Let’s be honest, the banks of Britain have been M.I.A. for the past 7 years. After the whole Northern Rock fiasco and the credit crunch sinking its teeth into the financial well-being of the country, it is no surprise that banks and building societies retreated into the shadows. It has been a long time since these financial institutions have offered any kind of credit or unsecured lending eagerly to the public. They have, in fact, been downright reluctant. So it is with not a little surprise that banks and credit providers are suddenly all over us, wooing us as if we were royalty.
Banks are suddenly trying to lure us away from the competition, only to have another bank try to lure us away from the second one. They are falling over themselves trying to outdo each other with more and more fantastic offerings.
What are the banks and credit providers offering in terms of loans?
What is happening is that in a bid to win more consumers, banks and credit card providers are offering jaw-dropping deals where they cut interest for up to 33 months. That means 0 percent interest for 33 months.
In order to benefit from these amazing deals it is a good idea to shop around. Here are some of the deals that are on offer.
• Halifax is offering 32 months of 0 percent interest with fees
• MBNA and Sainsbury’s Bank are offering 31 months at 0 percent with fees
• Leeds Building Society and Tesco Bank are putting 30 months of 0 percent on the table (with fees)
• Lloyds Bank offers 0 percent interest for 32 months and charges a 3.5 percent fee on transferral of the debt
• Barclays tops everyone with 33 months of freedom from interest. A 3.5 percent fee is also applied on transfer
• Nationwide is offering 0 percent for 15 months, however the fee is only 0.65 percent
This sounds great, and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that if you transfer your debt over on one of these deals you will save yourself some of those precious pounds. In fact, for example, if you transferred a debt of 2000 pounds to the new Lloyds deal you would be saving yourself 736 pounds if you paid our debt off during the interest-free period. That is not an amount to be sniffed at.
Now of course we are all sitting here and asking ourselves, “Where is the catch?” And there always is one. You are unlikely to be approved for any of these deals if you don’t have a stellar credit rating, earn above a certain amount, and have ‘managed’ your money well – overdrafts, mortgage, credit cards – for a certain time period (minimum 4 years). Cross fingers and hope for the best.