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Compare Our Top-Rated 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards

By Agustin Giannastasio | Updated: 14th March 2022

With a balance transfer credit card, you transfer an existing high-interest credit card balance to a new card that offers a period of 0% interest on that transferred balance. This could provide you time you need to pay down your debt without adding new interest charges.

On this page, you’ll find our top-rated balance transfer credit cards and details on what to consider in order to pick the best balance transfer card for you.

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The Motley Fool's top-rated balance transfer credit cards:

Credit Card Great For Star Rating
M&S Shopping Plus Credit Card * Long 0% purchase and balance transfer, plus points
Santander All In One Credit Card * 0% offers, cashback and travel benefits in one card
HSBC Balance Transfer Card * Long balance transfer period
HSBC No-Fee Balance Transfer Card * Fee-free long balance transfer period
M&S Transfer Plus Credit Card * Really long balance transfer period
Santander Everyday Long Term Balance Transfer Credit Card * long 0% deal on balance transfers
Santander Everyday No Balance Transfer Fee Credit Card * balance transfers with no fee
The NatWest Balance Transfer Credit Card * NatWest customers consolidating debt
The Royal Bank Balance Transfer Credit Card * Royal Bank of Scotland customers consolidating debt
Sainsbury’s Bank No Fee Balance Transfer Card Balance transfers with no fee

Our top-rated 0% balance transfer cards reviewed:

Credit card offers from our affiliate partners appear first and are ordered from highest rating to lowest, followed by other top-rated offers. You can read more about our ratings and page sort here. Offers from affiliate partners are marked with a *.

Filter Results

Great For: Long 0% purchase and balance transfer, plus points

M&S Shopping Plus Credit Card *

4.5 stars ?

22 months

22 months

2.9%

21.9%

£0

Check Eligibility Apply Now!

On M&S Bank's Secure Website

CREDIT RATING REQUIREMENTS:

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

OUR BOTTOM LINE

The M&S Shopping Plus card ticks a lot of the boxes to make a great credit card. For starters, there’s a long 22-month 0% period on new purchases. But you can add to that a 22-month, 0% period for balance transfers made in the first 90 days and the M&S points programme. It is worth noting that there’s a 2.9% fee on balance transfers.

Read full review

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest on purchases for the first 22 months
  • 0% interest for 22 months on balance transfers made in the first 90 days
  • 2.9% balance transfer fee (minimum £5)
  • Earn M&S points for shopping at M&S and elsewhere

KEY SCORES

Perks 4/5
Fees 5/5
APR 4/5

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 21.9% APR (variable)
Purchase rate 21.9% p.a. (variable)
Assumed credit limit £1,200

* This is an offer from one of our affiliate partners. For more information on why and how we work with partners, click here.

Ready to apply? You can either Check Eligibility or Apply Now!
on M&S Bank's Secure Website

Great For: 0% offers, cashback and travel benefits in one card

Santander All In One Credit Card *

4.5 stars ?

26 months

20 months

0%

23.7%

£36**

CREDIT RATING REQUIREMENTS:

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

OUR BOTTOM LINE

A highly multi-functional card that should serve a wide variety of users. The All in One card offers 26-month 0% periods on balance transfers and 20 months 0% on purchases. During the promotional period, there’s no balance transfer fee – a very nice benefit.

Read full review

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest for 26 months from account opening on balance transfers
  • No balance transfer fee
  • 0% interest for 20 months from account opening on purchases
  • 0.5% cashback on all purchases
  • No foreign transaction fee (if you pay in local currency)
  • Special cashback offers of up to 15% with Retailer Offers (you must sign up for this)
  • ** The fee for this card is £3 per month, charged monthly (£36 in total annually)
  • Note: You can apply for a credit card if you’re a permanent UK resident aged 18 years or over, have a guaranteed annual income of £7,500 or more (before tax), have a good credit record and have not been declared bankrupt, had a CCJ or an IVA within the last 6 years.

KEY SCORES

Perks 5/5
Fees 5/5
APR 2/5

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

17.9% p.a. (variable) on card purchases. This is equivalent to 23.7% APR representative (variable) based on an assumed credit limit of £1,200. Monthly fee: £3.

* This is an offer from one of our affiliate partners. For more information on why and how we work with partners, click here.

Ready to apply? You can either Check Eligibility or Apply Now!
on Santander's Secure Website

Great For: Long balance transfer period

HSBC Balance Transfer Card *

4 stars ?

29 months

3 months

2.75%

21.9%

£0

Check Eligibility Apply Now!

On HSBC's Secure Website

CREDIT RATING REQUIREMENTS:

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

OUR BOTTOM LINE

Take a look around and you’ll see balance-transfer offers declining. That makes the 29 months on HSBC’s Balance Transfer Card more impressive. Note that there is a balance-transfer fee of 2.75%. 

Read full review

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest for 29 months on balance transfers made in first 60 days
  • 2.75% balance-transfer fee applies
  • 0% interest on purchases for the first 3 months
  • No annual fee

KEY SCORES

Perks 5/5
Fees 3/5
APR 3/5

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 21.9% APR (variable)
Purchase rate 21.9% p.a. (variable)
Based on an assumed credit limit of £1,200

* This is an offer from one of our affiliate partners. For more information on why and how we work with partners, click here.

Ready to apply? You can either Check Eligibility or Apply Now!
on HSBC's Secure Website

Great For: Fee-free long balance transfer period

HSBC No-Fee Balance Transfer Card *

4 stars ?

20 months

0 months

0%

21.9%

£0

Check Eligibility Apply Now!

On HSBC's Secure Website

CREDIT RATING REQUIREMENTS:

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

OUR BOTTOM LINE

Often you have to choose between a long 0% balance transfer period or a fee-free transfer. This is not the case with the new HSBC No-Fee Balance Transfer card. You get 20 months interest-free and there’s no balance transfer fee to pay – making it an interesting option for anyone looking for a balance transfer card. It is worth noting that transfers need to be made in the first 60 days in order to qualify for the promotional period. But as one of the longest fee-free balance transfer offers around, the card provides a good amount of time to pay off any debt.

Read full review

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest for 20 months on balance transfers made in first 60 days
  • No balance-transfer fee applies
  • No annual fee

KEY SCORES

Perks 2/5
Fees 5/5
APR 3/5

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 21.9% APR (variable)
Purchase rate 21.9% p.a. (variable)
Based on an assumed credit limit of £1,200

* This is an offer from one of our affiliate partners. Click here to learn more about why and how we work with partners.

Ready to apply? You can either Check Eligibility or Apply Now!
on HSBC's Secure Website

Great For: Really long balance transfer period

M&S Transfer Plus Credit Card *

4 stars ?

29 months

3 months

2.75%

21.9%

£0

Check Eligibility Apply Now!

On M&S Bank's Secure Website

CREDIT RATING REQUIREMENTS:

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

OUR BOTTOM LINE

The M&S Transfer Plus card gives you a very long 29 months of 0% interest on balances transferred in the first 90 days. Users will have to cough up a balance-transfer fee of 2.75% though. Balancing that out, the M&S Transfer Plus also offers 0% for 3 months on purchases and M&S points on all purchases.

Read full review

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest for 29 months on balances transferred in the first 90 days (2.75% fee applies)
  • 0% interest on purchases for 3 months
  • Earn M&S points for shopping at M&S and elsewhere

KEY SCORES

Perks 5/5
Fees 4/5
APR 4/5

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 21.9% APR (variable)
Purchase rate 21.9% p.a. (variable)
Assumed credit limit £1,200

* This is an offer from one of our affiliate partners. For more information on why and how we work with partners, click here.

Ready to apply? You can either Check Eligibility or Apply Now!
on M&S Bank's Secure Website

Great For: long 0% deal on balance transfers

Santander Everyday Long Term Balance Transfer Credit Card *

4 stars ?

31 months

3 months

2.75%

20.9%

£0

CREDIT RATING REQUIREMENTS:

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

OUR BOTTOM LINE

With an attractive combination of 0% interest free periods on balance transfers and purchases, no monthly or annual fee, plus an ongoing 15% cashback through Retailer Offers, the Santander Everyday Long Term Balance Transfer Credit Card is a competitive offering that’s worth considering.

Read full review

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest for 31 months on balance transfers from account opening.
  • 0% interest for 3 months on purchases from account opening.
  • Up to 15% cashback with Retailer Offers (you have to activate this benefit).
  • Up to 56 days interest-free period on purchases after end of introductory period.
  • 2.75% balance transfer fee (minimum £5)
  • No monthly or annual fee.

KEY SCORES

Perks 4.5/5
Fees 3.5/5
APR 3.5/5

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

20.9% p.a (variable) on card purchases. This is equivalent to 20.9% APR representative (variable) based on an assumed credit limit of £1,200.

* This is an offer from one of our affiliate partners. For more information on why and how we work with partners, click here.

Ready to apply? You can either Check Eligibility or Apply Now!
on Santander's Secure Website

Great For: balance transfers with no fee

Santander Everyday No Balance Transfer Fee Credit Card *

4 stars ?

18 months

3 months

0%

20.9%

£0

CREDIT RATING REQUIREMENTS:

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

OUR BOTTOM LINE

Yes, some balance transfer credit cards offer longer 0% introductory rates, but 18 months is still respectable. Better still, you don’t have to stump up an initial balance transfer fee.

Read full review

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% on balance transfers for 18 months from account opening
  • No fee to transfer a balance for the first 18 months
  • 0% on purchases for 3 months
  • Special cashback offers of up to 15% with Retailer Offers (you must sign up for this)
  • Note: You can apply for a credit card if you’re a permanent UK resident aged 18 years or over, have a guaranteed annual income of £7,500 or more (before tax), have a good credit record and have not been declared bankrupt, had a CCJ or an IVA within the last 6 years.

KEY SCORES

Perks 3/5
Fees 4.5/5
APR 3/5

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

20.9% p.a. (variable) on card purchases. This is equivalent to 20.9% APR representative (variable) based on an assumed credit limit of £1,200.

* This is an offer from one of our affiliate partners. For more information on why and how we work with partners, click here.

Ready to apply? You can either Check Eligibility or Apply Now!
on Santander's Secure Website

Great For: NatWest customers consolidating debt

The NatWest Balance Transfer Credit Card *

3.5 stars ?
Apply Now!

On NatWest's Secure Website

22 months

3 months

N/A

21.9%

£0

Apply Now!

On NatWest's Secure Website

CREDIT RATING REQUIREMENTS:

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

OUR BOTTOM LINE

NatWest customers interested in consolidating credit card debt and getting nearly two years of 0% interest on their balance transfer may want to check out the NatWest Balance Transfer Credit Card offer. In NatWest fashion, this is a simple, straightforward offer. The 22 months of 0% provides a good amount of time to pay down a lingering balance, while there’s no longer a balance transfer fee. Note that you must be a current NatWest current account, savings account, credit card or mortgage customer to apply.

Read full review

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest for 22 months (starting from account opening) on balance transfers made in the first 3 months
  • No balance transfer fee
  • 0% interest on purchases over the first 3 months
  • No annual fee
  • Note: You must be a current NatWest customer (current account, savings account, credit card or mortgage), be a UK resident and earn at least £10k per year to apply

KEY SCORES

Perks 2/5
Fees 4/5
APR 4/5

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 21.9% APR (variable)
Purchase rate 21.9% p.a. (variable)
Assumed credit limit £1,200

* This is an offer from one of our affiliate partners. For more information on why and how we work with partners, click here.

Ready to apply? You can Apply Now!
on NatWest's Secure Website

Great For: Royal Bank of Scotland customers consolidating debt

The Royal Bank Balance Transfer Credit Card *

3.5 stars ?
Apply Now!

On The Royal Bank of Scotland's Secure Website

22 months

3 months

n/a

21.9%

£0

Apply Now!

On The Royal Bank of Scotland's Secure Website

CREDIT RATING REQUIREMENTS:

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

OUR BOTTOM LINE

The Royal Bank Balance Transfer Credit Card may be an enticing offer for current Royal Bank customers. In fact, you have to be a current customer (current account, savings account, credit card or mortgage) to apply for this card. For those that are, this could be a good way to bring existing credit card debt all to one place and get 1.5 years of 0% interest to pay it down. 

Read full review

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest for 22 months (starting from account opening) on balance transfers made in the first 3 months
  • No balance transfer fee
  • 0% interest on purchases over the first 3 months
  • No annual fee
  • Note: You must be a current Royal Bank of Scotland customer (current account, savings account, credit card or mortgage), be a UK resident and make at least £10k per year to apply

KEY SCORES

Perks 2/5
Fees 4/5
APR 4/5

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 21.9% APR (variable)
Purchase rate 21.9% p.a. (variable)
Assumed credit limit £1,200

* This is an offer from one of our affiliate partners. For more information on why and how we work with partners, click here.

Ready to apply? You can Apply Now!
on The Royal Bank of Scotland's Secure Website

Great For: Balance transfers with no fee

Sainsbury’s Bank No Fee Balance Transfer Card

4.5 stars ?

18 months

3 months

0%

20.9%

£0

CREDIT RATING REQUIREMENTS:

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

OUR BOTTOM LINE

There’s a lot to like with the Sainsbury’s Bank balance transfer card. Cardholders get 18 months of 0% interest on balance transfers along with fee-free balance transfers over the first three months. In addition, cardholders can also take advantage of 0% interest on purchases over the first three months. And like other Sainsbury’s cards, users get perks in the form of Nectar points.

Read full review

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest on balance transfers for the first 18 months
  • No fee on balance transfers made in the first 3 months
  • 0% interest on purchases for the first 3 months
  • Up to 7,500 bonus Nectar points in the first 2 months

KEY SCORES

Perks 3.5/5
Fees 5/5
APR 3.5/5

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Purchase rate is 20.95% p.a. variable
With a representative 20.9% APR variable
Assumed credit limit £1,200

More about our top-rated 0% balance transfer credit cards

It’s often simpler to compare cards when you already know the type of balance transfer card you’re looking for. If that’s you, here’s a breakdown of our top-rated balance transfer credit cards from the list above per category:

Top-Rated Balance Transfer Cards with the Longest 0% Period

A longer 0% balance transfer is ideal in most circumstances. Here are the balance transfer periods of 24 months or longer:

Top-Rated Balance Transfer Cards with the Longest 0% Purchases Offer

A 0% purchase period can be a nice benefit to a balance transfer card as well. Here are the standout 0% purchase periods over one year:

Top-Rated No-Fee Balance Transfer Cards

0% Ballance Transfer Credit Cards may come with an initial balance transfer fee. Therefore, having no balance transfer fee may be  a huge bonus, although a no-fee card typically has shorter 0% interest periods and may have higher interest rates when the 0% period ends.

Here are the top-rated cards with no balance transfer fee:

Top-Rated Balance Transfer Cards with High Limits

A high limit balance transfer card may be appealing for some. But it’s important to remember that the credit limit on a credit card will be determined based on the credit-worthiness of the person applying. So even if a card would offer a very high credit limit to some cardholders, that doesn’t mean that all applicants will get offered a high limit. 

Here’s our top-rated balance transfer card with a high limit:

Now if you’re starting your balance transfer card search from scratch, we’ve broken down all the basics so you’re ready to pick the best card for you.

What is a 0% balance transfer credit card?

A 0% balance transfer card is a credit card that offers a period of 0% interest on balances that you transfer from other credit cards. While there may be other fees you encounter along the way (such as a balance transfer fee), a 0% balance transfer card can be a great financial tool to consolidate your debt and get some breathing room while paying down your credit card balance.

