Money-saving expert Martin Lewis was back on the small screen Thursday night with a “big message” for anyone with an outstanding balance on their credit card.
The consumer champion hosted a special edition of the Martin Lewis Money Show Live on STV sharing tips and information on how to handle post-Christmas debt now that most January credit card bills have landed and his warning was clear.
Martin said: “A big message for you on this – if you can’t afford to wipe your credit card completely and you’re paying interest, you can’t afford not to try to check if you can get a zero percent balance transfer.”
He explained: “This is where you get a new card which pays off the debts on the existing cards for you, so you owe the money to the new card but at zero percent.”
The founder of MoneySavingExpert.com told viewers that the best way to do this with a minimum on your credit score is to use an eligibility checker.
He said: “Use an eligibility calculator, don’t just apply, so you can focus on which card is most likely to accept you without affecting your credit report.”
Martin Lewis’s top tips for choosing a credit card
The finance guru explained that the key things to keep in mind when choosing a credit card is to choose the one with the lowest fees during the zero percent balance transfer period. .
He also shared two offers available now if you think you can pay off your full balance quickly:
- HSBC – 20 months at 0% free of charge
- Bank of Sainsbury’s – up to 21 months free of charge
And if you need more time to pay off your credit card debt:
- blank silver (offer ends February 2) – 35 months at 0% with a one-time transfer fee of 2.9%
- HSBC – 31 months at 0% with 2.7% transfer fee, plus up to £500 cash back.
Martin also shared his “golden rules” for handling credit card refunds.
He said, “Never miss your minimum repayments or the rate can go up to 20% APR and make sure you clear the debt within the zero percent interest period or the same can happen.”
He also had a final warning about using your credit card.
“Don’t use it for expenses, don’t use it for cash withdrawals because it’s often at a higher rate, just use it for balance transfer and put it away,” he advised.
You can catch up on this series from The Martin Lewis Money Show Live on the STV player.
Get the latest savings and benefits news straight to your inbox. Sign up for our weekly Money newsletter here.