Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards

Updated: 29th May, 2019.

We’ve vetted some of the most popular credit cards on the market to bring you our shortlist of the best credit cards for balance transfers. These cards can be great for those looking to consolidate credit or gain some flexibility in paying down credit balances.

Here are MyWalletHero’s picks for the best balance transfer credit cards.

Great for: Really long balance transfer period
4.5 stars question mark
Apply Now!

On M&S Bank's Secure Website

The M&S Transfer Plus card gives you a very long 28 months of 0% interest on balances transferred in the first 90 days. Users will have to cough up a balance-transfer fee of 2.85% though. Balancing that out, the M&S Transfer Plus also offers 0% for 6 months on purchases and M&S rewards on all purchases.

Read full review >

CREDIT RATING req:

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest for 28 months on balances transferred in the first 90 days (2.85% fee applies)
  • 0% interest on purchases for 6 months
  • M&S rewards points at M&S and elsewhere

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 19.9% APR (variable)
Purchase rate 19.9% p.a. (variable)
Assumed credit limit £1,200

what we like

  • 0% interest for 28 months on balances transferred in the first 90 days (2.85% fee applies)
  • 0% interest on purchases for 6 months
  • M&S rewards points at M&S and elsewhere
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £0
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    19.9%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    0% on balance transfers for 28 months, available for 90 days from account opening
    0% on purchases for 6 months

KEY SCORES:

  • 4.5/5 Perks
  • 2.5/5Fees
  • 2.5/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest for 28 months on balances transferred in the first 90 days (2.85% fee applies)
  • 0% interest on purchases for 6 months
  • M&S rewards points at M&S and elsewhere

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 19.9% APR (variable)
Purchase rate 19.9% p.a. (variable)
Assumed credit limit £1,200
Great for: NatWest customers consolidating debt
4 stars question mark
Apply Now!

On NatWest's Secure Website

NatWest customers interested in consolidating credit card debt and getting close to two years of 0% interest on their balance transfer may want to check out the NatWest Balance Transfer Credit Card offer. In NatWest fashion, this is a simple, straightforward offer, so don’t look for bells and whistles. But 23 months of 0% provides a good amount of time to pay down a lingering balance, and there’s no balance transfer fee to pay. Note that you must be a current NatWest current account, savings account, credit card or mortgage customer to apply.

Read full review >

CREDIT RATING req:

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest for 23 months on balance transfers made in the first 3 months
  • No balance transfer fee
  • 0% interest on purchases over the first 3 months
  • No annual fee
  • Note: You must be a current NatWest customer (current account, savings account, credit card or mortgage) to apply

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 19.9% APR (variable)
Purchase rate 19.9% p.a. (variable)
Assumed credit limit £1,200

what we like

  • 0% interest for 23 months on balance transfers made in the first 3 months
  • No balance transfer fee
  • 0% interest on purchases over the first 3 months
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £0
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    19.9%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    0% interest for 23 months on balance transfers made in the first 3 months

    0% interest on purchases for 3 months

KEY SCORES:

  • 3/5 Perks
  • 5/5Fees
  • 2.5/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest for 23 months on balance transfers made in the first 3 months
  • No balance transfer fee
  • 0% interest on purchases over the first 3 months
  • No annual fee
  • Note: You must be a current NatWest customer (current account, savings account, credit card or mortgage) to apply

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 19.9% APR (variable)
Purchase rate 19.9% p.a. (variable)
Assumed credit limit £1,200
Great for: Royal Bank customers consolidating debt
4 stars question mark
Apply Now!

On The Royal Bank of Scotland's Secure Website

The Royal Bank Balance Transfer Credit Card may be an enticing offer for current Royal Bank customers. In fact, you have to be a current customer (current account, savings account, credit card or mortgage) to apply for this card. For those that are, this could be a good way to bring existing credit card debt all to one place and get nearly two years of 0% interest to pay it down. Better still, there’s no balance transfer fee to pay.

