What is a 0% purchase card?
If you’re planning a major purchase, a 0% purchase credit card is the cheapest way to borrow. These cards offer an interest-free period during which you can spread the cost of larger purchases.
Providing you can pay the entire balance back before the interest-free period ends, a 0% purchase card can be an unrivalled addition to your wallet.
Aside from taking advantage of the interest rate offers available, 0% purchase cards offer free consumer protection: Under Section 75, the credit card company is jointly liable with the supplier for any failed goods and services between £100 and £30,000 – making a 0% purchase card a useful tool when online shopping.
Is a 0% purchase card right for me?
For larger purchases, such as annual season tickets, 0% purchase cards make an ideal choice. However, existing debts or uncleared balances can quickly wipe out the benefits of these cards. Read this to find out if a 0% purchase card is right for you:
Can you afford to clear the debt quickly? If you know you can repay for larger purchases within the card's interest free period, a 0% purchase card is ideal for you.
Do you have a good credit score? Each lender has their own criteria, but if you are starting to build up your credit history you could struggle to get a 0% purchase card. Our credit comparison tool will find out if there are any deals you may be accepted for, without harming your credit rating.
Do you have existing credit card debts? If you’re currently paying interest on an existing card, it's most likely that your best option is to transfer your debt to a 0% balance transfer card. Check out our best balance transfer cards here.
Golden rules for 0% purchase cards
Check before you transfer a balance: If you transfer an existing credit card balance to a 0% purchase card, you may find yourself being charged interest. Check your deal carefully to see if the 0% is for balance transfers as well as purchases. It pays to read the full terms and conditions.
Ensure your borrowing stays free: If you miss a payment, or are late making a payment, you may incur a financial penalty. Combat this by setting up a direct debit to cover at least the minimum repayment each month.
Understand your minimum payments: The amount you repay each month on a 0% purchase card is not decided according to your interest rate. Instead, you have a lot more control over your payments. You can opt to either pay the minimum or you can ask to repay a set amount each month. If there is a chance that the minimum payment will be higher than your current credit card, make sure you can afford it.
Never outstay your welcome: Be aware that the 0% interest on your card is only for a limited time. It’s worth making a note of this date in your phone or diary. When it runs out, any remaining balance will start incurring interest at a usually uncompetitive rate. Clearing your balance before the 0% period runs out is highly recommended.
In the event that you can’t clear your balance in time, switch the debt to a new balance transfer card. Just ensure you allow enough time for the application to be processed. Start shopping around for a new card at least a month before your 0% interest offer runs out – our free credit card comparison tool can help.