Want to move your card balance? See Mr 0 per cent

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If you are struggling to clear your credit card bill this month after the excesses of the festive season, you may be looking to move your balance to another card.

And, despite repeated predictions of the death of deals charging 0 per cent interest on balance transfers, there are now some competitive offers that could save you a big sum in interest charges.

New findings from the price-comparison service Moneyexpert.com show 149 balance-transfer deals at 0 per cent currently on the market, with an average introductory offer of nine and a half months.

Michelle Slade from financial analyst Moneyfacts points out that the "best buy" tables have been dominated recently by 12-month 0 per cent deals.

Better still, competition for the top spot is hotting up - with HSBC offering a 15-month deal and Virgin Money a 13-month deal. Elsewhere, Barclaycard, Abbey and Cheshire building society offer 12 months interest free on transfers.

Sean Gardner from Moneyexpert.com urges anyone with card debts to consider changing provider.

"Interest-free deals are an excellent way to start the process, but remember that if you don't clear the debt in the introductory period, you will start paying interest at what will often be a relatively steep rate."

Some cardholders continually switch their debts from one piece of plastic to another to try to avoid paying any interest at all. But anyone doing this needs to be aware of the upfront transfer fees: these are usually 2 per cent, but can go as high as 3 per cent.

"The last year has seen fee-free deals almost disappear, with many provid- ers increasing transfer fees and many more uncapping them," says Ms Slade.

This trend dates back to last April, when the Office of Fair Trading told card companies to cut charges for late payment to £12.

That said, fee-free offers are still appearing: just three days ago, the Yorkshire and Clydesdale banks announ- ced they were waiving their fees until the end of February for card customers switching balances to their six-month 0 per cent introductory deals.

If you do decide to switch your balance, check the "order of repayments" on the new card, as the cheaper debt - usually the balance transfer - will usually be paid off first. In the meantime, you rack up additional debt at a much higher rate with new purchases.

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