The move is part of a wider campaign of improvements to Barclaycard's offerings called Amazing May. But just how amazing is it? We take a look in more detail...
What's the deal?
Barclaycard's Platinum Balance Transfer Card with Low Fee now offers 17 months' interest-free on balance transfers, so long as they are not made from an existing Barclaycard.
While this is five months short of the longest 0% balance transfer deal on the market, as the name of the card promises, it comes with a
low balance transfer fee of 1.6% which compares to a market-typical 2.99%. This means that transferring a balance of £2,000 would cost £32 compared to nearly £60 - a £28 saving. You will need to transfer the balance across within 60 days of account opening the account.
Barclaycard's Platinum Balance Transfer Card with Low Fee also offers three months' interest-free on purchases - part of the deal which won't change from May 1. The Annual Percentage (APR) on the card is
18.9% (variable) so both purchases and balance transfers will be charged at that rate after their respective 0% periods expire.
The main catch is that, if you don't think you will pay off the balance within 17 months, the benefit of the lower transfer balance fee may well be lost. Even using the example above of transferring £2,000 you could easily spend more than £28 in interest should the 18.9% APR kick in, especially if your balance is still pretty hefty after the 17 months.
You also need to have an income of at least £20,000 to qualify for the card and be aged 21 or over. And if you meet these criteria, you will need a good credit score too.
What's the verdict?
If you know you need longer than 17 months to pay off an existing credit card balance, take a look at
Barclaycard's Platinum card with Extended Balance Transfer. This offers a longer 22 months at 0% on balances transferred.
In fact, so long as you are transferring more than £2,500 this could be the best option anyway as from May 1 these customers will get £30 back. This is equivalent to a balance transfer fee of 1.7% which is only slightly higher than the 1.6% and you get an extra five-month window to clear your balance. Do your sums to find out which option makes sense.
If you think you can pay off the debt even quicker than 17 months, there may be better alternatives again.
Virgin's Low Fee Balance Transfer credit card has an even smaller fee of 1.5%, which equates to £30 on a £2,000 balance transfer. However, it only offers nine months at 0% for balance transfers (and three months' 0% on purchases) so you will need to be sure you can clear your balance in that timeframe.
If you just have a very small balance that you think you will clear very quickly, you don't need to pay a fee at all.
Sainsbury's Low Rate Credit Card charges 0% on balances transferred but will charge interest at a rate of 6.9% from the start. You will need to be a Nectar card holder but this is no obstacle as you can drop into any Sainsbury's store and pick one up free of charge. Additional perks
There may be less obvious factors to consider when it comes to choosing the best balance transfer card. For example, one perk of Barclaycard's Platinum Balance Transfer Card with Low Fee is that it offers contactless payment technology. This means you can use it to make payments quickly when you are making a purchase of £15 or under wherever you see the 'wave' symbol.
You will also have access to Barclaycard Unwind which gives you access to intimate gigs, music news, and Unwind at Wembley Arena where you can enjoy advanced ticketing for shows.
Making applications and being rejected will damage your credit score further so, if you think you are on the periphery, conduct a search using MoneySupermarket's
SmartSearch tool first. This will give you an idea if whether you will accepted or not without interfering with your credit file.
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.
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