• >
  • Credit Cards>
  • Best balance transfer credit cards April 2024 | Compare transfer fees

Compare our best balance transfer credit card deals

Transfer your balance and pay off debt faster

logo

Compare balance transfer credit cards with our partner Uswitch

We've partnered with Uswitch to help you find a great deal. Start your eligibility journey now
eligibility-animation
1
Answer a few basic questions about your circumstances
2
We'll show you the cards you’re likely to get, so you can apply with confidence
3
Your credit score will always be protected
Fact checker
Last updated
February 6th, 2024

What is a balance transfer credit card?

Balance transfer credit cards are designed to let you move debt from one credit card - or several - to another card from a different provider.

The aim is to switch to a credit card that charges a lower rate of interest, or even no interest, for a set time so that you save money. Because more of your repayments will go towards paying off your debt rather than interest, you’ll also clear your debt faster.

% of Brits who have a balance transfer deal[1]
17%

How a balance transfer credit card works

When you get a balance transfer credit card, you pay off the balance on your existing credit card or cards using your new credit card. You then make repayments on your new balance transfer card to pay off the debt.

Here's an example of how this works:

  • Your current credit card has an outstanding balance of £4,500, and you're being charged interest each month on the balance

  • You decide to apply for a balance transfer card which offers a 24-month interest free period

  • You complete an application for the card that's with a different provider

  • During the application, you provide details of the credit card balance you wish to transfer

  • To take advantage of the interest free period, you notice you'll have to accept a balance transfer fee of 3%

  • You weigh up the cost of the transfer fee against what you currently pay each month in interest

If you have a 0% balance transfer credit card, you won’t be charged interest on the transferred balance for the duration of the interest-free period, and so you may be able to repay the debt faster.

How to do a balance transfer

Find out what you owe

Add up your existing credit card debt, including the interest rates you're being charged. Remember, it’s possible to transfer debt from multiple cards.

Compare balance transfer credit cards

See which cards you can use to move some - or all - of that debt. Our partner Uswitch will guide you through which credit cards you will most likely be accepted for.

Apply for a balance transfer credit card

Fill out an application form and then wait. If you apply online, you’ll often get an instant decision. If you apply over the phone, by post or in a branch, it could take up to 10 days to hear back.

Make the transfer and start paying off your debt

Once your application has been accepted, transfer your balance – this will usually need to be within the first 60 or 90 days of getting the new card. Once your balance has been transferred, you can start making payments.

Types of balance transfer cards

0% balance transfer cards

0% balance transfer cards

These cards offer lengthy interest-free periods to allow you to pay off your balance and save on interest payments. You’ll most likely have to pay a small fee of between 1% and 5% of the balance transferred to get the longest interest-free periods.

No fee balance transfer cards

No fee balance transfer cards

Although many providers charge a transfer fee when moving over a balance, some don’t. However, fee-free balance transfer cards usually offer shorter interest-free periods – the longest you’ll currently get is around 14 months. Work out how long you need to pay off your balance and if you need more time, it’s probably better to pay the fee and opt for a longer 0% deal.

Balance transfer and purchase cards

Balance transfer and purchase cards

These are often known as “combo cards” and enable you to carry out a balance transfer and make purchases interest-free on the same card. Having two separate cards for different purposes can make it harder to keep track of your finances, so a combo card can help simplify things. 

Types of balance transfer cards

0% balance transfer cards

0% balance transfer cards

These cards offer lengthy interest-free periods to allow you to pay off your balance and save on interest payments. You’ll most likely have to pay a small fee of between 1% and 5% of the balance transferred to get the longest interest-free periods.

No fee balance transfer cards

No fee balance transfer cards

Although many providers charge a transfer fee when moving over a balance, some don’t. However, fee-free balance transfer cards usually offer shorter interest-free periods – the longest you’ll currently get is around 14 months. Work out how long you need to pay off your balance and if you need more time, it’s probably better to pay the fee and opt for a longer 0% deal.

