Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards of 2018

We researched dozens of balance transfer offers to find the best ones for reducing interest and managing existing credit card debt. Check out our recommendations, which we tailored to specific categories and consumer needs. In each, we identify a few balance transfer deals based on the best features. If you're not sure where to start check out our balance transfer guide.

The guidance on this site is based on our own analysis and is meant to help you identify options and narrow down your choices. We do not advise or tell you which product to buy; undertake your own due diligence before entering into any agreement. Read our full disclosure here.

  • Learning
    How Does a Balance Transfer Work?
  • Comparing
    Summary of the Best Balance Transfers
  • Choosing
    How To Pick a Balance Transfer Credit Card for You

According to our analysis of the market, the following cards stand out as objectively the best for certain criteria. The best card for you will depend on your individual situation and spending patterns.

Best Balance Transfer Cards with No Fee

You won't pay a fee to transfer existing credit card balances to a "No Fee" balance transfer card—so long as you make the transfer within a short window from the time the card is opened. Typically this window is 60 days or 90 days, so be sure to check that detail or your transfer fee may jump up to 3% to 5% of the transfer amount. The best No Fee balance transfer offers are currently just shy of 2.5 years with no interest charges.

Best No Balance Transfer Fee: Halifax Credit Card

Consider this if you don't want to pay a transfer fee.

Purchase Rate (variable) 19.9%
0% on Purchases for up to 3 months
0% on Balance Transfers for up to up to 23 months
Initial Balance Transfer Fee 0%
FX Fee 2.95%
Cash Fee 3% (min £3)

This Halifax Credit Card offer is a no-fee balance transfer with a 23-month 0% APR intro period. New purchases you make with the card are also interest free for 3 months. As is common with many balance transfer cards, applicants with a weaker credit history may get a shorter 0% interest balance transfer period. In the case of the Halifax Credit Card, you may only be offered a promotional period of 18 months, instead of 23 months. In either case, there is no fee when you initially transfer the balance during the 90-day welcome period.

Pros
  • One of the longest No Fee 0% APR periods
  • No Fee
Cons
  • You may only get a 0% APR for 18 months

Best No Balance Transfer Fee: Sainsbury's No Balance Transfer Fee

Consider this if you want to earn Nectar points on purchases while managing existing debt.

Purchase Rate (variable) 18.9%
0% on Purchases for up to 3 months
0% on Balance Transfers for up to 24 months
Initial Balance Transfer Fee 0%
FX Fee 2.75%
Cash Fee 3% (min £3)

The Sainsbury's No Balance Transfer Fee card acts as a rewards card as well as a balance transfer card with 24 months of waived interest. While you don't earn rewards on transferred balances, you will earn Nectar points on new purchases with the card, at a rate of 2 points per £1 spent on Sainsbury's shopping and fuel, and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere. Please note that a 1.5% balance transfer fee is charged initially but is refunded within 60 days if you're not in default.

Pros
  • Longest No Fee 0% APR period
Cons
  • You will be charged a 1.5% fee initially (later refunded)

Virgin Money 12 Months at 0% (Travel Card)

Consider this if want to use your card abroad when you travel.

Purchase Rate (variable) 19.9%
0% on Purchases for up to 12 months
0% on Balance Transfers for up to 12 months
Initial Balance Transfer Fee 0%
FX Fee none
Cash Fee 5%

Virgin Money's Travel Card is a solid option for travellers who can cope with only 12 months of no interest on balance transfers. The card offers 0% APR for 12 months on both purchases and balance transfers. Plus, as a Travel Card it doesn't charge non-sterling transaction fees when you spend abroad. If you are approved for this credit card, you should get the full 0% interest duration advertised; Virgin does not give shorter promotional periods to some customers. Virgin's Card Checker eligibility checker will tell you how likely it is that you will be accepted, before you apply.

Pros
  • No FX fees when used abroad (but there is a 5% non-sterling cash withdrawal fee)
  • Longer 12-month 0% APR on purchases
  • If approved, you get the full 12-months of no-interest
Cons
  • Shorter 60-day window to make initial transfers

Best Balance Transfer Cards with Low Balance Transfer Fee

"Low Fee" balance transfer offers typically provide around 30+ months of 0% APR on balance transfers and charge a relatively low transfer fee of around 1%, so long as you make the transfer within a short window from the time the card is opened. Typically this window is 60 days or 90 days, so be sure to check that detail.

