Best credit cards for busting Christmas debt

It’s January. And up and down the country, credit card balances are suffering. But there’s some good news too.

Best credit cards for busting Christmas debt

While we were all out spending, 0% balance transfer deals – which allow you to shift debt from one card provider to another and not be charged interest – were improving fast.

Interest-free terms have now been stretched to a best-ever 35 months, that’s a month shy of THREE YEARS. And while these long 0% terms used to come with hefty balance transfer fees these have been coming DOWN, making it a real win-win for consumers.

Here’s our round up of the best credit card deals to clear your Christmas debt. Remember though – you’ll only be able to switch if your debt ISN'T already sitting with that provider.

1. Barclaycard's Platinum Credit Card with Extended Balance Transfer

OK, so the name doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue but this new improved offer from Barclaycard is the best deal (ever in fact) of its kind.

It now offers the first 35-months (up from 34 months) interest-free on debt transferred from another provider. This makes it the longest 0% term the market has ever seen.

And, rather counter-intuitively, the fee has come DOWN. While you'll initially need to pay 3.5% of the amount you transfer, it will be reduced to 2.49% by way of a refund, compared to the previous 2.99%.

So if you switch across £3,000 to the 0% shelter, it will ultimately cost you £75.

There's also an introductory 0% rate on purchases, but this only lasts for six months. Once each introductory rate finishes, you'll be charged a representative annual percentage rate (APR) of 18.9% (variable) so pay off your balances before the deadlines.

2. Barclaycard Platinum 34-month Balance Transfer Offer

What’s a month between friends? If you can clear your card debt in 34 months instead of 35, you can pay a lower fee of 2.39% (also refunded from 3.5%) with Barclaycard’s 34-month 0% balance transfer card.

Again, any of the balance you have lingering after 34 months will be charged at a representative 18.9% (variable).

3. Halifax Balance Transfer Credit Card

These deals are all very well but if your debt is already sitting on a Barclaycard you won’t be eligible for either of them. However, over Christmas other providers have been upping their game too when it comes to how long they will commit to 0% for, giving indebted consumers more options.

 Halifax for example has launched a new Balance Transfer Card which - like Barclaycard - offers the first 34 months at 0%. The fee, albeit higher at 2.8%, is still pretty decent too.

4. Lloyds Bank Platinum card

And Halifax wasn’t alone. Lloyds Bank also improved its Platinum Credit Card over Christmas to offer 34 months at 0% – although it charges a slightly higher 3% fee. The exact same deal is also available from sister bank, Bank of Scotland – and you WILL be able to transfer a balance between the two brands.

5. Santander 123 credit card

Not everyone needs the maximum time on the market to clear their credit card debt. And if you think you could bust it over the next, say, two years we’ve got some good news for you.

Last month, Santander improved its already popular 123 credit card to almost unrecognisable dimensions! It now offers 23 months at 0% on debt transferred from another provider. Nowhere near 35 months BUT doesn't charge any balance transfer fee.

There is an annual fee of £24 on the card but this is waived for the first year if you already have or open a Santander 123 current account (you'll need to set up a direct debit within the first 30 days to pay your card though).

After the 23 months is up, an annual percentage rate (APR) of 16.5% (variable) kicks in (this factors in that £24).

It’s not wise to spend on a 0% balance transfer card at all. But if you accumulate a balance from new purchases on this card you won’t have to pay interest on that for 23 months either. And there’s no danger at all in the fact you’ll earn cashback at between 1% and 3% on household spending, ranging from supermarkets to petrol. You can find out more about the card in my article.

6. Santander Credit Card

Object to paying an annual fee for your plastic but still want to shift your debt for free? Santander's standard credit card offers 15 months' 0% on balance transfers (the same on purchases too) and doesn't charge a penny in fees. The APR after that is a representative 18.9% (variable) so be sure you can pay down that balance within that year and three months.

Working out how long you need to pay down your debt and which fees are worth paying can be tricky so check out our handy balance transfer card calculator.  Just use the sliders to find the best 0% balance transfer card according to your level of debt and the amount you can afford to repay each month.

You’ll find lots more options that way too than just these six.

Need-to-knows…

These brand new cards are all great deals for busting debt. But thers is a rub in that you will need a top-notch credit score to be accepted for them. If you are unsure of your score, you can apply for a copy of your report via our credit monitoring channel.

Our MoneySuperMarket Smart Search tool is really useful too. When searching our 0% balance transfer credit card tables, click on the button that says: 'Will I get this card?' before you apply. This will give you an indication of whether or not you will be accepted without leaving a footprint on your credit file.

You can find more on the best 0% balance transfer cards as well as cards that will make the most of what you spend in our brand new campaign, This is Not a Sale.

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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