The Best 0% Credit Cards

Updated: 22nd April, 2019.

We’ve vetted some of the most popular credit cards on the market to bring you our shortlist of the best credit cards for 0% APR on purchases. These cards can be great for those looking to make a big purchase (or several somewhat-large purchases) or those hoping to pay down higher-interest debt without racking up new interest charges.

Here are MyWalletHero’s picks for the best 0% purchase credit cards.

Great for: Long 0% purchase and balance transfer, plus points
5 stars question mark
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The M&S Shopping Plus credit card ticks a lot of the boxes to make a great credit card. For starters, there’s a long 20-month 0% period on new purchases. But you can add to that a 20-month, 0% period for balance transfers made in the first 90 days and the M&S points programme. It is worth noting that there’s a 2.9% fee on balance transfers.

Read full review >

CREDIT RATING req:

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest on purchases for the first 20 months
  • 0% interest for 20 months on balance transfers made in the first 90 days
  • 2.9% balance transfer fee
  • Earn M&S points for shopping at M&S and elsewhere
  • Bonus points voucher for 500 M&S points (worth £5 at M&S) mailed with new card

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 19.9% APR (variable)
Purchase rate 19.9% p.a. (variable)
Assumed credit limit £1,200

what we like

  • 0% interest on purchases for the first 20 months
  • 0% interest for 20 months on balance transfers made in the first 90 days (2.9% fee applies)
  • Earn M&S points for shopping at M&S and elsewhere
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £0
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    19.9%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    0% interest on purchases for 20 months
    0% interest on balance transfers for 20 months

KEY SCORES:

  • 5/5 Perks
  • 5/5Fees
  • 3/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest on purchases for the first 20 months
  • 0% interest for 20 months on balance transfers made in the first 90 days
  • 2.9% balance transfer fee
  • Earn M&S points for shopping at M&S and elsewhere
  • Bonus points voucher for 500 M&S points (worth £5 at M&S) mailed with new card

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 19.9% APR (variable)
Purchase rate 19.9% p.a. (variable)
Assumed credit limit £1,200
Great for: Long 0% interest on purchases and balance transfers
5 stars question mark

The barclaycard Platinum 27 Month Card combines two solid offers. Cardholders get 27 months of 0% interest on purchases, plus 27 months of 0% interest on balance transfers. There is a 2.7% fee on balance transfers, so those looking primarily for a balance-transfer card may want to look for a card that offers fee-free transfers. The addition of ongoing access to your Experian credit score is a nice perk.

Read full review >

CREDIT RATING req:

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest on purchases made over the first 27 months
  • 0% interest on balance transfers for 27 months (but a 2.7% fee applies)
  • Free ongoing access to your Experian credit score

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 19.9% APR (variable)
Purchase rate 19.9% p.a. (variable)
Based on borrowing £1,200

what we like

  • 0% interest on purchases made over the first 27 months
  • 0% interest on balance transfers for 27 months (but a 2.7% fee applies)
  • Free ongoing access to your Experian credit score
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £0
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    19.9%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    0% interest for 27 months on new purchases
    0% interest for 27 months on balance transfers made in the first 60 days

KEY SCORES:

  • 4/5 Perks
  • 5/5Fees
  • 2.5/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest on purchases made over the first 27 months
  • 0% interest on balance transfers for 27 months (but a 2.7% fee applies)
  • Free ongoing access to your Experian credit score

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 19.9% APR (variable)
Purchase rate 19.9% p.a. (variable)
Based on borrowing £1,200
Great for: 0% interest on purchases and balance transfers
4 stars question mark

HSBC’s Purchase Plus Credit Card is a consideration for those looking for a solid combination of 0% purchase and balance-transfer offer. The 18 months is shorter than some competitors, but that’s still gives you a solid 0% period. The balance-transfer offer comes with a 2.99% fee, which isn’t ideal, but you get 18 months of 0% interest there too. There is a rewards programme, Visa Offers, and a discount programme, HSBC’s home&away, but you have to search for offers relevant to you.

