Compare balance transfer and purchases credit cards

Get balance transfers and purchases in a single card


Find balance transfer and purchases cards in minutes
Capital OneSainsbury's BankRoyal Bank of ScotlandNatWestBarclaycardM&S BankSantanderHSBCCapital OneSainsbury's BankRoyal Bank of ScotlandNatWestBarclaycardM&S BankSantanderHSBC
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Last updated
October 31, 2023

What are 0% balance and purchase credit cards?

There might be times when you need to pay off debt and also make a large purchase. You might feel torn about what to do, given that you should only apply for one credit card at a time.

Luckily, you can carry out both types of transactions on one card. These cards are often known as 'combo cards' or 'dual cards' where you essentially get the features of two types of cards in a single card - making purchases and doing a balance transfer.

Having a single credit card for transferring your existing balances and making purchases can simplify your finances. And the best part is that many cards offer 0% interest deals for both balance transfers and purchases, so you can save on interest whether you're making a purchase or paying down debt.

The interest-free period for balance transfers may differ from that for purchases. So be aware of when the 0% offer ends for each of those.”

Why get a balance transfer and purchases card?

Balance transfers and purchases are two different use cases for getting a credit card. But at times many people need the flexibility to do both and providers have responded by offering both functions in a single card.

Not only do you get access to both functions - balance transfers and purchases - you can simplify your finances by having one card. And you can rest assured that when you make a repayment, the higher interest debt is always paid off first.

However, the best part of these cards is that often you can get 0% interest deals on both balance transfers and purchases. So you're able to save on interest whether you're doing a balance transfer or making purchases.

How do balance transfer and purchase credit cards work?

Transfer your debt

Move any existing credit card balances across to a new credit card that charges a lower rate of interest or charges 0% interest for a number of months.

Pay the transfer fee

When transferring a credit card balance to a new card, you’ll usually pay a transfer fee of up to around 3% of the total card balance you transfer.

Save money

Because your new credit card charges a lower interest rate, or even no interest at all for a set time, you’ll save money and also pay off your credit card balance faster.

Interest-free spending

Your combo card will also offer a 0% interest deal on purchases, meaning you can spend on your card interest-free for a number of months.

Clear your debt before interest kicks in

It’s important to pay off both your balance transfer debt and your purchases debt before the 0% deals end and interest kicks in at a much higher rate. If you’re unable to, you might need to shift your remaining balance to another balance transfer credit card.

Our best balance transfer and purchase credit card deals

Our editors have picked out some of our best combo card deals.

Editor’s pick
Our chosen purchase credit card
HSBC Purchase Plus Credit Card
Purchases term
0% for 18 months
Balance transfer term
0% for 16 months with a 3.49% fee (£5 min.)
24.9% APR

Representative example: The standard interest rate on purchases is 24.9% p.a. (variable), so if you borrow £1,200 the Representative APR will be 24.9% (variable).

Show Details
Minimum Age
18 years
Minimum Income

This credit card is available to new HSBC customers and there are no annual or monthly fees. You also get 0% balance transfers for 16 months and a host of exclusive discounts and offers through HSBC Home and Away.

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savings expert
Editor’s pick
Our chosen combo credit card
M&S Bank Shopping Plus Credit Card
Purchase term
0% for 18 months
Balance transfer term
0% for 15 months with a 2.99% fee (£5 min.)
23.9% APR

Representative example: The standard interest rate on purchases is 23.9% p.a. (variable), so if you borrow £1,200 the Representative APR will be 23.9% (variable).

Show Details
Minimum Age
18 years

This M&S dual credit card offers 18 months of interest free purchases, while balance transfers are interest free for 15 months, but there’s a transfer fee of 2.99%. If you shop at M&S, you could earn points and get M&S vouchers.

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Senior Personal Finance Editor
Editor’s pick
Our chosen dual credit card
Barclaycard Platinum Balance Transfer (18/21)
Purchases term
0% for 21 months
Balance transfer term
0% for 18 months with a 2.99% fee
24.9% APR

Representative example: The standard interest rate on purchases is 24.9% p.a. (variable), so if you borrow £1,200 the Representative APR will be 24.9% (variable).

