Rate Tarting

Rate tartingAs the phrase so eloquently suggests, rate tarting is all about regularly and freely comparing the market, and switching debt or credit card balances to follow the best interest rates in the market – with no loyalty to any one lender or credit card issuer.

Although the term carries with it some less than desirable overtones, rate tarting is sound financial management and shouldn’t be seen ‘sharp practice’ or a joke!

The explosion in the use of the internet, and particularly credit card comparison websites, has meant it’s now relatively easy to rate tart on all your financial products from the comfort of your own home or office.

The introduction of Government legislation to reduce the power of the banks to lock customers into financial products has made rate tarting widespread on loans and mortgages as well as on short term instruments like credit cards.

For credit cards, rate tarting is easy…

Decide what your credit card usage and payment profile is likely to be over the next 18 months.

Typical situation A

Are you going to be able to clear any outstanding balances you have in that 18 month period, and are your outstanding credit card balances less than £5,000?

If the answer to both these questions is yes, and you have a ‘good’ to ‘excellent’ credit rating you’re the perfect profile for the best balance transfer credit cards. Simply look at our 0% Balance Transfer Comparison tables, and select the best deal. Apply online, and make the balance transfer as soon as you can in the process, and you’re immediately a better off rate tart!

Typical situation B

If you don’t think you can manage to clear your existing credit card balances in the next 18 months, or if you’re carrying credit balances over £5,000, you have 2 options to be a credit card rate tart.

You can take a look at the best rate for life credit card deal that’s around. This can seriously reduce your interest costs over time and allow more of your monthly payments to reduce your borrowing than to pay credit card interest.


You can go for the best balance transfer offer that’s around at the moment, and then you’ll need to compare credit cards again at the end of the 0% period and consider switching the remaining balance to the best balance transfer deal at that time.

Whichever your chose, watch out:-

  • It’s normally not possible to make balance transfers to credit cards that are issued by the same bank or credit card company that issued the credit card your carrying the existing balance on. So you need to look at a different issuer or bank to take advantage of a good balance transfer offer.
  • Do make sure your credit history is up to date and there are no unknown problems lurking on your credit record before you apply for a new credit card. So get a free copy of your credit report and make sure it’s correct.
  • Make sure if you plan to make further expenditure on credit cards over the coming period that you understand which credit card will give you the better deal, your existing card, or your prospective new balance transfer credit card.

As always, if you want to keep current with the latest rate tarting information, sign up for our email alerts for real-time news on the best interest rate offers & consumer related credit card news.

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