NATWEST has launched a balance transfer credit card that gives you 23 months to pay off your debts at a 0 per cent interest rate.
Even better, it doesn’t charge a balance transfer nor admin fee, meaning it sails in at the top of the best buy tables for cards of its kind.
1 NatWest has launched a market-leading balance transfer cardCredit: Alamy
The NatWest balance transfer credit card narrowly beats the previous top fee-free 0 per cent period by Sainsbury’s Bank, whose balance transfer card offers 0 per cent interest for 22 months.
Just keep in mind that you’ll need to transfer your debts within the first three months to enjoy the offer at NatWest.
After the interest-free period is over, the card increases to a typical annual percentage rate (APR) of 19.9 per cent, while the one at Sainsbury’s rises to 20.9 per cent.
This means it’s important to clear the debt in full beforehand.
Balance transfer cards: what you need to knowSHIFTING your balance can be a great way to cut the cost of your debt. But you must use them properly so you don’t just add to it.Always clear your debt – Credit card firms don’t offer these deals out of the goodness of their hearts. They rely on you not clearing your balance by the time the 0 per cent deal comes to an end so it can start charging you interest.
Always make your payments – If you don’t keep up with your monthly payments, you could lose the 0 per cent offer and start being charged interest. Always try and pay-off more than the minimum payment too to clear your debt quicker and don’t spend on the card either.
Check your deal – Like with all credit cards, you might not be offered the headline deal if you don’t have the best credit history. Use MoneySavingExpert’s eligibility calculator to see what deals you are likely to be accepted for.
If you’re unable to pay it all off on time, you could shift it to another 0 per cent balance transfer card beforehand – you can find the best cards of this kind here.
Or if you think you just need a few more months, you may want to go for “Santander’s All in One Credit Card” which offers 26 months interest-free, instead of the NatWest card.
This carries a monthly £3 fee, although you also get 0.5 per cent cashback on purchases and interest-free purchases for 26 months too.
The longest 0 per cent period is offered by Sainsbury’s Bank at 29 months, but it comes with a 1.50 per cent fee.
This means that transferring a £4,000 debt would add £60 to your debt balance.
How to cut the cost of your debtBEING in large amounts of credit card debt can be really worrying. Here are some tips from Citizens Advice on how you can take action.
Check your bank balance on a regular basis – knowing your spending patterns is the first step to managing your money
Work out your budget – by writing down your income and taking away your essential bills such as food and transport.If you have money left over, plan in advance what else you’ll spend or save. If you don’t, look at ways to cut your costs
Pay off more than the minimum – If you’ve got credit card debts aim to pay off more than the minimum amount on your credit card each month to bring down your bill quicker
Pay your most expensive credit card sooner – If you have more than one credit card and can’t to pay them off in full each month, prioritise the most expensive card (the one with the highest interest rate)
Prioritise your debts – If you’ve got several debts and you can’t afford to pay them all it’s important to prioritise them.
Your rent, mortgage, council tax and energy bills should be paid first because the consequences can be more serious if you don’t pay
Get advice – If you’re struggling to pay your debts month after month it’s important you get advice as soon as possible, before they build up even further.
Groups like Citizens Advice and National Debtline can help you prioritise and negotiate with your creditors to offer you more affordable repayment plans
The offer from NatWest is only available to existing customers who hold a current account, savings account, credit card or mortgage with the bank.
If you’re not a customer already, you can easily become one by opening a savings account with just £1.
To get the credit card, you also need to be above the age of 18 and earn at least £10,000 per year.
But be warned – lenders only have to offer the marketed deals to 51 per cent of applicants meaning only those with the very best credit ratings will get them.
So even if you apply and are accepted, you could be offered a smaller 0 per cent period instead and be charged a higher interest rate.
Applying for multiple credit cards will also hurt your credit score – use an eligibility checker such as one from MoneySavingExpert to see what deals you’re likely to be accepted for beforehand.
Rachel Springall, finance expert at comparison site Moneyfacts, told The Sun: “The best balance transfer credit card for a borrower may not be the one with the longest deal, instead if customers can repay their debts before interest applies, a fee-free credit card can be a more cost effective choice.
“NatWest’s 23-month 0 per cent balance transfer credit card charges no fee, and it becomes the longest interest-free deal without any admin fee or balance transfer fee.”
“As with any debt it is important for borrowers to keep on top of their monthly repayments and try to pay back more than the minimum.
“If borrowers have a £3,000 debt, they would pay it back within 23 months if they stick to a monthly repayment of £135.”
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Earlier this month, Barclaycard launched a top 0 per cent credit card for debt shifting and spending.
If you’re considering applying for a personal loan or balance transfer credit card, here’s the best option for you.
You can also save £300 off your store card balance by transferring the debt to a 0 per cent credit card.
Martin Lewis’ warns to shift debt now before top zero percent credit cards are pulled
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