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The Best 0% Credit Cards

Updated: 3rd August 2020

 

We’ve reviewed 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 rather-large purchases) or those hoping to pay down higher-interest debt without racking up new interest charges. On this page you’ll find our top 0% spending cards as well as more information about how to pick a 0% card that’s right for you.

 

Hero Tips: Must knows when using 0% credit cards

  1. A 0% purchase card is only for new purchases

    There are multiple types of 0% credit cards, so make sure you're choosing the one that's right for you. A 0% spending card gives you a certain period of 0% interest for new purchases.

  2. Be sure to pay your balance before the 0% introductory period ends

    Once the introductory 0% period runs out on your 0% purchases card, you'll pay the standard interest rate on your balance. Since credit card interest rates are typically very high, this is something you want to avoid. So be sure to note when the 0% period ends, and pay your balance to zero before that date.

  3. Balances on 0% cards is still debt

    Getting a card with a 0% interest period can save you money versus paying interest for a loan. But make no mistake, this is still credit card debt and must be repaid. This means spending within your means is still very important.


Credit card offers from our affiliate partners appear first and are ordered from highest rating to lowest, followed by other top-rated offers. You can read more about our ratings and page sort here. Offers from affiliate partners are marked with *

 

When considering an 0% purchases card, the length of the 0% period is naturally a key consideration. But other factors, like the standard APR, any balance transfer offers, and rewards offers should be taken into account as well. Here are MyWalletHero’s picks for the best 0% purchase credit cards:

Great for: Long 0% interest on purchases and rewards
4.5 stars question mark
Sainsburys Bank credit card

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 20 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 20 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:

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

KEY SCORES:

  • 4/5 Perks
  • 3/5Fees
  • 3/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest on purchases made over the first 20 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
4.5 stars question mark
Tesco Bank credit card

Tesco Bank’s Purchases Card is a solid choice if you’re looking for a good period for 0% interest on your spending, as 18 months stacks up pretty 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 18 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 18 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 18 months

KEY SCORES:

  • 3/5 Perks
  • 3/5Fees
  • 4/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest on purchases made over the first 18 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: Long 0% interest on purchases and balance transfers
4.5 stars question mark
Virgin Money Credit Card

The Virgin Money All Round Credit Card could help you to reduce interest payments on existing debt. It also stacks up well versus other 0% APR credit cards, since it offers a 20-month introductory 0% interest rate on purchases. Its range of rewards and offers could make it appealing to a broad range of consumers.

Read full review >

CREDIT RATING req:

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

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest for 20 months on purchases
  • 0% interest for 23 months on balance transfers (2.9% fee applies)
  • No annual fee
  • Discounts from Virgin Group companies when using your card
  • Access to Virgin Money Back for online shopping

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 21.9% APR (variable)
Purchase rate 21.9% p.a. (variable)
Based on borrowing £1,200

what we like

  • 0% interest for 20 months on purchases
  • 0% interest for 23 months on balance transfers (2.9% fee applies)
  • No annual fee
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £0
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    21.9%
  • INTRO OFFER:

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

KEY SCORES:

  • 4/5 Perks
  • 3/5Fees
  • 3/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest for 20 months on purchases
  • 0% interest for 23 months on balance transfers (2.9% fee applies)
  • No annual fee
  • Discounts from Virgin Group companies when using your card
  • Access to Virgin Money Back for online shopping

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 21.9% APR (variable)
Purchase rate 21.9% p.a. (variable)
Based on borrowing £1,200
Great for: Long 0% balance transfer period, 0% money transfers
3.5 stars question mark
MBNA credit card

The MBNA 0% Transfers and Purchases Credit Card is likely to be highly appealing to consumers who are looking to reduce the amount of interest they pay on future purchases as well as on existing debt. It offers a long introductory 0% interest rate on purchases made in the first 60 days after account opening, as well as competitive balance transfer and money transfer offers.

