A Bad Year for Virgin Customers - Tips For Switching!
It’s been an interesting year for Richard Branson, who lost a tropical island home in a very unpleasant fire and then went on to do a bit of shopping to cheer himself up. He bought Northern Rock. Now, I’m drawing no link here in what must have been an expensive year for the tycoon, but the Virgin Credit Card has raised its rates by 50 per cent. The bank has explained to customers that they will have to accept the rise from 16.8 per cent to 24.9 per cent or pay off their balance and leave. Many customers will be forced to accept this new rate, whether they like it or not. The alternative is, of course, to switch and many may decide to search for a 0 per cent interest rate in order to buy some time to pay off their debt. So what are the best deals available at the moment for anybody looking to move?
Three top picks
• Barclaycard have one of the top offers currently available. Their Platinum Extended Balance Transfer card is likely to attract the attention of many Virgin customers. The interest free period is 22 months and there is a balance transfer fee of 2.9 per cent. The minimum transfer fee is £7.25. The representative APR advertised on this card is 17.9 per cent, which is close to the average for most credit cards.
• The ‘Balance Transfer Card’ currently on offer from Halifax is also a 22 month free interest offering. At 3.50 per cent the transfer rate is a little higher than Barclaycard but the minimum fee is only £3.50, so if you’ve a wonderfully small £100 to transfer this deal could be more attractive. The standard representative APR on the card is currently advertised as 17.9 per cent.
• Next come NatWest, with a 20 month interest free period. They offer the same fee as Barclaycard at 2.9 per cent, but a slightly lower minimum of £5.00. Again for small balance transfers this could be more attractive. APR after the free period is 17.95 per cent.
Don’t Rush To Switch
Before rushing to switch it’s important to understand that making the most of balance transfer deals means taking control of your finances, and using some common sense. However attractive the deal is it won’t save you money if you don’t keep to the terms and conditions, or rush out the shops to celebrate. Most deals will require you to keep up with your minimum payments and if you don’t you may find that your interest free period is cancelled. In addition, the interest free period applies to your balance transfer and not new purchases. There is normally an interest free period on purchases when you transfer but it will be for only a few months at most.
Give Me Credit
Banks have to offer their representative APR to over 60 per cent of applicants for it to be classed as representative. This doesn’t mean they will offer it to you. The APR will be determined by your credit history so if you’re trying to transfer from an expensive card to a 0 per cent deal, be sure that after the free period the rate is going to be cheaper than your existing deal – or ensure you pay of the balance before the new APR kicks in. The three deals detailed above are all highly competitive, but new deals are frequently offered. With Virgin’s astonishing rate rise, it’s likely there will be many people shopping around for a deal and the banks will be keen to offer more excellent rates. To get the best deal – make sure you shop around.
If you are really struggling to make ends meet then you can always get a little extra help from lenders, if you take a look at the wonga promo codes you can sometimes get a decent deal, but you MUST pay it back in time or you will get a hard slap with interest rates.
Written by The Spy, 20 March, 2012 - 08:39