Focus on: New low-fee credit card

Published:
27 May 2011
Topic:
News,Money,Credit Cards,Product review

There has been an influx of new balance transfer cards offering longer than ever interest-free introductory periods - but Virgin has taken a different approach by slashing its balance transfer fee.

It is often the case that the longer the interest-free period is, the higher the balance transfer fee you pay. Most balance transfer fees are currently around 3%.

Virgin, however, this week re-launched its balance transfer card with a much lower balance transfer fee of 1.5%. The card has a 16 month interest-free introductory period.

So is this a good option for those wanting to pay down their credit card debt? We take a closer look at what's on offer...

What's the deal?

The Virgin Credit Card offers 0% on balance transfers for 16 months and 0% on purchases for 3 months.

Although not a market leader based on the duration of the balance transfer period, the 1.5% balance transfer fee makes this offering attractive, especially to those who have a large balance to transfer over.

Based on a transfer of £2,500, for example, you would make a saving of £42 compared to the leading balance transfer card from Barclaycard that comes with a 3.2% balance transfer fee.

After the 0% period has come to an end, any balances left on the Virgin card will be charged interest at a representative APR of 16.8% (variable).

Any catches?

There is a 0% offer on this card for purchases as well which lasts for 3 months. However, think carefully before spending on the card if you have already transferred a balance over as once the 0% period on purchases has ended any monthly repayments made to the card will go towards paying off the most expensive debt.

That means you won't be making any in-roads to paying off your transferred balance until your purchase balance has been cleared first.

Verdict

If you think that you will be able to clear your transferred balance over the 16 month period then this card is a great option due to the lower balance transfer fee.

If, however, you think you are going to need more time to clear your balance then going for the market-leading balance transfer card from Barclaycard may be a better option.

Although the balance transfer fee is higher at 3.2%, the 0% duration on this card is 20 months. The money you would save through not paying interest for an extra 4 months is likely to outweigh the higher balance transfer fee.

After the 0% period has come to an end, any balances left on the card will be charged interest at a representative APR of 17.5% (variable).

Top Tip

Work out how much you would need to pay off each month in order to clear your balance over the 16 month period, as once this has ended you will start to accrue interest.

Bear in mind too that this credit card is only available to those with a perfect credit score, so before applying use our Smart Search tool. This will tell you if you are likely to be accepted for the card without damaging your credit score.

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 moneysupermarket.com at Moneysupermarket House, St David's Park, Ewloe, Flintshire, CH5 3UZ. © Moneysupermarket.com Ltd 2011

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