Save money on balance transfers and retail purchases with MoneySuperMarket's comparison of the best credit cards with 0% on balance transfers and 0% on purchases.
Balance transfer & purchases guide
Nobody wants a wallet full of credit cards. For a start, it can be tricky to manage, plus you could be more likely to run up debts.
Two cards in one
But what if you want your credit card to fulfil more than one function? You might want a purchase credit card to make a major purchase with. But you might also need a balance transfer card if you have built up other card debts over the years on which you are paying a high rate of interest.
For example, anyone with debts on a store card could be paying an annual percentage rate (APR) of about 30%. A switch to a cheaper balance transfer deal could wipe out this interest instantly for the stated period of time.
Some people take out two separate cards – one for balance transfers and one for purchases. But if you want to cut down on the weight in your wallet, several issuers offer a good deal on both balance transfer and purchases, all on one card.
For example, a number of balance transfer and purchase cards charge zero interest on both purchases and balance transfers for a limited period, which could be 12 months or more. And the cards can be a great way to cut the cost of credit and manage your debts.
Let’s say you pay for a £2,400 holiday with a card that charges zero interest for 12 months. If you set up a direct debit to pay £200 every month for a year, you will clear the debt by the time the 0% offer expires and pay no interest. In other words, the card works like an interest free loan.
At the same time, you can switch any debts you have on another card. And, again, so long as you clear the outstanding balance within the 0% period, you will pay no interest.
Watch out for fees though. Most 0% balance transfer cards charge a fee of between 2% and 3% of the outstanding balance to switch. A borrower with a debt of £2,000 could therefore pay a transfer fee of up to £60. But don’t let the fees put you off completely as you can still often make a saving by moving to a cheaper card.
You should also read the terms and conditions carefully as most cards do not offer the same deal on balance transfers and purchases. For example, your card might charge 0% on purchases for 12 months and 0% on balance transfers for nine months – and it can be confusing to juggle the two schedules. You might also be able to get a better deal if you opt for two separate cards.
Difficulty with debt
Most cards these days do not charge an annual fee, but there will almost certainly be penalties if you are late with a payment, miss a payment or breach your credit limit. If you think you are getting into difficulty with debt, seek advice immediately. A number of organisations offer free debt advice, including National Debtline and Step Change.
Compare credit cards
There are hundreds of credit card offers on the market, but MoneySuperMarket’s free independent comparison service can quickly and easily find the best deal for you, whether you want a balance transfer card, a purchase card, or both.
We're free and independent, as well as offering exclusive deals you can't get anywhere else.
MoneySuperMarket is a credit broker – this means we’ll show you products offered by lenders. We never take a fee from customers for this broking service. Instead we are usually paid a fee by the lenders – though the size of that payment doesn’t affect how we show products to customers.