Best for: No fee longest 0% term on balance transfers

If you want to pay off your credit card debts fast but are put off by the balance transfer fee that many providers charge, Santander’s new-and-improved 123 credit card is a winner.

Best for: No fee longest 0% term on balance transfers

The 123 card, which only launched in December, offers 0% on balances transfers for the first 23 months. There are longer 0% terms available but, because this one doesn’t charge a balance transfer fee, it makes it the best deal of its kind.

What’s the deal?

The 0% rate applies to BOTH balance transfers and new spending for 23 months, so you’ve got almost TWO YEARS' breathing space in which to pay off what you owe before you’ll be charged interest.

The fact there is no balance transfer fee to pay means you can move any existing card debt (so long as it’s with a different provider) across to Santander completely free.

There is an annual fee of £24 on this 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 APR, which already factors in the £24 fee, is the exact rate you’ll get if you are accepted for the card. Many other providers may accept your application but offer you a higher APR than the one you see advertised.

What else?

As well as 23 months at 0% on balance transfers, the 123 card also offers 23 months interest-free on new purchases, which makes it the leading deal in that camp too.

If you have also switched a balance across though, you should know that your monthly card repayments will go towards paying off your purchase costs before clearing that debt.

Finally the card offers cashback too. You’ll get:

  • 1% on supermarket spending
  • 2% on spending in major department stores
  • 3% fuel on Transport for London tube, bus and train travel, and National Rail travel (up to a combined maximum of £9 a month)

Who’s it good for?

This is a great deal if you have a balance lingering on a credit card that’s not Santander – and that’s small enough to clear within 23 months. And the value gets even better if you also hold a 123 current account.

Any catches?

“The £24 annual fee is the only real catch of the 123 card...”

The £24 annual fee is the only real catch of the 123 card, but if you regularly use it to cover your household spending such as your weekly shop and petrol, any cashback you earn should more than cover this.

Bear in mind too that – as stated above – if you are a heavy user of petrol, you’ll only earn 3% cashback on the first £300 you spend on this category every month – that’s a maximum of £9.

However, you will need an excellent credit score to be accepted for this card. If you are unsure of yours, you can apply for a copy of your report via our credit monitoring channel.

And using our Smart Search tool will give you an indication if you will be accepted or not for the 123 card without leaving a footprint on your credit file. When you get to our balance transfer tables, simply click on the button that says: 'Will I get this card?'

What’s the verdict?

This deal from Santander took the credit card market by storm when it launched in mid-December as it’s best-in-market not only for no-fee 0% balance transfers, but also for 0% purchases and everyday cashback too. Click here to see how we covered the launch at the time.

If the £24 annual fee is a real sticking point though, Santander's standard credit card offers 15 months' interest free on both balance transfers and purchases  and doesn't charge a balance transfer OR annual fee  (representative APR of 18.9% thereafter).

Alteratives in the same camp if your debt is already with Santander include Halifax with its brand new offer delivering 13 months' interest-free on both transferred debt and new purchases and the Tesco Clubcard credit card which offers 12 months’ interest-free (representative APRs are both 18.9%).

Like Santander's 15/15 credit card, these deals are ENTIRELY fee-free.

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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