The best 0% purchase credit cards
Your guide to banking
Current longest 0% purchase credit cardsHere are the longest 0% periods on offer today for purchases:
Card 0% period
Tesco Clubcard Credit Card 16 months
Halifax All in One MasterCard 15 months
Marks & Spencer Money MasterCard 15 months
Barclaycard 14/14 Platinum Visa 14 months
Bank of Scotland All In One Advantage Card 13 months
NatWest YourPoints World MasterCard 13 months
Royal Bank of Scotland YourPoints World MasterCard 13 months
Bank of Scotland All In One MasterCard 12 months
Nationwide Select Card 12 months
Sainsbury's Shopper 12 months
These cards all offer a year or more before you face interest charges.
The pros of a 0% purchase cardAs we've already said, the beauty of a 0% purchases credit card is, so long as you pay it off within the interest-free period, every penny goes to paying off your debt.
Your guide to banking
Let's take an example. Say you spend £5,000 on the Tesco Clubcard card. If you pay £312.50 a month, that debt will be completely cleared by the time the 0% period finishes.
If you instead spend £5,000 on a normal credit card, with an APR of 19%, then it will take you an extra three months to clear that debt. And you will pay more than £700 in interest!
So if you know you've got a big purchase ahead of you, going for a 0% credit card is a sensible course of action.
The downsides of a 0% purchase cardThere are some hurdles to consider though. As I mentioned in the example above, pay £312.50 a month and the debt will be cleared by the time the 0% period ends. But what if you don't manage to do that? What if the 0% period finishes and you still have thousands of pounds sat on the card?
You face a couple of options. The first is to do nothing – leave your debt where it is, continue making your monthly payments, and your debt will eventually disappear. That said, you will end up spending a decent chunk of cash on interest.
Or you can move the remaining debt to a balance transfer card, which will also offer a period of 0% interest on your repayments. But you'll have to pay a fee for the privilege. For more on balance transfer cards, check out The best balance transfer credit cards.
And then there's the fact that in order to get your hands on a 0% card you'll need to have a good credit record. Credit card providers don't make a habit of handing out these cards to any old borrower – ironically the borrowers who would most benefit from a bit of breathing space in paying off their debts are the ones who find it most difficult to get their hands on 0% cards.
Alternatively, you may find that your credit rating is good enough to get a 0% on purchases card, but not good enough to get the very best 0% card. Halifax is now offering 'tiered 0% deals' where some applicants get 0% cards but with shorter interest-free periods.
Improve your chances of getting a 0% cardTherefore the best way to get a 0% card is to ensure your credit rating is as spotless as possible.
There are a number of simple things you can do that help all of which are detailed in How to build an excellent credit history.
Most complained about financial products
- 1. No savings
- Current accounts
- Buildings insurance
- Consumer-credit products and services (i.e. store cards, payday loans, hire purchase)
- Unsecured loans
- Whole-of-life policies and savings endowments
- Other types of general insurance (i.e. mobile phone insurance, pet insurance)
- Motor insurance
- Credit cards