Want to make purchases now and pay no interest for up to 6 months? Compare 0% purchase rate credit cards to find the right card for you.
Credit cards are a great way to pay for products and services when you don’t have money available. Unfortunately, the money you repay usually accrues interest, which can add up in the long run. Some cards help alleviate this financial burden by providing their cardholders with interest-free days on purchases, if they pay the account’s closing balance in full each month. Other providers allow new cardholders to take advantage of 0% purchase interest rates, through introductory offers that are normally in place for the first few months.
Use this guide to compare your options and determine whether a 0% purchase rate credit card is the right choice for you.
Comparison of 0% Purchase Rate Credit Cards
How do 0% purchase credit cards work?
A 0% purchase rate credit card charges 0% p.a. interest on purchases made within a given period, which begins with the card’s activation. The American Express Airpoints card provides 0% interest on purchases for 6 months, but offers come and go, so referring to ongoing promotions at the time you wish to get a new card is a good idea.
0% purchase cards are suitable for individuals who wish to make a large purchase or several small purchases, but are unable to pay off the balance in full during the next payment cycle. They give you the ability to buy now and pay later, without the burden of interest, provided you pay the entire amount before the promotional period ends. At the end of the promotional period, the outstanding balance starts to attract the card’s standard purchase interest rate.
How to successfully use 0% purchase credit cards
The money you use for purchases, through a 0% p.a. purchase rate credit card, primarily works like an interest-free loan, and to make the most of it you should follow some simple guidelines:
Make purchases quickly
The interest-free period on purchases begins from the moment you activate your card and stays in effect for the given time period. As a result, the sooner you make a purchase, the longer you get to repay the money without accruing interest.
An introductory 0% p.a. purchase rate does not mean you don’t have to make repayments during the promotional period. You will still receive a statement each month, and you are required to make at least the minimum payment each month. If you miss even a single repayment, you can expect the promotional rate to end immediately.
Repay the amount within the offer period
You should ideally try to pay more than the minimum monthly payments because once the promotional period ends any outstanding balance starts attracting interest.
Avoid cash advances
Cash advances in any form, whether you withdraw money from an ATM or use your card at a gambling table, start attracting interest from day one. So you want to avoid them if you don’t want to pay a high interest rate.
Don’t exceed your credit limit
If this happens, your credit card provider may withdraw the promotional purchase rate.
Think twice about balance transfers
Some cards also offer promotional balance transfer rates. If you plan to use the card for a balance transfer, please be aware that both offers run independently of each other. There’s a good chance the purchase rate offer may be forfeited if you have a balance on your account.
How to compare 0% purchase credit cards
When you compare cards with a 0% p.a. purchase rate offer, it’s important to pay attention to the following aspects:
Length of interest-free period
The longer you get to repay the money, without having to pay any interest, the better.
This is the outstanding interest rate that purchases attract after the promotional period comes to a close. Bear in mind that the standard purchase rate can vary significantly from one card to the next.
The presence and cost of the annual fee will vary from card to card. If there is an annual fee in place, make sure it doesn’t override the savings you will make through the interest-free offer.
Some cards offer extra features, so you want to compare these to make sure the additional perks are of value to you. For example, you may be interested to find out if your card offers interest-free days on purchases once the initial interest-free period expires. Other cards may offer a rewards program or come with complimentary travel or purchase insurance cover. Compare your options and make sure the additional features suit what you want and need from a card.
What are the pros and cons of using a 0% purchase credit card?
- You save money. This, without doubt, is the most significant benefit of a 0% p.a. purchase rate credit card. As long as you abide by the terms and conditions, you won’t have to pay any interest during the promotional period.
- Get the item you want. If you’ve longed for an item for a while but can’t pay for it in one go and don’t want to pay interest, using this card gives you the ability to buy just about anything you want without paying interest.
- Requires budgeting. You can’t expect a credit card debt to pay itself, and if you don’t budget for the repayments in advance, you could end up with an outstanding balance after the promotional period ends. If this happens, you have to start paying interest, which, over time can add up to a tidy sum.
- Invalidate the offer. Various things can invalidate the offer, so it’s essential you review the offer’s terms and conditions at the onset. You can invalidate the offer by making a late payment, missing a payment or exceeding the card’s credit limit.