Our new daily column, Money MoT, road-tests the latest financial products to find out whether they pass our test.
As well as giving readers the key facts they need to know about these new deals, we look at whether there are more cost-effective alternatives on the market.
With Barclaycard launching its longest-ever balance transfer deal, is it time to consider switching your credit card ?
Barclaycard is offering a three year (36-month) low-cost balance transfer deal. Those switching existing credit card debts will pay an APR of just 4.9pc on their debts for this period, as well as getting six months interest free on any new purchases. Customers don't have to pay any fee to transfer credit card debts.
After the end of the three-year period the interest rate will revert to the standard APR of 18.9pc. However, those who use the card for new purchases and don't repay this money in full will pay this rate on the new spending after six months.
This card is primarily aimed at those who have run up debts on their credit card over the festive period and are looking to bring down the cost of their borrowing. If you don't clear your credit card in full each month you may be able to cut costs by switching to a balance transfer deal such as this.
Barclaycard's 4.9pc rate is likely to be lower than the interest rates charged on most standard credit cards. But it isn't the cheapest balance transfer deal on the market.
NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland (LSE: RBS.L - news) (part of the same group) offer a balance transfer deal where borrowers pay just 2.9pc, but only for a year. After this period the rate reverts to a standard APR of 9.9pc. Again this card has no balance transfer fee.
This means that if customers are confident of repaying their debts within a year NatWest offers the best deal. However, for those who know it will take longer to clear their debts, the Barclaycard option should prove to be the better deal over three years.
There are of course numerous 0pc balance transfer deals on the market, although they usually last for only 18 months and come with a higher balance transfer fee typically up to 3.5pc of the outstanding debt. In addition, these zero per cent cards are typically offered only to those with the near perfect credit histories.
Kevin Mountford, the head of banking at Moneysupermarket.com, said these low-rate credit cards could be a viable option for people looking to cut credit cards costs. "For those who need longer to clear their credit card debts these can be a better option than the zero per cent cards on the market," he said. "It isn't always the case that the lowest headline rate offers the best long-term value."
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