Sainsbury’s Bank has stretched the longest 0% balance transfer deal to an unprecedented 42 months, creeping ahead of the pack of MBNA, Halifax and Virgin Money, which all offer 41-month interest-free deals.
However, these ultra-long credit card deals come with relatively high fees, and borrowers could pay far less by opting for a shorter repayment period. Fees on 41-month balance transfer cards range from 3.29% to 3.49%, and the new card from Sainsbury’s Bank charges an even higher 4%, equivalent to £120 on a £3,000 balance transfer.
- See our balance transfer guide for the best buys
The timer on the interest-free period begins when you get the card, not when you transfer the balance, which Sainsbury’s says is normal for most 0% balance transfer deals. If you transfer a balance after three months, the balance transfer fee will fall to 3%, as you only have a 39 month 0% period remaining.
The deal is also not “risk priced,” which means anyone who successfully applies for the card will get the advertised interest rate of 18.9% APR and the full 42 month period.
Anyone who spends £800 on the card at Sainsbury’s before the end of the year will also get 5,000 Nectar points (worth £25), and it also allows people to earn extra Nectar points on additional spending.
Sainsbury’s has also matched Tesco Bank’s previously unrivalled 0% purchases card, which charges no interest for 28 months. The card has the same interest rate as Tesco Bank at 18.9%, and an 18 month 0% balance transfer deal with a 2.89% fee - £86.70 to transfer £3,000.
- See our 0% purchases guide for the best buys for the best buys
The move comes a week after Sainsbury’s set a new record low for personal loans, dropping its rates to just 3.1% to Nectar card holders.
If you’re looking for a long term 0% credit card deal, you could end up paying less overall by opting for a shorter repayment period than what Sainsbury’s Bank is offering with a lower fee. Most people looking to clear a credit card debt won’t need three and a half years to do so.
Halifax, for example, charges no fees and no interest for up to 25 months. Alternatively, Barclays has a card with a 37-month 0% balance transfer period and a 1.5% fee, equivalent to £45 on a £3,000 balance.