With the introduction of many changes to the credit market at the beginning of the year, money experts predicted that 0% interest deals would be a thing of the past. However, what has transpired has surprised many, with credit card companies competing to provide the best deal to consumers.
The latest move in the market is by Barclaycard who are set to provide a 0% interest rate card for balance transfers fixed for 18 months for its new Platinum members. The deal is the longest that has ever been available but is being rivalled by M&S Money who are launching a 15 month interest free card this week, with the 0% rate available on purchases.
The average of the top five interest free cards available has now increased to 16.6 months, the longest period on record. The deal from M&S has also increased the average for interest free purchase cards to 13.2 months.
The competition in the market demonstrates a hunger from the lenders to attract new customers, a u-turn from previous stances where lending was at an all time low with banks reluctant to provide credit to anyone with a less than perfect history. However, with the recovery from recession gathering pace and with many consumers avoiding applying for further credit due to fears over getting too deep into debt, lenders are now vying for customers. Despite the willingness to extend credit again, many of the best deals will only be available to applicants with a top credit score. For those that do qualify, the length of the interest free deals make them appropriate vehicles for consumers considering consolidating their debts or thinking about making an expensive purchase.
Whilst the new deals look very attractive to consumers, money experts have warned that there could be hidden costs and applicants should look carefully at the small print to check for charges such as balance transfer fees.