Focus on: 0% for next 15 months on balance transfers and purchases

So, you've recently returned from your summer break and all you've got to show for it is a fading tan and a stack of credit card debt. On top of that, you're now dealing with the costs of a new school term, while the thought of Christmas lurks at the back of your mind, threatening to strike at any moment.

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If this sounds familiar, the NatWest Platinum Balance Transfer and Purchase Credit Card could be your knight in shining armour!

Offering a market leading 15 months at 0% on both balance transfers and purchases, here, we take a closer look to see whether this is the plastic for you.

What's the deal?

The NatWest Platinum Balance Transfer and Purchase credit card offers 15 months interest-free on both balance transfers and purchases and, as it also comes with the lowest balance transfer fee of 0.9%, it is the market leading deal in this camp.

This means you can shift existing credit card debt across to the NatWest card and pay no interest on it for 15 months. In addition, you can spend on the card and enjoy the same 0% shelter.

Who's it good for?

The NatWest Platinum Balance Transfer and Purchase Card is a great option for those looking to clear existing credit card debt without paying interest, as well as those looking to spread the cost of future purchases over a number of months, interest-free.

It's also ideal for those who want to transfer a balance but would prefer not to pay a high transfer fee for the privilege.

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Any catches?

Although the NatWest credit card is market leading for both balance transfers and purchases, you can enjoy even longer 0% shelters on balance transfers and purchases if you're happy to apply for two separate credit cards.

For example, the Barclaycard Platinum Credit Card with Extended Balance Transfer offers 28 months interest-free, but it also has a hefty 3.5% fee. So on a debt of £3,000, you'd pay £105 with Barclaycard, compared to the £27 you'd pay with NatWest.

And, if you're after a card for spending purposes, the Tesco Clubcard Credit Card for Purchases offers 18 months at 0% on spending.

Also be aware that if you have debt on an existing NatWest or Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) credit card, you won't be able to shift it to the NatWest Platinum Balance Transfer and Purchase card. This is because you can't transfer debt between cards from the same provider or group of providers and NatWest is part of the RBS Group.

As is typical of credit cards that come with a 0% promotional rate, you'll also need to ensure you have paid off both your balance transfer and your purchase debt on the NatWest card before the 15 months are up. If you don't, the representative annual percentage rate (APR) of 16.9% (variable) will kick in.

Finally, to qualify for the card, you will need to be aged 18 or over, a UK resident, earning at least £10,000 and have a good credit rating.

What's the verdict?

If you've got existing debt on a credit card that's charging you interest, and you also have a large purchase or group of purchases coming up, the NatWest Platinum Balance Transfer and Purchase credit card offers a competitive way of tackling both.

However, the Halifax Online All In One Credit Card also offers 15 months at 0% on balance transfers and purchases, but its transfer fee is marginally higher at 1% (£30 on a debt of £3,000). It has a representative APR of 16.9% (variable).

The Barclaycard Freedom Rewards Purchase Credit Card offers a slightly shorter 14 months interest-free on balance transfers and purchases, and has a higher transfer fee of 2.9% (£87 on a debt of £3,000).

But the Barclaycard also allows you to earn Freedom Rewards points wherever you shop, with double points on supermarket, petrol station and Transport for London spend, plus triple points at selected Freedom partners such as BHS, Strada and Cafe Rouge. You can then redeem your points on days out or at certain retailers. For example, you could use them for a trip to Legoland or Warwick Castle, or at Pizza Hut or Bella Italia, or at Debenhams or Halfords.

The Barclaycard has a representative APR of 18.9% (variable) which kicks in once the 0% shelter expires.

Top tip!

Being rejected for a credit card can damage your credit rating, so it's well worth taking a look at our SmartSearch facility before applying for one. This allows you to compare credit cards and get an idea of how likely you are to be accepted for each one without leaving a footprint on your credit file.

It's also a good idea to get hold of a copy of your credit report through one of the credit reference agencies. You can compare them through our credit reporting channel. If you spot any mistakes on your report, ask your bank or the credit reference agency to correct them.

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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