Show Details
Minimum Age
18 years
Minimum Income

With this card, Barclays offers a competitive up to 21 months interest-free on purchases. Plus, you also get up to 18 months of 0% interest on balance transfers, for a 2.99% transfer fee.

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Senior Personal Finance Editor

We are classed as a credit broker for consumer credit, not a lender.

How to compare balance transfer and purchase credit cards

When trying to pick the best balance transfer and purchase card, there are three main features you need to watch out for:

Interest free period

With a combo card, you'll need to look at the 0% period for both balance transfers and purchases because you typically don't get the same period for both.

On some cards the interest-free period for balance transfers might be longer, on others you might get a longer one for purchases.

You'll have to prioritise what you'll need more time for and choose a card accordingly.


This is also known as the revert rate, or the interest rate you’ll be charged once the 0% interest period ends.

With a combo balance transfer and purchases credit card, you might find that the interest rate for a balance transfer is different from that for making purchases. So make sure you consider both when picking a card.


Most cards charge fees for different kinds of transactions. For example foreign transaction fees for using the card abroad. Or cash advance fees for withdrawing cash from an ATM. If you’re unlikely to use your card for any of these, then it shouldn’t matter.

With combo cards, you'll likely have to pay a balance transfer fee. These can range between 1% to 5% of the transfer amount.

How CardFinder works

CardFinder is an eligibility tool that matches you with the credit cards you're likely to get based on your needs and circumstances. It does that by asking you a few simple questions about your circumstances and then uses a 'soft search' credit check to see what deals you’re likely to be accepted for.

This ensures that your credit score is not affected, which is why it's a good idea for most people to use CardFinder.

This way you only apply for the card you can get, and avoid hurting your credit score by putting in applications that are later rejected.

CardFinder is a quick and low risk way to ensure you only apply for a card you're likely to be accepted for."



Find your ideal credit card in just a few minutes
Answer a few simple questions about your finances
We’ll match you with the cards you’re likely to get
Our 'soft search' ensures your credit score will not be affected.
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Expert tips for balance transfer and purchase cards

  • Check your eligibility. Once you've found a card you want, it makes sense to check you'll be accepted. Tools like CardFinder won't hurt your credit score and can let you see how likely you are to be accepted before you apply.

  • Try to pay more than the minimum repayment. For any purchases you make on your credit card, you are required to pay at least the minimum monthly repayment. However, minimum repayments are set at very low levels, so if you only pay this amount, you won't be able to repay your full balance before the 0% offer period ends. You’ll end up being charged the revert rate on the balance, which is much higher, meaning you’ll pay a lot more in interest and it will take a long time to clear your debt.

  • Take advantage of the entire offer period. The 0% offer is available as soon as your card is approved, not from when you make your first purchase or do a transfer. Make sure you carry out these transactions as soon as you get your credit card, and start making repayments to make the most of the interest-free period.

  • Avoid withdrawing cash. Not all credit card transactions are equal - in fact a whole string of them cost you more. These are known as cash advances, or cash like transactions, and you will be charged interest from the second you make the transaction, quite possibly at a higher APR than normal. You could also be charged a fee on top.

Balance transfer and purchase credit card FAQs

Does my credit record matter?

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

What will my credit limit be?

Your provider will confirm your credit limit after they approve your application. Here is how credit limits work and how much it costs if you exceed them.

How long will it take to make a balance transfer?

It might only be a few days before you get your new credit card, but might take up to two weeks. It will then take up to another week to make the balance transfer.

Can I do a balance transfer with a 0% purchase card?

No, you can't do a balance transfer unless it is to a combined balance transfer and purchases card. If you do this, you can transfer what you owe on a credit card to a new deal with a better interest rate.

How long does the 0% period last?

The interest-free period depends on the type of card and the 0% period you've been approved for. For balance transfers, it can last up to around 30 months or more on the best deals. For purchases, the longest 0% period could be 21 months or more. And for money transfers, 12 months is possible.

