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Longest ever 0% balance transfer card launches: how good is it?

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Written by: Paloma Kubiak
13/10/2016
Sainsbury’s Bank has launched the longest ever 0% balance transfer credit card at 42 months but by choosing a product with a shorter period, you could save on the hefty one-off fee.

The Sainsbury’s Bank 42 month Nectar balance transfer credit card (18.9% APR representative variable) comes with a one-off fee of 4% on transfers made within the first three months (minimum £3).

It comes just days after Virgin Money slashed the fee on its 41 month balance transfer credit card from 4% to 3.29%.

Unlike other balance transfer credit cards which give time restrictions on when you need to move the money, such as in the first 60 or 90 days, Sainsbury’s Bank allows customers to move balances at any point. It confirms that after three months the balance transfer fee reduces to 3%, though you’ll get 39 months 0% interest.

In terms of duration, it beats the likes of Virgin Money, Halifax and MBNA’s offering of 41 months 0% interest.

However, calculations by MoneyComms reveals that by opting for just one month shorter in duration, a customer shifting £3,000 of debt could save more than £35 in fees.

The cost to switch £3,000 of debt to Sainsbury’s Bank’s 42 months 4% balance transfer fee card would cost £120. The same amount moved to Virgin Money’s 41 month with 3.29% balance transfer fee would cost £98.70.

However, the same amount deposited on the new nuba (MBNA-backed) 41 month with 3.49% balance transfer fee would cost £104.70, but when taking into consideration the free £20 Amazon gift card, it effectively costs £84.70.

Andrew Hagger of Moneycomms.co.uk, said: “The 0% balance transfer market war shows no signs of abating, but customers need to look beyond the term – it’s the overall cost including the one of balance transfer fee and any incentives that can often deliver a considerable financial saving just for opting for a month or two shorter than the longest term on the market.”

Hagger said that with Sainsbury’s Bank hitting 42 months, it’s likely that key players such as Halifax, MBNA and Virgin will follow this move.

The card is only available to Nectar card holders until 31 October 2016 and it also comes with three months 0% interest on purchases.

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