Credit cards improve as competition rises

Jun 30, 2011   //   by sam   //   Credit Cards  //  Comments Off on Credit cards improve as competition rises

According to research from Moneyfacts, the number of balance transfer credit cards on the market has significantly increased over the last two years.

This seems to be the general trend across all types of credit cards, from reward cards that allow users to earn points for their spending, to bad credit cards, designed to help people to build up or repair their credit rating.

Credit card users have continued to benefit from better and better deals, until balance transfer market exploded in March after Barclaycard broke past the highest ever 0% balance transfer deal to offer an impressive 20 months interest free.

With the competition heating up among providers, the number credit cards offering 0% balance transfer deals running for 13 months or more has increased by 162 percent in the last two years.

This time two years ago, only 13 credit cards offered interest free balance transfer deals, with the longest 0% duration at 16 months.

This number increased to 22 this a year ago, although the longest term remained at 16 months.

The last 12 months saw this number rise further, with the number of balance transfer products currently at 34, with several deals now exceeding 16 months.

There are currently three cards offering up to 17 months, while five cards now come with 18 months, three cards at 19 months and at the top of the deck, one card with 20 months.

Michelle Slade of Moneyfacts said: “Competition has returned to the credit card market in the last year.

“Card providers are going head to head in order to lure customers from their competition.”

Balance transfer credit cards allow people to transfer existing balances from other cards and effectively freeze the interest payments for the duration of the 0% period.

“Customers with £3,000 on a card, just repaying the minimum would accrue £764 in interest charges over 20 months,” she added.

Customers do have to pay a small transfer fee which is usually around 3% of the balance transferred.

This fee was put into place to deter so called ‘stoozing’ – a method whereby credit card holders would jump from card to card making use of the 0% terms with no actual intention of ever clearing the debt.

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