The best 0% purchase credit cards

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

Halifax Purchase Credit Card

17 months

Tesco Clubcard Credit Card

16 months

Halifax All in One MasterCard

15 months

Marks & Spencer Money MasterCard

15 months

NatWest YourPoints World MasterCard

15 months

Royal Bank of Scotland YourPoints World MasterCard

15 months

Barclaycard 14/14 Platinum Visa

14 months

Bank of Scotland Platinum Purchase

13 months

Lloyds TSB Platinum Purchase

13 months

Halifax All in One MasterCard

12 months

Nationwide Select Card*

12 months

*Only available to Nationwide current account holders

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.

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.

Therefore the best way to get a 0% card is to ensure your credit rating is as spotless as possible.