Read full review >

CREDIT RATING req:

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest for 23 months on balance transfers made in the first 3 months
  • No balance transfer fee
  • 0% interest on purchases over the first 3 months
  • No annual fee
  • Note: You must be a current Royal Bank of Scotland customer (current account, savings account, credit card or mortgage) to apply

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 19.9% APR (variable)
Purchase rate 19.9% p.a. (variable)
Assumed credit limit £1,200

what we like

  • 0% interest for 23 months on balance transfers made in the first 3 months
  • No balance transfer fee
  • 0% interest on purchases over the first 3 months
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £0
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    19.9%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    0% interest for 23 months on balance transfers made in the first 3 months

    0% interest on purchases for 3 months

KEY SCORES:

  • 3/5 Perks
  • 5/5Fees
  • 2.5/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest for 23 months on balance transfers made in the first 3 months
  • No balance transfer fee
  • 0% interest on purchases over the first 3 months
  • No annual fee
  • Note: You must be a current Royal Bank of Scotland customer (current account, savings account, credit card or mortgage) to apply

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 19.9% APR (variable)
Purchase rate 19.9% p.a. (variable)
Assumed credit limit £1,200
Great for: Balance transfers with no fee
4 stars question mark

Don’t overlook the Tesco 0% Balance Transfer Fee Credit Card. The 20-month balance transfer period isn’t on the super-long end, but it’s still more than a year and a half. Better still, you won’t pay a fee on your balance transfers. This is a better choice if you’re just looking for balance transfers, as there’s no 0% purchase period. However, you will collect Tesco Clubcard points when you shop with this card.

Read full review >

CREDIT RATING req:

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest for 20 months on balance transfers
  • No fee on balance transfers
  • 1 Tesco Clubcard point for every £4 spent in Tesco and 1 point for every £8 spent elsewhere

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 19.9% APR (variable)
Interest on purchases 19.9% p.a. (variable)
Assumed credit limit £1,200

what we like

  • 0% interest for 20 months on balance transfers
  • No fee on balance transfers
  • 1 Tesco Clubcard point for every £4 spent in Tesco and 1 point for every £8 spent elsewhere
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £0
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    19.9%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    0% on balance transfers for 20 months

KEY SCORES:

  • 3/5 Perks
  • 5/5Fees
  • 3/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest for 20 months on balance transfers
  • No fee on balance transfers
  • 1 Tesco Clubcard point for every £4 spent in Tesco and 1 point for every £8 spent elsewhere

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 19.9% APR (variable)
Interest on purchases 19.9% p.a. (variable)
Assumed credit limit £1,200
Great for: Balance transfers with no fee
5 stars question mark

Santander’s Everyday Card stacks up really well against the competition. 27 months of 0% interest on balance transfers is on the longer end of the scale, especially without a fee on balance transfers. The three months of 0% interest on purchases is a bit shorter than some competing cards, but it’s still nice to get that 0% purchase period. As a sweetener, there are cashback awards available from companies like Costa Coffee, Subway, and Morrisons through Santander’s “Retailer Offers”.

Read full review >

CREDIT RATING req:

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest for 27 months on balance transfers
  • No fee for balance transfers
  • 0% interest for the first 3 months on purchases
  • Special retailer cashback offers

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

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

what we like

  • 0% interest for 27 months on balance transfers
  • No fee for balance transfers
  • 0% interest for the first 3 months on purchases
  • Special retailer cashback offers
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £0
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    18.9%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    0% on Balance Transfers for 27 months
    0% on Purchases for 3 months

KEY SCORES:

  • 1/5 Perks
  • 5/5Fees
  • 5/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest for 27 months on balance transfers
  • No fee for balance transfers
  • 0% interest for the first 3 months on purchases
  • Special retailer cashback offers

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

18.9% p.a. (variable) on card purchases. This is equivalent to 18.9% APR representative (variable) based on an assumed credit limit of £1,200.
Great for: Long 0% interest on purchases and rewards
5 stars question mark

The Sainsbury’s Dual Offer Credit Card aims to give you the best of both worlds — cardholders get a long 28 months with 0% interest on both purchases and balance transfers. Balance transfers are subject to a 3% fee, so those looking primarily for a balance-transfer offer may prefer to find a card without that fee. As with other Sainsbury’s cards, cardholders collect Nectar points on spending at Sainsbury’s and elsewhere. Over the first two months, shopping at Sainsbury’s could net users up to 7,500 bonus points, which is worth £37.50.

