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Balance transfer credit cards are available to consumers with a good credit history, and were in part created for those who wish to transfer their outstanding debts from other cards to a new lender. In general, this enables consumers to pay off their debts a lot faster. Many credit card issuers now offer free balance transfers, and once the balance is successfully added to your new card, you will have a grace period where you will be charged less interest on the transferred balance amount. It is even possible to find balance transfer credit cards with a 0% interest rate. Such introductory bonuses usually last for about six months - and sometimes up to a year from when you successfully open an account.

This can be a great way to reduce your debt as you can pay the remaining amount on your card without incurring any more interest. If you use these cards responsibly, you could even start a second balance transfer as the introductory offer on the first concludes. This way, you can start paying little or no interest all over again. In this case, it is important to close down the other account.

It's wise to read the small print with transfer cards (as with all financial products). Certain banks charge a high transfer fee, an annual fee or a joining fee to new customers. This is why it is important to see whether a balance transfer credit card would save you money that would have been spent paying interest on other accounts. These cards have the potential to save you hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds.

When it comes to choosing the right balance transfer credit card, you need to ask yourself how quickly you can repay your debt, how much debt do you have, and what your credit rating is. There are different transfer cards to suit everyone. If you're unsure, you can speak to someone at your bank, or an impartial financial advisory service.

Normally, if you spend on these credit cards, your purchases are accompanied with a high interest rate, and cannot be paid off until any prior debt has been settled. Some companies have changed their rules on this so that you will always pay back the most expensive debt first - so shop around for the best deals and always check before you apply.