News Column

Barclaycard ramps up credit card wars with 3-year 0% transfer deal

May 17, 2014

A credit card war has broken out, with Barclaycard this week launching the UK's longest-ever balance transfer offer: a 0% interest rate lasting for almost three years.

It has upped the interest-free term on its platinum balance transfer card to a market-leading 32 months.

That puts it ahead of the Halifax, which recently launched a 31-month deal.

Card companies claim many people with existing credit and store card debt could save hundreds of pounds by transferring these balances to another provider offering a better rate.

There are scores of cards on the market offering 0% interest on these debt switches for a set period, though to get the best ones you will typically need to have a very good credit rating and be earning above a minimum amount.

Transferring pounds 2,500 of debt on a card with an average APR of 17.3% to the new Barclaycard platinum deal where there is no interest to pay for 32 months, would result in the borrower saving pounds 825 in interest, according to the website

The main benefit of a 0% deal is that all of your monthly repayment goes towards the outstanding balance, and therefore the debt can be cleared much more quickly.

Aside from Barclaycard and the Halifax, other providers offering longer-than-average balance transfer offers include MBNA and Tesco Bank (both 30 months), and Santander and Virgin Money (both 29 months).

All of the above charge a fee in the form of a percentage of the debt moved over. These vary, though around 3% is fairly typical with the longest offers.

In the case of Barclaycard's 32-month deal, a fee of 3.5% is applied, though it is reduced to 2.99% by a refund.

The Halifax 31-month card has a 3% fee, while for the other four cards, it is 2.89%, 2.9%, 3% and 2.99% respectively.

Depending on their credit score, some applicants may be offered a shorter 0% balance transfer period and/or a higher "go to" annual interest rate.

For example, Barclaycard will offer some people 0% interest on balance transfers for 16 months rather than 32 months, while some may have to pay an annual interest rate of 29.9% rather than the 18.9% "representative" APR.

Rupert Jones

For more stories on investments and markets, please see HispanicBusiness' Finance Channel

Source: Guardian (UK)

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