Best Low Fee Balance Transfer: Barclaycard Platinum 30-Month Balance Transfer

Consider this if you need 2.5 years to manage your existing debt.

Purchase Rate (variable) 19.9%
0% on Purchases for up to up to 6 months
0% on Balance Transfers for up to up to 30 months
Initial Balance Transfer Fee 0.55%
FX Fee 2.99%
Cash Fee 2.99% (min £2.99)

The Barclaycard Platinum 30 month balance transfer is another medium-duration offer, initially charging a 3.5% fee per balance transfer but part of this fee is refunded, bringing the net fee down to 0.55%. This partial fee refund is only available to new customers and those whose account is not in default when the credit is due—so make sure you stay under the credit limit and make your payments on time. The Barclaycard's initial transfer window is 60 days, meaning you must transfer your balances within the first 60 days in order to receive the promotional rates. Be sure to use the soft-search eligibility checker to see your odds of being accepted.

Pros
  • Low effective transfer rate
Cons
  • Balance transfer fee is initially 3.5% but should be partially refunded down to 0.55%
  • Shorter 60-day window to make initial transfers

Best Low Fee Balance Transfer: Halifax Low Balance Transfer Fee Offer

Consider this if you want a low balance transfer fee and 0% on purchases.

Purchase Rate (variable) 19.9%
0% on Purchases for up to up to 12 months
0% on Balance Transfers for up to up to 30 months
Initial Balance Transfer Fee 1.2%
FX Fee 2.95%
Cash Fee 3% (min £3)

The Halifax Low Balance Transfer Fee offer is one of the best deals for paying no interest for 2 and a half years on your existing credit card debt. The 0% APR promotional period lasts 30 months and you'll be charged a fee of 1.2% to transfer balances in the first 90 days. Additionally you'll get a 0% on purchases for 12 months. Try to pay off any new purchases by the end of this 12-month promotional period so that you don't end up with a remaining outstanding balance on which interest will be charged, when the intro period ends.

Use Halifax's eligibility checker to see your odds of being accepted before you apply. This pre-application check performs a soft credit search that will not harm your credit rating.

Pros
  • Low transfer fee
  • Longer window to transfer initial balances (90 days)
Cons
  • You may only get a 0% APR for 18 months

Best Low Fee Balance Transfer: Virgin Money 30 Months

Consider this if you want a low balance transfer fee and 0% on purchases.

Purchase Rate (variable) 20.9%
0% on Purchases for up to 3 months
0% on Balance Transfers for up to 30 months
Initial Balance Transfer Fee 0.55%
FX Fee 2.99%
Cash Fee 5%

This mid-duration balance transfer offer from Virgin Money charges a low promotional fee of 0.55% for 30 months of 0% APR on initial balance transfers made within the first 60 days. After this initial period, balance transfers become more expensive as they are subject to a 5% fee and interest rate of 20.9% APR (variable). One benefit of Virgin balance transfer cards is that if you are approved, you'll get the full 0% interest duration advertised—Virgin won't give you a shorter 0% interest period like some other cards. Use CardChecker to see your chances of being accepted before you apply, without harming your credit score.

Pros
  • Low initial transfer fee
  • If approved, you get the full 30-month 0% APR period
Cons
  • Shorter 60-day window to make initial transfers
  • Beware of higher transfer fees (5%) after the 60-day window

Longest Balance Transfer Credit Cards

"Longest" balance transfer offers charge a higher fee to transfer your balance, in exchange for the longest 0% APR promotional periods. Typically the longest balance transfer offers are available up to around 36 months of 0% interest, with fees around 3%.

Best Longest Balance Transfer: Barclaycard 35-Month Balance Transfer

Consider this if you need a long time to pay back your credit card debts.