Read full review >

CREDIT RATING req:

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest on purchases made over the first 18 months
  • 0% interest for 18 months on balance transfers made in first 60 days
  • 2.99% balance-transfer fee applies
  • Discounts and rewards available with Visa Offers and HSBC's home&away
  • No annual fee

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 22.9% APR (variable)
Purchase rate 22.9% p.a. (variable)
Based on an assumed credit limit of £1,200

what we like

  • 0% interest on purchases made over the first 18 months
  • 0% interest for 18 months on balance transfers made in the first 60 days (but a 2.99% fee applies)
  • Discounts and rewards with Visa Offers and home&away
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £0
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    22.9%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    0% on purchases for 18 months
    0% for 18 months on balances transferred in first 60 days

KEY SCORES:

  • 3/5 Perks
  • 5/5Fees
  • 1/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest on purchases made over the first 18 months
  • 0% interest for 18 months on balance transfers made in first 60 days
  • 2.99% balance-transfer fee applies
  • Discounts and rewards available with Visa Offers and HSBC's home&away
  • No annual fee

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 22.9% APR (variable)
Purchase rate 22.9% p.a. (variable)
Based on an assumed credit limit of £1,200
Great for: Long 0% interest on purchases and rewards
5 stars question mark

The Sainsbury’s Dual Offer Credit Card aims to give you the best of both worlds — cardholders get a long 28 months with 0% interest on both purchases and balance transfers. Balance transfers are subject to a 3% fee, so those looking primarily for a balance-transfer offer may prefer to find a card without that fee. As with other Sainsbury’s cards, cardholders collect Nectar points on spending at Sainsbury’s and elsewhere. Over the first two months, shopping at Sainsbury’s could net users up to 7,500 bonus points, which is worth £37.50.

Read full review >

CREDIT RATING req:

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest on purchases made over the first 28 months
  • 0% interest on balance transfers for 28 months (but a 3% fee applies)
  • Up to 7,500 bonus Nectar points over first 2 months

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Purchase rate is 20.95%
p.a. variable
With a representative 20.9% APR
variable
Assumed Credit limit: £1,200

 

what we like

  • 0% interest on purchases made over the first 28 months
  • 0% interest on balance transfers for 28 months (but a 3% fee applies)
  • Up to 7,500 bonus Nectar points over first 2 months
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £0
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    20.9%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    0% on purchases for 28 months
    0% on balance transfers for 28 months

KEY SCORES:

  • 5/5 Perks
  • 5/5Fees
  • 1/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest on purchases made over the first 28 months
  • 0% interest on balance transfers for 28 months (but a 3% fee applies)
  • Up to 7,500 bonus Nectar points over first 2 months

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Purchase rate is 20.95%
p.a. variable
With a representative 20.9% APR
variable
Assumed Credit limit: £1,200

 

Great for: Long 0% interest on purchases and rewards
5 stars question mark

The Sainsbury’s Purchase Credit Card is a solid option for those looking for a long introductory 0% period for purchases. The card does have a balance transfer offer as well, giving users 0% interest on balances transferred from other cards. However this is only three months and carries a 3% fee.

Read full review >

CREDIT RATING req:

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest on purchases made over the first 27 months
  • 0% interest on balance transfers for the first 3 months (but a 3% fee applies)
  • Up to 7,500 bonus Nectar points over first 2 months

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Purchase rate is 20.95% p.a. variable
With a representative 20.9% APR variable
Assumed credit limit £1,200

what we like

  • 0% interest on purchases made over the first 27 months
  • 0% interest on balance transfers for the first 3 months (but a 3% fee applies)
  • Up to 7,500 bonus Nectar points over first 2 months
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £0
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    20.9%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    27 months 0% interest on purchases
    Up to 7,500 bonus Nectar points over first 2 months

KEY SCORES:

  • 4/5 Perks
  • 5/5Fees
  • 1/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest on purchases made over the first 27 months
  • 0% interest on balance transfers for the first 3 months (but a 3% fee applies)
  • Up to 7,500 bonus Nectar points over first 2 months

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Purchase rate is 20.95% p.a. variable
With a representative 20.9% APR variable
Assumed credit limit £1,200
Great for: Long 0% interest on purchases and rewards
4 stars question mark

Tesco Bank’s Purchases Card is a solid choice if you’re looking for a long period for 0% interest on your spending, as 26 months stacks up well with competitors. The card gets even better if you’re a Tesco customer, since it’ll help you rack up Tesco points. You’ll get 1 Clubcard point for every £4 you spend at Tesco and 1 Clubcard point for every £8 that you spend elsewhere.

Read full review >

CREDIT RATING req:

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest on purchases made over the first 28 months
  • 1 Clubcard point per £4 spent in Tesco and for every £8 spent elsewhere

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 19.9% APR (variable)
Interest rate on purchases 19.9% p.a. (variable)
Assumed credit limit £1,200

what we like

  • 0% interest on purchases made over the first 28 months
  • 1 Clubcard point per £4 spent in Tesco and for every £8 spent elsewhere
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £0
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    19.9%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    0% purchases for 26 months

KEY SCORES:

  • 4/5 Perks
  • 5/5Fees
  • 3/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest on purchases made over the first 28 months
  • 1 Clubcard point per £4 spent in Tesco and for every £8 spent elsewhere

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 19.9% APR (variable)
Interest rate on purchases 19.9% p.a. (variable)
Assumed credit limit £1,200
Great for: 0% interest on purchases and balance transfers, plus travel benefits
4.5 stars question mark

Thanks to recent changes to the 0% term lenghts, the Post Office Platinum isn’t quite as good of an offer as it once was. Still, 8 months on both purchases and balance transfers (fee applies) is nothing to sneeze at. Better still, this is also a great card for travelers, since you don’t pay fees on purchases made overseas and can buy Post Office Travel Money with no fee.

