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Purchase credit cards
Fancy a week in the sun? Or that designer dress you’ve had your eye on? Well a purchase credit card could be the answer, allowing you to buy now and pay later.
What is a purchase credit card?
Put simply, it’s a credit card designed for making purchases.
Used properly, a purchase credit card is the cheapest way to borrow, allowing you to spread the cost of big ticket items over long periods, at no extra cost.
With some credit cards offering 0% on purchases for as long as 16 months, you can essentially borrow for free as long as you clear the balance before the interest-free period ends.
What are the advantages?
You can use this type of credit card to spread the cost of a purchase over time, which is great if you can’t afford something outright, or don’t want to pay upfront for it. For example, you might book flights on a purchase credit card for £500 and pay it off over a number of months.
If you have a card offering 0% on purchases for the current maximum of 16 months, you won't pay for anything other than the face value of the flights, so long as you pay off the full balance before the interest-free period ends.
If you don’t have an interest free card, you won’t be charged any interest as long as you clear your balance in full each month.
You’ll also get added protection when you use a credit card, which you wouldn’t get with cash or debit card purchases.
Under Section 75 of the 1974 Consumer Credit Act, you can claim back the money on any purchases where the goods turn out to be faulty or don’t arrive if they cost between £100 and £30,000. So, if the airline you booked your flights with went bust, you’d be able to get your money back – even if you put just the deposit on the card.
The Consumer Credit Directive took this protection even further in 2011, and allows you to claim back up to £60,260.
Are there any disadvantages?
If you don’t clear your balance in full by the end of each month, or, if you if you have a 0% purchase card, by time the interest-free period ends, you’ll be charged interest.
The typical annual percentage rate (APR) on purchase credit cards is around 18%, so it can be a very expensive way to borrow if you let a balance languish on a card.
Also, the most attractive purchase credit cards, such as those offering the longest interest-free periods, are reserved for people with the best credit scores. Those with low credit scores or limited credit histories will struggle to be approved from some cards.
Are there any alternatives?
Yes – if you’re planning a bit of a spending spree but you have the cash to afford it, you might as well use a cashback credit card and earn some money back for your purchases, before paying off the balance in full by the end of the month.
If you’re unlikely to be able to pay off anything but the minimum balance each month, however, you might be better off with a personal loan.
Personal loan rates are generally lower than typical credit card rates, and fixed payments over a set term can make it easier to manage your borrowing.
You can compare purchase credit cards for free here at MoneySupermarket, along with cashback credit cards, personal loans and more.
Your personalised chance of approval
We’ve taken the details you gave, and used them to show you personalised scores to tell you the chance that your application for each card would be successful.
Why is this important?
Every time you apply for a credit card, a mark is left on your credit score. That means it’s better to get it right first time. Your scores help you understand which cards you have the strongest chance of getting.
The higher the score, the stronger chance you have of getting the card. If you see a very low score, you’ve probably better off choosing a different card.
- Consider a different card
- Not eligible
- Your chances are good
- You've been pre approved
If you see a high score, you can be fairly confident. The scores aren’t a guarantee, as acceptance of your application is at the sole discretion of the card issuer, but they should help guide your choice.
In some cases, we will not be able to display a score for a product because we do not have enough information about the card issuer’s acceptance criteria or we have not been able to match your details at the credit bureau.
We work closely with our partners to improve our eligibility scores for all products that are of interest to you.
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