Read full review >

CREDIT RATING req:

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest on purchases made over the first 28 months
  • 0% interest on balance transfers for 28 months (but a 3% fee applies)
  • Up to 7,500 bonus Nectar points over first 2 months

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Purchase rate is 20.95%
p.a. variable
With a representative 20.9% APR
variable
Assumed Credit limit: £1,200

 

what we like

  • 0% interest on purchases made over the first 28 months
  • 0% interest on balance transfers for 28 months (but a 3% fee applies)
  • Up to 7,500 bonus Nectar points over first 2 months
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £0
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    20.9%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    0% on purchases for 28 months
    0% on balance transfers for 28 months

KEY SCORES:

  • 5/5 Perks
  • 5/5Fees
  • 1/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest on purchases made over the first 28 months
  • 0% interest on balance transfers for 28 months (but a 3% fee applies)
  • Up to 7,500 bonus Nectar points over first 2 months

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Purchase rate is 20.95%
p.a. variable
With a representative 20.9% APR
variable
Assumed Credit limit: £1,200

 

Great for: Really long balance transfer period
4 stars question mark

Take a look around and you’ll see balance-transfer offers declining. That makes the 28 months on HSBC’s Balance Transfer Card more impressive. There is a balance-transfer fee, but at 1.4%, it’s lower than the typical BT fee.

Read full review >

CREDIT RATING req:

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest for 28 months on balance transfers made in first 60 days
  • 1.4% balance-transfer fee applies
  • 0% interest on purchases for the first 3 months
  • Cashback and rewards available through Visa Offers and HSBC home&away
  • No annual fee

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 21.9% APR (variable)
Purchase rate 21.9% p.a. (variable)
Based on an assumed credit limit of £1,200

what we like

  • 0% interest for 28 months on balance transfers made in first 60 days (1.4% fee applies)
  • 0% interest on purchases for the first 3 months
  • Cashback possible from Visa Offers programme
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £0
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    21.9%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    0% for 28 months on balances transferred in the first 60 days
    0% on purchases for 3 months

KEY SCORES:

  • 4/5 Perks
  • 4/5Fees
  • 1/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest for 28 months on balance transfers made in first 60 days
  • 1.4% balance-transfer fee applies
  • 0% interest on purchases for the first 3 months
  • Cashback and rewards available through Visa Offers and HSBC home&away
  • No annual fee

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 21.9% APR (variable)
Purchase rate 21.9% p.a. (variable)
Based on an assumed credit limit of £1,200
Great for: Really long balance transfer period
4 stars question mark

The Barclaycard Platinum 28-month balance transfer card features a long 28 months of 0% interest on balance transfers made in the first 60 days. The drawback is that there is a fee for balance transfers, which is often the case when looking at the balance transfer cards with the longest duration. As an added sweetener, there’s also 0% on purchases for six months and ongoing access to your Experian Credit Score.

Read full review >

CREDIT RATING req:

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest on balance transfers for 28 months
  • 0% interest on purchases for six months
  • Ongoing access to your Experian Credit Score

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 19.90% APR (variable)
Purchase rate 19.90% p.a. (variable)
Balance Transfer Fee 1.99%
Based on borrowing £1,200

what we like

  • 0% interest on balance transfers for 28 months
  • 0% interest on purchases for six months
  • Ongoing access to your Experian Credit Score
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £0
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    19.9%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    0% interest for 28 months on balances transferred in the first 60 days
    0% interest on purchases for 6 months

KEY SCORES:

  • 4/5 Perks
  • 4/5Fees
  • 3/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest on balance transfers for 28 months
  • 0% interest on purchases for six months
  • Ongoing access to your Experian Credit Score

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 19.90% APR (variable)
Purchase rate 19.90% p.a. (variable)
Balance Transfer Fee 1.99%
Based on borrowing £1,200
Great for: Balance transfers with no fee
4 stars question mark

There’s a lot to like with the Sainsbury’s Bank balance transfer card. Cardholders get 22 months of 0% interest on balance transfers along with fee-free balance transfers over the first three months. In addition, cardholders can also take advantage of 0% interest on purchases over the first three months. And like other Sainsbury’s cards, users get perks in the form of Nectar points.

