Balance Transfer Deals - Is It Time To Change Your Card?

If you have an existing credit card, and are finding that the amount of interest you are paying is running away with itself, maybe it is time to change cards. Many cards are now offering new customers 0 percent balance transfer deals. This means that if you transfer your balance then you will not have to pay any more interest on the amount for 6 months or more. Some companies are even offering up to 15 months or more interest free.

Balance transfers occur when a customer transfers an existing balance to another credit card. This balance is commonly from another credit card but could also be from a bank account. In order to attract new customers credit card companies are now offering substantial periods of time where balances can be moved to the new card and become interest free. The length of time of the interest free period varies from company to company but is usually around 6 months, with some companies offering 9 months or more. There are even one or two offering 0 percent balance transfer deals for the life of the card.

The first thing to be aware of is that these deals are often only available to new customers. Many cards, that on the surface may appear different, are managed by the same company or banking group. For example, there are a number of affinity cards available, such as ones belong to football clubs, which are all managed by one market leader. When transferring balances it is a good idea to keep this in mind, as you may not be eligible for these introductory offers.

So how do you go about applying? The first thing that someone looking for a new card should do is visit one of the comparison sites on the web. These sites are designed specifically for people looking for a new card. Here you will find a list of all of the market leaders, as well as every other type of card imaginable. Almost all of the cards will offer 0 percent balance transfer deals of one kind or another. You will be able to trawl through all of the cards available and choose the one best matching your personal requirements. Of course, what is good for one person may not necessarily be good for another, so it is worth examining the whole package being offered before making a decision.

Although a balance transfer will often ease the burden of paying back the amount that you have borrowed plus a growing amount of interest, you will still need to make regular repayments. As always, it is advisable to make the minimum monthly repayment and, if possible, a little bit more in order to reduce the balance. In addition, it is vital that you remember when the 0 percent period is ending - once the offer ends you will be subject to the standard interest rates for your card.

One final thing to remember is that these offers are only available to new customers. Often a number of cards belong to one banking group even though they appear to be different. You will need to be sure that the card that you are applying for is in no way connected to your current card. If a member of the same group is offering it then it is unlikely that you will be entitled to a balance transfer offer. As ever, the more research you undertake the more likely you are to find the credit card the suits your needs; for example, the rewards you might generate with a credit card affiliated with a major retailer just for doing your normal weekly shopping might outweigh the rewards offered by a balance transfer scheme - it pays to shop around.