Money Insider: Take a long view for 0% on your balance transfer
Friday 29 March 2013
The battle between credit card companies striving to offer the longest zero per cent term for balance transfers shows no sign of fizzling out. The latest moves in this field means that it's now possible to borrow interest-free for 26 months if you meet the credit scoring criteria.
Just over a week ago Barclaycard was sitting comfortably at the top of the pile, occupying the first two places in the best buy tables with interest-free balance transfer terms of 25 months (2.9 per cent fee) and 24 months (2.8 per cent fee).
Then out of the blue Tesco Bank gatecrashed the party and launched 25 months with a 2.9 per cent fee and so was joint top with Barclaycard.
Within hours Barclaycard hit back with a record 26-month deal (3.5 per cent fee) and 25 months (new lower 2.80 per cent fee) to once again take control of the top two positions.
These moves have little to do with wanting to offer the customer a more attractive deal, the real driver is a marketing strategy to appear at the top of the best buy tables and get the volume of business that this delivers.
If you are financially disciplined, there are some good savings to be made. For example if you borrowed £3,000 interest-free with the latest long-term Barclaycard offer your only cost would be the £105 (3.5 per cent) balance transfer fee. If you paid £119.42 per month for 26 months the balance and fee will be cleared with no interest charges to pay.
By comparison if you wanted to clear a £3,000 balance on a card at the market average of 18.1 per cent APR in 26 months you'd have to pay £139 per month, some £509 more expensive than the 0 per cent deal above.
Just because the lenders look as if they are falling over themselves to offer long-term interest-free deals it doesn't mean they are easier to get hold of.
You will need a very good credit record to get the best deals and if yours doesn't meet the criteria you may be offered a shorter 0 per cent deal, possibly a higher interest rate and also a fairly small credit limit - others will be less fortunate and find their applications declined.
If you are accepted for one of these products, make sure you don't exceed your limit or miss a monthly payment as the lenders use this as a handy get out clause to terminate the introductory promotional deal on the spot.
Another tip for savvy borrowers is don't blindly opt for the card with the longest interest-free period unless you intend using it for the full term.
It's not uncommon for customers to switch to 0 per cent and then switch away again or repay the balance well before expiry, so for many people the balance transfer fee is also a key factor to keep costs to a minimum.
The one-off balance transfer fee is much cheaper if you opt for a term three or four months shorter than the table-topping cards. For example by picking the Lloyds TSB Platinum Card at 21 months the balance transfer fee is currently just 1.5 per cent or with the MBNA Platinum Card at 22 months it is 2 per cent, both well below the 3.5 per cent charged by Barclaycard on the 26-month deal.If youcan repay over a much shorter timescale, then the Nat West Platinum card has 13 months interest-free with a balance transfer fee of just 1 per cent.
When 0 per cent deals hit 20 months many people thought that was as far as they'd go, but with competition for those prized best buy slots as keen as ever, don't rule out a 30-month interest-free card by the end of the year.
Always shop around for that personal loan
Sainsbury's Bank is proud of its unique price promise with its personal loans, whereby if you can get a cheaper deal than the one agreed by Sainsbury's within 28 days it will match the rate and give you an additional 0.1 per cent APR discount.
Exclusive figures revealed to The Independent show that during 2012 customers taking advantage of this promotion cut their rate by an average of 1.77 per cent APR.
With the average loan under the price promise approximately £11,800 and a term of 53 months, many customers benefited to the tune of around £475 to £500 in lower interest charges.
This just highlights that it's worth shopping around when looking for a personal loan and not to plump for the first offer you receive.
Andrew Hagger is an independent personal finance analyst from moneycomms.co.uk
The Sistine Chapel is set to be illuminated with thousands of LEDs
Gillian Anderson lays into gender disparity in Hollywood
- 1 Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
- 2 Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered...
- 3 'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 4 35,000 walrus gather on north-west Alaska beach 'for a rest'
- 5 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Former Tory donor Arron Banks ups his Ukip donation to £1million following William Hague 'nobody' comment
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...
NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...
£18000 - £20000 per annum + OTE £30000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...
Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - Law Costs Draftsperson - NICHE...
Day In a Page
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors