To balance transfer or not to balance transfer?
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Should you transfer your credit card debt to a 0% balance transfer card? Derin Clark examines the pros and cons of transferring your credit card debt
One well-known method of clearing credit card debt is by moving the outstanding balance to a 0% balance transfer card. But although these cards are designed to help borrowers clear their credit card debt, for some it just leads to them falling further into debt. To help you decide whether or not it is worth moving your credit card debt to a 0% balance transfer card, we’ve looked at the pros and cons of these types of cards, as well as how to use them efficiently to clear your outstanding card balance.
What are the advantages of 0% balance transfer cards?
The main benefit of taking out a 0% balance transfer credit card is that it enables you to transfer your existing credit card balance and provides you with an interest-free period in which to pay back the debt. The idea behind this is that the interest-free period makes it easier to repay the outstanding balance as you will only be repaying the money owned and not interest being added as well. To give you an idea of how much can be saved in interest with a 0% balance transfer card, Moneyfacts.co.uk has a balance transfer credit card calculator that shows you how much you can save.
What are the disadvantages of a 0% balance transfer card?
Although a 0% balance transfer credit card can be a great way to help clear credit card debt, if not used efficiently, they can easily result in you falling further into debt. This is because these cards require discipline and commitment to ensure that the debt on the card is repaid within the interest-free period, as well as not borrowing money on the previous cards. In addition to this, some 0% balance credit cards charge a transfer fee when moving debt onto the card, which can often be up to 3% of the balance being transferred. Another drawback is that only those with a very good credit score will likely be approved for the best deals available. As such, if you are thinking about applying for a 0% balance credit card, you should consider checking your credit score online before making an application.
How to clear credit card debt with a 0% balance card
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One way to help avoid falling further into debt is that, once you have the 0% balance transfer card and have transferred your existing credit card balance, cut up and, ideally, close the previous credit card account(s). As well as this, you should have a repayment plan in mind when taking out the 0% balance transfer card to ensure that the balance is repaid in full before the interest-free period has ended. The good news is that, at the time of writing, there are interest-free periods of up to 29 months on deals within the Moneyfacts.co.uk 0% balance transfer credit card charts.
Derin Clark is an Online Reporter at moneyfacts.co.uk, the money comparison experts, specialising in personal finance.