Although you could get two cards – one for making purchases and another to make a balance transfer – having just one makes it easier to keep track of what you owe and repay it.

You can cover all your needs with a single card if you choose one that offers long enough 0% deals for both balance transfers and purchases. These are also often known as all rounder cards.

  • Balance transfers can save you money by cutting the interest you pay on an existing credit card balance. However, leading balance transfer cards do not always offer competitive deals for making purchases because many will charge you interest or come with a much shorter 0% period for spending.

  • 0% purchase cards offer an interest free period when you spend money on your new card but rarely offer competitive balance transfer deals.

Read more about what you need to know about balance transfers

Mistakes to avoid when using a 0% balance transfer and purchases card

Only making the minimum repayment: For any purchases you make on your credit, you are required to pay at least the minimum monthly repayment/ This is often a set amount like £5 or a percent of you balance. Often it depends on the size of your balance.

However, if you only make the minimum amount each month, you won't be able to to repay your full balance before the 0% offer period ends. You’ll end up being charged the revert rate on your remaining balance, which is much higher and thus make it hard for you to pay off your balance.

Not taking 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. So if your card offers a 0% offer for 12 months but you don’t make a purchase or any repayments for the three months, you’ll only have nine months of your interest free period left to make use of. If you have to make a large purchase, make it as soon as you get your credit card, and start making repayments to make the most of the interest free period.

Click here to find the cards you are most likely to be accepted for, without affecting your credit score.

How balance transfer and purchases credit cards work

Having a single credit card for transferring your existing balances and making purchases can simplify your finances. It might be unnecessary and inconvenient to have two separate cards.

If you have existing credit card debt, you could look for a card with a very low initial interest period for balance transfers. Some cards will go as low as 0% interest, while some will offer introductory rates for as long as three years. This should make it easier to pay off your debts and even save while you repay.

Once you get your new card, you should transfer the balance from any existing credit cards you own to the new card. Your new card should have a lower rate of interest than your existing cards.

Alternatively, you could look for a top purchase card. These will usually come with an introductory three-month window in which you can make purchases without interest.

Be aware that once any 0% interest period ends, you will likely be charged a significantly higher APR on your remaining balance.

Advantages and disadvantages of a balance transfer and purchases credit card

Advantages Disadvantages
It is easier to pay off your outstanding credit card debt Missing payments could mean you lose your 0% interest rate
You can spread the cost of expensive purchases without paying interest Your 0% interest period for purchases may end at a different time to the period for balance transfers, which could be confusing
You don't need to apply for multiple cards in quick succession, which can damage your credit score When you make a balance transfer you will likely have to pay a percentage of the amount transferred as a one-off fee