The average credit card interest rate in the UK is up to 21%. That can make paying down a balance challenging. That’s because even as you make payments, added interest means the balance continues to grow.

This is what makes a 0% balance transfer credit card so desirable. It gives you an extended period — sometimes multiple years — to pay down your existing balance without incurring fresh interest charges.

When a balance transfer isn’t 0%

When people talk about a ‘balance transfer credit card’, it’s usually synonymous with a 0% balance transfer credit card. But a balance transfer does not have to include a 0% period.

Many credit cards allow balance transfers without offering a promotional interest-free period. It’s a very similar thing: you transfer a balance from one credit card to another. But the important difference is that once the balance is transferred, you incur interest at the standard rate for the new card.

This obviously is a much worse deal than a 0% balance transfer. So when considering a balance transfer, be aware of whether the balance transfer comes with a 0% promotional period or not (note that all of the balance transfer cards listed on this page do include a 0% promotional period).

How do balance transfer cards work?

The balance transfer process is fairly simple. In effect, your new card company pays your old card company.

For example, let’s say you transfer a balance of £5,000 from a NatWest credit card with an 18% APR to a Sainsbury’s Bank credit card. In this case, the balance on your NatWest credit card account will decrease by £5,000 while your balance on your Sainsbury’s Bank card will increase by £5,000 (plus any applicable balance transfer fees).

Once the transfer is done, you will now have to pay back the balance to the issuer of your new card. In the example above, that’s Sainsbury’s bank. Only now, you will have time to pay it down without incurring new interest charges.

How much money does that save you over time? The table below shows how much you would save in interest by paying off a £5,000 balance during a 0% introductory period compared with paying off the same balance over the same time at an 18% APR.

Length of introductory 0% period

Amount saved

12 months

£500.80

15 months

£620.80

18 months

£742.54

21 months

£865.93

The interest saved depends on the length of your 0% introductory APR on balance transfer offer, how much debt you have to repay and whether you have to pay a balance transfer fee (note that the table above assumes no balance transfer fee). However, that being said, most people will find that switching their balance over will save them hundreds in the long run compared with carrying a balance on a standard APR credit card.

It is worth noting that you usually cannot transfer balances between cards owned by the same credit card provider.

How long is the 0% transfer period?

The 0% transfer period varies widely between credit cards. The time before interest is added could be anywhere from six months to 31 months. Generally, the cards with longer 0% transfer periods are only available to people with very high credit scores.

What happens when the 0% interest-free period ends?

When the 0% interest-free period ends on your credit card, you’ll be charged a new interest rate (this will have been in your original credit card agreement) and you will owe interest on any unpaid balance. Therefore, it can be a good idea to choose a card that offers you a long enough interest-free period that you can realistically pay off the full balance. 

Do all cards have a balance transfer fee?

Most balance transfer credit cards, especially those with the longest 0% interest periods, charge a balance transfer fee. This fee is worked out as a percentage of the amount you transfer, usually between 1.5% and 3% of your credit card balance. There are some cards that don’t charge a fee, but those tend to have shorter 0% interest periods and may have higher interest rates when the 0% period ends.

What to consider when choosing a balance transfer card

There are several things to consider when choosing a balance transfer credit card. These include:

  • The length of the introductory period – It might seem that the longer the balance transfer period, the better. But that’s not quite true. The longest offers on the market almost always include a balance transfer fee, so you may end up paying unnecessary fees if you go for a 0% period that’s longer than you actually need. So, the best thing to do is to consider how long you (conservatively) need to pay down your balance, and choose a card that matches that.
  • Balance transfer fee – All else equal, you want lower fees. With balance transfer cards, you can often find offers with more than 10 months of 0% interest with no balance transfer fee. However, the longer the balance transfer offer is, the higher the balance transfer fee is likely to be. So be aware of this when you’re comparing cards.
  • The card’s standard APR – Once the 0% promotional period runs out, you’ll start accruing interest at the APR rate that the card issuer gives to you. While it may be your goal to pay your balance in full before the end of the interest-free period, it is worth getting a card that has a low standard APR just in case you don’t keep up with your repayment plan.
  • The 0% purchase period – Many 0% balance transfer cards also offer a 0% purchases period. This can be nice to have, because it means that while you’re paying down the balance you’ve transferred, you can also avoid building interest on new purchases. But there’s a catch here. The balance transfer period and the 0% purchases period aren’t always the same, and keeping track of when each period runs out can get confusing if you’re not careful. And that can make avoiding incurring interest more challenging.
  • Other fees – As mentioned above, most balance transfer cards don’t carry an annual fee. So, a balance transfer card with an annual fee better be truly top notch to be worth it. It’s unusual for a balance transfer card to not have a non-sterling transaction fee. So, if you do a lot of travelling abroad, consider a travel-focused credit card that doesn’t have that fee.
  • Rewards and other perks – When you’re comparing balance transfer cards, keep the most important thing in focus — finding a card that provides a 0% period that’s long enough for you to pay down your balance and, ideally, doesn’t hit you with a balance transfer fee. But if you’re choosing between multiple cards that have similar 0% periods and similar balance transfer fees, why not choose the one that rewards you for your spending as well?

Pros of 0% balance transfer cards

There are two main advantages of a 0% balance transfer credit card. These are:

  • Repay debt faster. If you have an outstanding debt on one or more credit cards, transferring the balance to a low or 0% interest balance transfer card could save you a lot of money in interest repayments – this means you can pay off your debt more quickly.
  • Debt consolidation. Depending on your total debts, a balance transfer card will enable you to combine balances from other credit cards onto one card. You’ll only need to make one monthly repayment, making it easier to manage your finances.

Cons of 0% balance transfer cards

If you’re carrying a credit card balance and paying high rates of interest, a 0% balance transfer card can be a great tool to help you deal with that debt. But there are a few things that you need to keep in mind when using balance transfer cards.

  • Transfer fees: Many balance transfer cards carry some sort of balance transfer fee. The fee is typically around 1% to 3% of the balance you are transferring. If your balance is £5,000, for example, you would have to pay £150 in fees with a balance transfer card that charges a transfer fee of 3%.
  • The 0% interest period ends: Another thing to be conscious of with a balance transfer period is how long your introductory 0% promotional period is. One of the largest risks of taking a card out like this is that you still have a balance left on the card when the interest-free introductory period ends. When the 0% period ends, the card reverts to its standard APR. It is wise to ensure you pay the balance off in full before the end of the introductory period. Otherwise, when the promotional period ends, you’ll start racking up interest at the card’s regular rate.
  • Monthly minimum payments: In order to keep your interest-free introductory rate, most cards require you to make your minimum monthly payments. If you miss any payments — and with some cards this only has to happen once — you could lose your 0% APR offer. When that happens, interest on balances will be charged at the standard APR.
  • Could impact your credit score: Finally, any sort of balance that sits on a credit card, whether or not it is under a 0% interest term, could count against you in terms of your credit score. If you apply for a mortgage or a loan, the lender will most likely conduct a credit check, which will look at any existing credit card accounts and the level of debt you owe. While the balance may no longer be incurring interest charges, it is still a balance that you will need to repay and a factor the lender will consider when deciding whether to loan you money.

Does a balance transfer affect your credit score?

 Although a balance transfer can be helpful in managing debt, yes, it can also affect your credit score. 

Here are some things to consider: 

  • Try not to make multiple card applications: Applying for a lot of credit cards within a short time frame can damage your credit score. It’s best to research a range of cards before hand and then just apply for the one that works best for you and that you are likely to be approved for.
  • Lenders prefer long-term accounts:New credit of any type can affect your credit score because lenders prefer long-term accounts that demonstrate consistent credit use over years. Therefore, a new credit card will likely cause a dip in your credit score. The good news is that this dip should be temporary.
  • Reducing debt: 0% interest cardscan help you reduce your credit balance quicker. If you can clear your balance without missing payments, your credit score will improve in the long term.