However, the longest interest-free periods are typically offered to those with good credit scores and higher incomes.

Balance transfer and purchase card jargon buster


APR stands for “Annual Percentage Rate” and is the total cost of borrowing over 12 months. For example, if your APR is 20%, you will be charged 20p for every £1 borrowed over the course of 12 months. If you pay your balance in full and on time, you will not pay interest.

Credit limit

Your credit limit is the amount you can borrow on your credit card at any one time. If you exceed this amount, you can be charged a fee - typically £12 - and it can leave a mark on your credit report.

You won’t usually find out your credit limit until the end of an application process - although you can ask your provider to increase your credit limit at any time.

Credit limits are awarded based on your credit history and your earnings.

Once you've reached your credit limit, you need to make a payment to bring down your balance before you can use the card again. Find out more in your guide on credit limits.

Credit report

Your credit report is your history of borrowing and paying bills over the past few years. Lenders send this information to one or more of the three credit reference agencies, which compile reports on UK residents.

Before deciding whether to let someone borrow, lenders check your report from one or more of the agencies. You can request a copy of your credit reports to ensure there are no mistakes on your file, request changes if you see one and add notes explaining any missed payments.

Credit score

Your credit score is calculated based on your credit history. Each credit reference agency has its own method of calculating this.

Your credit score will go up for things like making payments on time and down for things like being late or defaulting on a loan. Typically, the higher your score, the more likely you are to be offered a lower rate of interest or higher credit limit.

There is no absolute pass or fail mark attached to a credit score, with each lender making its own decision on what it considers acceptable.


If you miss a few payments, generally between three and six, your credit card provider will send you a default notice, giving you at least 14 days to pay the amount stated on the notice. Court action could be used to recover the debt, and if you fail to make the payment, your account will be “defaulted”, meaning you won’t be able to use your credit card anymore. It is possible that your provider may have already blocked spending on your account after the first couple of missed payments. A record of the default will also stay on your credit report for six years, making it harder to get any form of credit throughout this time.

Direct Debit

A Direct Debit is when you give a company permission to take payments automatically from your bank account. It decides the amount, but you are free to cancel the arrangement. For example, you can set up a Direct Debit to pay off your credit card. This could be for the minimum amount due, a fixed sum, or the entire balance. Read more about Direct Debits in our guide.

Eligibility criteria

Minimum eligibility criteria define the attributes the provider expects customers to have before offering them a product. It's designed to help customers understand if they should proceed with an application.

Meeting the minimum eligibility criteria is not a guarantee of approval. Eligibility criteria include factors such as age, salary and sometimes other details, depending on the product.

Interest-free credit

Interest-free credit cards allow you to either transfer a balance, make purchases or transfer cash to a current account without paying any interest on your balance for a set period. However, you must keep making at least the minimum monthly repayment during this time.

Once the 0% deal is over, you will be charged interest on any remaining debt at your standard APR. With balance transfers and money transfers, you will usually have to pay a transfer fee. 

Introductory offer

Credit card introductory offers include bonus reward points, extra cashback, 0% on balance transfers or 0% on purchases.

Introductory offers are used to attract new customers, but once they expire, they revert to the standard offer or rate. When this happens, you should check if you’re still getting the best deal or whether you need to switch to a different credit card.

Minimum monthly repayment

Every credit card has a minimum monthly repayment amount set out in its rules, which you can find in the summary box.

The minimum payment is calculated by working out what interest you've built up over the past month and then adding a small percentage of your total balance. If you have a small overall balance, there might be a fixed sum instead - for example, £5.

As minimum monthly repayments are set at such low levels, it’s best to pay off more than this each month if you can. You’ll clear your debt faster and pay less interest too.

Learn more about credit cards and how they work

Get more insight and tips on the different types of credit cards and how you can make the most out of them.
How to use a credit card for interest free purchases
How to use a credit card for interest free purchases
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Different credit cards explained
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How many credit cards should you have?

About the author

Salman Haqqi
Salman Haqqi spent over a decade as a journalist reporting in several countries around the world. Now as a personal finance expert, he helps people make informed financial decisions.

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