What is a balance transfer?

With all your balances in one place, your outgoings could be easier to manage.

Why is a balance transfer useful?

With a balance transfer, you’re moving existing credit or store card balances to another credit card with a different provider. That could help you to:

  • Keep track of your borrowing
    Moving credit and selected store card balances onto a single credit card could make life easier, with one balance to manage and one payment to make each month.
  • Benefit from introductory or promotional interest rates
    By transferring higher interest balances to a credit card offering lower interest rates, you could reduce the overall cost of your borrowing.

 

For a quick summary, watch our short video

Watch our video to understand what a balance transfer credit card is, and how it works.
  • If you want to keep all of your credit card borrowing in one easily manageable place, if you need more time to repay what you owe on existing credit cards or if you're currently paying a high interest rate on store cards or other credit cards, a balance transfer could help.

    A balance transfer moves your balance from an existing credit or store card to another card with a different provider.

    With a balance transfer you can move multiple credit card balances onto a single credit card giving you one monthly payment to manage; or move your balance to a card with a lower interest rate potentially reducing your borrowing costs and giving you more time to pay off your balance.

    The minimum balance you can transfer is usually a £100, and to leave room for any potential interest or fees, the maximum amount is usually 93% of your credit limit.

    There are two main costs you'll pay:  your transfer fee -  a percentage of the amount you're moving added on to your balance when you make the transfer;  and interest - based on your balance transfer interest rate which you'll pay over time until you clear your balance. 

    You can find balance transfer credit cards with interest rates as low as 0% for a set period of time as part of an introductory or promotional offer but once the offer runs out your remaining balance will be charged at your standard balance transfer interest rate until repaid.

    At Bank of Scotland, we will always tell you your balance transfer fee and interest rate upfront.

    Now let's look at a practical example of how a balanced transfer with an introductory or promotional offer works. Jamie has just got a brand new credit card with a 0% balance transfer interest rate for 12 months on all transactions made in the first 90 days. 

    His balance transfer fee is 3%. Jamie also has £2000 of existing balances spread over two cards both with annual interest rates of 20% per annum. If Jamie keeps his balances on his current cards paying £200 per month every month it will take him 11 months to clear them and he'll pay £187 in interest.

    But if he moves his balances to his new card with a 0% percent introductory balance transfer interest rate,  paying his 3% transfer fee he could clear his balances faster by paying £206 pounds per month,  he could clear his full balance in 10 months paying a £60 transfer fee with no interest charges at all.

    In total, Jaime could save around £127 using his 0% interest rate offer on balance transfers. This is based on a few key assumptions firstly that… Jamie starts with a balance of £0; that Jamie never breaks his card terms and conditions; that he makes no other transactions on his new card during this time, and finally that he clears his full balance before his 0% interest rate offer ends.  In the right circumstances, a balance transfer can help you manage your borrowing all in one place but first always consider your options to make sure it's the right choice.

    Thanks for watching.  Visit www.bankofscotland.co.uk/credit cards for more information.

Balance transfers in more detail


  

 

Can I transfer?

  • You can’t transfer from all cards – it’s not possible to transfer balances between cards issued by the same provider, for example, you can’t move balances between two Bank of Scotland credit cards. You can only transfer balance from store cards featuring the Mastercard®, American Express® or Visa® logo.
  • £100 is the minimum transfer amount. The maximum balance transfer amount is 93% of your credit limit, which allows for potential fees and any in-flight transactions which have yet to reach your account.

Things to check

  • Check the transfer rate – there may be an introductory or promotional interest rate available on your account. If not, the standard money transfer interest rate and fees will apply. Either way, the sooner you repay your balance, the less interest you’re likely to pay.
  • Transfer fees may apply – balance transfer fees are usually a percentage of the transfer amount and apply to each individual transfer. Remember to account for any fees when working out any potential savings on interest.

Here’s an example of a transfer in action

Just for the purposes of this example, imagine you have a credit card offering 0% on balance transfers for 12 months, and you have no other balances on the card.

  1. You have a balance of £2,000 on one credit card, with an interest rate of 20%.
  2. You have another credit card offering 0% interest for 12 months on balance transfers, with a 1% transfer fee.
  3. You make a transfer request for £2,000, which is approved. That increases the outstanding balance on the credit card you’re transferring to by £2,020, which includes the 1% transfer fee.
  4. If you pay £202 on time every month, and you don’t use your card to make any other purchases, you could clear your balance within 10 months without paying any interest. Bear in mind, if you only make the minimum payment shown on your statement each month, it’ll take longer and cost more to repay anything you borrow.
  5. Just bear in mind that the standard interest rate will apply to any remaining balance when the promotional period ends.

Making the most of a balance transfer

Before you transfer, remember to check all fees and interest rates, just to make sure a balance transfer is the right option for you.

  • Continue to make required payments to your existing provider until your transfer is showing as complete on both accounts.
  • Be realistic about how long it will take to repay your balance. Remember that standard interest rates, which will apply after any introductory or promotional interest rates expire, are usually higher.
  • You could lose any promotional interest rates if you break the terms and conditions of your credit card account, for example, by missing a payment or going over your credit limit.
  • If you use a balance transfer credit card for other types of transaction, such as purchases, you’re likely to pay a higher interest rate for those. It’s also useful to know that balances with the highest interest rates are repaid first, increasing the potential cost and time it’ll take to repay anything you borrow.

To request a balance transfer

Existing Bank of Scotland customers

You can request a balance transfer in a number of ways:

 

What you’ll need:

  • The details of the card you want to transfer from, including the total balance.
  • If applying online, you’ll need your Internet Banking login details.
  • A phone – you might need to complete a quick automated security check .

Make sure we’ve got your up-to-date contact details in case we need to get in touch.

Not a customer

If you’re looking for a new Bank of Scotland credit card to transfer balances to, use One Check to find cards you’re eligible to apply for, and to see your estimated credit limit.

 

Check your eligibility

 

Balance transfer cards

Frequently asked transfer questions