Balance transfer and purchase cards

Balance transfer and purchase cards

These are often known as “combo cards” and enable you to carry out a balance transfer and make purchases interest-free on the same card. Having two separate cards for different purposes can make it harder to keep track of your finances, so a combo card can help simplify things. 

Pros and Cons

Pros

Choosing a 0% balance transfer card means you’ll be able to clear the debt faster as you’re not paying interest
Transferring a balance from a higher-interest card to a lower-interest one means you’ll pay less interest overall and save money
You can consolidate existing card debts onto the one credit card, making them easier to manage

Cons

You might have to pay a transfer fee of between 1% and 5%
If you don’t clear your debt before any 0% deal ends, interest will kick in – unless you carry out another balance transfer
You might be charged interest if you use the card for purchases
If you don’t make your monthly repayments on time, you’ll pay a fee and could lose your 0% deal

How to choose the best balance transfer credit card deal

The best balance transfer credit card for you will depend on your credit score and overall finances. However, there are several factors you should consider when choosing a balance transfer credit card.

  • Interest-free period. This is the introductory period during which no interest is charged. Because you’re not making interest payments, you will have more money to pay off your debt, meaning you can clear it more quickly. The longer the interest-free period, the less you’ll have to pay each month to clear your debt before the 0% deal ends.

  • Balance transfer fees: Some credit cards will charge a fee to transfer a balance. This is either a flat fee or a small percentage of the amount you want to transfer. This is usually added to the balance on your new card. The balance transfer fee typically ranges between 1% and 5%. Some providers will also charge a set fee if you have a small balance to transfer.

  • Your credit card provider. It's important to note that you can't usually transfer a balance between cards from the same provider or banking group. For example, if you have a NatWest credit card, you can't move your balance to a NatWest or RBS balance transfer card.

Choosing the right balance transfer deal could save you hundreds of pounds in interest.”

Expert balance transfer credit card tips

  • Get it in the calendar - Knowing exactly when your introductory period ends is vital. The last thing you want is to get hit with expensive interest charges because you forgot to write something down.

People that pay no interest on their balance[2]
48.8%
  • Longer isn't always better - Make sure you look at fees as well as the length of the interest-free period. If you can clear the debt in 12 months, having 28 months at 0% is less important than the fee.

  • Make the transfer fast - Cards generally only allow you to take advantage of 0% rates on money that's transferred in the first few weeks after the account is opened. Don't miss this window.

  • Have a plan to clear it - Ideally, at the end of the introductory period your remaining balance will be £0. Work out how to get there, and if it doesn't look like it will happen, make plans early to move to a new 0% card.

  • Never miss a payment - Make absolutely sure you're making at least the minimum repayment every month. That's because missing a payment not only comes with charges (typically £12), but could also see your 0% deal entirely scrapped.

  • Check twice, apply once - Once you've found a card you want, it makes sense to check whether you'll be accepted. Checking with our partners at Uswitch for example won't hurt your credit score and can let you see how likely you are to be accepted before you apply.

Our best balance transfer credit card deals

Our editors have picked out some of the best balance transfer cards we have on offer

Editor’s pick
Our chosen dual credit card
Card
Barclaycard Platinum Balance Transfer (20/21)
Balance transfer term
0% for 20 months with a 3.45% fee
Balance transfer fee
3.45%
Rep APR
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
Eligibility
Minimum Age
18 years
Minimum Income
£3,000

With this card, Barclays offers a competitive up to 21 months interest-free on purchases. Plus, you also get up to 20 months of 0% interest on balance transfers, for a 3.45% transfer fee.

Author image
Senior Personal Finance Editor
Editor’s pick
Our longest balance transfer credit card
Card
Barclaycard Platinum Balance Transfer (28 Mths)
Balance transfer term
0% for 28 months with a 3.45% fee
Balance transfer fee
3.45%
Rep APR
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
Eligibility
Minimum Age
21 years
Minimum Income
£3,000

With this deal, Barclays offers 28 months of 0% interest on balance transfers, so you have ample time to pay off your debt. But you will be charged a fee of just under 3.45% to make the transfer.

