Lenders often get criticized for being the cause of huge debts by slapping eye-watering interest rates onto the credit cards they dish out to customers.
But what if you could borrow money and it didn't cost an extra penny – almost like a free loan?
By taking out a 0% interest credit card that is exactly what you are doing but like any good deal, there are certain things you need to be aware of.
Here's a short guide to credit cards with 0 interest and how to get the best deal.
What to look out for
0 percent interest credit cards offer a wonderful opportunity to clear debts much more quickly without having to fork out for interest charges. But not all deals are created equal, even though they may all be billed as 0 interest balance transfer credit cards.
Firstly, the interest-free period can vary significantly, with anything from just 3 months on purchases to 26 months, or even longer in some cases. For many types of credit card 0 interest for 12 months is a fairly standard offering, lying somewhere in the middle. For other types of credit card 0 interest for 24 months can be found but this doesn't mean they represent the best deal.
Although the interest-free period could well be one of the most attractive features, if you are considering transferring a balance from an existing card, you will also need to consider whether any fees apply. Finding the card with the lowest fees and the longest possible interest-free period will offer the best value for money.
Therefore, if you are looking for a credit card 0 interest deal, it is a good idea to check out a comparison table. This will allow you to compare 0 interest free credit cards to find the most competitive package.
Credit cards which charge no interest for an introductory period can really help to reduce your debts but it's important to consider what will happen if you can't pay off everything you owe within that timescale.
You could always switch to another lender at the end of the period but as these offers aren't usually available for bad credit applicants, if you have any hiccups in your credit file in the meantime, you will probably be refused.
Many credit cards providers who offer 0 interest deals aren't quite as competitive when it comes to their standard charges so you need to factor this in when deciding which card to apply for.
The other thing to bear in mind is that if you miss any payments, are late or pay less than the minimum installment, you will probably find that your 0% interest-free deal is automatically made void with immediate effect. It is therefore absolutely imperative that you pay what you owe and on time.
Finally, if you aren't sure whether a 0% interest free deal is right for you, a viable alternative could be a lifetime balance credit card. This offers a low rate of interest but is guaranteed to remain in place until you have paid off what you owe. For some people this could be a better option.