Last week to get the Lloyds TSB Platinum balance transfer discount
The 50% balance transfer fee refund, on offer with the Lloyds TSB Platinum credit card, won't be available after the 22nd of October.
If you’re after a cheap balance transfer then the Lloyds TSB Platinum
balance transfer credit card could be just right for you.
If you apply for the card on or before October 22nd, you'll only have to pay a 1.5% transfer fee.
That's as long as you transfer a debt worth at least £1500 and you make the transfer before November 16th. (Strictly speaking, you won't pay a 1.5% fee. You'll pay a 3% fee and then get a 50% refund a month later.)
But time is running out; on the 22nd of October the half price offer will come to an end.
Balance transfer fees are very important if you're trying to manage costly credit card debt.
You can use a balance transfer credit card
as a tool to transfer expensive debt onto a new card and you won't have to pay any interest on the debt for months.
The problem is balance transfer credit cards charge you a handling fee to do this. That fee is then added to the debt.
So it's a good idea to go for a low handling fee, but you also need to have enough time to pay the whole debt back before the 0% period expires.
Recently the balance transfer market has been focussed on offering longer interest free periods rather than cheaper fees.
Many cards charge 3% plus now and offer anything between nine and 23 months interest free on the transfers. That's nearly two years!
Sadly there isn’t a direct correlation between the two. Just because one card has a high fee doesn't mean it necessarily has a long interest-free period.
And to make matters even more complicated you normally can't transfer balances between cards offered by the same provider. This is most likely to be a problem if you have a card that isn't branded with one of the well-known financial names. So if, say, your card is branded as, say, a charity credit card, you need to find out which bank is actually providing the card.
So choosing the best balance transfer card for you isn't necessarily easy. But to help you, here's a table with the best balance transfer cards on the market and their fees.
Balance transfer credit cards charging 3% and under
As I said earlier, paying more does not necessarily provide the longest period interest free. The AA Members Rewards Visa
for instance offers 12 months interest-free for a fee of 3%, but Lloyds offers 15 months for 1.5%. The only difference is you pay £45 more for a worse deal!
However, the longest interest free period on the market today comes from the Barclaycard 23-Month Platinum Visa
which gives you a whopping 23 months to clear your debt for a handling fee of 2.8%. It’s not the cheapest, but it does represents a better deal than the Halifax 20-month MasterCard
which offers three months less but charges 0.2% more.
Cheap alternatives to Lloyds
If you are set on getting the cheapest deal but you miss out on the Lloyds special 50% offer or are unable to apply, you do have a few other options.
The Fluid Card
also charges a market leading fee of just 1.5% on balance transfers and debt remains interest free for the same 15 months. With this card though you can transfer any balance across and it's not a time-restricted offer.
In addition, the card is interest free on any new purchases for five months compared to only three months with Lloyds.
You can also do money transfers
with the Fluid Card (for a fee of 4%) which enjoy the same 15 month interest-free period. You can even perform a soft search to see if you are likely to be accepted before you apply.
Please note that the Fluid credit card is powered by MBNA, so if you have existing debts associated with this firm - like from Virgin Money - you won’t be able to transfer those debts to a Fluid card.
In which case, the Barclaycard Platinum Low Fee balance transfer credit card may be able to help instead with the next best rate of 1.6% over 16 months.
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