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Need a break from card debt? Transfer it

There could be a number of reasons why you are considering switching credit card providers. On the one hand, you could have an Ulster Bank credit card or even a KBC Bank card and your hand is forced by the exit of these two players from the Irish banking market.

Another reason could be that you have quite a bit of debt on your card and want to transfer your balance to a provider that offers 0pc interest for a limited time to give you some breathing room while you try to clear this debt.

You may have credit card debt from time to time, but find that the interest rate on your current card is a bit high and you want to switch to a card with a lower APR (annual percentage rate).

Even if you have zero debt and clear your balance in full every month, you might be tempted by attractive introductory offers and the chance to earn rewards or cash back just for spending a certain amount each month on purchases. individuals.

Whatever your needs or desires for a credit card, the good news is that it’s quite easy to compare providers with price comparison sites such as Bonkers.ie, Switcher.ie and the tool price comparison on the website of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, CCPC. that is to say.

Using these tools, you can compare things like APR, interest rates on balance transfers or purchases, and cash back rewards.

But you should also check if your provider charges an annual fee and supports your preferred mobile payment method (i.e. Google Pay, Apple Pay, Fitbit Pay, Garmin Pay, etc.).

Ultimately, the best card for you depends on what you use it for.

If you’ve accumulated a lot of debt, switch to a provider with a usefully lower interest rate than your current card or to a provider that charges no (or very low) interest on balance transfers for a period of time. limited period (usually three to 12 months) can be a good way to save money on your interest payments and get things under control.

For example, AIB’s Click Visa credit card has the lowest APR at 13.8pc, followed by An Post’s Flex Mastercard at 15.7pc. Most other cards tend to charge rates between 17pc and 23pc or more. However, neither the AIB nor the An Post Card have introductory rates on balance transfers or purchases.

An Post’s classic Mastercard (22.9pc APR), on the other hand, charges 0pc on balance transfers for 12 months, so it might be worth considering as part of a strategy to debt management.

You may find that a card with an “installment plan” feature might work better. Available only with Bank of Ireland and KBC (who are still accepting new business at the moment), this feature acts like a personal loan via your credit card, allowing you to pay in fixed monthly installments at a low interest rate (less than 10 pc APR) for purchases over €250 or €500.

If you pay off your balance monthly, the interest rate on credit cards probably won’t be a major issue. Indeed, if you only keep your card for occasional or emergency use and tend to use your debit card more often, then the switch may not even be worth it.

If you use your card a lot, is it worth considering a premium card? “In general, the most ‘premium’ or exclusive credit cards offer the worst interest rate because you’re paying for the extras,” said Daragh Cassidy of price comparison site Bonkers.ie.

“However, if you’re someone who knows you’ll diligently repay the outstanding balance in full and on time each month, the interest rate may not be as important. So in this case, you might want to look at cards that offer perks and perks.

AIB’s Platinum card seems to offer some of the best. “This gives 0.5pc cashback on spending between €5,000 and €50,000 over a 12 month period (up to a maximum of €225 per year),” Cassidy said.

“Another advantage is that if you top up your card with money to have it credited, you can then withdraw money from an ATM abroad and not have to pay the usual fees for cash advance. This used to be a common feature on credit cards, but is no longer widely available. The rate isn’t the worst either at 17pc APR. However, the Platinum card requires a minimum wage of €40,000 per year.

If you use your card a lot but your spending is reasonable, non-premium cards also offer tempting rewards.

The Avant Money Visa Reward+ card will give you 1.25pc cash back on select purchases up to a maximum of €12 per month. However, to get that full amount, you need to spend upwards of $900 per month, Cassidy notes. “And all travel, betting, vacation, car rental, public transport, flight and hotel expenses are not included.”

In the end, it all depends on how you use your card.