Approval for any credit card depends on your status. The representative APRs shown represent the interest rate offered to most successful applicants. Depending on your personal circumstances, the APR you're offered may be higher, or you may not be offered credit at all. Fees and rates are subject to change without notice. It's always wise to check the terms of any deal before you borrow.
Compare balance transfer offers and limits
Many providers don’t state a minimum or maximum credit limit and stipulate it is “subject to status”. However, you’ll find most credit builder or platinum credit cards will set minimum and maximum credit limits.
Why does the credit limit matter on a balance transfer credit card?
Credit card providers use your credit limit to determine how much debt you can transfer to a new card. Most card providers will let you transfer up to 90% or 95% of your credit limit. They do this to leave room for balance transfer fees and potential interest.
For example, if you had £2,000 worth of credit card debt and got a balance transfer card with a £2,000 credit limit, you won’t be able to transfer all of the balance to the new card. A balance transfer card with a higher credit limit of £3,000, on the other hand, is more likely to allow you to move the whole £2,000 debt across. So the higher your credit limit, the more likely you are to meet these requirements and get your balance transfer approved.
How to compare balance transfer cards
While it can be difficult to compare balance transfer credit limits, consider the following factors when comparing balance transfer credit cards to make sure you get the right option for your needs.
- Promotional period. The market is inundated with balance transfer cards which offer 0% interest for an introductory period, which could range from 12 to 30 months, or even longer. If you have a large debt, you might want to consider applying for a longer term 0% offer.
- Balance transfer fees. Most balance transfer cards charge a one-off processing fee of 1%–3% of the total debt you move to the new card. Make sure you factor this cost in before you apply so that you know exactly how much you will pay for the card you choose. There are some balance transfer cards which don’t charge a fee, although you may find the promotional period is shorter than the ones that do charge a fee.
- Standard interest rate. At the end of the introductory period, the balance transfer interest rate will revert to a higher standard rate so work out if you can pay off your debt within the promotional period.
- Other interest rates. While there may be an interest-free period on balance transfers, the same may not apply on other transactions, such as purchases or cash advances.
- Complimentary extras or rewards. A few balance transfer credit cards offer rewards or other perks. Complimentary benefits can add value for those who plan to use the card long term, so make sure you factor them in when weighing your options.
- Other fees. Balance transfer cards can also come with a range of other charges including late payment, over limit fees and foreign transaction charges. Most balance transfer cards don’t charge an annual fee, but always check in the provider’s summary box for a full breakdown of charges.
What to watch out for with a balance transfer card
Avoid these pitfalls to get the most out of a balance transfer credit card.
- Not paying off the balance before the end of the introductory offer. Any remaining balance at the end of the introductory period will be charged the higher standard rate of interest on the balance.
- Making purchases on the new card. New purchases will attract interest at the standard purchase rate. If you’re planning on making purchases as well as transferring an existing debt, it may be worth considering a separate purchases card with a 0% offer or a “balanced” or “matched” card offering 0% on both.
- Not factoring in fees. Balance transfer fees, annual fees, cash advance fees and other charges will all add to your credit card debt. Not factoring them into your budget could make it harder to pay off the balance before the end of the introductory period.
- Minimum payments. Credit cards have minimum payments and you’ll need to meet this requirement each month to keep the account in good standing. Even with a high credit limit 0% balance transfer credit card, minimum payments may not be enough to pay off the total debt before the end of the introductory period, so aim to pay more than this amount each month to avoid higher interest charges.
- Declined applications. Some balance transfer cards have higher application requirements such as good-to-excellent credit history and high minimum incomes. Make sure you meet the eligibility conditions to lessen the chances of your application being declined and your credit score being affected.
- Cancelling cards. Once the balance transfer is complete, you’ll be responsible for managing or cancelling any of the old cards.
How to apply for a balance transfer credit card
Follow these steps to apply for a high balance transfer credit limit credit card today.
Upon a successful application, the credit card provider will contact you to finalise the application and issue your card. After that, you should get the card within 5 to 10 working days, although it could be up to 14 days depending on the issuer.
With some cards you might need to activate it before the issuer completes the balance transfer process. This usually takes between five to seven working days, although occasionally can take longer.
What happens if your limit is too low?
You won’t find out what your credit limit is until you apply. In some instances, you may find the credit limit is lower than you wanted. However, a lower credit limit may not be as much of a hindrance as it seems. Here are some different ways you can deal with the existing debt you want to transfer being more than the maximum limit:
- Transfer what you can. Transfer as much of the balance that you can to the new card and take advantage of the introductory rate. During this time, you’ll still need to make minimum payments on your original card and the new one.
- Request a higher limit. Try to request a higher credit limit from the provider. It will require calling the issuer or visiting a local office, and there’s no guarantee that the provider will agree to it.
- Seek an alternative. When transferring only a portion of your balance or if the credit card issuer won’t raise your limit, it may be time to look for another means if you’re set on moving your debt. A personal loan could give you the maximum limit you need, but you likely won’t benefit from the type of promotion a balance transfer credit card offers.
Frequently asked questions
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