An 'Easter winner' from Sainsbury's

Sainsbury's Bank has added a new egg to its financial basket - just in time for Easter - with the launch of a credit card offering 0 per cent on purchases for 12 months.

Available only until the end of May, the card provides what is currently the longest interest-free deal for new purchases on the market. At the end of the 12-month period, the typical purchase rate reverts to an annual percentage rate (APR) of 15.9.

In addition, the card has a lifetime rate of 5.94 per cent for balances switched from other cards within the first six months of taking out the Sainsbury's plastic. No transfer fee is levied.

A spokesman for Sainsbury's Bank says cardholders - who can, if they wish, manage their accounts online - will receive Nectar points every time they spend on their card. They will also get vouchers giving discounts against purchases made in Sainsbury's stores.

Credit card specialists have welcomed the offer.

"This is an Easter winner for the supermarket bank," says Robert Kenley from the price-comparison service Moneysupermarket.com.

Nick White from rival service Uswitch.com agrees, describing the card as "excellent". "This is the first time we have seen a good offer both on purchases and balance transfers.

"Normally, we advise people not to transfer their balances and spend on the same card - but with this you can do both."

That said, he warns cardholders to watch out for the end of the interest-free period when the APR goes to 15.9.

Mr Kenley adds that the balance transfer rate on the new product matches that on Sainsbury's Bank's current credit card, which itself "still ranks within the top 10 lifetime balance transfer cards".

But he cautions that while the 0 per cent offer is great for purchases, consumers need to be aware of the so-called payment hierarchy applied to balance transfers.

When taking out a new credit card, always check the order in which your repayments are handled. Make sure that the most expensive debt on the card is paid off first, otherwise you could find yourself racking up extra interest.

In the case of the new Sainsbury's card, Mr Kenley points out: "The 5.94 per cent rate only applies to balance transfers made within the first six months."

For those who may want to switch debts over a longer period, he recommends the Halifax One card. "While this levies a transfer fee of 2 per cent, it offers a balance transfer rate of 0 per cent for 12 months."

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