Save on costs and pay off debt faster with a credit card that charges 0% interest for a set period.
Interest-free credit cards, aka 0% credit cards, give you a period of time when no interest is charged on a particular part of your account balance.
The length of the 0% interest period varies depending on the card, ranging anywhere from 12-36 months, and can also be dependent on the applicant’s circumstances – with some card issuers tailoring 0% deals to the perceived risk profile of the borrower.
The 0% rate can also apply to different parts of your balance, depending on the type of card.
A 0% interest free credit card is great for reducing the cost of existing debt or for spreading the cost of large one-time purchases like furniture, a holiday, wedding expenses or emergency repairs, etc. You can get the maximum benefit from your card if you use it once for a big purchase (or transfer of debt), then spend the remainder of the promotional period paying off the balance.
Use this guide to compare interest-free credit cards in the UK, including different offers currently on the market. You can also find out about other features to consider so that you can find an interest-free credit card that suits your needs.
Compare interest-free credit cards
What types of credit cards offer 0% interest?
There is a wide range of credit cards that offer interest-free promotions for a specific time period. Here, you can find information on a range of different 0% interest credit card options based on how you plan to use your card.
0% purchase credit cards
This type of credit card allows you to make new purchases without paying interest during the introductory period, which is usually the first 12 to 28 months from when you get the new card. At the end of the introductory period, a higher standard variable purchase rate will apply to any remaining balance.
When will I be charged interest on a 0% purchase credit card?
- If you still carry a balance at the end of the introductory period. The 0% offer only applies for an introductory period and will revert to the standard interest rate when the offer ends. For example, if the card comes with 0% for 18 months, the interest-free period will end 18 months after your card was activated and any remaining balance will begin to collect interest.
- If you use your card for a transaction that isn’t considered a “purchase”. While most everyday spending will be eligible for the interest-free offer, transactions such as cash advances or cash equivalent transactions will be charged interest at the cash advance rate from the time they are made.
- If you don’t make minimum monthly payments. Even with 0% interest on your purchases, you’ll have to pay at least the minimum amount required by the due date on each credit card statement.
0% balance transfer credit cards
A 0% balance transfer card offers an interest-free period on existing credit card debt that you move onto the new card. The 0% interest rate can last anywhere from 12 to 24 months or more depending on the offer. This gives you the opportunity to repay your debt without collecting any additional interest, which can help you put more money towards paying off the balance faster.
When will I be charged interest on a 0% balance transfer credit card?
- If you make new purchases. When you make a purchase on this type of card, the interest rate for purchases will apply from the time the transaction is made.
- If you use your card for a cash advance or cash equivalent transaction. With these transactions, interest charges and fees will apply from the time they are made.
- If you don’t make minimum monthly payments. Your credit card statement will stipulate the minimum you are expected to pay every month.
- If you don’t pay off your balance transfer debt by the end of the introductory period. If the balance transfer interest-free period ends and you have an outstanding balance to pay, you’ll start collecting interest on it.
“Balanced” or “matched” 0% purchase and balance transfer credit cards
This type of credit card offers an introductory 0% interest rate for both balance transfers and purchases. However, the promotional interest-free periods may be different lengths for balance transfers and purchases. For example, a card could offer 0% interest on balance transfers for up to 15 months but only 0% interest on purchases for the first 3 months.
When the introductory period ends, any remaining debt from purchases or balance transfers will attract interest at the standard variable rate for that card. This rate could also be different for purchases and balance transfers.
When will I be charged interest on a “balanced” or “matched” 0% purchase and balance transfer credit card?
- If you make a money transfer. Most “balanced” or “matched” cards do not offer 0% on money transfers so the interest rate will be charged whenever you transfer money from your credit card to a bank account.
- If you make a cash advance on your card. This type of transaction is likely to attract interest immediately, without the interest-free days that usually apply to purchases.
- If you don’t pay off your debt by the end of the 0% introductory period. Anything remaining on your balance will be charged interest at the standard revert rate.
- If you don’t make minimum monthly payments. Although you may have 0% on your debt, you must still pay the minimum amount on your statement every month.
0% money transfer credit cards
This type of credit card allows you to transfer money from your credit card to your bank account, which could help you pay off an overdraft or personal loan. Many of these cards offer a 0% period for anything from 19 to 30 months, giving you a long break from the interest bill.
Money transfer credit cards don’t always have long 0% offers on purchases so you could accrue high interest if you use the card to pay for purchases.
When will I be charged interest on a 0% money transfer credit card?
- If you make new purchases. Any new purchases made on a money transfer card will be charged the standard interest rate at the time of the transaction.
- If you make a balance transfer. If you transfer any balances from an existing credit card, you accrue interest from the date the debt is transferred.
- If you don’t pay the minimum monthly payment. You could risk losing the 0% offer if you fail to make the minimum monthly payments required on your statement.
- If you make a cash advance on your credit card. While money transfer allows you to move money off the card into a bank account, actually withdrawing cash from a machine will be charged interest immediately from the date of withdrawal.
- If you don’t clear your balance by the end of the introductory period. Following the end of the 0% bonus period, you will be charged the standard rate of interest.
Credit cards with interest-free days
Most credit cards offer a certain number of interest-free days for each statement period. For instance, you may see “up to 55 days interest-free” included as a feature on your credit card.
This 0% interest period is usually only available if you pay your balance off completely by the due date on each of your statements. If you carry a balance or make a late payment, you won’t be eligible for interest-free days and interest will be applied for all purchases made during that statement period. Usually, you will only be able to access interest-free days again after you have paid your balance in full for one or two consecutive statement cycles.
How to compare interest-free credit card offers in the UK
If you want to get a credit card with an interest-free period, considering the following features and details can help you find one that’s right for you:
Interest-free credit cards can be a convenient and affordable way to access additional funds in a wide range of situations. But it’s important to compare your options to find the right type of card for your needs.
Frequently asked questions