Read full review >

CREDIT RATING req:

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest on purchases made over the first 8 months
  • 0% interest on balance transfers for the first 8 months (but a 2.89% fee applies)
  • No fee travel money from the Post Office

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Assumed credit limit £1,200
Representative APR (variable) 18.9%
Purchase rate p.a. (variable) 18.9%
Annual fee £0

what we like

  • 0% interest on purchases made over the first 8 months
  • 0% interest on balance transfers for the first 8 months (but a 2.89% fee applies)
  • No fee travel money from the Post Office
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £0
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    18.9%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    0% on purchases for 8 months
    0% on balance transfers for 8 months

KEY SCORES:

  • 3/5 Perks
  • 5/5Fees
  • 5/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest on purchases made over the first 8 months
  • 0% interest on balance transfers for the first 8 months (but a 2.89% fee applies)
  • No fee travel money from the Post Office

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Assumed credit limit £1,200
Representative APR (variable) 18.9%
Purchase rate p.a. (variable) 18.9%
Annual fee £0

About 0% purchase credit cards

Cards that offer 0% interest on purchases can be a great way to spread the cost of a large purchase or several smaller purchases, and can save you hundreds of pounds in potential interest charges. A 0% purchases card will typically give you a certain period when all new purchases on that card will be interest free. The APR on a credit card is typically around 18%. (The annual percentage rate (APR) is the interest charged for carrying a balance on a credit card.) You could potentially pay off your balance before you are charged the higher interest rate.

How we picked the winners

We have considered several key factors when selecting our shortlisted 0% purchase credit cards. These are the factors that really make a difference and are the main things to look at when selecting a card:

  • Length of the 0% introductory period for purchases
  • Inclusion and length of a 0% introductory period for balance transfers
  • The representative APR for the card after the introductory APR period
  • Any additional benefits, such as reward schemes, cashback or credit report services

What is 0% on purchases and what is 0% on balance transfers?

When a card offers a 0% introductory APR on purchases, it means you will not be charged interest on any balances you incur by making a purchase with the card for a certain period of time after opening the account.

You can also have 0% introductory APR periods for balance transfers. This means that any balances you transfer to your card will be not be subject to interest charges. Some cards offer both a 0% APR on purchases and a 0% APR on balance transfers, although the introductory periods may differ in length.

How does it work?

A 0% on purchases card is popular with people who would like to finance a large purchase, as you will not incur any interest during the promotional period of the card.

The key thing to be aware of with this type of card is that the interest-free period is limited. If you take out a card that offers a 20-month 0% APR, any balances that remain after 20 months will begin to accrue interest at the card’s standard rate. A typical APR on a credit card is 18%, so you will want to make sure you pay down any balances as quickly as possible in order to make the most of the introductory promotional period.

Another thing to take note of is that while you may have a 0% introductory APR, that doesn’t mean you don’t need to make payments. Cards will still require you to make the minimum monthly payments, and some will withdraw the 0% introductory APR if you miss any payments.

Do I need 0% on balance transfers as well?

This depends on what you are looking to use a card for:

  • If you plan to use the card solely for making a large purchase and then paying it off, having a 0% introductory APR on purchases would suffice.
  • If you already have an existing balance on another card, it could be worth getting a card that also includes 0% on balance transfers, so that you can consolidate your debt. Just make sure to check for any balance transfer fees and the length of the interest-free period for balance transfers.

How to save money with a 0% purchase APR

A card with a 0% introductory APR on purchases could potentially save you hundreds of pounds in interest compared with carrying the same balance at a typical APR of 18%. The table below shows how much you would save in interest by paying off a £5,000 balance during a 0% introductory APR period rather than paying off the same balance over the same time at an 18% APR.

Interest saved by paying off a £5,000 balance with a 0% introductory APR card

Length of introductory 0% APR period Amount saved
12 months £500.80
15 months £620.80
18 months £742.54
21 months £865.93

The interest you save is dependent on the duration of your 0% introductory APR on purchases offer, the interest you pay on your existing debt, and how much debt you have to repay. That said, most people will find that a 0% introductory offer on purchases will save them hundreds in the long run compared with carrying a balance on a standard APR credit card.

