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Balance Transfer Credit Cards - Top Tips for Finding the Right One

Aug 17, 2007
Have you got an outstanding balance on a credit card that's draining your monthly spending money with high interest rates? You're not alone. Over the past few years, balance transfer credit cards have become one of the most popular types of credit card in the UK. Many people have found that they can save big money by transferring the carried balance from a high interest credit card to one that offers low or no interest on balance transfers from other cards.

Sounds like a great deal, doesn't it? Trade in the 15.4% interest that you're paying for 0% interest for 9 months - who wouldn't jump at the bargain? Before you dive for the first balance transfer credit card you're offered, though, take a few tips from finance experts.

1. Credit card companies are becoming increasingly wary of credit card jumpers - those who shift their balance from card to card when the interest free period is up. To combat those, they've come up with different structures for their balance transfer credit cards. Be sure to read all the fine print of your credit card agreement carefully so that you know exactly what you're getting when you transfer.
2. When you have a choice of several balance transfer cards that offer 0% interest for the same length of time, look to other terms to help you choose between them. In fact, when you compare balance transfer credit cards, there are several things you should be looking at.
* Interest rates on balance transfers are usually 0% for an introductory period. After the introductory period is over, other terms will apply.
* Length of time for the introductory rate is generally six months, though you may still find a few nine month rate cards around. The extra three months could be enough to give you time to pay the entire balance at no interest.
* Fees for balance transfers are one time charges by the credit card companies involved for doing the paperwork associated with your balance transfer. They vary from one credit card to the next,
* Interest rates on other purchases will be important if you intend to use your credit card for more than balance transfers. A card with a low interest rate AND 0% balance transfers is a great deal.
* Typical APR after introductory period is what you'll end up paying in interest if you don't pay off the entire balance within the introductory period.
* Terms of the balance transfer vary between balance transfer credit cards. Be sure you read all the terms and conditions carefully. Many cards will charge you interest for the full introductory period if you don't pay it off within the introductory period.

3. Compare balance transfer credit cards at a comparison website and you'll find information on dozens of credit card offers. When you have the right information, you'll find it easy to choose the best balance transfer credit card for you.

Whatever choice you make, be sure to count in all the associated fees and charges before deciding to transfer your outstanding balances to a 0% balance transfer credit card. Be sure that the interest you save by switching cards will be greater than the cost of doing so.
About the Author
Jon Francis has been involved with finance for many years! With an in-depth knowledge of the credit card UK market help helps others get the best from a credit card.
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