The 0% balance transfer market is certainly hotting up fast! Today, NatWest and RBS are launching their Platinum cards with 16 month 0% balance transfer offers. These are the first 16 month deals which have been available this year.
It will be interesting to see whether the other issuers who traditionally offer cards with strong 0% BT lengths follow suit. I suspect that the battle for the balance transfers has a way to run during this hopefully long, hot summer.
About this blog
I’m Alex Acton, the CompareandSave.com author of the ‘On The Cards’ blogs about my take on the credit card market, what is happening, and how it may affect you if you wish to use a credit card.
While England and UK sports performances this summer have been mixed, there is unexpectedly good news for anyone wishing to transfer a balance on to a new credit card. The last couple of months have seen a strong set of 0% balance transfer cards returning to the market.
If you were looking to transfer a balance to a new credit card this January, you would have had a wintry shock. Only Barclaycard offered a 15 month interest-free balance transfer period open to new customers, and by mid-March, they had reverted to a 14 month card. If you consider that last year Virgin ran their market leading 16 month 0% balance transfer card, and a number of other providers were running 15 month cards, the reduction in choice this winter was a bit bleak.
Credit card issuers were planning a reduction in zero interest balance transfer lengths this year in preparation for new legislation due to come into effect later in the year (the regulatory changes are a topic for a later blog).
However, since May, competitive pressures among issuers have led to an unexpected increase in both the 0% BT lengths available and also the number of issuers who offer them. At the time of writing, there are six cards from mainstream credit card providers who offer 0% balance transfers for 15 months.
Whether any of the issuers break ranks and move to a market leading 16 month card in the coming months is a question. A preferable alternative for some issuers may be to relax their score card criteria and accept a slightly wider range of customers. Whether we begin to see a reduction in the 0% BT lengths in the autumn will also be interesting. ‘On The Cards’ will keep you posted.
For customers wishing to transfer a balance to a new credit card this summer, the choice is certainly more attractive than it was at the beginning of the year.