Compare the Best 0% purchase credit cards – September 2021

8 min Read Published: 01 Sep 2021

Best 0% purchase credit cardsWhat is a 0% interest purchase credit card and how does it work?

A 0% purchase credit card is similar to an ordinary credit card but there is no interest charged on purchases for an initial period of time set by the card provider. Interest, however, may still be charged on cash withdrawals, balance transfers and transaction made abroad.

The period within which no interest will be paid is set by the credit card provider, currently the maximum interest-free period available is 20 months. When applying for a 0% interest purchase credit card your financial circumstances will be assessed and this will determine whether you are offered the advertised interest-free period, a reduced period or if your application is rejected. It is important therefore to make sure you have your finances in order prior to making an application.

Be aware that credit card providers are not in the habit of lending you money for free. They are fully aware that most people do not pay off the full outstanding balance each month and so they are confident that they will be charging you interest in the long term. To avoid this, make sure you pay off your balance in full every month or prior to the end of the interest-free period.

Best 0% purchase credit card with longest interest-free period

Lloyds Bank Balance Transfer credit card review   Lloyds Bank

  • Best for: Those with an excellent credit score, who will benefit from the full 21 months
  • Representative APR: 21.9% variable
  • Interest-free period: Up to 21 months, subject to status
  • Perks: No specific perks
  • Annual fee: No annual fee
  • Why we like it: Although Sainsbury's Bank also offers up to 21 months interest free on purchases, the Lloyds Bank option doesn't have the same requirement for the applicant to have had a Nectar card for at least 6 months.

Best 0% purchase credit card with longest guaranteed interest-free period

  M&S Bank

  • Best for: Those who shop in M&S, who will enjoy the rewards points
  • Representative APR: 21.9% variable
  • Interest-free period:  20 months
  • Perks: Earn one rewards point for every £1 spent at M&S or £5 spent elsewhere
  • Annual fee: No annual fee
  • Why we like it: Unlike many cards, you will definitely be given the full 20 months if you are accepted for the card

Best 0% purchase credit card for cashback

HSBC Purchase Plus credit card HSBC

  • Best for: Those looking for a cashback bonus and the potential to transfer the debt from another credit or store card
  • Representative APR: 22.9% variable
  • Interest-free period: 18 months (plus 18 months interest free on balance transfers)
  • Perks: Get £25 cashback when you spend £100 within the first 60 days of taking out the card
  • Annual fee: No annual fee
  • Why we like it: While the cashback may attract some, the best thing about this card is the combination of interest-free periods on both purchases and balance transfers

Best 0% purchase credit card for rewards

Image result for sainsbury's credit card    Sainsbury's Bank

  • Best for: People who have had a Nectar card for at least 6 months
  • Representative APR: 21.9% variable
  • Interest-free period: Up to 19 months
  • Perks: Get a bonus 750 Nectar points for every shop at Sainsbury's over £35 in the first two months, up to a maximum of 7,500 points (worth £37.50). Then, get 2 points for every £1 spent at Sainsbury's and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere
  • Annual fee: No annual fee
  • Why we like it: If you regularly shop for groceries at Sainsbury's, it's a great way to earn extra Nectar points

Best 0% purchase credit card for bad credit

Amazon Classic Mastercard Amazon Classic

  • Best for: Those with poor credit who don't want to be hit with a huge APR when the interest-free period ends
  • Representative APR: 29.9% variable
  • Interest-free period: 3 months
  • Perks: £25 Amazon gift card when you take out the card
  • Annual fee: No annual fee
  • Why we like it: Compared with many of the other 0% purchase cards designed for those with poor credit history, this card offers a gift card and a reasonable APR

Advantages of a 0% purchase credit card

0% credit cards can be very useful particularly when purchasing more expensive items such as a holiday or large items for your home. If you make sure that the balance is paid off in full before the interest-free period ends you can have access to free money for up to 20 months.

If you have an outstanding balance on an existing credit card, transferring the balance to a 0% credit card will allow you to clear the debt quicker as no interest will be charged for a period of time, although you will usually have to pay a fee of around 2.5%.

Things to consider before opening a 0% purchase credit card

Carefully consider your financial circumstances before applying for any credit card. Getting caught up in the excitement of a pending holiday or a new purchase can cloud your judgement and leave you struggling to clear the debt.

Although a 0% credit card will give you an interest-free period on purchases, it is vitally important that you clear the outstanding debt before the end of this period to avoid getting caught up in a debt spiral.

The advertised conditions, such as the interest-free period, are all subject to your personal circumstances and you may be offered less if your personal finances are not in good shape.

Any application will be subject to a credit score so make sure you check this prior to applying.

0% purchase credit card vs personal loan

0% credit cards are a flexible way of borrowing money over a short period as long as you clear the amount owed every month or within the interest-free period. However, there is a great temptation to keep using your credit card for small everyday purchases allowing the balance to grow over time, incurring high-interest charges.

Personal loans are a more structured way of borrowing money with a set repayment period and interest rate. Interest rates on loans tend to be lower than with credit cards but obviously with a 0% credit card you can take advantage of the interest-free period to clear your debt without incurring any interest charges.

For more information read our article: Is it better to get a credit card or a personal loan?