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The game is up for balance transfer credit cards

07 November 2008 / by Rachael Stiles
Consumers that manage their credit card debt by moving it around between one balance transfer credit card and another will find this difficult to do as the number of deals available diminishes.

The number of balance transfer credit cards available and the length of time that the zero per cent deal lasts are reducing, according to, which will make it harder for those wishing to shift their debt around rather than pay it off.

In October this year, 75 per cent of credit card companies were offering zero per cent balance transfer credit card, compared to 82 per cent in October 2007.

A year ago, there were 103 cards offering balance transfer period of 10 months or more, but today this has fallen to 97. The average introductory offer is now just nine and a half months, down from 10.1 months.

And it will only get increasingly tough to find such deals in the future, says MoneyExpert, as credit card providers become more cautious about who they lend to and more wary of offering high credit limits.

Previously, those who move their credit card debts around, so-called 'rate tarts', have been able to do so at little cost, but this is going to change, said the comparison website.

Sean Gardner, director of, said: "These figures should send a clear message to borrowers that the credit card merry-go-round is grinding to a halt. In the coming months it's going to become increasingly difficult to refinance your debt at zero per cent interest.

"This trend away from extended balance transfer periods underlies a shift in the industry which is increasingly cautious about the people it lends to and is far more interested in the profitability of its customers. A year ago there were dozens of cards with overall APRs of little more than ten per cent, but today the most competitive cards offer rates of sixteen per cent or more."

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