Credit Cards guide

What is a balance transfer credit card?

What is a balance transfer?

You use a balance transfer when moving your existing credit card balance to a new credit card provider. You might pay an initial fee when transferring balances to a new card. Usually the fee is between 0% and 5% of the total amount being transferred, depending on the provider.

What are balance transfer credit cards?

A balance transfer credit card lets you move balances from one or more credit cards to another card, often at a lower interest rate, helping to make your debt easier to manage and payments simpler.

Some balance transfer cards offer initial an 0% interest period. Once this ends, standard interest rates will apply to your outstanding balance.

What are the benefits of a balance transfer card?

If you're looking to start paying off debt, a balance transfer card may be right for you. Benefits include:

  • Merging your credit card debts into a single card for easier management.
  • Flexibility to transfer balances from one or multiple cards at different times which suit you. You may not be able to transfer balances from the same credit card provider.
  • Taking advantage of 0% interest offers for more time to pay the balance and lower the amount you pay overall.


How long does a balance transfer take?

In short, it depends on who you choose as each provider will have different processes and checks prior to approving your application. A few other things also affect how long a balance transfer takes:

  • Whether it's a new application or you're making a balance transfer to an existing card.
  • Approval time for applications and communication between your new provider(s) and existing one(s).
  • The balance transfer method varies whether it is transferred digitally or by cheque.
  • Timing makes a difference; it'll take longer if requested outside business hours.

Types of balance transfer cards

There are different types of balance transfer cards that you could choose from, depending on your circumstances. Here are some examples:

Purchase and balance transfer credit card

A purchase and balance transfer credit card is a flexible card you can use for both balance transfers and new purchases. 

Many cards offer a low or 0% interest introductory offer for both, so you can save on interest whether you're making a new purchase or transferring a balance.

Long term balance transfer card

A long term balance transfer credit card gives you more time to pay off your balance and enjoy a longer low or 0% introductory balance transfer period.

Great option if you have a high outstanding balance or want more time to repay your debt without interest. 

Short term balance transfer card

A short term balance transfer credit card gives you less time to pay off your balance as the low or 0% introductory balance transfer period will be shorter.

Great option if you have a smaller balance and want to clear your debt quickly. 

Is a credit card right for you?

A credit card can be an expensive way of borrowing, so it's important to pay your full balance each month if you can. If you don't, you'll be charged interest unless you've taken advantage of an introductory offer from the provider. We can provide help If you are struggling financially.

You should always make sure you can pay at least the minimum payment (usually a percentage of your balance). Missing a payment will likely cause extra charges and negatively impact your credit score.

If a credit card is not right for you then learn more about our different borrowing options.

How do you apply for a credit card?

If you want to prep ahead of starting your credit card application, we can help put the pieces together.

We've created a 5-step guide on how to get a credit card in the UK.

Balance Transfer credit card - FAQs

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