Is a 0% balance transfer credit card right for you?

A balance transfer card is not the right option for everyone. It is a useful financial tool, but if used incorrectly could lead you into deeper debt.

It could be right for you if…

Give yourself a quick check against the following three statements. If you can say ‘yes’ to all three, then you may be a good candidate for a balance transfer credit card:

  • You have an existing credit card debt at a high APR
  • You are serious about paying your balance off in full
  • You won’t overspend on your old credit card and end up with a new balance to pay down

Consider an alternative if….

Consider an alternative if you don’t plan to pay off the card within the 0% period. If you transfer a balance but don’t pay it off, while racking up another large balance on your old card at high standard APR, you could end up in a much worse financial situation.

However, if you are conscientious, do your research and make your payments, a balance transfer card can be a brilliant way to consolidate debt and get yourself out from underneath high interest charges.

What is the best balance transfer credit card?

Unfortunately, we can’t say one card is the best balance transfer card, as it will largely depend on your personal financial situation. But, we can help you determine the best steps to finding the card that fits your needs.

How to find the best balance transfer credit card for you

Here are a few steps to think about to find the best balance transfer card for you:

1. Outline your financial goals

Start with understanding your goals and how a credit card plays into them. Do you want to pay off debt? Will you need a card for new spending? That will help you choose the right one for you.

2. Compare balance transfer cards

Now that you know your goals, compare balance transfer cards with the features we’ve outlined above. Hopefully this page will give you a good idea of what some good options for you could be.

3. Use a balance transfer calculator

Once you’ve found a few potential card options, our Balance Transfer Calculator can help you break down which card will help you save the most.

4. Check your eligibility and apply

Lastly, before you apply for a balance transfer card, you’ll want to check your eligibility. Our Credit Card Eligibility Checker is another helpful tool to make sure you qualify for a card before you apply for it and potentially harm your credit score.

This is especially important with balance transfer cards, as most of them typically require a higher credit score than an average card.

Once you’ve ensured you’re eligible, you can apply for the card.

Alternatives to balance transfer cards

While a balance transfer credit card can be a great way to repay debt, there are alternatives:

  • Pay down your existing credit card balance. If you have more than one cards, then pay at least the minimum payment on each one every month, and use any extra money to make further payments on the debt with the highest interest rate. Once you have fully paid off that card, start repaying the next most expensive. This tactic is often known as the debt avalanche.
  • Apply for a debt consolidation. This is a type of personal loan that often charges a lower APR than credit cards. You then use the loan to pay off your existing credit cards.
  • Request debt relief. If you’re having serious problems in repaying your debt, you can apply for a payment plan. This involves speaking with your creditors to negotiate new terms that will help you repay your debt, such as a longer time frame to pay, or a lower interest rate.

Our methodology for choosing the top-rated 0% balance transfer cards

Since everyone’s financial situation is a bit different, the ‘best’ credit card with no balance transfer fee won’t be the same for everyone. Our aim at The Motley Fool is to provide ratings and top picks that will fit the average reader. But when considering our ratings, it’s also important to think about how well the card will fit with your own personal situation. 

With that in mind, here are the top things we looked at when selecting our list for the top balance transfer cards:

  • Length of the 0% introductory APR for balance transfers – All things equal, we favor longer 0% periods. The longer the 0% interest period, the longer you have to pay down your balance without incurring new interest charges.
  • Balance transfer fee – We have a strong preference for cards with no balance transfer fee, since that keeps your costs down. But if you’re looking for the longest balance transfer periods on the market, you should prepare yourself to pay a balance transfer fee.
  • Representative APR for the card after the introductory APR period – The ideal is to pay down your balance before the 0% period is over, but we favor cards that avoid sky-high APRs, just in case there’s still a balance when the regular APR kicks back in.
  • Inclusion and length of a 0% introductory APR for purchases – If you already carry a credit card balance, your focus should be on paying that down. But life doesn’t stop while you’re paying off your debt, so we reward cards that have a 0% purchases period, which provides a 0% interest period on new spending.
  • Other fees, including annual fees and non-sterling transaction fees – All else equal, we prefer cards with lower fees. Annual fees are very uncommon among balance transfer cards, so if a balance transfer card has one, we take that into account when rating cards. On the other hand, it’s hard to avoid non-sterling transaction fees (fees you pay when paying in a foreign currency) with balance transfer cards.
  • Rewards, cashback and other perks – Sure, earning rewards may not be at the top of your mind when comparing balance transfer cards, but if you can rewards and other perks along with a long 0% balance transfer period, we think that’s even better.

The scores you see above take all of these factors into account, and we update these ratings as new cards come to market and the terms change on existing cards.


In this section:

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is a balance transfer?

    It's when you transfer an existing debt balance from one financial institution to another, usually to take advantage of a promotional 0% or low-interest period. To see how much money you could save, check out our new balance transfer calculator

    Are balance transfers a good idea?

    It’s valuable to avoid paying high interest rates on debt where possible, and balance transfer credit cards allow a period of many months for cardholders to pay off what they can without getting further in the red due to interest racking up.

    How long does a balance transfer take?

    This varies by bank and can range from one working day to multiple weeks. When you are approved for a 0% balance transfer, your new bank should be able to provide information on how long it will take to process your transfer.

    What is a balance transfer fee?

    This is a fee that you often have to pay when making a balance transfer. A balance transfer fee typically ranges from 1% to 3%, though there are some credit cards that offer no-fee balance transfers.

    Can I transfer a balance from more than one card?

    This depends on the card’s provider, but most allow multiple balances to be transferred, up to the new card’s balance transfer threshold.

    Can you balance transfer someone else's credit card?

    Technically, this is possible, but not all providers allow you to transfer another person’s balance to a credit card in your name. And it is likely that even the providers that do allow this will have some restrictions in place.

    For example, the person whose balance you’re transferring may need to be a family member, your partner, or a close friend. Also, only you can request the transfer, not the person whose balance needs to be transferred.

    Be aware it is risky to take on someone else’s credit card debt. You should only do it if you trust that they will make the repayments. Otherwise, you’ll need to be happy to pay off the debt if they don’t.

    Once you have transferred, the debt will be in your name. This means that you are legally responsible for paying it.

    Do balance transfers hurt your credit?

    Signing up to ANY new card has a small negative impact on your credit score, since 15% of it is based on how long you’ve had the account. However, the longer it’s been open, the credit score improves.

    In terms of balance transfers, this will likely add an inquiry on your credit file (leading to a minor decrease in your score in the short term). But, assuming you’ve left your old account open and not taking on more debt, you’re decreasing your balance-to-limit ratio (also known as utilisation rate) and this can improve credit score!

    Finally, balance transfer cards are designed to help pay off debt at a faster rate, by decreasing the interest that accumulates. And reducing the amount of debt carried should lead to a better credit score.

    How many times can I balance transfer?

    There is no limit on the amount of times you can transfer balances to a different card - so long as your credit score is enough to be considered for a new card, of course!

    Can I transfer a balance from an Amex card?

    In theory yes, but many providers no longer accept transfers from American Express credit cards. Additionally, since Amex cards tend to have a 15-digit number on the front compared to the 16 digits on MasterCard and Visa cards, this has been found to cause errors in balance transfer applications online.

    Learn more


    The Motley Fool receives compensation from some advertisers who provide products and services that may be covered by our editorial team. It’s one way we make money. But know that our editorial integrity and transparency matters most and our ratings aren’t influenced by compensation. The statements above are The Motley Fool’s alone and have not been provided or endorsed by bank advertisers. The Motley Fool has recommended shares in Lloyds, Tesco and Barclays.

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