Zilch review: Buy it using your virtual card, pay for it later

Pay over time, almost anywhere, with Zilch.

2.4 ★★★★★ (46 reviews) Write a review
  • Representative Example: 22.6% APR Representative (fixed) based on total spend: £230 (+£4.77 fees). Total repayable: £234.77 paid over 6 weeks, 1st payment £119.77, then 3 payments of £38.33 every 2 weeks.

Zilch is a virtual Mastercard that allows you to buy now, pay later (BNPL) or pay in full at thousands of retailers.

Some stores charge a fee of up to £3 when you use Zilch, while with others, it’s free (and the store pays Zilch a commission). The interest-free payment service allows you to buy products when you want them while spreading the cost of these items over 4 instalments in 6 weeks. The key, as with any BNPL service, is to ensure you can afford the repayments.

How does Zilch work?

Zilch is slightly different from other buy now, pay later services in that you will be given a virtual Zilch card. In order to use it, select your chosen store from the Zilch website or app and then activate the card for that store.

After that, you can order your goods with the Zilch card and pay for them later. The upfront cost for the item comes in at 25% of the overall price tag, with the remaining balance taken every 2 weeks (over a period of 6 weeks) at 25% each time.

Here’s a little example

Say you wanted to buy a pair of Nike Air Force 1 trainers (£85). Your first payment of £21.25 would be taken at the checkout. Then, after 2 weeks, a second payment of £21.25 is due. After 4 weeks, you’ll wave goodbye to another £21.25, and then after 6 weeks, (you guessed it) the final payment of £21.25 is taken.

  • First payment: 25% taken at checkout.
  • Second payment: 25% taken after 2 weeks.
  • Third payment: 25% taken after 4 weeks.
  • Fourth and final payment: 25% taken after 6 weeks.

What’s the difference between Zilch Up and Zilch Classic?

Zilch UpZilch Classic
Credit limitStarting from £50 to £600Up to £1,500
How long do I have to pay back?Start by paying 50% upfront – if you spend responsibly, Zilch will reduce this to 25% upfront. The remaining amount will be divided into 3 instalments over 6 weeks.

Start by paying 25% upfront. The remaining amount will be divided into 3 instalments over 6 weeks.

Zilch recently announced that users will soon have the option to pay over 3 months with the Zilch Classic card. The exact date of this feature’s launch hasn’t been announced.

  • Manage payments
  • Snooze instalments for 4 or 8 extra days
  • View your credit score (feature coming soon)
  • Use Zilch voucher codes
  • Manage payments
  • Snooze instalments for 4 or 8 extra days
Additional feesNo late payment fees apply, but transactions fees may apply.No late payment fees apply, but transactions fees may apply.
RewardsEarn up to 5% back in Zilch Rewards when shopping online by searching for your store in the app and using your card to pay in full at the checkout. Get 0.5% back in Rewards when paying elsewhere with your Zilch card.Earn up to 5% back in Zilch Rewards when shopping online by searching for your store in the app and using your card to pay in full at the checkout. Get 0.5% back in Rewards when paying elsewhere with your Zilch card.

Which retailers offer Zilch?

You can check out our full list of Zilch retailers and find out where you can buy now and pay later.

Features of shopping with Zilch

  • Zero interest. Each purchase made through Zilch is interest free.
  • Pay in 4. Spread your purchase across 4 equal fortnightly payments.
  • Build credit. Aim to build your credit score by paying on time.
  • Increasing credit limit. In the app, you’ll be able to see one-time tasks to help you boost your credit limit.
  • No early repayment charges. Zilch will collect your payments fortnightly but additional payments can be made earlier without a fee.
  • Earn Rewards. If you pay for a purchase in full at the checkout, you can earn Zilch Rewards.
  • No late fees. Even if you fail to make your scheduled payments, you will not be charged a late fee. However, missed payments are reported to credit reference agencies (CRAs) and can hurt your credit score.
  • Not just clothing. Zilch is one of the few pay later providers offering its services beyond clothing and homewares brands. Think food, flights, books, plants… the list goes on.
  • Warning: Late repayments can cause you serious money problems. For help, contact the MoneyHelper.

How much does Zilch cost to use?

It costs nothing to use, even if you forget to pay on time.

The only instance you may pay more than your scheduled amount is if you want to use Zilch to pay for goods from a brand it does not work with. In this case, a fee of up to £3 is added at the time of checkout.

What happens if I can’t make a Zilch payment?

