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Credit card transfers rise as recession looms

More of us will switch credit card in next year

Shopping online with a credit card

Safe shopping online with credit cards

More than one in five credit card holders (22%) will switch their existing credit balance to a new credit card to save money in the next 12 months according to a survey by Abbey. 

That figure represents a significant increase in switching activity since the start of 2008, when only 19% said they had plans to switch.

Men are more likely to switch to a new credit card than women according to the survey of 1,000 people, which was carried out between 5-7 September. The average balance consumers are planning to switch to a new card is £1,600, with men (£1,700) again being likely to transfer more than women (£1,480). Which? has more advice on choosing a credit card

Balance transfer fees

If you are planning to switch a balance to a new card, it is essential to shop around to avoid paying a large transfer fee. Which? Best Buy cards for balance transfers, such as the Abbey Zero Mastercard, won’t charge you a fee to move your money on to them, but the majority of cards will.

Which? money editor Martyn Hocking said:’Over the past 12 months the balance transfer fee on credit cards has increased by 0.5% to a typical rate of 3%, so picking the right card is more important than ever. 

‘Watch out, though – even a Best Buy balance transfer card will only give you six months interest-free in which to pay off the balance. If you have a large balance and need longer than this, it may work out cheaper to pick a card with a long-term low interest rate such as the Barclaycard Platinum Balance Transfer card.’

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