Read full review >

CREDIT RATING req:

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

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest for 26 months on balance transfers made in the first 60 days (2.89% fee applies)
  • 0% interest for 12 months on money transfers made in the first 60 days (4% fee applies)
  • 0% interest for 26 months on purchases, but only those made in the first 60 days
  • No annual fee

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 20.9% APR (variable)
Purchase rate 20.93% p.a. (variable)
Based on borrowing £1,200

what we like

  • 0% interest for 26 months on balance transfers made in the first 60 days (2.89% fee applies)
  • 0% interest for 12 months on money transfers made in the first 60 days (4% fee applies)
  • No annual fee
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £0
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    20.9%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    0% interest for 26 months on balances transferred in first 60 days
    0% interest for 12 months on money transfers made in first 60 days

KEY SCORES:

  • 2/5 Perks
  • 3/5Fees
  • 3/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest for 26 months on balance transfers made in the first 60 days (2.89% fee applies)
  • 0% interest for 12 months on money transfers made in the first 60 days (4% fee applies)
  • 0% interest for 26 months on purchases, but only those made in the first 60 days
  • No annual fee

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 20.9% APR (variable)
Purchase rate 20.93% p.a. (variable)
Based on borrowing £1,200
Great for: Long 0% interest on purchases and balance transfers
3.5 stars question mark
Barclaycard Platinum credit card

The Barclaycard Platinum 18 Month 0% Interest Purchase and Balance Transfer Card combines two solid offers. Cardholders get 18 months of 0% interest on purchases, plus 18 months of 0% interest on balance transfers. There is a 2.9% fee on balance transfers, so those looking to keep costs down may want to look for a card that offers fee-free transfers.

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 on balance transfers for 18 months (but a 2.9% fee applies)
  • Savings on live events with Barclaycard Entertainment

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 20.9% APR (variable)
Purchase rate 20.9% p.a. (variable)
Based on borrowing £1,200

what we like

  • 0% interest on purchases made over the first 18 months
  • 0% interest on balance transfers for 18 months (but a 2.9% fee applies)
  • Savings on live events with Barclaycard Entertainment
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £0
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    21.9%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    0% interest for 18 months on new purchases
    0% interest for 18 months on balance transfers made in the first 60 days

KEY SCORES:

  • 3/5 Perks
  • 3/5Fees
  • 3/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest on purchases made over the first 18 months
  • 0% interest on balance transfers for 18 months (but a 2.9% fee applies)
  • Savings on live events with Barclaycard Entertainment

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 20.9% APR (variable)
Purchase rate 20.9% p.a. (variable)
Based on borrowing £1,200
Great for: Long 0% purchases and balance transfers
3 stars question mark
Bank of Scotland Platinum credit card

The Bank of Scotland 0% Purchase and Balance Transfer Credit Card offers a 20-month introductory 0% interest rate on new purchases, as well as a 20-month 0% interest balance transfer offer. While other credit cards may offer longer 0% interest periods on either purchases or balance transfers, the card’s combined offer in both of these areas makes it relatively appealing.

Read full review >

CREDIT RATING req:

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

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest on purchases for 20 months
  • 0% interest for 20 months on balance transfers made in the first 90 days (3% fee applies)
  • No annual fee

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 19.9% APR (variable)
Purchase rate 19.95% p.a. (variable)
Based on borrowing £1,200

what we like

  • 0% interest on purchases for 20 months
  • 0% interest for 20 months on balance transfers made in the first 90 days (3% fee applies)
  • No annual fee
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £0
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    19.9%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    0% interest for 20 months on purchases
    0% interest on balances transferred in the first 90 days

KEY SCORES:

  • 2/5 Perks
  • 3/5Fees
  • 3/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest on purchases for 20 months
  • 0% interest for 20 months on balance transfers made in the first 90 days (3% fee applies)
  • No annual fee

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 19.9% APR (variable)
Purchase rate 19.95% p.a. (variable)
Based on borrowing £1,200
Great for: 0% on purchases and balance transfers, no balance-transfer fee
4.5 stars question mark
Tesco Bank Credit Card

The Tesco Bank 12 Month All Round Credit Card succeeds by being just what the name says: a good all-round option. You can find longer 0% interest periods elsewhere, but 12 months of 0% on purchases, balance transfers, and money transfers is a nice combination. No balance transfer fee adds to the appeal, as does the ability to earn Clubcard points.

