08:05 18 June 2013
There are a lot of great purchase credit card and balance transfer credit cards to be had at the moment, but a new Fluid card is offering a little bit of both with a near market-leading purchases offer AND a noteworthy balance transfer offer.
Here's a look at what Fluid is offering and how it stacks up against its competitors in both the purchase and balance transfer camps.
What's the deal?
Fluid's New Purchase Credit Card - which is either available direct or exclusively through MoneySupermarket - offers 16 months' interest-free on new purchases and 14 months' interest free on balance transfers, subject to a 2.9% fee.
Fluid is also touting its 'Apply with Confidence' service, which will tell you if you're likely to be accepted for the card before you actually apply - saving your credit rating from any rejection blemishes (much like our own Smart Searchservice).
There's no annual fee for the card, you can manage your account online and pay for purchases up to £20 without having to enter your PIN, thanks to its contactless technology.
Who is it good for?
Two types of people: firstly, anyone who wants to buy a big-ticket item and spread the cost over time without paying any interest on the balance and secondly, anyone with an existing balance on another card who needs some breathing space to pay it down, without incurring any interest.
Given that there are balance transfer credit cards on the market with much longer 0% periods (now up to 27 months, in fact) this card might be best suited to people who only have a relatively small balance to transfer - and that can be cleared in 14 months or less.
Although the 16-month interest-free period on purchases is generous, if you fail to pay off that debt over that time the representative annual percentage rate (APR) will revert to 16.9% (variable) and could start costing you a significant amount. (The same APR will kick in on any remaining debt from the balance transferred after 14 months.)
You'll also lose your interest free status on purchases if you go over your credit limit or don't pay on time.
You'll only get the 0% on balance transfers for 14 months if you make the transfer within the first 60 days of opening the account. Also, the card is issued by MBNA, which means it won't accept balance transfers from other MBNA credit cards, which includes the likes of Virgin.
What's the verdict?
This card might be a good fit if you have a small balance to transfer and you want to make purchases, but that said, generally you shouldn't really be spending on a balance transfer card, if you can help it.
If you're only interested in one of the two options there are other competitive purchase and balance transfer cards on the market.
Tesco Bank also offers 16 months' interest free on its Clubcard credit card for purchases, but with the added incentive of earning Clubcard points when you spend on the card in Tesco or elsewhere. After the interest-free period ends, the rate also reverts to representative 16.9% APR (variable).
Halifax offers a longer 17 months on its Purchase Credit Card but with no incentives.
With regards to the balance transfer element of the Fluid card, it's far from the longest interest-free period on the market - that title belongs to the Barclaycard Platinum Credit Card with Extended Balance Transfer, dwarfing Fluid's offer with 27 months interest-free on balance transfers and only a slightly higher fee which has been recently reduced to 2.98%.
If you compare the Fluid card against other purchase and balance transfer cards, it measures up pretty well. The Halifax All In One card, for example, offers 0% on purchases for 15 months and 0% on balance transfers for 15 months, subject to a 1% fee.
Halifax just eeks ahead of Fluid with a month's longer interest free period on balance transfers, but Fluid's card does have a longer interest-free period on purchases and is cheaper than Halifax once the interest-free period ends - though you'll want to completely clear your balance before it comes to this regardless.
Balance transfers and purchases on the NatWest YourPoints World Mastercard are also interest free for 15 months, with the same balance transfer fee of 2.9% and representative APR of 16.9% variable. The difference is that you'll earn reward points for using the NatWest card, as explained here.
Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.
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