Can I balance transfer to a current account?
"I want to move my credit card balance to a current account so that I can pay back an overdraft without interest."
"Can I do that with a normal 0% balance transfer deal?"
Some balance transfer deals do allow money - or, rather, credit - to be moved directly into a current account.
In official credit card speak, the facility is called a money transfer.
We like to call it a super balance transfer.
Keep reading to find one or, to find more information skip ahead to our step by step guide.
Which card providers offer 0% transfers to current accounts?
Here are three of the options available at the moment:
Search for more 0% balance transfer to current account deals on our main comparison table here.
As we said, however, there aren't many of these deals around so it's worth searching a little harder than you might with other offers.
Finding deals pro tip 1:
keep an eye on these providers
Not many credit card companies offer money transfer services, but there are a few that almost always have at least one money transfer card available, so it can be useful to keep an eye out for them when looking for and comparing deals.
MBNA credit cards have offered various money transfer deals at zero interest in the past few years even while their business was for sale.
Virgin Money credit cards have also offered these deals for a number of years, whileTesco Bank are a relative newcomer to the business.
Finding deals pro tip 2:
check that small print
It's worth noting that a money transfer is rarely a key selling point for a card. The providers we've listed above are doubly unusual because not only do they routinely offer money transfer cards, but they make it plain that they do in their product lists and menus.
With most card issuers, money transfers are poorly advertised, tucked away on an inside page or in the small print.
We go to considerable lengths to ensure that the information on our site is accurate, but if it's not entirely clear that a money transfer facility is available with a specific card check with the provider before signing up.
How to do a money transfer
Money transfers work in a similar way to normal balance transfers, where the balance is moved to another card as this guide explains in more detail. But that doesn't mean they're exactly the same.
Here's how the process works, in three steps.
1. The card application
Before making an application for a specific money transfer deal it's worth being aware of two things: the kind of credit history required to apply and the fees involved, both of which could make a particular card a better or worse deal.
Application criteria: Both 0% balance transfers and money transfer credit cards are notorious for being marketed towards people with a good to excellent credit rating.
It's worth carefully checking application criteria and even taking some precautionary measures, like checking our credit reports - more information here - for insight into what lenders will see on application.
There are limited money transfer offers available for those who believe their credit history to be poor but following a successful, attention grabbing Capital One deal, the market started to open up.
Applicants who don't have a perfect credit history may find they're accepted for a deal but with a shorter interest free period, for example.
Find out more about balance transfer options for those with damaged credit histories in our full guide to the subject.
Transfer fees: The other thing we really need to be aware of are the fees which, along with the 0% period - see below - will determine whether the offer is a good deal.
Money transfers often come with higher fees than those charged on other cards.
In general, providers charge around an extra 1-2% on their standard fees.
Competition for standard balance transfer custom has seen fees drop considerably, with some 0% interest transfers now charging fees of less than 2% - and even 0%.
But there's not as much competition in the money transfer market, so while one or two may charge 2% it's more common to see fees of around 3% to 4% of the amount moved.
Bearing that in mind, it may not be financially worth it to make a transfer.
Of course, that also depends on the reason behind making a transfer to a standard bank account in the first place. See this guide for the many reasons that people choose to do so as well as some possible alternatives on offer if fees are too high.
2. The money transfer application
Once a successful application is made, it's time for another application: this time for the money transfer.
We can't stress this enough: It is vital to make sure we "transfer" the money under the correct deal.
Most card providers allow their customers to make the transfer using online banking and should have it specified as a separate option from a normal balance transfer.
If that's not possible, call up to request the transfer instead. Under absolutely no circumstances should anyone looking to fund their current account with one of these (or any other) credit cards withdraw the money as cash.
This is a cash advance rather than a transfer, and most credit cards charge high rates of interest on such transactions. There's more on the dangers of using credit cards for cash in this guide.
When making a money transfer using telephone banking, simply ask for something along the following lines:
- I want to make a 0% money transfer
- I'd like to transfer £X from my card to a current account
- Can I make a money transfer from this account please?
If the credit card provider is offering a money transfer under a special promotion or introductory deal, make sure to mention that as well.
Don't ask for a super balance transfer. That's a term only super lame consumer sites (like us) use so it might be confusing for the operator.
Note that some credit card providers specify that the transfer can't be made to any old current account, insisting that it can only be made to one in the same name as the credit card.
3. Paying off at 0%
Outside of the introductory period the balance on the card will be subject to the standard interest rate.
Sometimes this can be higher than the interest rates charged on a provider's other balance transfer cards - but even when it's not, it'll still be considerably higher than the 0% we've been paying previously.
So if we carried out the money transfer to counteract interest on an overdraft or loan but only paid back the minimum required each month, it will rapidly become more expensive to keep the outstanding balance on the card than it would have been to leave it.