Here, we take a look at the new Barclaycard 21 Month Platinum Visa card in more detail so you can decide if it’s the right kind of plastic for you.

What’s the deal?

Barclaycard has unveiled its 21 month Barclaycard Platinum balance transfer credit card – which is now one of the cheapest ways to access long-term 0% interest on your credit card debt.

Why? As well as offering a competitive 21 months interest-free on balance transfers, the related handling fee is also just 1.45% of the debt you are transferring. This is reduced from the standard 2.6% (still good value compared to the more typical balance transfer fees of 3%). The card also offers three months 0% on purchases from the date the account is opened.

You’ll have to hurry though as the offer is due to end on January 31.

At the end of each respective 0% period, a representative annual percentage rate (APR) will kick in at 17.9% (variable).


Any catches?

The biggest catch, though typical of the market, is that the card will not accept debt transferred from another Barclaycard. And if you do qualify, act fast as you only have until January 31 to benefit from the lower transfer fee.

Even if all this stacks up, it’s worth noting that, while the 21 month Barclaycard Platinum balance transfer credit card offers an appealing combination of 0% on balances transferred and a low fee, it is not the market leader in either camp.

For example, the Barclaycard Platinum Credit Card with Extended Balance Transfer offers a whopping 24 months interest-free on card debt transferred – but the fee is 3.2%, which can make a big difference when it comes to larger debt.

However, you will of course have three months longer to repay your debt than you would on its 21 Month card.

On the other side of the coin, it is possible to pay no balance transfer fee at all – but you won’t get an interest-free period on the debt transferred. NatWest’s Visa Low Rate credit card, for example, doesn't charge a fee but balances transferred will be charged at a low representative APR of 2.90% (variable) for the first 12 months of opening the account. The representative APR after that will be 9.9% (variable). As always, do your sums to work out the best option for you.

What’s the verdict?

If you are transferring a larger debt and looking for a lengthy (albeit not market leading) interest-free period during which to pay it off, this deal could present the perfect compromise.

For example, transferring debt of £5,000 from another card will cost you £122.50 with the 21 month Barclaycard Platinum balance transfer card, but if you made the same transfer to the Barclaycard Platinum Credit Card with Extended Balance Transfer, it would cost you £160.

If you don’t need the extra three months to clear your debt that the latter card offers, there is little point in paying the extra fee to access it.

There are other credit cards that sit in this hybrid camp between 0% period and low fee.

Lloyds TSB’s Platinum Mastercard for example, which also comes with 21 months interest-free on balance transfers, is offering a 50% reduction on its 3% fee until February 23.

At 1.50% the Lloyds fee is negligibly higher than the 1.45% offered by Barclaycard’s 21-month deal but a great option if your debt is already held on a Barclaycard. 

Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct. We’re free, independent and compare all UK credit cards, as well as offering exclusive deals you can’t get anywhere else. Contact at Moneysupermarket House, St David’s Park, Ewloe, Flintshire, CH5 3UZ. © Ltd 2013.