Purchase Rate (variable) 19.9%
0% on Purchases for up to up to 6 months
0% on Balance Transfers for up to up to 35 months
Initial Balance Transfer Fee 1.85%
FX Fee 2.99%
Cash Fee 2.99% (min £2.99)

We think Barclaycard's 35-month balance transfer is currently the cheapest offer if you need as much time as possible to bring your existing credit card debt under control. The 1.85% effective transfer fee is very competitive, but be aware that you'll initially be charged a 3.5% transfer fee—your account will be credited with the difference within 28 days of the balance transfer, so long as your account is not in default. You'll pay around 1% less in fees compared to other long balance transfer offers on the market, so long as you pay on time and stay within your credit limit to get the partial fee refund.

Pros
  • Low effective transfer rate
  • Long 0% APR on balance transfers
Cons
  • Balance transfer fee is initially 3.5% but should be partially refunded down to 1.85%
  • Shorter 60-day window to make initial transfers

Summary of Features: Balance Transfer Credit Cards

Below is a summary of some balance transfer cards available in the market, so you can get a big-picture idea of features like fees and duration. There may be other balance transfer cards available that offer better features; we are not recommending any particular card. We are merely showing a selection of cards with different durations so you can get a picture of the market, to help you decide for yourself what type of card is best for you.

Best For...Card0% Balance Transfer TimeInitial Balance Transfer FeeQuick Overview
No Fee (short duration)Halifax 0% Balance Transfer Fee Offer23 months0% fee3 months of 0% purchases
No Fee (short duration)Sainsbury's No Balance Transfer Fee24 months0% feeEarn Nectar points on new purchases
No Fee (short duration)Tesco 0% Balance Transfer Fee22 months0% feeEarn Tesco Clubcard points on new purchases
No Fee (short duration)Virgin 12 Months at 0%12 months0% fee3 months of 0% purchases & No FX fees for travel
Low Fee (medium duration)Barclay Platinum 30-Month30 months0.55% fee (initially 3.5%, then partially refunded)6 months of 0% purchases
Low Fee (medium duration)Halifax Low Fee Balance Transfer Offer30 months1.2% fee12 months of 0% purchases
Low Fee (medium duration)Virgin 30 Months at 0%30 months0.55% fee3 months of 0% purchases
Long (long duration)Barclay Platinum 35-Month35 months1.85% fee (initially 3.5%, then partially refunded)6 months of 0% purchases

Credit Card Balance Transfer Explained

Balance transfer credit cards can help consumers manage their credit card debt, by moving an outstanding balance from one or more interest-charging credit cards to a 0% interest card. Balance transfer credit cards have a positive impact on your financial situation in two ways. First, you will save money by not paying any interest charges on your outstanding balance during the 0% promotional period. Second, any money you might have spent on interest charges can now be applied to pay down your balance, allowing you to become debt free sooner.

You are still responsible to pay your monthly minimum payment every month, with the benefit that your entire payment will go towards reducing your outstanding balance. In other words, "0% balance transfer deal" doesn't mean you will pay nothing, it just means that you will pay no interest for that period. In fact, you must make at least the minimum monthly payment om time or you'll lose the 0% promotional rate.

Let's work through an example of the average UK cardholder with a balance of £3,500 on a credit card that is charging you 18.9%. Assuming you don’t purchase anything else with the card, and can make monthly payments of £150, it will take you 29 months to pay off this debt. Along the way you will have paid over £800 in interest. Instead, if you transfer your £3,500 credit card balance to a balance transfer credit card, such as the Halifax 26-Month Balance Transfer Credit Card, you will pay off this debt in 24 months, and have incurred NO interest charges along the way. Not only will you be debt free sooner, but you will have an extra £800 in your pocket. A balance transfer card can have significant meaning to those trying to pay off debt.

How Much can you Save on a Balance Transfer? (Assuming you pay £150 a month on a £3,500 balance)

Interest ChargesMonths Until Debt Free
Current 18.9% Credit Card£81129
0% Balance Transfer Card£024

Balance transfer offers are defined by two key features: the fee and the interest-free period (or duration). The balance transfer fee is a charge, usually calculated as a % of the balance you are transferring. This fee can range from 0% (e.g., "no fee") to 3%, or more. The interest-free period is the number of months for which there are no interest charges on the transferred balance. Essentially, your balance sits for free during the interest-free period, while you work to pay down the outstanding amount. The fee size is directly related to the interest-free period. Usually, the longer the interest-free period, the higher the fee. You can find shorter-duration cards, with interest-free periods up to 26 months, that charge no fee at all.

