Finding the right money transfer credit card for you.
Money transfer cards allow you to move cash into your bank account from a credit card. Use our guide to learn how to use them and what to use them for.
What is a money transfer credit card?
Money transfer credit cards, also known as bank transfer credit cards, are used to move most of your credit limit into your bank account. Once the money is transferred into your current account, it can be used to make purchases, pay bills, clear your overdraft, pay off debt, or withdraw cash.
Money transfer cards let you move up to 95% of your credit card limit and you’ll be charged a one-off fee to do so.
Many money transfer cards offer 0% interest periods, usually up to 18 months. You won’t have to pay any extra interest if you pay everything back within this timeframe.
You’ll need to make minimum monthly payments to keep your 0% period. When it expires, the interest rate will increase to a standard APR of around 21%.
How do money transfer credit cards work?
When using a money transfer card, here’s how it will work:
1. When you’re first approved for your card, you’ll need to notify the lender that you want to make a money transfer. You’ll have between one to three months to complete your transaction. If you transfer after this timeframe, the amount you take out will incur expensive interest rates, and you may also be charged a higher fee.
2. Once the transfer goes through, you’ll have to pay a transaction fee, which can range between 1-4% of the total amount transferred. For example, if you move £1,500 and are charged a 3% fee, you’ll have to pay £45.
3. If your money transfer card has a 0% interest period – which the majority do – you’ll need to make minimum monthly repayments. If you fail to do so, you could lose your 0% interest rate and have to pay a penalty fee. The minimum repayment you’ll need to pay each month will be determined by the amount you transfer and will differ depending on the card provider.
4. Over time, you’ll then repay the debt you owe. You can either repay in monthly instalments or pay it all off at once. To get the most out of any 0% interest period you’re offered, pay off your credit card debt before the period expires. This will prevent you from being charged interest, keeping costs low.
You can use money transfer credit cards for other purposes, such as withdrawing cash or spending directly from the card. However, even if a lender offered a 0% period, some cards may charge interest on spending and cash withdrawals, increasing the cost of your borrowing. Only the best money transfer credit cards offer 0% spending in addition to transfers.
What are money transfer cards used for?
Money transfer cards, especially ones offering a 0% interest period, are used by many people to clear debts that are costing them lots in interest, such as overdrafts and loans.
For example, you could have a loan debt of £500 that’s building interest daily, which can seriously increase the cost of the loan over time.
To save money, you can use a money transfer credit card to pay off the loan in full to prevent interest building on your balance, and then repay your money transfer credit card without paying interest as long as it’s all paid off within your 0% period.
0% money transfer cards can also help you pay for an expensive purchase, spreading the cost over your 0% interest period. For example, if you need extra cash for home improvements, you can transfer £2,000 from a money transfer card, pay around £60 in fees, and then spread the £2,000 borrowed into more manageable monthly repayments of £166.66 during your 12-month interest-free period.
Money transfer cards can also be an excellent way to pay for services and products from businesses or self-employed individuals that may not accept credit cards. Examples include wedding photographers, beauticians and musicians.
You can transfer what you need from your card into your bank account and then pay in cash, direct debit, or bank transfer.
Can I transfer money from a credit card to a bank account?
With a money transfer credit card, you can transfer money directly into your bank account. This is the only type of credit card where you’re able to do this.
Is a money transfer card right for me?
A cash transfer credit card will be well suited to you if you pay a high interest rate on any debts you may have and want to clear them so they stop building interest. They’ll also be handy if you need a cash injection to cover an unexpected bill you’ve not budgeted for.
To be approved for a money transfer credit card, you’ll need at least a moderate credit rating and may even need a higher one for cards offering an extended 0% interest period.
If you have a below-average credit rating, your application for a money transfer card may be rejected. If you do manage to be approved with a low credit rating, you’ll likely be offered a higher interest rate and have a smaller credit limit, meaning you can’t borrow as much.
To help you build a credit rating that’s suitable for a money transfer credit card, you can work on some of the following:
- Updating the information on your credit report
- Registering to vote
- Staying under 30% of your credit limit on your credit cards
- Paying off any existing debts you have
- Building a long credit history by keeping current accounts, credit cards and other credit accounts open
- Making repayments on time
What are the fees associated with a money transfer card?
When you first carry out a transfer, you’ll usually have to pay a small percentage of the amount. This fee can be up to 4%.
Much like other cards, there are additional fees you’ll have to pay if you mismanage your money transfer credit card.
Once you’ve transferred money from a 0% money transfer card, you must make minimum monthly repayments. If you miss any of these payments, you’ll be charged a late fee, often £12, and you may also lose your 0% interest rate.
For some money transfer cards, you will also be charged fees for spending on the card and withdrawing cash from an ATM. In addition to fees, interest will also apply to any cash you’ve withdrawn or purchases you’ve made.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of money transfer cards?
- Have low or 0% interest rates
- Can be used to pay off high-interest debts
- Money is moved directly into your current account
- Is a cheap form of borrowing
- Can charge a high-interest rate if used for purchases
- Will be costly if used for cash withdrawals
- Usually offer a lower credit limit when compared to other credit cards
- Need an above-average credit rating
Are there any alternatives to money transfer cards?
Money transfer credit cards are a great way to borrow money short-term at a low cost, but they may not suit every circumstance. Other options you can consider are:
Balance transfer credit cards
A balance transfer credit card can help you reduce the cost of your credit card debt, by moving a balance from an existing credit card onto one that has a 0% introductory offer, or a lower APR.
With a personal loan, you can borrow more than you can on a money transfer credit card and pay it back over a longer period of time. You’re likely to be offered a higher APR, meaning you’ll pay more interest.
Personal loans can be helpful if you need a large amount of money.
An overdraft allows you to borrow money via your current account, meaning you can use it to pay for purchases or direct debits. An overdraft can be helpful if you need a small amount of cash urgently, as long as you can repay it quickly.
You’ll be charged every time you enter your overdraft, (unless you pre-arrange an overdraft with your bank) and the amount of interest you need to pay will grow daily until you repay it.
Money transfer credit cards FAQs
What’s the difference between a money transfer and a balance transfer card?
A balance transfer card is where you transfer the balance you owe on one card to another. This usually costs a fee and is primarily used to move a balance that’s building interest to another card with either a lower interest rate or no interest at all.
A money transfer card moves money from a credit card into your bank account.
Will a money transfer card affect my credit score?
Using a money transfer card won’t affect your credit rating any differently than other credit cards. As long as you keep up with your minimum repayments and pay off your debt, it shouldn’t negatively affect your credit score.
Managing your credit card well could improve your score, although missing repayments consistently will harm your credit rating.
Can I use my money transfer card at an ATM?
You can use your money transfer credit card to withdraw cash, but it’ll be expensive. Some credit cards will charge you for each cash withdrawal, and the amount you withdraw will build interest immediately, growing until it’s repaid. This can make cash withdrawals expensive, especially if you take a long time to repay them.
Also, withdrawing cash on any type of credit card can harm your credit score, so it’s best avoided altogether.
How long do money transfers take?
Once your money transfer is approved, the money usually arrives in your bank account within a week. It can take longer for some providers, and others may be able to complete the transfer sooner.