What’s the deal?
Barclaycard Platinum isn’t a new product but the interest-free period on balance transfers has been lengthened. New customers will qualify for a 15-month interest-free period on balance transfers, just one month less than Virgin’s market-leading offer. Previously the 0% balance transfer period on the Barclaycard Platinum ended on February 1 2011.
There is also a three-month, interest-free period on purchases.
Once the 0% offers end customers will be charged a standard annual percentage rate of 15.9%. The APR for cash withdrawals is higher at 27.9% and there is a 2.5% withdrawal fee.
Even though the length of the 0% period on balance transfers is an improvement on Barclaycard’s previous offering, it’s not all good news as it has tweaked other features of the Platinum deal and made them slightly less attractive.
The fee for transferring a balance on to the card has gone up from 2.5% to 2.9%, which will cost you an extra £8 on a £2,000 transfer.
The standard APR has also risen from 14.9% to 15.9%. This obviously won’t affect you if you clear your debt during the interest free period but if not, you’ll now pay more when it ends.
Although there is also an interest-free period on purchases, you should avoid using this card to spend on if you plan to take advantage of the balance transfer offer. After the first three months you’ll start accruing interest on your spending and your monthly payments will go towards paying off the balance transfer. You won’t actually start paying off your purchases until the transferred balance has been completely repaid.
Even though balance transfer cards are becoming increasingly popular again, consumers are becoming restricted as to which providers they can apply for.
For example the market-leading deal remains the Virgin Credit Card with a 0% balance transfer duration of 16 months, however, if you are a customer of MBNA you will not be able to transfer your outstanding balance with them to the Virgin card as the Virgin card is administrated by MBNA.
And the likes of NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland offer 15-month interest-free periods on balance transfers – the same as Barclaycard – but you must be a current account customer in order to qualify.
Because of the restrictions present in the market, the new Barclaycard Platinum is therefore likely to prove very popular.
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