Balance Transfer Credit Cards of 2017

Note: This page last updated in August 2017. Balance transfer deals change regularly, so the data below may not reflect the current market terms or fees. Please use the information on this page to help you learn about how balance transfers work. Be sure to check card specifics for yourself before deciding on any particular credit card.

By transferring existing credit card debt to a no-interest balance transfer credit card, you can reduce both your interest payments and your debt burden. We analyzed the balance transfer cards in the UK marketplace and considered their features across different categories. Whether you are searching for a card with no balance transfer fee or a low fee/longer 0% interest period, there should be a card in the market that can save you money on your existing credit card debt.

We have not analyzed all cards in the market. Please carry out your own research before choosing a credit card.

Interest-Free Balance Transfer Credit Cards

In our analysis, we only considered balance transfer cards that have an initial interest-free period; with such a plethora of no-interest cards available, there is no need to pay interest on recently transferred balances. Beyond that, the cards differ in duration (i.e., how long is the 0% interest period?) and fee (cards may charge no fee, or a fee up to around 3%, usually dependent on duration). In the table below we show what fee in pounds you might be charged across a range of balances and fee percentages.

How Much is the Fee on a Balance Transfer?

Balance Transfer Amount0% Fee1% Fee2% Fee3% Fee
£300£0£3£6£9
£500£0£5£10£15
£1,000£0£10£20£30
£1,500£0£15£30£45

Below we discuss the features of some balance transfer cards in the market. This list is by no means exhaustive and the market changes constantly, so there may be a better card for you that we have not mentioned here. Remember, always stay within your credit limit and pay at least the minimum monthly payment on time, or you'll lose the 0% APR intro rate! Also, your balance MUST be transferred within a specified window - typically 60 or 90 days - or you will also lose the 0% APR intro rate and pay a higher transfer fee.

Balance Transfer Credit Cards with No Balance Transfer Fee

"No Fee" balance transfer offers charge no fee to transfer your balance, so long as you make the transfer within a short window from the time the card is opened. Typically this window is 60 days or 90 days, so be sure to check that detail or your transfer fee may jump up to 3 - 5% of the amount of the transfer. No Fee balance transfer offers are available up to around 29 months of 0% interest.

chart highlighting short term, no fee balance transfer durations
Up to Around 29 Months of 0% Interest on No-Fee Balance Transfers

Halifax Credit Card 0% Balance Transfer Fee Offer (29 Months)

This Halifax Credit Card offer is a no-fee balance transfer with a 29 month 0% APR intro period. New purchases you make with the card are also interest free for 3 months. As is common with many balance transfer cards, applicants with a weaker credit history may get a shorter 0% interest balance transfer period. In the case of the Halifax Credit Card, you may only be offered a promotional period of 14 months of no interest on balance transfers, instead of 29 months. In either case, there is no fee when you initially transfer the balance.

Summary

  • No initial balance transfer fee (then 3%)
  • Initial 0% on balance transfers for 29 months or 14 months (then 18.9% to 25.9% variable APR)
  • Initial 0% on purchases for 3 months (then 18.9% to 25.9% variable APR)
  • Offer good for balances transferred within first 90 days

Sainsbury's No Balance Transfer Fee (28 Months)

The Sainsbury's No Balance Transfer Fee card acts as a rewards card as well as a balance transfer card. While you don't earn rewards on transferred balances, you will earn Nectar points on new purchases with the card, at a rate of 2 points per £1 spent on Sainsbury's shopping and fuel, and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere.

Summary

  • No initial balance transfer fee
  • Initial 0% on balance transfers for 28 months (then 18.9% to 28.9% variable)
  • Initial 0% on purchases for 3 months (then 18.9% to 28.9% variable)
  • If approved, you get the full, advertised 28-month duration
  • Offer good for balances transferred within first three months

Tesco 0% Balance Transfer Fee Card (24 Months)

The Tesco no-fee balance transfer offers a 24-month, 0% interest promotional period on initial balance transfers. If you use the card for new spend, there is a one-month 0% interest period on purchases but after this you will be charged interest on new balances at a rate of 18.9% - 23.9% APR (variable). While you won't earn Tesco Clubcard points on your balance transfers, you can earn them on purchases: earn 1 Clubcard point for every £4 spent (£4 minimum) in Tesco and 1 point for every £8 spent (£8 minimum) outside Tesco. These points are in addition to points you'd earn through the Clubcard loyalty card.

