Back in August we reported the arrival of the longest-ever 0% balance transfer (BT) credit card – a whopping 40-month deal from Virgin.
It was only available for a short period to mark the Virgin’s twentieth anniversary in business. But now it’s back for a strictly limited period, until 16 December 2015
What is a 0% balance transfer (BT) card?
With a BT card, you transfer debt from an existing credit card that’s charging you interest over to the new card, which won’t charge interest for a stated period.
So you’ve got that length of time – 40 months, in Virgin’s case – to clear your debt. And it’s important to do so before the deadline, or you’ll start paying interest at 17.48%.*
*Representative Example: If you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 18.9% p.a (variable) your representative rate will be 18.9% APR (variable)
The next longest 0% BT cards offer 37 months interest-free.
What are the costs?
To access the 40 months of free credit on this Virgin card, you have to pay a fee.
This is charged at 2.99% of the amount you transfer over (and there’s a minimum charge of £3). So, if you transfer anything up to £100, you’ll pay £3. Transfer a higher amount, and the charge will also be higher.
For example, transfer £500 of debt at 2.99% and you’ll pay £14.95. Transfer £2,000 and it will cost you £59.80.
Another rule is that you have to make the transfer within 60 days of being accepted for the card – if you transfer after 60 days the fee goes up to 5% and you would not get the 0% rate.
And you can’t transfer a balance from one Virgin card to another.
Take account of charges
The charges levied to transfer funds vary, and Virgin’s, at 2.99%, is relatively high. A number of BT cards charge 1% or less but have shorter interest-free periods.
That means, if you think you can clear you debt in less than 40 months, it might be worth opting for a card with a smaller fee.
Say your debt is £1,000 and you can afford to clear £50 per month – you should then consider a card with a 20-month interest-free period with a lower fee than Virgin is charging.
The Virgin 40-month offer really comes into its own for those who need the longest time possible to pay off their debts.
Use our calculator
To give you an idea of your best options, take a look at our Balance Transfer Calculator.
All you have to do is put in the balance you want to transfer and the monthly repayment you can afford and it will show you the cheapest option (it assumes you’ll pay the same amount each month, so if that’s not going to be the case, then the answer won’t necessarily be right).
If you’re worried about being rejected…
Before proceeding with your application, it’s well worth using the ‘Will I get it?’ option next to any card in our BT calculator. We’ll tell you how likely you are to get a ‘yes’ for the card.
This is especially important if you have been rejected for a card previously, as each rejection can make things worse. If you’re in this situation, our Smartsearch facility allows you to check all the cards on the market to find those most likely to accept you.
Remember: credit limits and interest rates will vary based on your individual circumstances.
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.