09:00 10 April 2013
If you owe money on an expensive credit card, it makes sense to transfer the balance to a card that charges 0% interest for an introductory period.
The trouble is, the best balance transfer deals are often reserved for those with glowing credit histories.
That's not to say there are no competitive offers available for people with a few blemishes on their files, though. So if you have a less-than-perfect credit score, you'll just need to look a little harder to find a card that will work for you.
Here, we round up the best balance transfer offers for borrowers in this category.
Barclaycard 18-month Balance Transfer Credit Card
This new card from Barclaycard is a great option for anyone whose credit score means they will not be accepted for market-leading balance transfer cards with longer 0% offers.
Not only does it give you the chance to rebuild your credit rating by making regular payments, it also allows you to make inroads into your debts by enabling you to avoid interest for a lengthy period.
That's thanks to the 18-month 0% interest offer on the balance you transfer across. If you make the transfer, there's a 2.9% fee payable on the amount you transfer.
You must transfer any debts across within 60 days to qualify for the 0% deal, and transfers are not accepted from other Barclaycard cards.
The terms and conditions also exclude anyone who is unemployed, has been declared bankrupt or had any county court judgments (CCJs) against them in the last five years.
Be warned, though: the card has a hefty 24.9% (variable) representative APR, which is there to discourage you from missing the 18-month deadline to clear your debt.
It also offers three months at 0% on purchases.
Barclaycard Freedom Rewards Visa Credit Card
This card, again from Barclaycard, offers a shorter interest-free offer on balance transfers of just nine months (subject, once more, to a 2.9% fee on the amount transferred).
The difference here is that it also allows you to collect reward points on your spending everywhere from supermarkets to petrol stations.
Otherwise, the terms and conditions of the card are the same as for the Barclaycard 18-month Balance Transfer card, with the unemployed, bankrupts and those in receipt of recent CCJs systematically excluded.
Similarly, only transfers made in the first 60 days qualify for the 0% offer, and outstanding balances after that time incur interest at a representative APR of 24.9% (variable).
There is no interest-free offer on purchases with this card, though.
Halifax All In One Credit Card
This Halifax credit card tops the charts when it comes to all-round benefits, as I explain here.
One of its most attractive features is its balance transfer offer of 0% for 15 months - especially as anyone applying before June 25 and switching debts to the card before July 25 can claim a 66.6% discount on the related balance transfer fee, cutting it from 3% to just 1%.
Other advantages of this card include that it offers 15 months at 0% on purchases and has a relatively low representative APR of 17.9% (variable).
Those with less-than-perfect credit histories are unlikely to qualify for these market-leading benefits.
However, the good news for anyone with a blemished, but not ravaged, credit file is that Halifax is taking on some more borderline cases under slightly less advantageous terms.
So instead of being given 15 months of interest-free borrowing, you may be offered 13 months at 0% with an APR of 21.9%, or even 11 months at 0% and an APR of 25.9%.
Remember, though, that only transfers from non-Halifax or non-Bank of Scotland cards will be accepted, whatever the terms of your deal.
As being rejected by a credit card company can further damage your credit file, it is well worth using MoneySupermarket's "Will you get this card?" tool before applying for this - or any other - card if you are not certain it will accept you as a customer.
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