By: Peter Stephens | Updated: 12th December, 2018.
Halifax Low Fee 0% Balance Transfer Card
Good for: Long balance transfer period plus purchase offer
Our Bottom Line
The Halifax Low Fee 0% Balance Transfer Card may be your answer if you’re looking for a very long balance transfer period, but want to keep the balance-transfer fee low. You get 24 months of 0% interest on balance transfers, and in exchange for that long duration, you do pay a fee on balance transfers. But at 1.5% (after rebate), the fee is lower than other ultra-long-duration balance transfer cards. The card also gives you 12 months of 0% APR on purchases, which is a nice bonus.
Representative APR (variable):
Balance transfer fee:
Credit Rating Requirement: Good/Excellent
What I like about the Halifax Low Fee 0% Balance Transfer Card
- Balance transfer offering – The card offers consumers the opportunity to transfer existing balances held on other cards. A 0% interest rate is charged for the first 24 months on all balances transferred within 90 days of account opening. For a consumer with existing debts, this could mean paying no interest on transferred balances, which may improve their cash flow or allow them to pay down those debt at a faster pace.
- Lower interest – The amount of interest saved over the two-year, 0% balance-transfer period could be surprisingly high. For example, a consumer with £3,000 in debt on an existing card held elsewhere paying £150 per month at an APR of 18.9% would save £570 in interest. This would allow them to pay their debt off nearly four months early if they maintained those £150-per-month payments.
- Partial balance transfer fee refund – The card charges a 3% fee on all balance transfers. However, balance transfers made in the first 90 days of account opening will receive a refund of half the fee. This will be paid 90 days after the balance transfer is successfully made, and means that on the above example, where an individual has a £3,000 balance to transfer to the card, the total fee payable would be £45. This is significantly lower than the interest which would have been payable had the debt not been transferred to the card.
- Wide acceptance – Since it is a Mastercard, it is accepted in 43 million locations across the world. This reduces the need for consumers to have a second card in case their primary card is not accepted, which can sometimes be the case with other providers, such as American Express.
- 0% on purchases for 12 months – Although its main appeal lies in its 0% balance transfer offer, the card also offers 0% interest on all purchases made in the first 12 months of card ownership. While adding to an individual’s debt may not be a good idea, the option to enjoy 0% on purchases could provide additional flexibility for consumers.
- No annual fee – Customers do not pay any annual fee for the card. This helps to simplify its overall costs versus other cards and increases its appeal for individuals looking to improve their cash flow.
Why you can trust me
I have been writing for The Motley Fool since 2013, and have experienced the booms and busts of the UK economy for a number of decades both as an investor and a consumer. I have held various senior management positions during my career, while also setting up my own manufacturing company in 1996. It was subsequently sold in 2007. I have a keen interest in consumer finance, as well as in the stock market.
What could be improved
- Balance-transfer fee – The fee charged for balance transfers diminishes the appeal of the card. It means that the total amount in interest saved during the two-year, 0%-interest period is reduced. It is possible to obtain cards with no balance-transfer fee and a longer 0% interest period on balance transfers elsewhere.
- Balance-transfer fee refund period – While a refund of half of the balance transfer fee is welcome, it is only available on transfers made in the first 90 days of account opening. This may not provide customers with sufficient time to transfer existing balances held elsewhere, which could mean they end up paying the full 3% balance transfer fee.
- Using the card abroad – The card has a 2.95% non-sterling transaction fee, which makes it relatively unattractive for use on holiday or international business trips. Cardholders could therefore require a second card without such a fee, or else they may need to find alternative payment methods when abroad.
How does the Halifax Low Fee 0% Balance Transfer Card’s offer stack up?
Although the 24-month balance transfer period could save an individual a significant sum in interest on existing debt on other cards, there are better deals available elsewhere. It is possible to obtain a longer 0%-interest period, while paying no balance-transfer fee. And for consumers who are willing to pay a fee for transferring existing debt, 0%-interest periods of up to 32 months are available. This could save an individual even more in interest payments, and provide them with more time to repay their debt.
The lack of an annual fee and a 0% interest rate on purchases for the first 12 months are relatively appealing features of the card. However, for most consumers seeking a balance-transfer card, the length of 0% interest period and the balance transfer fee may be the main considerations.
The Halifax Low Fee 0% Balance Transfer Card credit score
The 24-month 0% interest period advertised is representative. This means that it is offered to 51% of successful applicants, with remaining applicants potentially receiving a shorter time period. This could make the card less appealing compared to its peers depending on an individual’s personal circumstances.
The card is available to any UK resident over the age of 18 who has a regular income. Applicants must be free from any County Court Judgements, must not be subject to an Individual Voluntary Agreement and must not currently be bankrupt. It takes five minutes to find out if your application has been successful when applying online.
How to apply
Applying for the card can be done online, by phone or in person at a Halifax branch. In order to apply, information such as outgoings, employment details, income figures, address details for the last three years and information about any other credit cards which are currently held will be required. The online application process takes around 10 minutes in total, and successful applicants will receive their card within seven days.
Is the Halifax Low Fee 0% Balance Transfer Card right for you?
This card offers consumers the chance to significantly reduce the amount of interest they pay on existing debt for a period of two years. Although there is a balance-transfer fee (which is reduced by 50% for transfers made in the first 90 days after account opening) it is likely to be substantially lower than the interest rate on existing debt. With no annual fee and 0% interest on purchases for the first 12 months, the card seems to have appeal.
However, it is possible to obtain a longer 0% interest period on balance transfers with no fee. Therefore, for consumers with top-notch credit seeking to either avoid a balance-transfer fee or obtain a longer 0% balance-transfer period, there may be better options available elsewhere.