Halifax has launched a low-fee balance transfer credit card that comes with the longest interest-free period for purchases.
The 19/16 All in One card charges no interest on balances transferred to the card for 19 months. A transfer fee of 2% applies for transfers made in the first 90 days, rising to 3% thereafter. The interest-free period on purchases is 16 months.
Halifax said that customers switching a £2,000 balance from a card charging an APR of 18.9% over 19 months with a 2% balance transfer fee to the new 19/16 card would be £471 better off over the 19-month period.
While the card's combination of lengthy 0% interest on balance transfers and purchases will be attractive to some customers, money expert Andrew Hagger of MoneyComms.co.uk told Moneywise there are cards with longer balance transfer terms and lower fees available.
According to Moneywise.co.uk/Compare, the longest 0% balance transfer period on the market is 33 months, as offered by the Barclaycard Platinum With Balance Transfer (33 Mths). Its fee is higher than Halifax's offering, at 2.99%.
However, the 19/16 card's balance transfer fee is undercut by another Halifax card. Its Balance Transfer Credit Card (28 Mths) has a fee that is 0.5 percentage points lower at 1.5% and offers 0% interest on balance transfers for nine months longer.
Halifax's sister company, Bank of Scotland, also has a card offering the same terms (28 months interest-free on balance transfers with a 1.5% fee) called the Platinum Balance Transfer Card (28 Mths).
Meanwhile, Halifax's second new card offering charges 0% interest for up to 10 months on both balance transfers and purchases, with an effective balance transfer fee of just 0.4%.
Hagger explained: "The customer has to pay a 3% fee upfront and then gets a 2.6% refund in the first 90 days. This has become quite common among card providers at the moment but seems an unnecessary inconvenience for the customer just to satisfy the bank's own internal systems."
However, based on a £2,000 balance transfer from a card charging 18.9% APR (variable), with 0% for 10 months and a 0.4% balance transfer fee, moving to this Halifax deal could save customers £273 over the 10 months, Halifax said.
Hagger added: "I think the 10/10 card with just a 0.4% BT fee is an excellent deal for those who know they can switch and clear a balance within the timescale. The cost is minimal at just £8 for a £2,000 balance or £20 on a £5,000 debt."
Commenting on the prospects for the credit card market more generally, Hagger told Moneywise: "The card market shows no signs of slowing down with lenders falling over themselves to try and win new custom, although this may start to change if interest rates start to rise in 2015."