Experian Launches Balance Transfer Credit Limit Checker – Can It Help You With Your Debt?

Experian has launched a new feature that will put an end to the nerve-racking bet borrowers take when they apply for a balance transfer credit card without knowing if they will be accepted.

The Experian “Credit Limits” service will allow you to see if you will get the credit limit you need before applying for a 0% balance transfer credit card from Vanquis or Capital One.

A 0% balance transfer deal allows you to transfer debts from other cards, without paying interest for a fixed period. But it can be difficult to be offered a credit limit high enough to absorb the debt you want to move.

Here, which one? explains why your credit limit matters, how Experian’s new tool could benefit you, downsides to watch out for, and the best balance transfer offers to help you get out of debt.

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Why Your 0% Balance Transfer Credit Card Limit Matters

The credit limit you get on a 0% balance transfer credit card is crucial because it determines how much you can transfer from your other cards.

Normally, when shopping for a credit card, you won’t be told how much your credit limit is until you ask for approval, which is a problem if you need a specific amount.

For example, if you were to transfer more than £4,500 of debt, you would have a problem if the card provider you applied to only ended up offering you a limit of £2,000.

You might decide to make the same bet again with another provider, which is not a good thing to do because several applications in a short time can reduce your credit score.

Indeed, each time you apply for credit, it leaves a mark on your credit reportwhether or not you use the card.

A lower credit score could affect your ability to get future credit on things like a mobile phone, loan, or mortgage.

  • Learn more: how to check your credit report for free

How does Experian’s Credit Limits tool work?

Experian’s credit card comparison service will now ask you what balance you need to transfer when you apply for 0% balance transfer.

This, along with other criteria you enter, will allow Experian to perform a “simplified search” to tell you if the credit limit will be met.

Experian will display the results and highlight any card that is guaranteed to give you the limit you need. It will also include cards that will offer part of the amount you need.

However, it can only verify two providers at present: Vanquis and Capital One. Other providers will require a thorough credit check before you can find out what limit they would offer you.

The service will also display the actual rate you will get and the chances of being approved for credit before you apply.

  • Learn more: 0% balance transfer credit cards explained

For which offers can you see guaranteed credit limits?

Vanquis and Capital one are the only providers currently enrolled in Experian’s credit limit service in a market of 24 providers offering 0% balance transfer offers.

These brands are known for offering credit builder cards, which can help improve your credit rating, but tend to come with higher interest levels compared to other offers.

Experian says it hopes more lenders will join the service, but for now it’s worth bearing in mind that you should explore agreements with other suppliers to make sure you find a card with the 0% term and balance transfer fee that suits your needs.

  • Learn more: best and worst credit card providers

How much could you save with a 0% balance transfer card?

Nearly a fifth of credit card holders pay interest on their current card,, according to a survey of 2,000 people in February 2019 by Experian.

Borrowers paying interest on high credit card balances could potentially save money by transferring to a 0% balance transfer card.

These offers allow you to move credit card debt from other cards and freeze interest for a specified period, usually for a one-time fee of around 3%.

A credit card with an outstanding balance of £2,000 charging 18.9% APR and for which you put £80 a month would take you 32 months to clear and cost £503 in interest.

But by switching to a balance transfer agreement with a 25 month 0% period and no balance transfer fee, you can freeze interest and offset it with repayments of £80 per month at no additional cost.

  • Learn more: credit card interest explained

The best credit card offers with 0% balance transfer

Below, we’ve defined the best 0% balance transfer credit card offers that come with the longest 0% period.

You can compare balance transfer transactions using Who? Money comparison depending on the duration of the transaction, the amount of the balance transfer fee and the use of our exclusive Which? Customer rating.

Source: Which? Compare the money. December 5, 2019.

  • Learn more: 44 tips to pay off your debt

Please note that the information in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice. Please refer to a provider’s specific terms before committing to financial products.

Who? Limited is an introducer named representative of whom? Financial Services Limited, which is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 527029). Who? Money Compare is a trade name of Which? Limited financial services.

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