Zilch will report missed payments to all 3 CRAs (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) and this can damage your credit score. This can have consequences for borrowing from other lenders, so it’s vital that you keep on top of your payments.

If you fail to clear your balance when it’s due, contact the Zilch support team. If you fail to clear your balance from this point onwards, you may end up being ineligible to use Zilch at all. The service will always send you emails to remind you of any overdue amounts.

Will using Zilch affect my credit score?

As of January 2023, using Zilch can affect your credit score. Zilch shares payment information with all 3 CRAs, so if you miss any, your score could drop. Other shared information includes your credit limit, outstanding amounts and your payment status.

Does Zilch perform a credit check?

Zilch runs a “soft” credit check to verify your details and get an idea of your creditworthiness. This won’t impact your credit score and it won’t be visible to others on your credit record. You will be able to see it in your record, if you’ve signed up to access your credit file.

Based on its “soft” credit check, Zilch will then give you its own credit score to determine how much you can spend with them. This will not affect your overall credit rating.

How to sign up for Zilch

If you want an account, simply visit this page and create one by entering an email address and a password. You will then receive an email with more information on how to link your debit card to your Zilch account.

What can I do if something goes wrong?

On the off chance that you encounter a problem with Zilch, we suggest taking a look at the list of handy frequently asked questions on the site. Can’t find your query on there? Give Zilch a call on 020 3405 9775 or email the team at support@payzilch.com.

Is Zilch safe?

Zilch is a PCI DSS Level 2 certified compliant service provider (which means it meets requirements to prevent data breaches and payment card fraud) and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Keep in mind that, unlike credit card purchases, BNPL spending (with the exception of Monzo Flex) is not covered by Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. This means you won’t have the same level of protection if your purchase doesn’t arrive, it’s damaged or the retailer goes bust.”

Rachel Wait, financial journalist

Zilch customer reviews

Most reviews of Zilch we’ve found online are positive, with customers praising its ease of use and how handy it is to spread the cost of items over a number of weeks. Zilch scores 4.6 out of 5 on Trustpilot, which is an “Excellent” rating, based on over 55,000 customer reviews (updated May 2024).

There are some negative reviews, too. These focus on poor customer service, particularly from customers who have struggled to make contact with Zilch when they experience a problem or have trouble meeting their payments.

Pros and cons of Zilch

  • Buy it now, pay for it later. With Zilch, you can order your chosen item when you want it and cover the costs later on, without having to wait until payday.
  • Interest free. Zilch never charges you interest.
  • No early repayment charges. If you wish to clear your balance earlier than your scheduled repayment date, you can do so free of charge.
  • Use practically anywhere that offers Mastercard. Unlike some other buy now pay later providers, you can use Zilch anywhere that accepts Mastercard payments.
  • No hidden or late fees. You will never be surprised with nasty fees. The only time you may pay more than the item itself is if you want to shop from a site that Zilch is not partnered with.
  • Virtual card. No need to wait around for a plastic card since your Zilch card is virtual.
  • Extra charge at some retailers. If you want to use Zilch when shopping on a site that isn’t a partner, you will need to pay up to £3 more at the checkout.
  • Can damage your credit. Zilch reports missed payments to CRAs, meaning you could damage your credit score.
  • Limited payment plans. Zilch only allows users to split payments into 4 equal chunks over 6 weeks, at 25% of the overall cost of the item. Whereas, some other services offer a range of plans.
  • You can’t suspend payments. Unlike other BNPL platforms, you can’t suspend payments while waiting for a retailer to process a refund. This means you’ll still be charged your fortnightly instalments until your return is processed.
  • Some negative feedback about service. We’ve heard from customers who’ve experienced problems with getting in touch with Zilch’s customer service team.

Our verdict

Zilch is constantly evolving and has some new launches on the horizon, so it’s certainly one to watch if you do use BNPL services. Unlike some of its competitors, Zilch doesn’t charge late payment fees, but remember that missing payments can hurt your credit score and make it difficult to get credit again in the future. If you want to use a BNPL service, be sure to only ever spend what you can afford to repay.

Have more questions about Zilch?

Rachel Wait's headshot
To make sure you get accurate and helpful information, this guide has been reviewed by Rachel Wait, a member of Finder's Editorial Review Board.
Melissa Stewart's headshot

Melissa is a copywriter with over 15 years' experience writing content for a variety of different brands. She has written reviews and buying guides for a number of consumer websites, including Which? and GoCompare. She's passionate about helping people get a fair deal. When she's not working, she enjoys travelling, cooking, and surfing the beaches on the North Devon coast. See full bio

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