Close-up picture of a credit cards as a background.Shutterstock / Garry L.

If you've spent too much over the Christmas period, see if you can take advantage of a 0% credit card.

Christmas is over for another year. The mince pies have been eaten, the presents unwrapped and all of that lovely Christmas bubbly has been polished off.

Yes it's all a bit of an anticlimax. But if the thought of how much you've spent over the festive period is now starting to give you a headache, take a look at how a 0% card could help.



If you have credit card debts
If your spending is on a credit card and you're going to be hit by interest charges, see if you can shift it to a 0% balance transfer credit card.

With introductory interest-free periods of up to 30 months on offer, this could give you some vital breathing space to pay off your debt.

These cards aren't completely free though. You'll be charged a balance transfer fee for moving your debt over. This is a percentage of the debt you're transferring. So, for example, if you're transferring £2,000-worth to the Barclaycard 30-Month Platinum card, which has a balance transfer fee of 2.89%, it will cost you £57.80.

Here are the 0% cards with the longest interest-free periods:

Credit card

0% period

Balance transfer fee

Fee paid on £2,000 transfer

Representative APR after 0% period ends

Barclaycard 30-Month Platinum 30 months 2.89% £57.80 18.9%

Barclaycard 29-Month Platinum

29 months

2.49%

£49.80

18.9%

MBNA Platinum 29 months 2.89% £57.80 18.9%

Tesco Clubcard for Balance Transfers

29 months

2.9%

£58

18.9%

Santander Long Term Balance Transfer 29 months 3% £60 18.9%

Halifax 28-Month Balance Transfer

28 months

2.45%

£49

18.9%

NatWest Platinum

28 months

2.99%

£59.80

18.9%

Royal Bank of Scotland Platinum

28 months

2.99%

£59.80

18.9%

However, if you think you can pay off your debt over a shorter period of time, you could get a card with a far lower balance transfer fee.

Here are the cards with the cheapest balance transfer fees right now:

Credit card

0% period

Balance transfer fee

Fee paid on £2,000 transfer

Representative APR after 0% period ends

Fluid Low Fee Visa

12 months

0.75%

£15

16.9%

Barclaycard Low Fee Visa 12 months 0.79% £15.80 19.9%

Halifax All In One Online MasterCard

15 months

0.8%

£16

17.9%

Lloyds Bank 15-Month Online Platinum Balance Transfer MasterCard

15 months

0.8%

£16

17.9%

TSB 15-Month Online Platinum Balance Transfer MasterCard

15 months

0.8%

£16

17.9%

Santander Low Balance Transfer Fee 17 months 0.9% £18 18.9%

Bank of Scotland Platinum 24-Month

24 months

1.5%

£30

17.9%

Lloyds Bank Platinum 24-Month

24 months

1.5%

£30

17.9%

TSB Platinum 24-Month

24 months

1.5%

£30

17.9%


Compare 0% balance transfer credit cards

If you have an overdraft

If you've gone into the red on your current account, then there are some credit cards that can help. They are 0% balance transfer credit cards that also offer what's known as a money transfer.

A money transfer allows to borrow money to put into your bank account for an introductory interest-free period. As with a 0% balance transfer, you'll be charged a percentage of your debt for the privilege. This is pretty much universally 4% of the amount you're borrowing.

Credit card

0% period

Representative APR after 0% period ends

MBNA Platinum 29 months 18.9%

Fluid 27-Month

27 months

18.9%

Virgin Money

26 months

17.9%

MBNA Everyday

18 months

13.9%

AA Balance Transfer

16 months

17.9%


You could also try switching to another current account. The Nationwide FlexDirect account offers a 12-month fee-free overdraft, although the size of your overdraft will depend on your credit rating.

If you can't get a top 0% card
If your credit rating isn't great and you can't get one of the top 0% cards, you could see if you can switch to a credit card with a lower interest rate. If that isn't possible, then you might be able to pay off your card debts with a personal loan at a lower interest rate than you're paying on the cards.

If you do take out a loan, it's important to rein in your spending until you pay it off. And budget for next Christmas now.

Compare personal loan rates

If you're in serious debt
If your bills are mounting up and you feel like you can no longer cope, don't panic. Free, confidential help is available from a range of sources, including Step Change, National Debtline and Citizens Advice.

Compare credit cards

This article has been updated since its original publication