Read full review >

CREDIT RATING req:

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest on balance transfers for the first 22 months
  • No fee on balance transfers made in the first 3 months
  • 0% interest on purchases for the first 3 months
  • Up to 7,500 bonus Nectar points in first 2 months

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Purchase rate is 20.95% p.a. variable
With a representative 20.9% APR variable
Assumed credit limit £1,200

what we like

  • 0% interest on balance transfers for the first 22 months
  • No fee on balance transfers made in the first 3 months
  • 0% interest on purchases for the first 3 months
  • Up to 7,500 bonus Nectar points in first 2 months
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £0
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    20.9%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    0% on balance transfers for 22 months
    0% on purchases for 3 months

KEY SCORES:

  • 4/5 Perks
  • 5/5Fees
  • 1/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest on balance transfers for the first 22 months
  • No fee on balance transfers made in the first 3 months
  • 0% interest on purchases for the first 3 months
  • Up to 7,500 bonus Nectar points in first 2 months

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Purchase rate is 20.95% p.a. variable
With a representative 20.9% APR variable
Assumed credit limit £1,200
Great for: Balance transfers with no fee
4 stars question mark

This Halifax Balance Transfer card strikes a nice balance between offering 20 months of 0% interest on balance transfers, along with no-fee balance transfers over the first 90 days. A nice additional perk is a 6-month window for 0% interest on purchases. In all, this is a nice choice for those looking for some time to pay down balances without racking up extra interest charges.

Read full review >

CREDIT RATING req:

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest for 20 months on balance transfers
  • No fees on balance transfers in first 90 days
  • 0% interest on purchases for the first 6 months

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

A variable representative of 19.9% APR
A variable annual purchase rate of 19.95% p.a.
Based on borrowing £1,200 over 12 months

what we like

  • 0% interest for 20 months on balance transfers
  • No fees on balance transfers in first 90 days
  • 0% interest on purchases for the first 6 months
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £0
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    19.9%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    0% for 22 months on balance transfers
    No fees on balance transfers first 90 days

KEY SCORES:

  • 4/5 Perks
  • 5/5Fees
  • 3/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest for 20 months on balance transfers
  • No fees on balance transfers in first 90 days
  • 0% interest on purchases for the first 6 months

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

A variable representative of 19.9% APR
A variable annual purchase rate of 19.95% p.a.
Based on borrowing £1,200 over 12 months

About balance transfer cards

Balance transfer cards offer you the opportunity to transfer an existing credit card balance to a new card that has an interest-free promotional period. These cards are a useful financial tool to consolidate your debt or get yourself out from underneath high interest charges. The annual percentage rate (APR) on a credit card is typically around 18%. (The APR is the interest charged for carrying a balance on a credit card.) A balance transfer card allows you to move your balance to a card that will charge no interest for the term of the balance transfer offer.

How we picked the winners

Here are the top things we looked at when selecting our shortlist for balance transfer cards:

  • Length of the 0% introductory APR for balance transfers
  • Inclusion and length of a 0% introductory APR for purchases
  • Fees, including balance transfer fees and annual fees
  • Representative APR for the card after the introductory APR period

Card providers tend to use balance transfer offers as a way to attract new customers, so make sure you shop around for any new deals available.

How does a balance transfer card work?

A balance transfer is a simple process. In effect, the card company you are moving your balance to pays the card company you are moving your balance from.

For example, if you transfer a balance of £5,000 from a NatWest credit card to a Sainsbury’s Bank credit card, the balance on your NatWest credit card account will decrease by £5,000 while your balance on your Sainsbury’s Bank card will increase by £5,000 (plus any applicable balance transfer fees).

It is worth noting that you usually cannot transfer balances between cards owned by the same credit card provider. For example, if you had a balance on an M&S credit card but wanted to transfer it to an HSBC credit card, it is unlikely this would be possible as they sit under the same financial group.

Do I need a 0% purchases card as well?

When looking at balance transfer cards, you will often see other interest-free promotions, including cards with 0% interest on new purchases. Some cards even offer a dual promotion on both balance transfers and purchases; whether this would be a good fit for you depends on what you want a card for. If you are focused on getting your existing balance under control, then be wary of taking on debt in the form of new purchases. A 0% interest on purchases offer is not essential when taking out a balance transfer card.

How to save money with a balance transfer card

The main benefit of a balance transfer card is that it can save you hundreds of pounds in interest charges over the promotional period. The table below shows how much you would save in interest by paying off a £5,000 balance during a 0% introductory APR period compared with paying off the same balance over the same time at an 18% APR.

Interest saved by paying off a £5,000 balance with a 0% introductory APR balance transfer card

Length of introductory 0% APR period Amount saved
12 months £500.80
15 months £620.80
18 months £742.54
21 months £865.93

The interest saved depends on the length of your 0% introductory APR on balance transfer offer and how much debt you have to repay. However, that being said, most people will find that switching their balance over will save them hundreds in the long run compared with carrying a balance on a standard APR credit card.

