, a balance transfer credit card allows you to transfer any outstanding or unpaid credit card balances and consolidate on to a 0% or low interest card account.

The purpose of these credit cards is to allow the cardholder to spread any outstanding balances over several months or years, with no interest charges. Financial experts like Martin Lewis strongly support the use of balance transfer cards to manage debt, as shown in this Good Morning Britain interview from a few years ago.

Our example below shows how the balance transfer credit card works and how much you could save in a certain situation.

Example 0% Balance Transfer Credit Card

Credit CardBalanceRepayment PeriodAPRFeeInterest + Charges
Standard credit card£4,00029 months14.9%No fee£917
0% Balance Transfer£4.00029 months0%3% (£120)£120

In the example above, if you were to continue to repay a £4,000 credit card balance at a rate of £137 per month, which is the amount it would take to clear the balance, then you would save £760 over 29 months in interest alone.

Note: We’ve also created our very own MPO Credit Card Calculator for you to show how much interest you could be paying and what you could save with a 0% balance transfer credit card.

One thing to remember is that banks and credit card companies constantly change offers for new and existing customers. Another key point is that you can only transfer a balance to a new credit card provider, so you can only look at offers from new card providers.

Your credit history and credit score will also be taken in to consideration when you’re applying for a balance transfer credit card. Some credit card providers are more strict than others and there are specific account for people with bad credit or low credit scores (see bad credit balance transfer credit card offers below).

Our comparison tool below shows which are the current top picks for 0% balance transfer credit cards. You can also compare each of the offers to figure out which is the best for you based on your situation and the amount to be transferred.

We regularly update our 0% balance transfer credit card comparison tool to give you the most up to date deals and offers.

[Comparison tool]

Warning: You will usually need to complete your balance transfers for any new card within a maximum of 60 days or 90 days (depending on the card provider). Any fees will be charged on the amount of balance that is transferred within that period.

Not everyone has the perfect credit score and you might not be eligible for some of the credit card offers in our standard balance transfer credit card comparison tool. If that’s the case then we’ve also created a 0% balance transfer credit card comparison tool for people with bad credit.

There are lots of different levels of bad credit (e.g. defaults, missed payments, CCJ’s, or IVA’s) and different reasons for having a low credit score, so this can help you to improve your credit situation.

[bad credit comparison tool]

Warning: After the 0% balance transfer period for these bad credit balance transfer credit cards are usually high, so you need to plan to clear any balance before it ends. You can pay an average of 35% APR on these cards which is considerably higher than standard credit cards which are approximately 24.9% APR. Ideally you need to be able to budget plan so that you can clear any outstanding balance within this period to avoid paying unnecessary charges.

It’s important to understand how these 0% balance transfer credit cards work and to follow our simple steps to help make your life easier.

1. Plan to clear the balance that you’re transferring within 0% balance transfer period.

The way that these credit card companies make their money is from the interest charges after the 0% period finishes. These aren’t charities and they’re not offering these cards to help you, so don’t get caught out and end up paying lots of unnecessary interest charges.

  • Set up a Direct Debit and automate things as much as you possibly can do. We’ve been there and we know how easy it is to get caught out with credit card payments. All credit cards will give you the option of setting up a direct debit and you can specify how much you pay each month. This is especially important when setting up any new credit card accounts because it also avoids missed payments and helps to avoid other charges.

  • Transfer to another 0% balance transfer credit card if you can’t clear your balance within the interest free period. There’s always the option to transfer any remaining balances to another 0% credit card if you don’t manage to clear your full balance before your offer ends. This isn’t ideal and sometimes you might not even have this option, but it’s always good to know if it is possible.

The 0% period will be different for each credit card provider and even individual cards from the same provider. You can see an example of this in the disclaimer text within this Barclaycard (Barclays) advert.

Barclaycard | Balance transfer

2. Transfer your balance within the 60 or 90 day limit to get the 0% offer.

Almost all 0% balance transfer credit card offers will require you to move any balances over to them within the first 60 or 90 days, depending on the credit card provider. You should also be able to add in other balances that you get after you’ve opened the account, should anything else come up.

0% balance transfer credit card offers do vary significantly from one company to another and so you need to be clear about the Terms & Conditions. Some cards will also only accept transfers that you make at the point that you open the new account.

3. Most banks and card providers won’t accept applications for existing customers for 0% balance transfer credit cards.

It’s a common rule that you can’t transfer a balance to a new card if you’re an existing customer, which also applies to a group of credit card companies or banks.

This can be quite frustrating because it’s not always obvious what the relationship is between one company and another. We’ve created a list and a table below to show which credit card companies are part of the same group to save you time and stress.

Credit Card or Banking GroupRelated companies within the group (that you might not be able to apply for)
Capital One logoCapital One, Littlewoods, Luma, Ocean, Think Money, and Very.
HSBC Group logoFirst Direct, HSBC, and M&S Bank. John Lewis credit cards (before 21st September 2022).
NewDay logoAmazon, AO, Argos, Aqua, Bip, Fluid, John Lewis (after 21st September 2022), Marbles, and Opus.
Royal Bank of Scotland logoNatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), and Ulster bank.
Santander logoCahoot, and Santander.
Virgin Money logoClydesdale Bank, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Money, and Yorkshire Bank.

4. Avoid using your new 0% balance transfer credit card to withdraw cash or for spending.

This rule applies to all credit cards and you should absolutely not use these to withdraw cash from a cash machine or a bank. It is a common fact that ALL credit card companies charge high fees for cash withdrawals.

Any cash that you withdraw will be charged interest up to when the full balance has been cleared, so you’ll pay interest until its paid off.

You’ll also pay interest on anything that you spend on your card which is actually worse than spending on a normal card, because you’ll pay interest until your full balance is cleared.

It can be difficult to track this as well because of how the credit card statements are laid out. Credit card providers are very good at hiding things that they don’t want you to see and they will usually hide these charges.

There are some cards that are designed for spending and balance transfers which are slightly more limited availability.

5. Make sure that you make your MINIMUM PAYMENT or you’ll almost certainly pay more.

You MUST repay your credit card with the Minimum Payment every month to avoid charges and you might also lose your 0% offer. If you miss a payment completely on your credit card then you’ll also show as a missed payment on your credit report which will affect your credit score.

The costs of not making your minimum payment can be £1,000’s if you’re not careful and it could be a very difficult situation.

Budgeting and payment planning

The best advice is to automate a minimum payment that would clear the balance within the interest free period (e.g. £2,000 / 24 months = £83/month). This means that your repayments should be manageable and that you will not pay ANY interest on your balance transfer.

Unfortunately, not everyone will be eligible for a 0% balance transfer credit card offer, and that’s not unusual so don’t worry if that happens. It’s never easy to get declined for a loan or credit card, but sometimes you just need to accept it and figure out an alternative solution.

If you are refused for a 0% balance transfer credit card offer then you also need to be careful not to start applying to everyone, this can affect your credit rating.

There are still lots of things that you can do to reduce your debt and to manage your finances in a way that’s affordable for you.

For more information you can visit our page about managing your finances with our very own budgeting and planning tool to help you. We’ve created a tool that can help you to organise your finances and to simplify your outgoings.

If you’re struggling to manage your personal finances for your family and you need help then you can contact several of the main not for profit debt services for free advice. We strongly recommend that you seek help if you feel like you debts are getting out of control and you need help.

Debt charity block

StepChange | Citizens Advice | National Debtline | Debt Advice Foundation | PayPlan | Civil Legal Advice

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