Where to start

Before you even consider moving your balance to another credit card, you need to work out if it's even worth it.

If you have a large credit card balance, a 0% balance transfer credit card can help you clear your debt by taking interest charges away for a set term.

However, if you have a small balance, it may cost you more in transfer fees than the interest you currently pay.

When to pick a 0% deal

Start comparing deals when you are paying interest, or about to start paying interest, on your credit card balance.

0% credit card deals change regularly, so try not to plan too far in advance.

To make the most of a 0% balance transfer card, you will either be:

  • At the end of an existing 0% deal, but still have a balance to pay off

  • Already paying interest on your credit card balance

Avoid transferring your balance while you are in a 0% interest period, even if you get told to by your bank.

Which card to choose

It depends on why you want to transfer your balance:

If you only want to reduce your monthly repayments: Get the longest 0% deal possible. This will help you repay more of your balance each month.

If you want to clear your debt faster: Work out how much you can afford to pay each month, then choose a 0% term that matches to give yourself a repayment target.

Some credit cards charge a balance transfer fee which gets added to the balance you transfer. Don't forget to consider this fee when comparing 0% deals.

Here is an example of a balance transfer card available:

When you apply...

For a new 0% card, to complete the balance transfer you will need to give:

  1. 1.

    Your name; you may also need to give your passport or driving license number

  2. 2.

    Your address; usually any address you've lived at during the last 3-5 years

  3. 3.

    Your old card's PAN; this is the long 16 digit number on the front of your credit card

  4. 4.

    The amount you want to transfer; this is the balance on your old card

  5. 5.

    Your financial details; including your salary and any other existing debt you may have

You have to pass a credit check to get a 0% balance transfer credit card.

Your new credit limit

The credit limit you get offered could be higher or lower than your existing balance.

If the limit is lower, transfer what you can to save on some interest, but focus on repaying the balance left on your old card first.

If the limit is higher, think twice as this could entice you to spend more, and you may need to pay interest on anything new you spend.

Q

Do you have to transfer your whole balance across?

A

You get the choice of transferring the whole balance, or a specific amount. Anything you choose not to transfer will remain on your old credit card.

Q

Can you transfer multiple balances?

A

Yes, but there will be a cap on the amount you can transfer across. This is usually up to 90% of your credit limit, so ask your provider before applying.