What is a balance transfer and credit card purchase?
Balance transfer and purchasing credit cards allow you to transfer your balance from another credit card and make new purchases with just one credit card.
This is often useful if you want to track your debt and manage your spending.
How does the balance transfer period work?
A 0% interest period for balance transfers is a set amount of time. Typical 0% interest-free balance transfer periods are 18 months, 21 months, and 24 months. The best 0% interest-free balance transfer period offers are longer and can be up to 29 months.
During this time, you will not be charged any interest on the debt you transferred from your old card to your new credit card, although you may be charged a fee of up to 5% to complete the transfer.
You will need to pay the minimum refunds on the 0% Balance Transfer Card. But you must aim to make sufficient refunds to pay off the balance in full before the 0% offer ends. You will be charged interest on any remaining balance, which is often much higher than on standard credit cards.
How does the purchase period work?
A 0% interest period for purchases is a defined period during which you will not be charged any interest on new purchases made with your credit card.
Try to pay off your credit card during the 0% purchase period. Or you will be charged interest on any outstanding balance at the end of the 0% purchase period.
A 0% purchase period is different from a 0% balance transfer period. The 0% purchase period only allows you to buy things with your interest-free credit card. A combined credit card can give you different time periods for 0% balance transfers and 0% purchases. Keep an eye on the end of each.
Try to pay off what you owe on your low-interest credit card before the end of each of the 0% interest rate periods. Learn more about how to calculate your interest here.
How to get the cheapest balance transfer credit cards and buy credit cards
In order to find the best deals, the easiest place to start is to compare as many deals as possible. At the same time, it’s important to keep in mind that there is no better deal. The best deal for you is the one that offers the longest interest-free period on balance transfers and purchases, but also covers your individual needs.
Shopping around and comparing credit cards is the best way to find the best deals. Look for 0% interest rate credit cards with long interest free periods and the lowest balance transfer fees. The best deals offer 0% interest rates on balance transfers and 0% buy offers for up to about 28 months.
However, be aware that often a single credit card can offer different interest-free periods on balance transfers and purchases.
For example, a credit card might offer 12 months at 0% on interest on old balances transferred to the card, but 24 months on new purchases.
Understanding Balance Transfer and Acquisition Card Fees and Charges
The cost to you for a credit card is the APR, or annual percentage rate. This is the number you should look for when using credit card comparison websites.
The costs included in the APR are the interest rate you will pay the lender for balance transfers and purchases on your credit card, plus any additional charges. You pay all of these fees as part of your monthly repayments. During 0% interest-free balance transfer periods and 0% purchase periods, you pay no interest. You can find out more about how APR works here.
Use the APR number when comparing balance transfer and purchasing credit cards. Get the cheapest balance transfer credit card deal and best shopping credit card deals by choosing a low APR credit card or 0% interest rate credit card.
Does “representative” APR mean I won’t get the best credit card bundle deals?
When you compare balance transfer credit cards and purchasing credit cards, you will see a “representative” APR.
This is the APR (or less) that at least 51% of a lender’s customers will pay when taking out the advertised credit card. You cannot get the APR on the offer.
The amount that a credit card company will charge you for a combination credit card will depend on your personal circumstances. Your credit history will affect how long a credit card company gives you a 0% interest-free period on balance transfers and purchases.
Shop around credit card comparison sites for the best credit card deals.
Before applying for a combined credit card, use a credit card comparison site with a ‘soft credit check‘. This allows you to see the likelihood of you being accepted. This “soft credit check” can reduce the number of points on your credit report, which increases the likelihood that you will be offered credit cards in the future.
Mistakes to Avoid with 0% Interest Balance Transfer and Acquisition Cards
To get the most out of a 0% interest period? Here are a few things to watch out for:
Forget the return rate: At the end of the promotional introductory period, the 0% interest rate will revert to the Standard Buy Rate, which is typically between 10-35%, but may be higher. Consider the standard interest rate before you apply for the card to understand how your debt will increase if you don’t pay off your balance before the interest-free period is over.
Make only the minimum repayment: Most credit card providers expect you to make a minimum monthly payment on your balance. This is usually around 3% of your balance.
However, if you only make the minimum amount each month, you will not be able to pay off your entire balance until the 0% offer ends. This means that you will end up paying the rate back on your remaining balance, making it much more difficult to pay off.
Do not take advantage of the entire period of the offer: The 0% offer is available as soon as your card is approved, not from your first purchase. So if your card offers a 0% offer for six months but you don’t make any purchases or refunds in the first month, you will only have five months to make repayments without incurring interest. If you have a big purchase in mind, make it ASAP and start paying off right away to make the most of the offer’s duration.
What does “most popular” mean?
When we use the term “most popular” on Uswitch in reference to credit cards, these cards are ranked based on the number of clicks they have received on the site in the last 48 hours.
The most clicked cards are at the top, the least at the bottom. This reflects their popularity with visitors to Uswitch.com. Therefore, this is a good table to look at if you want to see which cards most people think are worth buying.