0% APR – What’s the catch?

Cards that have a 0% introductory APR on purchases are a great tool if used correctly. The biggest risk with a card like this is having a balance still on the card when the interest-free introductory period ends. Any balance left on the card will incur interest charges at the card’s standard rate. Therefore, make sure you understand the standard APR for your card and the length of your interest-free introductory period.

Additionally, in order to keep your promotional introductory rate, most cards require you to make your minimum monthly payments. If you miss any payments – and with some cards it only has to happen once – you could lose your 0% APR offer, and interest on balances will be charged at the standard APR.

Another element to consider is that even though you may be benefiting from a 0% APR on your purchases, you still need to be aware of the other implications of having a balance sitting on a credit card. If you apply for a mortgage or a loan, the lender will most likely do a credit check on you. This will look into any existing credit card accounts you have and the level of debt you owe. While you may not be paying interest on that debt, it is still a balance you will need to repay and a factor in a decision about whether to lend you money.

Things you should look at when choosing a 0% purchase card

These are the three things to look at when selecting a 0% purchase card:

  • The length of the introductory period – if you have a purchase in mind, calculate how much you could repay each month and therefore how long you would need in order to pay off your balance in full. This will help you compare offers, because if you know you need a minimum of 20 months to repay your balance, then you have already narrowed your options.
  • The card’s standard APR – While you may have the best of intentions of paying off your balance in full, it is worth trying to get the card with the lowest APR just in case you do go over your interest-free introductory period.
  • Added extras – While it may the 0% introductory period that you are after, that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of other benefits on offer. For example, if you are a Sainsbury’s shopper you could benefit from the Nectar reward point programme and also secure yourself a long introductory deal. Or if you travel a lot, a card that has no fees for overseas usage and a long interest-free period for purchases may the right fit. It’s best to look at the full offer and decide which would suit you best.

How to use a 0% purchase card offer

Here are some useful tips about the best way to use a card with a 0% introductory APR on purchases. These tips will help you get the most value from your card and avoid costly mistakes.

  • Ask when the 0% introductory APR expires – Contact your credit card provider to find out the exact date when the 0% introductory APR on your card expires and make a note of it. It would be wise to then try to pay your balance off in full before this date, so as not to incur any higher interest charges.
  • Be smart about payments – Make sure you make your minimum payments. Your statement will show the minimum payment, or look in the card’s summary box before you apply. The minimum payment can vary from a percentage of the balance on your card to a minimum payment of say £25 a month. If you are looking to put a large purchase on your card and pay it off over time, make sure you can pay the minimum monthly payment, as missed payments will incur charges and could lose you your promotional rate.
  • Keep your card open and active – Once your 0% introductory APR ends, it would be a smart move to use your card for a purchase every few months so you continue to build a good credit history for yourself. Alternatively, if you choose to then take out another card with another 0% introductory APR, make sure you clear the balance of your existing card and close the account so you don’t have multiple cards on the go.

Should I be looking at cashback or reward offers?

Some of our shortlisted 0% introductory APR on purchases cards offer additional extras such as reward schemes, cashback or discount programmes. These are added perks to the credit card offering, but not the main reason to take out a card. Be cautious of any schemes that require you to spend a certain amount before you qualify for rewards. Remember that the balance on the card will need to be paid before the end of the interest-free period, after which you are looking at the standard APR.

In truth, the cards that are classified as ‘reward’ cards rarely have a competitive 0% introductory APR on purchases offer, so it is more likely that it will be the length of the introductory period on the card that will be its main selling point, not the reward points on offer.

Make sure you weigh the value of rewards. While some cards may give you cashback or reward points based on your spending, make sure you understand the terms and conditions of the offer. It may not work out to be financially savvy if you have to spend above your means and end up with a large balance just to qualify for a cashback threshold.

Is a 0% purchase card offer right for you?

It depends what you want a credit card to do for you. If you are looking to make a large purchase but spread the cost over a period of time, then a card that offers a 0% introductory APR on purchases could be the right choice for you. However, if you are struggling with an existing balance, then it would be better to focus on securing a good 0% balance transfer offer.

Another positive aspect of taking out a 0% purchase card is that it gives you payment protection for purchases between £100 and £30,000 – which, if you are planning to use the card for a large purchase, could come in handy.

As with any credit card, it is possible to find yourself in difficulty, so the key things to be aware of when taking out a 0% purchase card are that you know when the introductory interest-free period expires and are confident you can repay your balance before that date. Additionally, work out what your minimum monthly payments would be in advance. Then you can keep to your repayment schedule and protect any promotional rates that you have been given.


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