Consumers need to be aware of the potential down selling of headline 0% credit card deals

Andrew Hagger of looks at 0% credit card deals and how many consumers may be getting a far less attractive deal than they bargained for.

Interest free terms on best buy credit cards just keeps getting longer, however with some card providers you may end up getting offered a much shorter interest free term than the headline grabbing advertised deal implies.

This week NatWest increased its 0% balance transfer term to 26 months but as in previous instances when a rival matched its longest deal Barclaycard reacted within a matter of hours with an enhanced term, this time 27 months to maintain its treasured number one spot in the best buy tables.

It’s already fairly well known that some card companies operate personal pricing policy whereby up to 49% of successful applicants could find themselves being accepted for a particular card but end up with a rate of up to 11% higher than the advertised representative APR.

A practice that many people will be less aware of unless they take a closer look at the credit card summary box information is that some providers will offer a much shorter introductory 0% term for some customers.

In a number of instances as you’ll see from the table below, the 0% term actually offered can be less than half of the headline deal shown in the best buy tables.

Although with personal pricing 51% of successful applicants must be given the advertised rate, there’s no such restriction on down selling lower 0% periods – it therefore begs the question how many people are fortunate enough to get both the advertised rate and headline 0% term.

A worst case scenario for someone who is accepted for the latest Barclaycard 27 month balance transfer deal is they end up with 12 months at 0% and an APR of 29.9% – an almost unrecognisable product compared with headline 27 months and 18.9% APR.

Credit Card 0% term Potential to down sell 0% term to
Barclaycard 27 months BT 12 months
Natwest Platinum 26 Months BT N/A
Halifax 25 months BT 18 or 15 months
Tesco Bank 25 months BT N/A
Barclaycard 25 months BT 12 months
MBNA 24 months BT N/A
Nationwide BS 20 months BT N/A
Halifax 17 months Purchases 12 or 9 months
Halifax All in One 15 months Purchases & BT 13 or 11 months research of provider summary box info 21.05.2013










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