Skip to content

Balance transfer and purchase credit cards

Compare cards for transfers and spending


Which credit card providers do we work with?

MoneySuperMarket works with a range of household-name credit card providers, including

company logo for tesco-bank-v2company logo for sainsburys-110company logo for virgin-money-newcompany logo for santander-110x70-v1company logo for amex-110company logo for mbna-newcompany logo for capital-one

What is a balance transfer and purchase credit card?

A balance transfer and purchase credit card lets you transfer balances from other credit cards to take advantage of a lower interest rate, and also continue to spend at a low rate. 

The best balance transfer and purchase cards offer 0% interest on transferred balances and spending for a time, sometimes up to six months or more. 

This combined card suits borrowers who have existing card debt they want to transfer and pay off at a lower or 0% rate, but also want a card they can use for new purchases where new spending will be at low or no interest. 

Find a card 

balance transfer illustration

How do balance transfer and purchase cards work?

Transferring balances and making purchases on credit cards are fairly different functions, but if you need both of them there’s no point in getting two separate cards to do both jobs. Here’s how they work:

  • 1

    Transfer debt

    Move the balance from any credit cards you already own to a new card with a much lower rate of interest.

  • 2

    Save money

    The 0% interest period effectively works as a free loan, making it a great way to save money while you pay off your card balance. 

  • 3

    0% interest spending

    Purchase cards usually have a three to six-month window where you can buy things without interest. 

  • 4

    Transfer fees

    Providers charge a small transfer fee at the start, usually up to about 3% of the total card balance you transfer. 

  • 5

    Pay off debts

    These cards have low or 0% interest periods for both balance transfers and new purchases, so you pay off your debts more easily. 

  • 6

    Higher interest

    Once the 0% interest period is over, you’ll be charged a much higher APR on any balance still remaining on your card unless you switch the balance to a new card. 


Balance transfer fees explained

Most balance transfer credit cards charge a fee to move existing card debts. This is usually expressed as a percentage of the amount being transferred.  

For example, if the fee is 2.5% and you transfer a debt of £1,000, you’ll pay £25 and owe a total of £1,025. In some cases there will be a minimum and maximum fee you’ll be required to pay. Always read the small print of your card deal before switching. 

Find out more 


With a pre-approved credit card, the deal you see is what you get

When you apply for a credit card, it’s not always clear what deal you’ll be offered or whether you’ll be accepted. But when you’re pre-approved for a credit card, you know the deal you see is the deal you’ll get – you’ll know where you stand, with information that will help you make the right choice.

  • Apply with confidence

    When you’re pre-approved, the interest rate, interest-free period and fee (if there is one) are all confirmed – the only thing not guaranteed is your credit limit

  • Tailored to you

    You’ll see your personalised chance of approval for all credit cards, so you can easily compare your options

  • You’re in safe hands

    This helps protect your credit score as you’re less likely to be rejected when you apply

When should you transfer your balance?

There’s a range of reasons to use a balance transfer credit card, including: 

  • You’re on a high interest rate: If your current credit card charges a high APR on your balance you could save money and pay it off faster by switching to a 0% card 

  • Your existing card has high fees: Sometypes of credit card charge monthly or annual fees just to use them 

  • You have more than one card: Transferring several balances onto one credit card can simplify monthly repayments making it easier to keep track of your money 


Understanding 0% APR balance transfer and purchases credit cards

With a 0% transfer and purchase credit card you get a two-in-one credit card with zero interest on an existing balance and on new spending. You’ll need to make the minimum monthly repayment on the card but no interest will accrue on your debt during the offer period. With this type of card you can: 

  • 1

    Transfer an existing balance

    Enjoy 0% APR on the balance you transfer to the new combined card. In many cases you may get 0% interest on your balance for up to two years - or even longer. There is likely to be a balance transfer fee to pay, typically between 1.5% and 3%.  

  • 2

    Continue to spend on the card

    The best 0% interest balance transfer and purchase cards will also offer zero interest on new spending on the card for the offer period, such as three or six months. The offer period may be different to the 0% APR offer period for transferred balances. 

Can I get a balance transfer and purchase credit card with bad credit?

If you’ve struggled with debts in the past and have a low credit score or if you have no credit history you should still be able to get a combined balance transfer and spending credit card. But the best deals and 0% offers may be harder to get. If your credit score is low you should expect: 

  • To be offered higher interest rates or APR 

  • Not to get the longest 0% interest periods 

Our credit monitor tool has lots of useful tips and information about how to boost your credit score to gain access to better card deals. 

woman on sofa

Compare balance transfer and purchase cards with MoneySupermarket

If you feel that a balance transfer and purchase credit card could be right for you, the next step is to use the MoneySuperMarket Eligibility Checker to see what cards are available – and which are most likely to approve you.

  • Tell us about yourself

    We’ll ask you some questions about you and your financial circumstances, and what you need from a credit card. 

  • We browse the market

    We’ll sift through dozens of credit card offers from across the market, and then show you the most suitable deals for you. 

  • Pick the best card for you

    You’ll be shown a range of credit card deals, which you can sort according to 0% interest periods, interest rates and your chances of being approved. 


A balance transfer is when you move debts you’ve accrued on one or more other credit cards onto a single new card, in order to earn a cheap or zero rate of interest and pay the debt off faster.

There’s usually a small fee of between 1% and 4% of the total you transfer, but given that normal credit cards have quite high APRs, you’re almost certain to save money if you pay the debt off during the low-interest period on the new card.

A balance transfer can be a great way to manage a moderate amount of credit card debt – provided you’re disciplined about paying the debt off in time. Every balance transfer card has a time limit on the low-interest period it offers; if the balance isn’t cleared when that period runs out, you’ll end up paying quite a high rate of interest on what remains – potentially wiping out the savings you’d made.

You can, but most normal balance transfer cards don’t have terms that are particularly good for spending. If you want a card that lets you transfer balances and spend money, a balance transfer and purchase credit card is a better idea.

Divide the amount you transfer by the number of months your interest-free deal lasts for. The result is the amount you need to pay each month to clear the debt.

If you do not clear the balance by the end of the 0% period, you will be charged interest on what you owe.

You will have to make at least a minimum payment each month.

If you know you’re not going to clear the balance within the 0% period, you could consider transferring to another card with an interest-free period.

Balance transfer and money transfer cards work in a similar way – helping you move expensive debts onto a cheaper and more manageable rate or 0% APR interest for a time. The difference is that they’re used for different types of debts. A balance transfer card lets you move debt onto it from another credit card or cards, while a money transfer card lets you move debt from your bank account instead – typically to pay off an overdraft. 

Avoid exceeding your credit limit or you’ll face penalties such as losing your interest-free deal.

Make the necessary payments to the card or cards you move the balance from, especially if you do not clear the balance completely.

If you do not clear the balance by the end of the interest-free period, transfer that sum to another 0% balance transfer card.

MoneySuperMarket gives you lots of clever ways to save a lot, by doing very little.

  • Take control of your credit score by checking and improving it for free with Credit Monitor 

  • Never overpay again with Energy Monitor, our energy monitoring service 

  • Over 50 ways to Get Money Calm

So how do we make our money? In a nutshell, when you use us to buy a product, we get a reward from the company you’re buying from.

But you might have other questions. Do we provide access to all the companies operating in a given market? Do we have commercial relationships or ownership ties that might make us feature one company above another?

We commit to providing you with clear and informative answers on all points such as this, so we have gathered the relevant information on this page.