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0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards FAQ
Balance transfer deals give savvy credit card users the chance to access huge savings by banishing unwanted interest charges. By shifting your balance from an existing card to a 0% balance card, you can take advantage of low-interest rates - saving you hundreds or even thousands of pounds when repaying debt.
Because 0% balance cards allow you to pay back money at a lower rate, transfers often mean that you can pay off debt faster. Just keep in mind that you'll need to pay a small fee to switch your debt over in the first place. Fortunately, most fees are between 2.5% and 3%, a comparatively small price to pay for a faster route to a debt-free life.
How long does a 0% balance transfer take?
In many cases, transferring to a 0% card will only take a few days. However, depending on the provider you choose, you might find that you're waiting for up to two weeks before your new card is delivered in the mail, followed by another week's wait to make the transfer.
Do I have to pay a monthly minimum?
While 0% deals can be an excellent solution for thrifty consumers, they don't mean you can avoid making any regular payments. You'll still be expected to make at least the minimum monthly payments on your debt - otherwise, you could end up facing significant penalties, or even lose your 0% deal.
When is the best time to apply for a balance transfer?
To get the most from a 0% balance transfer, it's a good idea to apply for the switch at least three weeks before you need to pay off the balance on your old card. Keep in mind you may be required to transfer all debts within a month or two of opening the new card.
Can money be transferred to my bank account?
Usually, 0% balance transfer credit cards should allow you to send money to your bank account with a 0% interest rate for an introductory period of a certain number of months depending on the provider.
How much money can I transfer?
Depending on the provider you choose you will be allowed to transfer a specific percentage of your credit limit, usually within the region of 90 to 95%. For example, if your credit limit is £5,000, you would be able to use £4,500 towards your balance transfers.
How can I repay a 0% balance transfer?
Most of the time, the best way to manage your debt is to create a direct debit. If you move a balance of £4,500 over to your 0% card, you could set up a direct debit for £150 a month that hopefully leaves you debt-free by the time the 0% interest rate offer expires. If you can't repay your debt by the end of the offer, you could start to rack up standard-rate interest again.
What will my credit limit be?
Following your application for a 0% card, your chosen provider should give you an insight into what your credit limit will be. It will be dependent on your circumstances as well as the provider you choose. Remember, while you might receive a sizeable credit limit on your new card, you might not pay the same rate for new purchases as you do for the initial transfer of debt. For instance, you may receive a 0% interest deal on all balance transfers for 37 months, but still be required to pay 16% interest on purchases.
Does my credit record matter?
Yes. Your lender will decide your eligibility for a balance transfer, as well as credit limits and APR based on your credit record. Often, the top deals are only available to those with a clean credit record.
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Helpful links for credit card issues
Money Advice Service - The government's Money Advice Service website provides concise, unbiased information on choosing and using credit cards as well as handy tools such as credit card calculators.
The UK Cards Association - The British trade association for card payment companies has an extensive range of guides on their website covering all the types of payment cards available to UK consumers including debt, credit and prepaid cards.
Financial Fraud Action (FFA) UK - The Financial Fraud Action website features important advice on using payment cards safely and securely as well as information on the latest scams.
Financial Ombudsman Service - If you've already made a complaint to your card provider and have not had your issue resolved satisfactorily then the next step is to take up your complaint with the Financial Ombudsman.
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