Why? Because you can’t transfer debt to a 0% balance transfer card that is operated by the same provider – and Barclaycard tends to offer the very best deals in this camp.
But things have taken a surprise turn.
HSBC – not usually even a contender in the 0% balance transfer market – has swooped in with a credit card deal that matches the 34 months interest-free period offered by Barclaycard. In other words, if you have Barclaycard debt, you now have a new 0% interest home for it which is also the longest term available.
What’s the deal?
The HSBC credit card now charges NO INTEREST on balance transfers for 34 months. This means it’s as good as the table-topping Barclaycard Platinum Credit Card with Extended Balance Transfer.
However, the reason it is number two and not number one on our balance transfer tables is because the fee is higher – you’ll be charged 3.3% of the sum transferred with HSBC rather than 2.99% with Barclaycard.
Who’s it good for?
Anyone debt on a Barclaycard whose priority is accessing the longest time possible (almost three years) in which to pay it off – without paying interest.
After HSBC’s 34-month interest holiday the card’s representative annual percentage rate (APR) shoots up to a whopping 18.9% (variable). This is not unusual though – in fact Barclaycard’s APR is the same.
This means that, with either provider, for every £100 you still owe after 34 months you’ll be charged £18.90!
And the same transfer rules which apply to Barclaycard apply to HSBC too. You won’t be able to transfer debt to the credit card if it sits on another one that is also operated by the HSBC group. This includes Marks & Spencer, John Lewis and First Direct.
Also, if this sounds like the card for you then you need to act fast because we don't know how long it'll be available for.
What’s the verdict?
It’s great to see more of a mix in the 0% balance transfer tables and more choice for consumers is always welcome – but this development will only really help you if your debt is already with Barclaycard.
And the reason is simply the fee. With HSBC’s 3.3% charge, you’ll pay £33 for every £1,000 you transfer compared to £29.90 for every £1,000 you transfer to Barclaycard.
If you don’t need the absolute maximum interest-free period to pay down your debts though, your options suddenly expand.
Barclaycard is third in the 0% BT tables too, with its Platinum Credit Card. This deal offers 33 months at 0%, just one month shy of the leaders – but only charges a 2.79% fee.
And the pattern of a lower fee for a shorter 0% duration continues. The Tesco Bank Clubcard Credit Card for Balance Transfers for example, charges no interest for 25 months for a fee of 1.99%. That’s £19.90 on every £1,000 you transfer.
But Santander has spiced thingswith the launch of a brand new deal which will take some beating. Its 123 credit card now offers 23 months interest-free on both balance transfers and purchases, with no fee whatsoever on balance transfers. So, that means nearly TWO YEARS to pay off your debt without being charged a penny more than what you already owe.
The only catch is its £24 annual fee, though if you are a Santander 123 current account holder this is waived for the first year. You can find out more about this great deal with Laura Howard's article.
You can play around with different interest-free periods and fees on our balance transfer credit cards page.
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.