Interest free credit cards
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When you’re searching for a credit card, it’s wise to look for one with a low interest rate to keep your repayments down.
0% interest credit cards will give you an interest free period, usually of a few months, so you’ll only be paying back the money you’ve spent. Keep in mind that there will be a transfer fee involved for any balance.
After your interest free period runs out though, you’ll be put on your credit card provider’s standard rate.
If you can pay off the balance before your interest free period runs out, this type of credit card could be the right choice for you.
Why would you use a 0% interest credit card?
You can use a 0% interest credit card to spread the cost of a bigger payment like furniture for your home or a holiday for the family. You'll also need to keep in mind that you must be able to repay any balance within the introductory period to avoid additional cost.
Using a credit card can also help to improve your credit score, as you’re showing potential lenders that you’re a reliable borrower.
How do interest free credit cards work?
With a 0% interest free credit card, you won’t pay any interest on purchases you make for a set amount of time.
When that period ends, you’ll start paying the standard interest rate on the balance you owe.
You’ll need to make sure you’re keeping up with your monthly repayments, otherwise you could lose your promotional 0% interest rate, and end up paying more than you expected.
Types of interest free cards
There are different types of interest free cards, and you’ll need to make sure you get the right one for you.
Some offer 0% interest on purchases, while others offer 0% interest on balance transfers, where you move your debt from one card to another.
0% purchases cards
You can use a 0% interest purchase card to buy items or services, and it’ll help to keep your repayments to a minimum. Each card will offer 0% interest for a different amount of time, so it’s best to compare 0% purchase cards to find a great deal.
Try to pay off the balance before the standard interest rate kicks in, so you’re not paying any more than you need to.
0% balance transfer cards
A 0% balance transfer card can help you to reduce your repayments if you’re paying high interest rates on your current credit card.
You might have to pay a fee for transferring your debt from one card to another, usually between 1% - 3%. In the long run, it could work out cheaper as you won’t have to pay any interest for a while.
0% money transfer
With a 0% money transfer card, you could move cash into your bank account from your credit card, for a 2% to 4% fee.
This could be useful if you’re looking to pay for a purchase in cash, or clear debt that has a high interest rate attached.
Advantages and disadvantages
There are always advantages and disadvantages with a credit card, and it all depends on your current situation.
Weigh everything up and compare all your options before you decide which one to go with.
- 0% interest free cards can keep your repayments to a minimum, as you won’t pay any additional interest for a set time
- You can spread the cost of any bigger payments, rather than paying in one go
- Balance transfer cards can help you bring your debt down
- Interest free period will run out at some point and you’ll be put on to a standard rate
- If you miss a repayment, you might lose your 0% interest rate offer
- There are fees attached to balance transfer and money transfer cards
Am I eligible for an interest free credit card?
You’ll need to meet certain criteria to be eligible for a 0% interest credit card.
For most credit cards, you’ll need to:
- Be over 18
- Have a good credit history
- Live at a UK home address, and
- Be in employment
If you have a bad credit history, you might find it more tricky to get your hands on a 0% interest card, but it’s not impossible. A credit builder card could be a good way of building your credit history back up, so you can eventually take advantage of the best deals.
How to choose the best 0% interest credit card
There are plenty of 0% interest credit cards out there and the right one for you will depend on what you need the card for.
Compare all your credit card options first, so you can get a good idea of what’s available to you. Look for things like how long the interest free period lasts, and if there are any exemptions you should be aware of.
What to consider before getting a 0% interest cards
Consider whether you’ll be able to make the minimum repayments, and how long it’ll take you to pay off the balance in full.
If you can pay off your debt before the standard interest rate kicks in, it’ll mean that you won’t be paying out more than you need to.
It could a good option for you if you know you can meet the repayments within the interest free period. However, if you know it’s going to take longer to pay off the balance, you could be putting yourself into more debt.
Take a look at all your options before you apply for an interest free credit card.
Credit cards differ to loans in a few ways. For instance, you might be offered a higher credit limit while you’re paying off your credit card, which could see you spending more on it. In contrast, a loan is fixed from the beginning.
It’s worth looking at both personal loans and credit cards to see what suits you best.
Technically, it’s not free as eventually, you will end up paying their standard interest fee if you don’t pay the debt off in time.
That all depends on the credit card provider. When you compare credit cards with us, our comparison tables will show you which cards have the longest 0% interest term on them.
Your introductory 0% interest offer could be taken away and you could be placed on a penalty rate instead. Try to avoid this, as it could get pricey for you.
Credit card providers advertise the best deals they can give, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you can get that rate.
The interest free period offered to you will be based on your personal situation and factors like your credit history.