Improve your chances of getting a 0% balance transfer card

If it feels like you can’t put a dent in your outstanding credit card balance because of monthly interest charges, switching to a low-interest balance transfer card could help. By combining all your payments into one place and bagging 0% interest on balance transfers, you could be well on your way to getting that balance paid off sooner. What you save on interest payments can then be put towards something other than bills. To increase your chances of being accepted for a balance transfer card, keep your credit score in tip-top shape and find out the application requirements before applying.

Woman checking balance transfer cards on her laptop

The basics of 0% balance transfer credit cards

A balance transfer card lets you move one or more outstanding credit card balance from other companies to a new Barclaycard account, with a lower interest rate or an interest-free period depending on your available credit limit. This can help make clearing the balance more manageable. There are other ways you can make your credit card repayments more manageable too.

The benefit of a 0% balance transfer card is that, assuming you don’t make purchases or cash transactions on the card, your payments during the fixed promotional period will go towards paying off your balance without interest being added on top. This helps you pay off your balance sooner.

Find out more about how a balance transfer card could help you manage your money.

How your history affects your chances of getting a balance transfer card

A balance transfer card could be a great solution for lowering the cost of interest and combining multiple outstanding balances into a single account, but the best 0% balance transfer deals aren’t available to everyone. This is because whether your application is accepted or not depends on your personal situation. Some people have more of a track record of borrowing than others, with proof of making payments on time. This makes them look more attractive to lenders.

Improving your credit score could boost your chances of approval for a balance transfer card. Checking the new card’s interest-free period, as well as the interest rate for purchases, cash transactions and other fees, will also help make sure they’re right for you.

Your credit score

We all do our best to keep our bodies fit and healthy, but how well do you know the state of your financial health? A high credit score is a signal of tip-top finances and should play a key part in your credit applications.

Balance transfer cards with 0% interest periods tend to only be offered to people with average or stronger credit histories, so regularly checking your credit score is a good idea.

  • You can check the health of your credit score with any of the three main credit reference agencies – Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.
  • If your credit rating isn’t as high as you’d like, try holding off on your application and take steps to improve your credit score.
  • To build your way up to a balance transfer card, you could first opt for a credit building card such as the Barclaycard Forward. You can show lenders that you are financially reliable by making small purchases and paying them off in full each month. This gives them a better idea of how you’ll manage your minimum repayments on other accounts, such as a balance transfer card.

There are other factors that can affect your credit rating too, including how many credit agreements you have and whether your name and address are on the electoral roll, which is the official list of people in an area who are registered to vote. The more factors you can take care of, the higher your credit rating is likely to be and the better the chance you’ll be accepted for the balance transfer card you have in mind.

Finding the right card

Nobody likes getting turned down. So to keep your chances of acceptance as high as possible, your best bet is finding the credit card that’s the perfect match for you. Understanding your current balances, interest rates and charges can help you find the best balance transfer credit card for your needs.

If you're applying for a Barclaycard balance transfer card, the total amount you can move can vary, depending on your individual credit limit and the existing balance on your Barclaycard. We’ll let you know the maximum amount you can transfer if your application is successful.

The smallest amount you can transfer to a new or existing Barclaycard balance transfer card is £100. Cards by other lenders could differ.

The eligibility requirements differ between balance transfer cards. To boost the chance of your application being accepted, it’s worth checking the terms and conditions of the card you have in mind, as well as using eligibility checkers, to see if it’s a good match for you.

Other things to bear in mind before applying:

  • Initial transfer fee costs. This is usually charged at a certain percentage of the balance. For example, at 2%, a £2,000 transfer would cost £40. However, some balance transfer cards have no transfer fees. 
  • How long the 0% interest period lasts. The period in which you’ll pay no interest will vary depending on the card and provider. After the interest-free period is over, interest payments at the card’s APR rate are added to any money you don’t repay before your due date.

Before applying for a balance transfer card you should feel confident that you can pay off the full amount you’re moving before the 0% interest period on the new card ends.

Reading the fine print

Credit card terms and conditions can feel like a lot to take in, but once you understand what the main terms mean, such as APR, transfer fee, 0% purchase deal, and credit limit, you should have a better idea of whether a certain balance transfer card is right for you.

After checking out a card’s features and deciding they could work well for you, it’s worth reading the application requirements or recommendations. The more of these you match, the better chance you should have when applying. Some of the things that could be considered include your age, any history of money issues, your track record of borrowing and paying bills on time, your income, and whether you’re successfully managing other credit accounts.

Some cards may favour different circumstances and you may not always be able to find out every requirement. However, it doesn’t hurt to do some extra research. Spending some time getting to know the ins and outs of a new card before you apply can help you find one that really helps to streamline your credit repayments.

Some balance transfer credit cards come with 0% purchase offers, which means that if you buy something on the card you won’t pay interest on the purchase for a set period of time. Bear in mind though that interest is payable on any remaining balance at the end of the 0% promotional period. Find out more about interest rates and balances.

What's next?

Our balance transfer calculator can help you discover how much you could save by using a balance transfer card. Using your current payment details, including your balance, rate of interest and monthly payments, it shows how much a balance transfer card could save you and how long it could take to clear your balance.

Use balance transfer calculator