Credit card arrangements which work on an interest-free basis are often particularly attractive to Britons. This is because interest-free cards can help people to spread the cost of more significant purchases. In addition, those who borrow through a zero percent interest card will have longer to pay back their balance without being charged any interest.
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However, in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, it appears many providers are less willing to offer up these options to borrowers.
Those who are looking to transfer their debts to a more manageable arrangement are likely to find themselves sorely disappointed.
Research undertaken by Moneycomms has found Barclaycard has slashed its longest zero percent deal from 27 months to 18 months.
Followed closely behind were Halifax and Virgin Money, both cutting deals from 29 to 22 months.
It is thought the rapid removal of zero percent deals from the market is a direct result of the continued fallout of COVID-19.
Many providers are fearful of customers defaulting on repayments because of difficult financial circumstances, and so are less willing to lend.
While credit cards are used by many people within the UK to manage their finances, there are fewer options now on offer to them.
In the past, Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis has always advised Britons to look at zero percent interest credit card deals.
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He has said this is often the quickest way to pay off credit card debt, and can work wonders for those looking to manage their finances.
However, Martin has also said Britons should always consider whether their priority is to reduce the interest, or the amount they are required to pay each month.
Reducing interest, he has said, can cost customers the least, and can get people debt free at a quicker rate.
Zero percent deals allow customers to focus on repayment alone, rather than paying off any interest likely to rack up during the term.
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Many offers, including the popular TSB 30 month zero percent deal, have come to an end in recent weeks, signalling a shift for providers.
It is not yet clear how long these changes will last for, however, the economic effects of the pandemic are likely to be long lasting for companies and customers alike.
Britons who can find a suitable zero percent deal to switch onto, however, are advised to think carefully.
This is because factors such as fees and credit scores often need to be taken into account before a person applies for such a card.
Poorer credit scores, for instance, could bar customers from obtaining a zero percent interest deal.
However, it is not all doom and gloom for customers who are looking to clear their debts.
In fact, many have seized the opportunity of lockdown to clear their debts.
Research undertaken by the Bank of England showed a staggering £7.4billion in credit card and personal loan debt was repaid in April.
This is the largest net repayment since records from the bank began in 1993.
Collectively, credit card debt was reduced by £5billion, a figure which is more than double the previous record net repayment set only a month earlier at £2.4billion.
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