What is a 0% purchase credit card?
If you're looking to make an expensive purchase but aren't in a position to cover the cost upfront, a credit card that offers a 0% deal can be the ideal solution. These cards won't charge any interest on purchases for an initial period, typically between three and 30 months, which means there's no immediate rush to pay off your balance.
However, to really benefit you need to be disciplined enough to steadily repay the debt before the promotional period ends, otherwise you'll be charged interest on the remaining balance at the card's standard APR. This is typically around 18.9%.
You'll also need to make at least the minimum repayment on time each month. If you don't, you'll not only incur a late payment fee of £12, but will lose the 0% deal altogether. To avoid getting caught out, set up a direct debit to cover this amount.
Bear in mind that you'll need to have a good credit score to access the most competitive 0% deals, otherwise you could be offered a shorter 0% period than the one advertised, or turned down altogether.
Which? Money Compare: Best 0% on purchases credit cards – click here to compare the longest deals.
Make the most of your 0% purchase credit card
The key to making the most of these cards is to ensure you have no remaining debt when the 0% period comes to an end.
A simple way to do this is to divide the total you've spent on your credit card by the number of months that your 0% deal lasts for and set up a direct debit to pay off that amount each month.
For example: Joe buys a boiler for £810 with a credit card that offers 0% on purchases for 18 months, so he should set up a direct debit for £45 a month (810÷18).
Provided you don't make any more purchases or cash withdrawals, this will ensure that you don't pay interest on what you've borrowed.
If you have some debt remaining after your card's promotional period ends, consider shifting this to a card that offers a 0% interest deal on balance transfers.
Which? Money Compare: Best credit cards for 0% on balance transfers and purchases
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