Approval for any credit card will depend on your status. The APR shown represents the interest rate offered to most successful applicants. Depending on your personal circumstances the APR you're offered may be higher, or you may not be offered credit at all. Fees and rates are subject to change without notice. It's always wise to check the terms of any deal before you borrow.
A credit card with a 0% purchase rate can help you save on your shopping by charging zero interest on the balance during the promotional period. While the length of the 0% introductory offer varies, you’ll usually be able to get between 3 to 28 months interest-free depending on the credit card you choose.
0% purchase credit cards comparison
More about 0% purchase credit cards
A credit card with 0% on purchases allows you to make purchases and pay zero interest on them during a promotional, introductory period. When this period ends, the standard purchase rate will be charged for any remaining balance on your card. If you have some big-ticket purchases to make, a 0% purchase credit card can temporarily keep your interest costs low, which could help you pay off the balance faster.
Use this guide to learn about the benefits of 0% purchase credit cards, how they work and how you can compare the different interest-free offers on the market. We also answer the most common questions about 0% purchase credit card deals to help you get the most out of your next credit card.
How is a 0% purchase credit card different to a regular credit card?
While a standard credit card typically has an interest rate between 12% and 22% p.a. for purchases, credit cards offering interest-free purchases provide zero interest on all eligible purchases made during the promotional period.
How do I compare 0% purchase credit cards?
There is no one single leading 0% interest credit card on the market, because each offer is designed to suit different spending habits and budgets. But you can find a 0% purchase credit card offer that works for you by comparing the following features:
What is APR?Credit card promotions have to include an Annual Percentage Rate (APR), which all card issuers must calculate in the same way.
Credit card fee structures can get fiddly, so the APR’s designed to benchmark the yearly cost to borrow, with a view to helping consumers compare cards against each other. It takes into consideration the default interest rate plus any mandatory, regular account fees.
There’s a big catch though: the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) states that this rate must be what 51% (or more) of people accepted for a card receive. That means that up to 49% of those accepted for a credit card may end up paying a higher rate. This is why it’s often called “Typical” or “Representative” APR.
When it comes to 0% purchase credit cards, keep in mind that APR is only relevant once the introductory 0% period expires. Before that, you won’t be charged any interest at all, so it’ll be more useful to look at how long the 0% period is or to the other perks that come with the card.
Types of 0% purchase credit cards and extra features
While each of these cards offers 0% on purchases, there are several types of interest free purchase credit cards. You can compare the additional benefits and features to determine which type of 0% purchase credit card is right for you.
|0% purchase offer type||Benefits|
|Standard 0% purchase offer||Includes the 0% promotional purchase rate for a specified promotional period, which will revert back to the standard purchase rate once the offer has ended. Extra benefits such as interest-free days, travel benefits and complimentary insurances may also be available.|
|0% purchases with frequent flyer benefits||Earn frequent flyer points for every dollar spent on your card for the life of the card and also take advantage of an interest-free purchase promotional period.|
|0% purchases with balance transfer offers||This type of card allows you to transfer and repay your existing credit card debt interest-free whilst also making purchases with zero interest.|
|0% purchases with rewards benefits||Pay no interest on your purchases and earn rewards points for every dollar you spend. Unlike a frequent flyer card, these are connected to your credit card’s rewards program and can be redeemed for flights, merchandise and cash back.|
What's the difference between interest-free days and 0% interest credit card offers?Most credit cards offer you up to a certain number of interest-free days each statement period, for example, up to 55 days. To take advantage of interest-free days, you usually need to pay off your full balance by the due date on each statement. As long as you meet these conditions, you can enjoy interest-free days on your card.
In comparison, credit cards that offer a promotional 0% interest on purchases give you a temporary period when you can make purchases without paying any interest. You only have to make minimum payments during the promotional period. But a standard interest rate will apply to any balance remaining at the end of that period.
4 common mistakes to avoid
Want to get the most out of a 0% interest period? Here are four things to avoid:
- Ignoring the “revert rate”. At the end of the promotional period, the 0% interest rate will revert to the standard purchase rate (which usually sits between 12% and 22%, but be higher). Consider the standard interest rate before applying for the card so you understand how your debt will grow if you fail to repay your balance before the promotional period ends.
- Only making the minimum repayment. You’ll be required to make minimum repayments, usually 2% or 3% of the total balance, each statement period. However, if you only match the minimum amount each month, you’ll be unable to repay your entire balance before the 0% offer finishes. If you make more than the minimum repayment, you’ll have a much better chance of repaying your balance before the standard rate applies and you start paying a higher interest rate. If you’re unable to repay your balance before the 0% purchase offer ends, a balance transfer might be the next step.
- Ineligible transactions. The 0% offer only applies to eligible purchases. If you use your card for balance transfers, cash advances or other cash-equivalent transactions, they’ll usually be charged at the standard rate unless a separate promotional offer applies.
- Not taking advantage of the entire offer period. The 0% offer is available as soon as your card is approved, not from when you make your first purchase. So if your card offers a 0% offer for six months but you don’t make a purchase or any repayments for the first month, you’ll only have five more months to make repayments without incurring interest. If you have a big purchase in mind, make it as soon as possible and start making repayments immediately to get maximum value out of the offer length.
The introductory 0% interest periods offered in these cards can be a great way to save money on planned purchases and big-ticket items that you need to buy. When you’re comparing these cards, pay attention to how long the promotional period lasts, what interest rate applies at the end of the promotional period and other features and fees so that you can find one that suits your needs.
Frequently asked questions from our users
More guides on Finder
Best 0% purchase credit cards
0% purchase credit cards can help cover the cost of large purchases or expenses, and are often cheaper than a personal loan.
Sainsbury’s launches 29-month interest-free 0% spending card
The supermarket’s new dual offer card means customers don’t have to pay interest on purchases for up to 29 months.
Ask an Expert