Zero in on a balance transfer card

And look at Life of Balance too, says

Borrowers feeling the strain after Christmas are being tempted by zero per cent credit card balance transfer offers with nearly 70 per cent of standard cards now offering special deals*, analysis by shows.

It found 149 zero per cent balance transfer deals on the market with an average introductory offer of around 9.5 months.

Capital One offers a 15 month deal and some firms such as Virgin Money and Barclaycard are offering zero per cent for 13 months.

But the independent financial comparison website is urging people transferring debts to think carefully before they shuffle their cards. And it is urging people to consider companies offering low rates for balance transfers until the debt is cleared.

So-called Life of Balance cards offer rates ranging from 3.9 per cent to 5.94 per cent on balance transfers until the debt is cleared.

Companies such as M&S Moneyís &More Card, Citibank, Sainsburyís Bank and Intelligent Finance offer the lifetime deals, says.

Sean Gardner, Chief Executive of, said: ìCredit card customers have got the switching habit with more than £540 million** in debt swapped between cards each month.

ìHowever only around one in four of us have swapped cards in the past year to cut debts and pay off balances. Everyone who has debt on their card should consider changing credit card provider if it is possible to reduce their interest bill.

ìAnd of course if you are transferring debt you should also resolve to cut out spending on your card as well. That is the best way to control your finances and ensure you boost your finances.

ìZero per cent balance transfer deals are an excellent way to start the process. But remember if you do not clear the debt in the introductory period you will start paying interest and often that will be at a relatively steep rate. Life of Balance cards charge a low rate until the debt is cleared and could be the better solution.”

Someone transferring £3,000 to a card offering zero per cent for 12 months would need to pay £250 a month back during that period in order to clear the debt. If they still have debt left at the end of the 12 months typically they will then be charged around 15.9 per cent on the outstanding debt.

The average amount switched on cards last year was £763.99 but 1.4 million people moved balances of £5,000 or more, says.

Anyone switching cards is urged to be aware of balance transfer fees ñ on average across the market they are around 2.1 per cent with some firms going as high as three per cent. On a £5,000 debt the balance transfer fee would be £105 on average or as much as £150.

Compare 0% balance transfer credit cards

Compare life of balance credit cards

Notes * analysis of the Defaqto Aequos Database, 3.01.07

**YouGov interviewed 2,745 GB adults (18+) between 9th and 14th November 2006

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