Author image
Senior Personal Finance Editor

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

logo

Compare balance transfer credit cards with our partner Uswitch

We've partnered with Uswitch to help you find a great deal. Start your eligibility journey now
eligibility-animation
1
Answer a few basic questions about your circumstances
2
We'll show you the cards you’re likely to get, so you can apply with confidence
3
Your credit score will always be protected

Don’t struggle with debt, get free help

If you’re having trouble keeping up with your debt payments, don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are several independent services that you can contact for free advice.

As well as helping you to manage your debts, these services can also ensure you are receiving all the benefits you are entitled to, including tax credits. This could help top up your income and go towards paying off your debts.

The average credit card debt per household stood at £2,290 in November 2022, while the average total debt per household, including mortgages, stood at £65,914.

StepChange

StepChange is a charity providing advice and help on budget and debt management. They have a helpline that provides free and independent advice.

Citizens Advice

You can find your local Citizens Advice in the phone book or through their website. Citizens Advice can advise you on legal and financial issues.

National Debtline

National Debtline offers confidential, free advice to people facing debt problems in England, Wales and Scotland.

If you're looking to clear an expensive overdraft, a 0% balance transfer card won't work. Try looking at a money transfer card instead, or even taking out a loan to save on interest.

Balance transfer credit cards jargon buster

New customers

You usually need to be a “new customer” to get introductory offers on a credit card. If you have had the same credit card for a while, you might be able to move to a new credit card from the same provider and get the new customer benefits. It all depends on each credit card provider’s rules. However, when transferring a balance, you can only switch from one credit card provider to another and not between two cards with the same provider (this includes the same banking group).

Transfer fee

If you take out a balance transfer or money transfer credit card, you will usually be charged a transfer fee to transfer funds. This is usually 1-3% of the total amount you move over for a balance transfer and about 3-5% for a money transfer.

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.

Balance

Your credit card balance is the amount of money you owe your credit card provider. In other words, it's the amount you borrowed using your credit card to buy goods and services. It's also sometimes referred to as your credit card debt.

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.

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 – or decrease – your credit limit at any time.

Credit limits are set 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 our guide to credit limits.

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.

Balance transfer credit cards FAQs

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 it could take up to two weeks. It will then take up to another week to make the balance transfer.

Can I transfer money to my bank account?

Yes. Money transfer credit cards let you move money from your card to your bank account, with some cards offering 0% interest for several months. You can then use these funds to pay off an overdraft or loan or pay for a purchase, for example. Here is how to make a money transfer.

How do I repay my balance transfer?

The best way is to work out how much you need to pay each month to have cleared your balance by the end of the 0% period. Then set up a Direct Debit for this amount so you never miss a payment or pay interest.

What should I do with my old credit card?

Once you've transferred the balance from an old card, you have two options: you can either close the card or keep it. Closing the card can impact your credit rating as it will affect your credit utilisation, which is the amount of debt you have compared to the amount of credit available to 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.

What does being pre-approved mean?

Being pre-approved not only means that you'll be accepted for the credit card but also guarantees the interest-free period and APR you've been offered based on your details. The only thing that is not guaranteed is the credit limit.

Does my credit record matter?

Yes, your credit record matters as lenders use it to decide whether to offer you a balance transfer credit card as well as what APR and credit limit they are prepared to give you.

How much can I transfer?

Your provider will let you transfer a percentage of your credit limit (usually 90-95%), e.g. 90% of a £2,000 credit limit would mean you could use £1,800 towards balance transfers.

When should I apply for a balance transfer?

You should apply for a balance transfer at least three weeks before you need the balance on your old card to be paid off.

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.

Customer Reviews

Rated 3.8 out of 5
by 1,057 people

Footnotes

1. money.co.uk credit card facts and statistics 2022 representative survey of credit card holders
2. UK Finance credit card spending figures, January 2024

About Rachel Wait

View Rachel Wait's full biography here or visit the money.co.uk press centre for our latest news.