Be aware that, in almost all cases, if you exceed your credit limit or do not pay at least the minimum monthly payment on time, you will lose the 0% APR intro period. If that happens, you will be charged interest at the stated balance transfer rate, which is usually well in excess of 18.9% APR.

Regardless of the card you choose, remember to always stay within your credit limit and pay at least the minimum monthly payment on time, or you'll lose the 0% APR intro rate. Also, your balance MUST be transferred within a specified window—typically 60 or 90 days—or you'll pay a higher transfer fee and the stated interest rate (typically 18.9% or more). Also, it's important to be aware that, depending on your circumstances, you may be offered a shorter promotional period and/or higher representative APR.

How To Transfer a Credit Card Balance

Once you have applied for and been accepted to your new balance transfer credit card, transferring the balance is quite easy. While each bank will have a slightly different process, it generally works like this:

  • 1) Log into your online account (the bank will instruct you how to set this up)
  • 2) Click on the link to transfer a balance
  • 3) Enter the amount you want to transfer
  • 4) Enter the details of the credit card from which you are moving your balance
  • 5) Check and hit submit!

How To Choose the Best Balance Transfer Credit Card for You

Choosing the right balance transfer card will depend primarily on how long you need to pay down your existing debt. Basically, go for the shortest no-interest period in which you can to pay down your debt, because a shorter duration generally means a lower transfer fee. If you want to learn more, read our article What is a Balance Transfer.

If you're not sure how long you need to pay down your debt, then first decide how much you can afford to pay each month. Using this monthly payment information and the balance amount, the following chart will show you which duration is appropriate for you (i.e., the chart illustrates how long it will take you to pay down the balance).

Showing how many months it will take to pay back a balance, given the monthly payments. This information is used to determine the duration of the best balance transfer offer for you.
How many Months to Pay Off Your Debt? It Depends on the Balance and Monthly Payments

Don’t Want to Pay a Fee on Balance Transfers?

Those who can pay off their debt within around two years can choose amongst a selection of cards that don't charge a balance transfer fee. Along with no fee, these cards offer interest-free periods around 24 to 26 months. That means you won't pay any charges related to your balance transfer—all of your payments will go directly to pay down your outstanding balance, leaving you debt-free sooner.

Need as much Time as Possible to Pay Down your Debt?

If you need a bit more time to slowly pay off your credit card debts, there are balance transfer cards that won't charge interest for 40 to 43 months. These cards do charge a one-off fee when you transfer the balance, typically around 3%. Do be aware that, on many balance transfer cards, applicants with weaker credit scores may get a shorter interest-free period. Check this detail on any card before you apply.

Is it Okay to use a Balance Transfer Card for New Purchases?

If you have transferred a balance that is now sitting on a balance transfer card, once you're past the 0% on purchases intro period (if there is one), avoid putting new purchases on this same credit card. Doing so will subject your new purchases to unnecessary interest charges. The fine print in the Interest section in the Summary Box of most credit cards instructs that new purchases will remain interest free IF you pay the full balance in full each month. This balance includes the amount of any transfers.

So even if you intend to pay off new purchases every month to avoid paying interest on them, if your card still has some of your transferred balance, you will be charged interest on new purchases from their transaction date until the date you pay them off, even if you pay them off on time. On most regular credit cards you are given a grace period until the statement due date and can avoid all interest charges on new purchases. For this reason, save yourself money by putting new purchases on a card that you haven't used for a balance transfer.

For more information on cards with the longest promotional offers on BOTH purchases and balance transfers, see our article on Purchase Credit Cards.

Help With Debt

If you are worried about paying back your debts, it can be a good idea to get in touch with one of the many debt charities in the UK. They can help you plan the best way to pay back your debts and may suggest options that are better for you than a balance transfer credit card. Here are a few to get you started:

Debt Help Charities

The guidance on this site is based on our own analysis and is meant to help you identify options and narrow down your choices. We do not advise or tell you which product to buy; undertake your own due diligence before entering into any agreement. Read our full disclosure here.