Summary

  • No initial balance transfer fee (then 3%)
  • Initial 0% on balance transfers for 24 months, but you may only receive 21 or 15 months (then 20.6% to 26.7% variable APR)
  • 3.94% initial money transfer fee (3% thereafter)
  • Initial 0% on money transfers for 24 months, or 21 or 15 months (then 20.6% to 26.7% variable APR)
  • Initial 0% purchases APR promotional period for 1 month (then 18.9% to 23.9% variable APR)
  • Promotional offers good for balances transferred within first 90 days

Virgin Money 24 Months at 0%

Virgin Money's no-balance-transfer-fee card offers 24 months of no interest on balances transferred in the first 60 days. The card also offers money transfer capability. (A money transfer deposits cash directly into your current account from your credit card.) Just as a balance transfer can help with credit card debt, a money transfer can be useful for clearing non-credit card debt, such as overdraft, pay-day loans or personal loans. The money transfer fee is between 4% and 5% for each money transfer.

If you need money transfer functionality, you may want to consider another card that charges a lower money transfer fee. Your decision will depend on your needs, whether you are addressing credit card debt (balance transfer) or non-credit card debt (money transfer). IF you are approved for this credit card, you will get the full 0% interest duration advertised; Virgin does not give shorter promotional periods to some customers. Virgin's Card Checker eligibility checker will tell you how likely it is that you will be accepted, before you apply.

Summary

  • No initial balance transfer fee (then 5% after 60 days)
  • Initial 0% on balance transfers for 24 months (then 19.9% variable APR)
  • 4% fee on initial transfers (then 5% after 60 days)
  • Initial 0% on money transfers for 24 months (then 19.9% variable APR)
  • Initial 0% on purchases for 3 months (then 19.9% variable APR)
  • 0% APR promotional offers only valid for transfers within first 60 days
  • If approved, you get the full 24-month no-interest duration

Balance Transfer Credit Cards with Low Balance Transfer Fee

"Low Fee" balance transfer offers charge a relatively low fee to transfer your balance, so long as you make the transfer within a short window from the time the card is opened. Typically this window is 60 days or 90 days, so be sure to check that detail or your transfer fee may jump up to 3 - 5% of the amount of the transfer. Low Fee balance transfer offers are typically available up to around 37 months of 0% interest, charging a fee up to around 1.4%.

chart highlighting medium term, low fee balance transfer durations
Up to Around 37 Months of 0% Interest on Low-Fee Balance Transfers

Barclay Platinum 32-Month Balance Transfer

The Barclaycard Platinum 32 month balance transfer is another medium-duration offer, initially charging a 3.5% fee per balance transfer but part of this fee is refunded, bringing the net fee down to 0.6%. This partial fee refund is only available to new customers and those whose account is not in default when the credit is due. Weaker credit applications may receive a shorter no-interest period of 16 months.

The Barclaycard's initial transfer window 60 days, meaning you must transfer your balances within the first 60 days in order to receive the promotional rates. Be sure to use the soft-search eligibility checker to see your odds of being accepted before you apply.

Summary

  • Balance transfer fee of 0.6% (initially 3.5%, then partially refunded)
  • Initial 0% on balance transfers for 32 months (then 19.9% variable APR, outside of promotional period)
  • May receive a shorter no-interest period (16 months instead of 32)
  • Initial 0% on purchases for 6 months (then 19.9% variable APR)
  • Offer good for balances transferred within first 60 days

Halifax Low Balance Transfer Fee Offer

The Halifax Low Balance Transfer Fee Offer has a promotional 33-month 0% interest duration and charges a 0.58% balance transfer fee, for transfers made within 90 days. This card's 0% interest on new purchases period is 3 months (this has come down from 12 months). Try to pay off any new purchases by the end of this 12-month promotional period so that you don't end up with a remaining outstanding balance on which interest will be charged, when the intro period ends.

