Make that big purchase
When you open a new 0% purchase credit card you’ll usually have a few months to buy something interest free. After that, you’ll be charged interest
1Accurate as of February 2024
0% interest on purchases can help you take control of your finances
If you buy a big-ticket item, you’ll have time to pay it off without accruing interest
Generally offer the option to transfer debt from high-interest credit cards
At the end of the interest-free period, your purchase card will revert to a much higher APR
Be careful not to exceed your credit limit or you'll start paying interest
If you miss a payment, you may lose your 0% deal and could face a charge
The more time you have to pay off your balance, the larger the purchase you can make. Remember, it is only purchases that are interest-free during this introductory period.
Once the interest-free period comes to an end the interest rate is likely to jump up. Try to pay off the balance before the higher rate kicks in or consider transferring your remaining balance to a new card.
Some cards charge for late repayments or exceeding your limit and others have usage fees. Check you’re happy with these fees. Then consider setting up a direct debit to avoid missing a monthly payment.
It's hard to say for sure if you'll get a 0% purchase card with bad credit. Here's what you need to know...
If you’ve had problems with debt in the past, such as missed repayments, you may find it harder to get a 0% purchase credit card with ideal terms
If you have a fair credit score you may find that you’re eligible for purchase credit cards with lower limits or shorter interest-free windows
You may not be eligible for any 0% interest card if your score is too low. Luckily you can build up your credit score with a credit card for bad credit
Representative 34.9% APR
A 0% purchase card gives you the option of paying for a big purchase, such as a holiday or a new sofa, without paying any interest. If you pay off the item within the 0% period, you are essentially borrowing the money for free. That said, if you can’t pay it off in the 0% period, you will start paying interest on the balance and it’s likely to be expensive. If you won’t clear the card within the 0% card, it might not be the best option for you."
APR stands for annual percentage rate, and it represents the total cost of the loan – including the interest you’ll pay as well as any additional fees and charges.
0% interest purchase credit cards are only available to people over 18 years old, with a UK bank account, permanent UK address and a regular income.
If you miss a repayment on your 0% interest purchase credit card, you’ll likely lose your 0% interest rate – which means you’ll be put on your lender’s standard variable instead, which is usually much higher. You may also have to pay a fee or charge, depending on your lender.
If you want to increase your credit limit you can contact your lender and ask them to raise it, but you should only do this once you’ve used your card for a while and demonstrated that you can borrow and repay money sensibly.
Your lender may offer a credit limit increase if you’ve been with them for a long period of time, but you don’t always have to accept – you can ask them for a smaller increase, or reject it altogether.
Once you apply for a credit card, acceptance is usually automatic and quite quick, though you may be flagged for an enhanced approval, which can take a few extra days.
Once you’re accepted and agree on the contract it usually takes up to seven working days for your new credit card to arrive.
Every credit card comes with a minimum payment that you have to make on the balance each month. What that minimum is depends on the card issuer. Some lenders will insist on a small percentage of the total fee, while others will have a flat fee.
You’re looking to spend £600 on a new cooker for your home. You decide to apply for a 0% purchase credit card and are approved for a card with an introductory period of 0% interest on purchases for six months.
You buy the cooker on the credit card and decide to pay £100 off the balance every month until it is cleared. Because you pay 0% interest on purchases for six months, you only pay £600 for the cooker. It is effectively a way of spreading what you owe with no further charges.
Buying the same cooker on a credit card without a 0% deal on purchases means that unless you can pay off the full £600 by your next monthly card payment date you will have to pay interest on your purchase until the £600 is fully paid off.
At the time of writing, the purchase cards with the longest 0% period typically allow you to use your card to buy goods and services for up to 24 months without accruing any interest. That means that, as long you're sensible, you could make a big-ticket purchase and have a decent window in which to pay it off, without accruing further interest.
If you’re applying for a credit card, you might be able to find a better deal if you look through offers from different providers before taking one out. With MoneySuperMarket you’ll be able to search through multiple credit cards and compare them by a range of factors, including their interest rates and any benefits and rewards they come with.
All you need to do is answer a few questions about yourself and your financial situation, and our Eligibility Checker will show your chances of being accepted for different credit cards. This won’t affect your credit score, so you can run a check without any worries.
Once you know which card you want, you can normally apply by phone, online, or in person if the provider has a high street branch. However, when you do apply, the provider will usually run a hard credit check – which will show up on your credit report – to confirm whether they’ll give you the card. If you’re accepted they’ll tell you your credit limit and interest rate, and soon you’ll be ready to start using your credit card.
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So how do we make our money? In a nutshell, when you use us to buy a product, we get a reward from the company you’re buying from.
But you might have other questions. Do we provide access to all the companies operating in a given market? Do we have commercial relationships or ownership ties that might make us feature one company above another?
We commit to providing you with clear and informative answers on all points such as this, so we have gathered the relevant information on this page.