What’s the catch?

The main thing to be aware of with balance transfer cards is that most of them carry some sort of balance transfer fee. The fee is typically around 2% to 3% of the balance you are transferring; so, taking the £5,000 example, you would have to pay £150 in fees if you have a balance transfer card that charged a transfer fee of 3%. Cards are available that cater for balance transfers and do not charge a fee, but the interest-free promotional periods are typically shorter.

Another thing to be conscious of with a balance transfer period is how long your introductory promotional period is. One of the largest risks of taking a card out like this is that you still have a balance left on the card when the interest-free introductory period ends and the card reverts to its standard APR. It is wise to make a repayment plan when you take out your card so that you ensure you pay the balance off in full before the end of the introductory period. If you are unable to pay the balance in full during the promotional period, maybe look at a balance transfer card with a low standard APR to ensure that any remaining balance will not incur large amounts of interest.

Additionally, in order to keep your promotional introductory rate, most cards require you to make your minimum monthly payments. If you miss any payments – and with some cards this only has to happen once – you could lose your 0% APR offer, and interest on balances will be charged at the standard APR.

Finally, any sort of balance that sits on a credit card, whether or not it is under a 0% interest term, could count against you in terms of your credit score. If you apply for a mortgage or a loan, the lender will most likely conduct a credit check, which will look at any existing credit card accounts and the level of debt you owe. While the balance may no longer be incurring interest charges, it is still a balance that you will need to repay and a factor the lender will consider when deciding whether to loan you money.

Things to look at when comparing balance transfer cards

There is so much choice in the market it can sometimes be overwhelming. Here are three things to look at when comparing balance transfer cards.

  • The length of the introductory period – Find out the balance that you need to transfer and calculate how much you could repay each month and therefore how long you would need to repay your balance in full. If, for example, you know that you need a minimum of 25 months to repay your balance, then you have already narrowed your options.
  • Balance transfer fee – Look at the fee, if any, and calculate how much in real terms it would cost you to transfer your balance and whether you can afford it. If you don’t need a long interest-free period, maybe consider a fee-free balance transfer card to cut the cost.
  • The card’s standard APR – While it may be your goal to pay your balance in full before the end of the interest-free period, it is worth getting a card that has a low standard APR just in case you don’t keep up with your repayment plan.

How to use a balance transfer card

If used correctly, a balance transfer card can be a useful financial tool to help you pay down debt faster and avoid racking up large interest charges. Here are some tips for how best to use a balance transfer card.

Transfer your balance – Typically a balance transfer card will have a window of time after account opening in which to transfer a balance; this can range from 60 to 90 days. Balances transferred during this time qualify for the interest-free promotional period; balances transferred outside this window will not. Therefore, make a note of the time period you have in which to complete your transfers. Additionally, if you have selected a fee-free balance transfer card then check whether the fee-free period is the same as the transfer window.

Continue to make payments to your old card – Balance transfers are not instantaneous, so continue paying the debt down on your existing credit card until you see the balance has been deducted. There may be a small amount of interest due after the balance transfer, even if you transfer your balance in full, so it’s wise to check back after the balance transfer is complete so that you don’t get hit by a late payment fee.

Pay down your balance – You will only feel the benefits of a balance transfer card if you pay down your balance. The interest-free period will give you some breathing space and help to get your finances under control, but only if you pay down your debt. If you ignore making repayments for the term of the promotional period, then you will end up where you started facing high interest charges on an existing balance.

It is also prudent not to rack up new balances. Focus on paying off the balance you have transferred rather than spending the credit that has now been freed up as a result of the transfer.

Is a balance transfer offer right for you?

A balance transfer card is not the right option for everyone. It is a useful financial tool, but if used incorrectly could lead you into deeper debt.

If these three statements apply to you, then you are likely to be a good candidate for a balance transfer card:

  • You have an existing credit card debt at a high APR
  • You are serious about paying your balance off in full
  • You won’t overspend on your old credit card and end up with a new balance to pay down

The pitfall of this type of card is that if you transfer a balance but don’t pay it off while racking up another large balance on your old card at high standard APR, you could end up in a much worse financial situation.

However, if you are conscientious, do your research and make your payments, a balance transfer card can be a brilliant way to consolidate debt and get yourself out from underneath high interest charges.


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