Use Halifax's eligibility checker to see your odds of being accepted before you apply. This pre-application check performs a soft credit search that will not harm your credit rating.

Summary

  • Balance transfer fee of 0.58% in first 90 days (then 3%)
  • Initial 0% on balance transfers for up to 32 months (then 18.9%, 21.9% or 25.9% variable APR)
  • Initial 0% on purchases for 3 months (then 18.9%, 21.9% or 25.9% variable APR)
  • Offer good for balances transferred within first 90 days

Virgin Money 30 Months at 0%

This mid-duration balance transfer offer from Virgin Money charges a promotional 0.55% fee and 0% APR for 30 months, on initial balance transfers made within the first 60 days. After this initial period, balance transfers become more expensive as they are subject to a 5% fee and interest rate of 19.9% APR (variable). If you are approved for a Virgin balance transfer card, you will get the full 0% interest duration advertised - Virgin will not offer you a shorter 0% interest period. Use CardChecker to see your chances of being accepted before you apply, without harming your credit score.

This card also has money transfer functionality, which incurs a 4% to 5% fee. (A money transfer deposits cash directly into your current account. Just as a balance transfer can help with credit card debt, a money transfer can be useful for clearing non-credit card debt, like an overdraft, pay-day loans, or personal loans.) Choosing a card all depends on your needs, whether you are addressing credit card debt (balance transfer) or non-credit card debt (money transfer).

Summary

  • Initial balance transfer fee of 0.55% (then 5% after 60 days)
  • Initial 0% on balance transfers for 30 months (then 19.9% variable APR, outside of promotional period)
  • Initial money transfer fee of 4% (then 5% after 60 days)
  • Initial 0% on money transfers for 30 months (then 19.9% variable APR)
  • Initial 0% on purchases for 3 months (19.9% variable APR outside of promotional period)
  • If approved, you get the full 30-month no-interest duration
  • Offer good for balances transferred within first 60 days

Longest Balance Transfer Credit Cards

"Longest" balance transfer offers charge a higher fee to transfer your balance, so long as you make the transfer within a short window from the time the card is opened. Typically this window is 60 days or 90 days, so be sure to check that detail or your transfer fee may jump up to 3 - 5% of the amount of the transfer. Longest balance transfer offers are available up to around 42 months of 0% interest, for fees surpassing 3%.

chart highlighting long term, higher fee balance transfer durations
Up to Around 42 Months of 0% Interest on Longest Balance Transfers

The Lloyds Bank Platinum 37-Month Balance Transfer

The Lloyds Bank Platinum 37-Month balance transfer offer is another long-duration option, for those needing the time to pay down their outstanding credit card balances. You'll receive a 37-month period during which time you won't pay interest on your transferred balances. While you are initially charged a 3% fee upon transfer, this is partially refunded so your effective fee is 2% on transfers made within 90 days.

Use Lloyds' eligibility checker to find out your odds of being accepted before you apply. This check will not leave a mark on your credit record or harm your credit rating.

Summary

  • Effective balance transfer fee of 2% (then 3%)
  • Initial 0% on balance transfers for 37 months (then 19.9% to 27.9% variable)
  • Initial 0% on purchases for 3 months (then 19.9% to 27.9% variable)
  • Offer good for balances transferred within first 90 days

Long Balance Transfer Offers: MBNA Platinum 39-Month Balance Transfer Offer

The MBNA Platinum Credit Card 39-Month Balance Transfer Offer gives a 39-month 0% interest period for balance transfers. Transfers must be made within the first 60 days to take advantage of this no-interest promotion.

Use MBNA's eligibility checker to see how likely you are to be accepted before you apply. This is a soft credit check will not adversely affect your credit rating.

Summary

  • 2.45% initial balance transfer fee (then 5%)
  • Initial 0% on balance transfers for 39 months (then 20.9% variable APR)
  • 4% initial money transfer fee (then 5%)
  • Initial 0% on money transfers for 20 months (then 22.9% variable APR)
  • 18.9% purchases APR, variable
  • Offer good for balances transferred within first 60 days

Long Balance Transfer Offers: Nuba Transfer Credit Card

The Nuba Transfer card offers a 39-month no-interest period on balance transfers, for a fee of 3.49% on transfers made within the first 60 days. Interestingly, nuba is issued by MBNA, which is offering another long-duration balance transfer offer (see above).