Read full review >

CREDIT RATING req:

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

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest for 12 months on purchases
  • 0% interest for 12 months on balance transfers and money transfers made in the first 90 days
  • No annual fee
  • No balance transfer fee (3.94% money transfer fee)
  • 1 Tesco Clubcard point for every £1 spent at Tesco and for every £8 spent elsewhere

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 for 12 months on purchases
  • 0% interest for 12 months on balance transfers and money transfers made in the first 90 days
  • No annual fee
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £0
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    19.9%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    0% interest for 12 months on purchases, balance transfers and money transfers

KEY SCORES:

  • 4/5 Perks
  • 3/5Fees
  • 4/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest for 12 months on purchases
  • 0% interest for 12 months on balance transfers and money transfers made in the first 90 days
  • No annual fee
  • No balance transfer fee (3.94% money transfer fee)
  • 1 Tesco Clubcard point for every £1 spent at Tesco and for every £8 spent elsewhere

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 19.9% APR (variable)
Purchase rate 19.9% p.a. (variable)
Based on borrowing £1,200
Great for: Long 0% purchase and balance transfer, plus points
4.5 stars question mark

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

* This is an offer from one of our affiliate partners. Click here to learn more about why and how we work with partners.

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:

  • 4/5 Perks
  • 3/5Fees
  • 4/5APR

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

* This is an offer from one of our affiliate partners. Click here to learn more about why and how we work with partners.

Great for: Long 0% interest on purchases and rewards
3.5 stars question mark
Sainsburys Bank credit card

The Sainsbury’s Dual Offer Credit Card aims to give you the best of both worlds. Cardholders get a 20-month period 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 20 months
  • 0% interest on balance transfers for 20 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 20 months
  • 0% interest on balance transfers for 20 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 20 months
    0% on balance transfers for 20 months

KEY SCORES:

  • 3.5/5 Perks
  • 4.5/5Fees
  • 4/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest on purchases made over the first 20 months
  • 0% interest on balance transfers for 20 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: 0% interest on purchases and balance transfers
3 stars question mark
HSBC credit card

HSBC’s Purchase Plus Credit Card could be a good match for those looking for a solid combination of 0% purchase and balance-transfer offer. Since 18 months isn’t the longest 0% period on the market, the key here is the combination of both 0% purchases and balance transfer. There are also potential rewards and discounts available via Visa Offers and HSBC’s home&Away. Do note that there is 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 made over the first 18 months
  • 0% interest for 18 months on balance transfers made in first 60 days
  • 2.9% 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 2.9% 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
  • 3/5Fees
  • 2/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest on purchases made over the first 18 months
  • 0% interest for 18 months on balance transfers made in first 60 days
  • 2.9% 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

In this section:

What is a 0% purchase credit card?

A 0% purchase credit card gives you a period of 0% interest for any new spending that you do on the card.

That ‘new spending’ bit is important, as that’s the difference between a 0% purchase card and a 0% balance transfer card. With a balance transfer card, you get 0% on existing balances that you had on another card, but you pay the regular interest rate on any new spending. A 0% purchase card won’t help you with existing balances, but you won’t have to pay interest on new spend. (Note that some 0% cards feature both a 0% purchase and 0% balance transfer offer on the same card).

This can be a really good deal if you want to spread the cost of a large purchase or a several smaller purchases. The typical credit card has an interest rate of 19%, and that means that interest charges can pile up quickly. With a 0% purchases card, you don’t have to worry about interest charges for the introductory period. And that can mean potentially saving hundreds of pounds.

How does a 0% purchase card work?

With a 0% purchase card, you get a specified period of time (the ‘introductory period’) of 0% interest on your new spend. This period usually starts from just when you are approved for the card, not when you actually receive it.

