Longest ever interest free period to pay off credit card spending

For those who need breathing space to pay back card debt, Barclaycard has launched the first 25-month 0% balance transfer card

Barclaycard has launched a market-leading 25-month 0% balance transfer card, the longest 0% period ever offered.

The Barclaycard 25-Month Platinum Visa card has a 3.2% fee which sees it storming to the top of the tables.

The fee of 3.2% means on a debt of £2,000 you’d have to pay £64 and if you’re moving over £4,000 there would be a £128 charge.

The move from Barclaycard is part of a fierce price war in this market. Just hours before the new Barclaycard offer was announced, Halifax briefly reached the top of the comparison tables with a new 24-month card which has a 3% fee.

But the Halifax card has now been pushed downwards to third place because as well as launching the new 25-month deal, Barclaycard has lowered the fee on its 24-month balance transfer card from 3.2% to 2.9%. This card also offers six months 0% interest on new purchases.



How does it compare?

This is the best product around for customers looking for a long 0% balance transfer period and the only card to offer a 25-month balance transfer window.

Here are the top five cards with long balance transfer windows:

Card

Balance transfer fee

0% balance transfer period

Fee to pay on £2,000 transfer

Fee to pay on £4,000 transfer

Barclaycard 25-Month Card

3.2%

25 months

£64

£128

Barclaycard 24-Month Platinum

2.9%

24 months

£58

£116

Halifax 24-Month Card

3%

24 months

£60

£120

MBNA 23-month Platinum Visa

2.85%

23 months

£57

£114

Tesco Clubcard Credit Card

29%

23 months

£58

£116

So if you think you could need 25 months to pay off your debt, go for the 25-month Barclaycard and pay a 3.2% fee. But if you're confident that two years will be enough, go for the 24-month Barclaycard because it charges a lower fee at 2.9%.

Of course, you may not need two years either. If that's the case you should probably look at the range of low-fee 0% cards currently on the market. The Barclaycard Platinum Low Balance Transfer Fee Visa card will give you a 12-month 0% period and only charges a 0.9% fee. So if you were transferring £2000, you'd only have to pay an £18 fee.

The Natwest Platinum Low Balance Transfer Fee card offers a slightly longer 13-month interest-free period but the fee is also slightly higher at 1%.



Balance transfer cards

If you've carrying a sizeable debt on your credit card, a balance transfer card can be a very useful tool.

Instead of paying around 18% interest, all your repayments will go towards paying down paying down your debt. You won't have any other cost apart from the transfer fee. However, do be careful. It's essential that you make the minimum repayment on your credit card every month on time. If you're late with a payment, your credit card provider will be delighted to take the opportunity to withdraw the 0% deal and start charging you chunky interest payments once again.

If at the end of the 0% period you still have debts to clear, it may be possible to change the money onto a new 0% card – but there is no guarantee you’ll be accepted for one so only use this option as a last resort. It's best to try and pay off your whole debt before the 0% period expires - that's why cards with long 0% periods make sense for folk with large debts.

Sadly though, some applicants won't be able to get a 0% card. They're normally only reserved for people with good credit ratings. If you're in that situation, don't despair. There are other options such as borrowing from a credit union or getting advice from one of the free debt charities such as National Debtline or StepChange Debt Charity.

But if you think you will be able to get a new 0% card, then get cracking and apply! Barclaycard's new 25-month offer is unprecendented and the range of cards across the market is also very strong.

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