The Royal Bank Balance Transfer Credit Card

By: Peter Stephens | Updated: 31st July, 2019.

Great for: Royal Bank customers consolidating debt
3.5 stars question mark
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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.

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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

* This is an offer from one of our affiliate partners. Click here to learn more about why and how we work with partners.

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:

  • 2/5 Perks
  • 3/5Fees
  • 4/5APR

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

* This is an offer from one of our affiliate partners. Click here to learn more about why and how we work with partners.

OUR BOTTOM LINE

The Royal Bank Balance Transfer Credit Card offers a highly competitive 23-month 0% interest rate period on balance transfers. Alongside its lack of a balance transfer fee, this could significantly reduce interest payments made by consumers on existing credit card debt. Although it lacks wider features such as rewards and is only available to existing Royal Bank customers, it nevertheless has appeal based on its balance transfer offer.

Credit Rating Requirement: Good/Excellent

What I like

  • Balance transfer opportunity – The 23-month balance transfer period offered by the card is relatively long, and should provide scope for consumers with existing credit card balances to pay down their debt at a faster pace. The 0% interest rate on balance transfers applies to amounts over £100 that are transferred in the first three months following account opening. Any existing credit card balance, with the exception of Royal Bank credit cards, is eligible for the balance transfer offer.
  • Low fees – As well as the card having no annual fee, it also does not charge a balance transfer fee. This could help to make its balance transfer offer even more attractive, since many credit cards with longer 0% interest rate periods on balance transfers charge a transfer fee. Alongside this, a lack of fees helps to simplify the balance transfer process, so consumers can more easily work out how much they might save from taking up the offer.
  • Interest savings – The impact of a 0% balance transfer period and no balance transfer fee on the cost of existing credit card balances could be significant. For example, a consumer paying an interest rate of 19.9% on a £1,500 debt could save £216 in interest, assuming they maintain payments of £100 per month. They would also become debt-free in 15 months, versus 18 months if they had not taken advantage of the card’s balance transfer offer.
  • 0% purchase offer – As well as saving its cardholders money on interest payments through its balance transfer offer, the card also has an introductory 0% interest rate on purchases for the first three months after account opening. This could limit the amount of interest paid for consumers who wish to make purchases in the short run.

Why 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

  • Wider appeal – The Royal Bank Balance Transfer Credit Card fulfils its primary purpose of reducing interest payments on existing debt. However, it fails to offer some of the features which consumers may be seeking from an everyday card. For example, it lacks any sign-up bonuses to differentiate it from peers, while there are no rewards or cashback available on the card.
  • Foreign usage – While there is no annual fee or balance transfer fee, there is a non-sterling transaction fee of 2.75%. This is applied when the card is used to make payments in currencies other than sterling. Therefore, for purchases from non-UK retailers or when travelling internationally, a second credit card without such fees could be worth considering.
  • New customers – Since applicants must have a current account, mortgage, savings account or credit card with Royal Bank of Scotland, the Royal Bank Balance Transfer Credit Card is not available to new customers. While it could be argued that this is a means of rewarding loyal customers, it means that non-Royal Bank customers miss out on an attractive balance transfer opportunity.

How does it stack up?

The card scores highly on both the length of its 0% balance transfer offer, as well as on the lack of a fee for undertaking a balance transfer. These two features mean that it is possible for consumers with existing debt to significantly reduce their interest payments, while repaying their debt earlier than they otherwise would have done.

The card’s introductory 0% interest rate period on purchases in the first three months of account opening helps to broaden its appeal when compared to other balance transfer credit cards.

However, its lack of rewards and sign-up bonus means that other credit cards may provide a better balance between reducing interest payments on existing debt and maximising the benefits received on everyday spending.

Credit score

Applicants for the Royal Bank Balance Transfer Credit Card should have a good credit score. Even if they do have a good credit rating, though, they may not necessarily receive the representative interest rate or the 23-month balance transfer period. Those terms must only be offered by law to the majority of successful applicants. As such, the card may not be as appealing as it first seems for a large minority of consumers.

How to apply

As with most credit cards, applications can be made online. This process usually takes less than ten minutes. If you are having difficulties applying online, it is possible to call Royal Bank of Scotland or visit one of their branches for further information.

Applicants should have an annual income of over £10,000 and be resident in the UK. As mentioned, they must also be an existing Royal Bank customer.

When applying for the card, information such as your previous addresses for the last three years, employment details and information about any balances you wish to transfer to the new card may be required.

Is the Royal Bank Balance Transfer Credit Card right for you?

The Royal Bank Balance Transfer Credit Card is highly appealing for Royal Bank of Scotland customers who wish to reduce the amount of interest they pay on existing credit card debt. The card offers a relatively long 0% interest period on balance transfers, while the lack of a balance transfer fee could increase your savings on interest costs even further.

Although an introductory 0% interest rate on purchases for three months helps to differentiate the card from its peers, it lacks a sign-up bonus and rewards. As a result, for consumers who are looking for a variety of features from their card, there may be other worthwhile options available elsewhere.

But in terms of fulfilling its primary focus of being a balance transfer credit card, it is relatively attractive and could be worth obtaining in order to improve your financial prospects.

See the Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards


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