Summary

  • 3.49% initial balance transfer fee (then 5%)
  • Initial 0% on balance transfers for 39 months (then 20.9% variable APR)
  • 4% initial money transfer fee (then 5%)
  • Initial 0% on money transfers for 20 months (then 22.9% variable APR)
  • Offer good for balances transferred within first 60 days

Long Balance Transfer Offers: Virgin Money 40 Months at 0%

The Virgin Money 40 Months at 0% balance transfer option is a long-duration balance transfer offer that charges a 1.7% initial fee for transfers made within 60 days. (By "duration," we are referring to the length of the interest-free period on balance transfers.) If you are approved for a Virgin balance transfer card, you will get the full 0% interest duration advertised - Virgin will not offer you a shorter 0% interest period. Use CardChecker to see your chances of being accepted before you apply, without harming your credit score.

Summary

  • Relatively low balance transfer fee of 1.7% (then 5% after 90 days)
  • Initial 0% on balance transfers for 40 months (then 20.9% variable APR)
  • Initial 0% on purchases for 3 months (then 20.9% variable APR)
  • Promotional offer good for balances transferred within first 60 days

Summary of Features: Balance Transfer Credit Cards

Below is a summary of some balance transfer cards available in the market, so you can get a big-picture idea of features like fees and duration. There may be other balance transfer cards available that offer better features; we are not recommending any particular card. We are merely showing a selection of cards with different durations so you can get a picture of the market, to help you decide for yourself what type of card is best for you.

For...Card0% Balance Transfer APR DurationInitial Balance Transfer FeeQuick Overview
No Fee (short duration)Halifax 0% Balance Transfer Fee Offer29 months0% fee3 months of 0% purchases
No Fee (short duration)Sainsbury's No Balance Transfer Fee28 months0% feeEarn Nectar points on new purchases
No Fee (short duration)Tesco 0% Balance Transfer Fee24 months0% feeEarn Tesco Clubcard points on new purchases
No Fee (short duration)Virgin 24 Months at 0%24 months0% fee3 months of 0% purchases
Low Fee (medium duration)Barclay Platinum 32-Month32 months0.6% fee (initially 3.5%, then partially refunded)6 months of 0% purchases
Low Fee (medium duration)Halifax Low Fee Balance Transfer Offer33 months0.58% fee12 months of 0% purchases
Low Fee (medium duration)Virgin 30 Months at 0%30 months0.55% fee3 months of 0% purchases
Long (long duration)Lloyds Platinum 37-Month37 months2% effective fee6 months of 0% purchases
Long (long duration)MBNA Platinum 39-Month39 months2.45% fee
Long (long duration)nuba transfer card39 months3.49% fee
Long (long duration)Virgin 40 Months at 0%40 months1.7%3 months of 0% purchases

Credit Card Balance Transfer Explained

Balance transfer credit cards can help consumers manage their credit card debt, by moving an outstanding balance from one or more interest-charging credit cards to a 0% interest card. Balance transfer credit cards have a positive impact on your financial situation in two ways. First, you will save money by not paying any interest charges on your outstanding balance during the 0% promotional period. Second, any money you might have spent on interest charges can now be applied to pay down your balance, allowing you to become debt free sooner.

You are still responsible to pay your monthly minimum payment every month, with the benefit that your entire payment will go towards reducing your outstanding balance. In other words, "0% balance transfer deal" doesn't mean you will pay nothing, it just means that you will pay no interest for that period. In fact, you must make at least the minimum monthly payment om time or you'll lose the 0% promotional rate.

Let's work through an example of the average UK cardholder with a balance of £3,500 on a credit card that is charging you 18.9%. Assuming you don’t purchase anything else with the card, and can make monthly payments of £150, it will take you 29 months to pay off this debt. Along the way you will have paid over £800 in interest. Instead, if you transfer your £3,500 credit card balance to a balance transfer credit card, such as the Halifax 26-Month Balance Transfer Credit Card, you will pay off this debt in 24 months, and have incurred NO interest charges along the way. Not only will you be debt free sooner, but you will have an extra £800 in your pocket. A balance transfer card can have significant meaning to those trying to pay off debt.

