Survival guide to balance transfers

The latest figures show consumer debt continues to creep up with interest payments to match. But you don't need to get caught out. 

Consumer debt on credit cards now stands at £65.7bn - around £2,430 for every household in the UK. 

For a card bearing the average interest charge, it would take 25 years and 6 months to repay if you only made the minimum payments - around £58 - each month, according to figures from the Money Charity. 

Paying down the debt is crucial, but in the meantime there is another way to help yourself manage the debt- one that doesn't invove pulling endless overtime or doing shifts at your local. 

Transferring the balance from one high interest charging card to a better deal could save the typical plastic debtor hundreds of pounds over the life of the debt.

But the deal you choose depends on your circumstances as well as attitude to debts -both credit card, and in some circumstances overdrafts. The good news is that it tends to come down to just two providers - for now at least.

Cheapest 0 per cent deals

For the best deals up front, calculating the pros and cons of the fees is vital, typically at the expensive of longer interest free periods.

The best, cheapest per cent deals on out there right now include Virgin's 32 month 0 per cent offer, which carries a 1.69 per cent transfer fee on credit card balances or money transfers (such as overdrafts) after a refund.  

Or MBNA's 24 month interest free period offer carries a 1.99 per cent fee. 

Longest 0% money transfer cards

For a little more wriggle room, Virgin's 36 month deal comes includes a transfer fee at 2.39 per cent, or MBNA will match the term for a slightly higher 2.99 per cent  fee. 

The longer the 0 per cent period, the higher the fee though, and at 41 months, Virgin offers the longest deal but at a fee of 3.79 per cent. 

Long-term low-rate card

But if it's time you're after, the current best buy is for long terms, low interest rates and a decent balance transfer fee, the current best buy is MBNA's 60 month offer at 4.9 per cent, with a fee of 0.5 per cent. 

All product details are correct at the time of publishing.

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