The best 0% purchase credit cards

Updated: 
Credit cardsThese credit cards won't charge any interest on your purchases for as long as 16 months.

If you want to pay for a big purchase and spread the cost over a period of time, a 0% purchase credit card can be a good option – providing you keep on top of your repayments. These cards give you an interest-free period to pay off your debt.

Current longest 0% purchase credit cards
Here 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 card
As 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.

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 card
There 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% card
Therefore 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. And remember that you can check out your credit record with a free 30-day trial of Experian's CreditExpert, via lovemoney.com.

This article is regularly updated

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