How Much can you Save on a Balance Transfer? (Assuming you pay £150 a month on a £3,500 balance)

Interest ChargesMonths Until Debt Free
Current 18.9% Credit Card£81129
0% Balance Transfer Card£024

Balance transfer offers are defined by two key features: the fee and the interest-free period (or duration). The balance transfer fee is a charge, usually calculated as a % of the balance you are transferring. This fee can range from 0% (e.g., "no fee") to 3%, or more. The interest-free period is the number of months for which there are no interest charges on the transferred balance. Essentially, your balance sits for free during the interest-free period, while you work to pay down the outstanding amount. The fee size is directly related to the interest-free period. Usually, the longer the interest-free period, the higher the fee. You can find shorter-duration cards, with interest-free periods up to 26 months, that charge no fee at all.

Be aware that, in almost all cases, if you exceed your credit limit or do not pay at least the minimum monthly payment on time, you will lose the 0% APR intro period. If that happens, you will be charged interest at the stated balance transfer rate, which is usually well in excess of 18.9% APR.

How To Transfer a Credit Card Balance

Once you have applied for and been accepted to your new balance transfer credit card, transferring the balance is quite easy. While each bank will have a slightly different process, it generally works like this:

  • 1) Log into your online account (the bank will instruct you how to set this up)
  • 2) Click on the link to transfer a balance
  • 3) Enter the amount you want to transfer
  • 4) Enter the details of the credit card from which you are moving your balance
  • 5) Check and hit submit!

How To Choose the Best Balance Transfer Credit Card for You

Choosing the right balance transfer card will depend primarily on how long you need to pay down your existing debt. Basically, go for the shortest no-interest period in which you can to pay down your debt, because a shorter duration generally means a lower transfer fee. If you want to learn more, read our article What is a Balance Transfer.

If you're not sure how long you need to pay down your debt, then first decide how much you can afford to pay each month. Using this monthly payment information and the balance amount, the following chart will show you which duration is appropriate for you (i.e., the chart illustrates how long it will take you to pay down the balance).

Showing how many months it will take to pay back a balance, given the monthly payments. This information is used to determine the duration of the best balance transfer offer for you.
How many Months to Pay Off Your Debt? It Depends on the Balance and Monthly Payments

Don’t Want to Pay a Fee on Balance Transfers?

Those who can pay off their debt within around two years can choose amongst a selection of cards that don't charge a balance transfer fee. Along with no fee, these cards offer interest-free periods around 24 to 26 months. That means you won't pay any charges related to your balance transfer – all of your payments will go directly to pay down your outstanding balance, leaving you debt-free sooner.

Need as much Time as Possible to Pay Down your Debt?

If you need a bit more time to slowly pay off your credit card debts, there are balance transfer cards that won't charge interest for 40 to 43 months. These cards do charge a one-off fee when you transfer the balance, typically around 3%. Do be aware that, on many balance transfer cards, applicants with weaker credit scores may get a shorter interest-free period. Check this detail on any card before you apply.

Is it Okay to use a Balance Transfer Card for New Purchases?

If you have transferred a balance that is now sitting on a balance transfer card, once you're past the 0% on purchases intro period (if there is one), avoid putting new purchases on this same credit card. Doing so will subject your new purchases to unnecessary interest charges. The fine print in the Interest section in the Summary Box of most credit cards instructs that new purchases will remain interest free IF you pay the full balance in full each month. This balance includes the amount of any transfers.

So even if you intend to pay off new purchases every month to avoid paying interest on them, if your card still has some of your transferred balance, you will be charged interest on new purchases from their transaction date until the date you pay them off, even if you pay them off on time. On most regular credit cards you are given a grace period until the statement due date and can avoid all interest charges on new purchases. For this reason, save yourself money by putting new purchases on a card that you haven't used for a balance transfer.

Help With Debt

If you are worried about paying back your debts, it can be a good idea to get in touch with one of the many debt charities in the UK. They can help you plan the best way to pay back your debts and may suggest options that are better for you than a balance transfer credit card. Here are a few to get you started:

Debt Help Charities