NatWest likes to reward its existing customers – and that’s exactly what it does with this card. Exclusively for customers of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, the Long Balance Transfer Card offers 0% on balance transfers for 23 months. This is just under two years interest-free on balance transfers. However, don’t expect many other extras. The card has a relatively short interest-free period for purchases at three months, and carries a balance transfer fee of 1.99%.
What’s great about this card
Balance transfer offer – The main attraction of this card is its long interest-free period for balance transfers. At 23 months, this is comparable to some of the other best buy deals available on the market. It would essentially give you just shy of two years to clear your balance, and therefore avoid costly interest charges on your debt.
Purchases offer – This card doesn’t offer much in the way of other ‘extras’. But what you can find is 0% on purchases for three months. While not a substantial amount of time, it is something. And if you are taking the card out for its interest-free balance transfer offer, you’ll want to focus on paying off your balance rather than adding to it anyway.
Good account management – When you take a card out with a provider such as NatWest you can expect a certain level of account management. NatWest’s mobile app has a range of features to help you keep your credit account in check. You can choose to control your spending through locking and unlocking certain transaction types in your app. Similarly, you can set yourself a daily or monthly budget for your credit card spend. If you exceed this you will receive a notification straight to your phone. If you are someone who has struggled with debt in the past, these could be useful features to help keep you on the straight and narrow.
What’s not so great
Existing customers only – If you don’t hold a current account, savings account, credit card or mortgage with NatWest or Royal Bank of Scotland then you are unable to apply for this card.
Balance transfer fee – While you will benefit from a long interest-free period for balance transfers with this card, you’ll still have to pay a balance transfer fee. At 1.99% this is below the market average.
Other fees – The card also comes with other fees if you chose to use it abroad or if you withdraw cash using your card. It has a cash advance fee of 3%.
How it compares
This card offers a comparatively long balance transfer offer. At 23 months, you could have just under two years to pay off your balance interest-free. Yes, it carries a balance transfer fee, but most cards of this type do. Especially those that have longer interest-free periods. The good news is that the balance transfer fee is just below the market average.
The fact that it is only available to existing customers is something to note. If you don’t already bank with NatWest then you won’t be eligible to apply.
Why use a balance transfer card?
A balance transfer credit card can be a great way to get yourself out from under high interest charges. If you have an existing balance sat on a regular credit card, you could find yourself struggling to pay the interest
The key to this type of card is to use the interest-free window to pay your debt down at your own pace. In order to really benefit from a card like this, it is best to work out a repayment plan which will result in your balance being completely repaid before the interest-free period comes to an end. At this point, the card will revert to its standard rate, and any remaining balance will start incurring interest charges.
A balance transfer card can help to reduce the cost of your borrowing and can be a handy financial tool if used correctly. Yes, balance transfer cards with the longest interest-free periods tend to carry balance transfer fees. But just try to build this into your calculations of how much money you will save from not paying high interest charges on other credit cards.
This type of card is not right for everyone and it has to be used to correctly in order to feel the benefits. However, if you are able to stick to a repayment plan and clear your balance before the end of the interest-free period, you could significantly reduce the cost of your borrowing.
How do you apply?
In order to apply you will need to log into your NatWest online banking. If you aren’t already registered, you can do so in 5 minutes. You will just need to provide your sort code and account number, and details of your NatWest debit card if you have one.
As part of the application you will also be required to provide information about your income, outgoings and employment. The card also has a minimum annual income requirement of £10,000.
Who is this card great for?
This card is great for existing NatWest customers who are looking to get out from under high interest charges on existing credit card balances. Its comparatively long balance transfer offer gives a long runway in order to pay off debt. And while it does carry a balance transfer fee, it is just below average at 1.99%.
It is also best suited to those who have a ‘good/excellent’ credit score and who meet the minimum annual income requirements of £10,000.
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