A 0 interest credit card allows you to make purchases without paying any interest on them for a fixed introductory period. These are sometimes also referred to as 0 purchase cards, and 0 credit cards.
Once the introductory 0% interest period ends, the interest rate reverts to the standard purchase rate, often known as the revert rate.
How do 0% credit cards work?
0% purchase cards work just like any other credit card. The only difference is that these credit cards come with longer 0% interest periods. Depending on the card, the 0% interest period can last from three months and go up to 29 months.
What does 0% interest on purchases mean?
Interest free or 0 interest means that you will not be charged interest on your balance, even if you don't pay off the monthly balance in full, for the duration of the introductory 0 interest period.
For example if you make a purchase worth £1,200 on your 0 interest card, and you have a 0 interest period of 6 months. You can pay off the balance by repaying £200 every month, without being charged interest.
Alternatively, you could just pay the minimum payment. But only paying the minimum payment will mean you'll still have most of your original balance remaining after the six month interest free period ends. Once the interest free period ends you'll be charged interest based on the revert rate on your card for the remaining balance on your card.
What should I use a 0 interest credit card for?
These are useful for making large purchases such as furniture for your home or funding a holiday, because you can spread the cost over several months without having to pay interest.
However, make sure that you pay off the balance before the 0% interest period ends, or you'll end up being charged interest.
How to get the best 0 interest credit cards
There is no best credit in the market as banks and lenders offer several credit cards that are designed to suit different budgets and spending habits.
By shopping around and comparing 0% credit cards, you can find the best deals available and chose the one most suited to your needs and financial circumstances.
When comparing 0 credit cards, you might want to consider some key features:
Length of the 0% interest period: This can range from six to as many as 29 months, so choose a card that offers a long enough period that covers your needs.
Annual fee: Some 0 interest credit cards charge an annual fee. For a card to be worth your while calculate whether the amount you’ll save in interest is more than the annual fee. If not, it’s best to choose a card without an annual fee.
The revert rate: This is the interest rate that you’ll be charged after the introductory 0% interest period ends. It’s also known as the standard purchase rate, which can range from around 10% up to over 35%. This is why it’s a good idea to try and pay off your balance before the 0% interest period ends.
Pros and Cons of 0 purchase credit cards
No interest for a fixed period
Spread the cost of large purchases
Helpful for lowering high-interest balances
High APR after 0% interest period ends
Balance transfers are not always included
You’ll still pay a balance transfer fee
How do I know which 0 purchase credit card I’ll be eligible for?
Your eligibility for any credit depends on a number if factors such as:
The amount of debt you already have
Your recurring expenses
Your credit history
Most lenders will consider these factors when assessing your eligibility for a credit card.
One thing you can do is use our free eligibility checker to find out which cards you’re most likely to be accepted for.
Our eligibility checker uses a soft search function to assess your eligibility for a credit card without making a mark on you credit file. You can find out more about our eligibility checker here.
Top tips on using a 0% purchase credit card
Here are some ways to make the most of your 0 purchase credit card.
Use it sensibly. A 0 purchase credit card can be a useful tool to supplement your spending, when used responsibly. It's not a way to live beyond your means.
Always pay at least the minimum monthly repayment. Even though you don't pay interest for a period, you still have to pay the minimum monthly payment. Missing even one payment can mean losing the 0% interest offer. This is why it's a good idea to set up a direct debt that pays the minimum payment automatically.
Pay off your balance before the 0% interest period ends. Once the 0% interest period ends, the interest can shoot up sharply. This is why if you're trying to pay off the balance from a large purchase, it's a good idea to divide balance by the number of 0% months you have to to calculate how much you'll have to pay every month till the 0% interest period ends.
0% interest does not apply to cash withdrawals. Keeping in mind that the 0% interest free period only applies to purchases you make with the card. If you use your 0 purchases card to withdraw money, you'll be charged a higher rate and additional fees.