You could save money by using a balance transfer to pay off your outstanding credit card balance at a lower interest rate than you currently pay.

Sometimes a lifetime balance transfer can be the cheapest way to clear your borrowing.

What are balance transfers?

You can use them to save money by moving what you owe to a credit card with a lower interest rate (APR). You will then be charged less interest while you pay off the balance on the new card.

You can get a new card with either:

  • An interest free period that lasts for several months

  • A lower interest rate that lasts until you have cleared the full balance

When are lifetime balance transfer deals best?

They could be cheaper if you have a large credit card balance and it will take you a long time to repay in full.

This is because lifetime balance transfers come with interest rates as low as 6.4%, usually fixed for as long as it takes for you to repay the balance. Interest free balance transfer cards start to charge interest after the 0% period ends at their standard APR, which is usually 18.9% or higher.

If you will to take longer than the interest free period to pay off your balance, it could be cheaper to get a card that will charge a low interest rate until you have paid it off.

Most lifetime balance transfers also come without a fee, whereas 0% deals come with fees of up to 5% of the balance you want to transfer. On a balance of 3,000, that would come to 150.

How to choose a lifetime balance transfer

Our comparison table above includes every lifetime balance transfer credit card available in the UK. For each card you can compare the:

  • Balance transfer rate

  • Balance transfer fee

  • Representative APR

You can also work out how much you each card could save you compared to your current credit card by entering your balance, existing provider and current APR. We will then show you how much each card could save you.

What interest rate will you get?

Although every credit card advertises a representative APR, you may not get this rate because it only has to be given 51% of people who apply. The APR you get will be decided once they have checked your credit record.

For example, a card with an APR of 6.9% may only give this to 51% of applicants and either 11.9% or 14.9% to everyone else depending on their credit record.

How long will the low APR last for?

Some providers will guarantee the APR will stay the same for a period of several years. However, if you fail to meet the minimum payments, go over your credit limit or break a card's terms and conditions, your APR can go up.

Other providers offer a variable APR, but if they increase it you could ask them to close your account. You could then continue to pay off the balance at the old APR.

Lifetime balance transfer FAQs

Q

How do I make a balance transfer?

A

You can transfer what you owe on a credit card to a new deal with a better interest rate or up to a few years interest free - here is how

Q

How long does it take to get a card?

A

It usually takes around ten days for your card to arrive once you have applied. Here is how long it can take and how to speed up the process.

Q

How many credit cards should I have?

A

Too many credit cards can hurt your credit record, but having cards for different uses can suit some people. Work out how many is too many here.

Q

Does my credit record matter?

A

Yes, looking at it helps lenders decide whether to accept you as well as what APR and credit limit they offer you.

Q

What is a credit limit?

A

The maximum amount you can owe on your credit card at any point, set by your provider. Here is how they work and how much it costs if you exceed it.

Q

What charges come with lifetime balance transfer cards?

A

Credit cards come with a range of charges, but you can usually avoid them if you understand how they work.

Q

How do I repay my credit card?

A

Paying the full amount by direct debit means you never miss a payment or pay interest. Here are all the ways to repay.