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Credit Risk Hits the 0% Balance Transfer Market

Personal_Finance / Credit Cards & Scoring Mar 18, 2010 - 09:34 AM GMT

By: MoneyFacts

Personal_Finance

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleVirgin Money’s decision to reduce its 0% balance transfer period from 16 to 14 months has highlighted another tactic by credit card providers who, over the course of the credit crunch, have adopted a risk based approach to lending.

The number of cards offering balance transfers has fallen by 10% since the credit crunch began in 2007. As of today, 152 out of 219 cards offer balance transfers deals, 140 of them at 0%.


The average length of a 0% balance transfer period has remained relatively static, from 8.8 months in 2007 to nine months today.

Credit cards offering balance transfers
March 2010 152 69%
March 2009 167 76%
March 2008 204 79%
March 2007 201 79%

 

The current top cards with 0% balance transfers are offered by some of the market’s biggest names, according to Moneyfacts.co.uk:

Current top credit cards offering 0% on balance transfers

Santander 0% for 15 month 15.9%
Barclaycard Platinum 0% for 15 month 15.9%
Virgin Money Mastercard 0% for 14 months 16.6%
Egg visa 0% until 1/5/2011 16.9%

 

Louise Holmes, spokesperson at Moneyfacts.co.uk, commented: “Transferring debt to a card with a better rate has been a popular choice with borrowers for a long time. With many providers offering 0% balance transfer periods, cardholders had previously been spoilt for choice. There were many opportunities to transfer to a better rate and pay off the outstanding amount before the 0% period expired.

“The main reason for this decline lies with risk. Providers are wary of attracting debt from customers who could default at any time, and have the possibility of unemployment and economic hardship hanging over them.

“Attitudes to lending have changed considerably over the past two to three years. In such uncertain times, card issuers remain cautious as to how much and whom they lend to, so the prospect of accruing debt from another provider’s customer certainly doesn’t appeal.”

www.moneyfacts.co.uk - The Money Search Engine

Moneyfacts.co.uk is the UK's leading independent provider of personal finance information. For the last 20 years, Moneyfacts' information has been the key driver behind many personal finance decisions, from the Treasury to the high street.


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