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The best 0% credit cards for managing existing debt

Written by: Emma Lunn
The best buy 0% transfer deal without a fee is the Sainsbury's Bank credit card which offers 18 months interest-free on balance transfers.

Balance transfers cards with a 0% interest introductory period are handy for people who already have credit card debt and want to cut the amount of interest they pay.

According to Defaqto, there aren’t as many deals available as there were this time last year, with borrowers now having 69 0% balance transfer cards to choose from, down from 93 a year ago.

Most balance transfer cards charge a balance transfer fee if you switch over existing debts – but there are a handful of cards without a fee. These include:

  • Sainsbury’s Bank No Balance Transfer Fee Credit Card – 18 months at 0%
  • Santander Everyday Credit Card – 18 months at 0%
  • Barclaycard Platinum Balance Transfer – 15 months at 0%
  • Danske Bank Standard Credit Card – 5 months at 0%
  • TSB Advance Credit Card – 3 months at 0%

Defaqto suggests that borrowers who owe a significant amount of money might be better off with a  deal that offers a longer repayment period. However most of these cards charge a fee.

The best buy balance transfer cards charging a balance transfer fee include:

  • TSB Platinum Balance Transfer Card – 29 months at 0%, with a 2.95% balance transfer fee
  • M&S Bank Transfer Plus Credit Card – 28 months at 0%, with a 2.85% balance transfer fee
  • Sainsbury’s Bank Balance Transfer Credit Card – 27 months at 0%, with a 3% balance transfer fee
  • MBNA Balance Transfer Credit Card – 26 months at 0%, with a 2.99% balance transfer fee

Although a 0% balance transfer deal offers free credit for a certain number of months, interest will be charged on any outstanding balance at the end of the deal period.

This can be an expensive shock for anyone who has not budgeted for it, and consumers considering one of these deals should  plan ahead to ensure they have cleared any debt before the end of the interest-free period.

Katie Brain, consumer banking expert at Defaqto, said: “For those who already have credit card debt, interest-free balance transfer deals can be a useful tool to pay off the debt without building up more interest.

“The best deals on the market tend to only be available to those with an excellent credit rating, so where there is the option to check your eligibility before applying, this is worth doing. Also, any 0% deal will be limited for a fixed time and after this, the debt will start accruing interest; so make sure you make a note of the date and pay it off before it’s due. Check whether there is a fee with the card as that could eat into any introductory offer.”

Purchase credit cards

Borrowers looking for a 0% interest purchase card for their Christmas shopping have 71 cards to choose from.

Borrowers can get 26 months interest-free on purchases with Santander’s All in One credit card, but the card comes with a £3 monthly fee.

Tesco Bank Clubcard Plus has a 0% purchase offer for 24 months with no monthly fee, while M&S Bank has a 0% deal for 20 months.

Brain said: “This is a festive season like no other and after the year we have had, many are planning to make the most of the holidays and treat themselves and their loved ones. It is easy to get carried away with the festive spirit and end up spending more than you planned to, or worse – more than you can afford. It is important to remember that a credit card is still money that will have to be paid back and to make sure that you don’t take on any debt that you can’t afford.”

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