During the introductory period, you’re not charged interest on any balances that you carry on that card. It’s a pretty great deal. And there’s nothing out of the ordinary that you have to do to get the 0% interest. You just spend on the card as normal.

But there are some things to keep in mind. One is that 0% interest doesn’t mean that you don’t have to pay anything. You are still responsible for paying at least the minimum payment every month. Failing to do so could mean getting charged fees or even losing that wonderful 0% introductory period. What 0% interest does mean is that any balance remaining after paying the minimum payment carries on without adding interest.

In addition, you must be aware of when your 0% introductory period ends. As soon as that introductory period ends, the card’s regular APR will kick back in. And if you haven’t paid off your balance, that could mean suddenly racking up interest — exactly what you were trying to avoid!

How we picked the top 0% credit cards

When reviewing the top 0% purchases offers, we took numerous factors into account. The length of the 0% interest period is obviously important. But our aim is to look at these cards in their entirety, and help you understand how all of the card features come together to create a great (or not so great) offer.

It is important to remember that everyone’s individual financial situation will be a little bit different. So while our ratings might be a good starting place for you, it’s important to consider the card features on your own, to make sure that a given card fits your own personal situation.

  • Length of the 0% introductory period – This is the central feature of a 0% purchase credit card, and so it’s a very important rating factor. In general, the longer the interest-free period, the better. However, in our ratings, the longest interest-free period doesn’t guarantee a card a top rating. That’s because many cards with long 0% periods sacrifice other valuable features.
  • The representative APR for the card after the introductory period – The aim is to clear your balance before the 0% APR period runs out. However, sometimes circumstances will arise that make it difficult or impossible to pay down the balance in full. For that reason, we prefer cards that have lower standard APRs, even with a 0% promotional period.
  • Inclusion and length of a 0% balance transfer offer – A 0% purchase offer means that you’ll pay 0% interest for a period of time on new purchases. But if you also have a balance on another credit card that you’re paying interest on, a 0% balance transfer offer can help. So we give extra points to cards that provide 0% APR periods for both purchases and balance transfers.
  • Fees, including annual fees, balance transfer fees and non-sterling transaction fees – The fewer fees you pay, the better. So we give better ratings to cards that have no annual fee, low or no non-sterling transaction fees (for spending abroad) and, if there is a 0% balance transfer offer, have low or no fee for transferring a balance.
  • Additional benefits, such as reward schemes, cashback or credit report services – Perks such as rewards or cashback may not be the focus for 0% spending cards, but these extra features can provide cardholders with real value. So all else equal, we definitely prefer cards that include additional benefits.

Comparing 0% purchases credit cards

As we mentioned above, not everyone’s personal situation is the same. So while our ratings are hopefully a good starting place for picking out a 0% credit card, it’s important to know how to compare cards yourself. That way, you can make sure that a given card is right for your situation.

Here are some tips for considering the different features of a 0% purchase credit card:

  • The length of the 0% period – It might seem obvious to simply look for the card with the longest 0% period. But there can be drawbacks of focusing just on the 0% period. For one, the cards with the longest 0% periods often don’t include other features or benefits that may be useful to you. In addition, the longest interest-free periods could encourage you to rack up more debt than is prudent or put off paying down your balance. That can spell trouble when the 0% period runs out. Ideally, you should think about what length of 0% period you need in order to pay down your purchase balance and look for a card that matches that need.
  • The standard APR – The APR you’re offered will depend a lot on your credit rating. And it’s important to remember that the representative rate that you see for a card is only guaranteed to 51% of applicants. So you may get offered a higher standard APR than the representative rate. As a general rule, looking for a lower APR is better. This can make it a bit less painful if you don’t clear your balance by the time the interest-free period runs out.
  • 0% balance transfer period – If you don’t have an outstanding balance on another credit card, this won’t be very useful to you. But if you do have a balance that you’re currently paying a high rate of interest on, this could be a nice addition on your new card. Do bear in mind that having a card with two 0% offers of differing lengths can get tricky as you try to keep track while paying them down. For that reason, we tend to view the best options as either finding a card with equal 0% APR periods for both purchases and balance transfers or simply getting separate cards — that is, a 0% purchase card and a separate balance transfer card. If you choose a card with differing 0% periods, just be sure to read the terms of how your payments are applied and keep close track of your balances so that you avoid paying unnecessary interest.
  • Annual fee and other fees – The good news is that 0% spending cards rarely have an annual fee. So if you find yourself considering a card that does have a fee, it might be a good idea to keep looking. You can likely find an offer just as good that doesn’t have an annual fee. On the other hand, most 0% cards do have foreign transaction fees. There are a few 0% credit cards that do offer no fees on foreign transactions, but you can also consider a travel card for when you’re heading abroad. Finally, if you’re considering a 0% purchases card that also has a 0% balance transfer period, you should take note of the balance transfer fee as well. Though a balance transfer fee — which typically ranges from 1% to 3% — is generally less expensive than continuing to pay high interest rates on a balance, shopping around for a lower fee can keep more money in your pocket.
  • Other perks – If a period of 0% interest on new spend is what you’re after, then ‘other perks’ won’t be your primary concern. But when it comes to choosing between a few cards with similar 0% interest offers, this can be a great differentiator, help you save money or even put cash in your pocket! Rewards are most commonly seen with retailers, but, depending on the programme, many of the rewards schemes have gotten much more flexible in recent times. Some cards also offer discounts on travel money and holiday bookings or travel insurance.

What is the difference between 0% purchases and 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. So, for instance, imagine you are approved for a new 0% purchases card and buy a new sofa using that card, but don’t pay off the balance in full. In this case, you wouldn’t be charged interest on that balance for the duration of the promotional 0% period (provided you keep up with at least the minimum payment).

You may also see 0% interest offers for balance transfers. In this case, any credit card balances you transfer to your new card will be not be subject to interest charges for some pre-determined period of time. Since the typical APR on a credit card is around 19%, transferring an outstanding balance to a 0% balance transfer card can save a significant amount of money for those trying to pay down debt. Since the offers and considerations for these cards is slightly different, we have a separate page for comparing balance transfer offers.

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 much money can be saved 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 19%. 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 19% 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 £529.39
15 months £656.53
18 months £785.51
21 months £916.35

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.

So what’s the catch?

Cards that have a 0% interest introductory period are a great tool if used correctly. But even with this wonderful interest-free period, missteps can be costly.

The biggest risk with a card like this is having a remaining balance 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. At that point, interest on balances will be charged at the standard APR.

Finally, remember that though you may not be charged interest on your credit card balance, this is still debt! That means you’ll eventually have to pay it down in full, so you still need to avoid overspending.

Other lenders will also see this debt. This means that if you apply for other credit cards or loans, the balance on your 0% card will show up for these lenders when considering your application. If it’s a reasonable sum, it may not be a problem. But if you’ve racked up a lot of debt on your 0% card, it could lead to a higher interest rate on your new loan, or mean that you don’t get approved at all.

Is a 0% purchase card offer right for you?

If you are looking to make a large purchase, would like to spread the cost over a period of time and have a good or excellent credit score, then a card that offers a 0% introductory APR on purchases could be the right choice. However, if you are struggling with an existing balance, then it may be better to look at a good 0% balance transfer offer.

Another point in favor of 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do 0% purchase credit cards work?

These cards offer a promotional period of 0% interest on new purchases. While you have to continue at least making the minimum payment on these credit cards, you won’t be charged interest during the 0% promotional period.

Is there a minimum payment on a 0% for purchases credit card?

Yes, and it’s important that you not only take note of the minimum payment, but make sure to pay at least the minimum payment every month. Failure to pay the minimum payment could lead to losing the 0% promotional offer.

Can I transfer a loan to a 0% credit card?

No. If you are paying high interest on an outstanding credit card balance on another card, you can use a balance transfer credit card to help with that. For a loan though, a money transfer credit card may be a good choice. A credit card with a 0% APR period for purchases is only good for avoiding interest on new purchases.

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.

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