If you want to make a big purchase and spread the cost of repaying it, a 0% purchase credit card can be a good option – provided you keep on top of your repayments.
These cards give you a lengthy interest-free period to pay off your debt without incurring any costs whatsoever.
Barclaycard currently offers the longest interest-free period for purchases at up to 21 months with the Purchase and Balance Transfer Card. Likewise, you can also receive up to 18 months on balance transfers.
Be aware, however, you could receive a shorter interest-free period depending on your credit history.
With M&S Bank, however, you're guaranteed to receive a full 18 months at 0% on new purchases if you're accepted.
Below is a roundup of the longest purchase cards on the market.
The longest 0% purchase credit cards
0% period (months)
Barclaycard Platinum Purchase and Balance Transfer Card
Up to 21
|M&S Purchase and Balance Transfer Card||18||23.9%|
|HSBC Purchase Plus Credit Card||Up to 18||24.9%|
Some of these top cards also offer lengthy 0% interest-free periods on balance transfers, which might come in handy if you have existing credit card debt.
But we'd recommend choosing a dedicated 0% balance transfer card if that's your primary focus.
When 0% purchase cards are a good idea
The beauty of a 0% purchase credit card is there are no fees, so every penny goes to paying off your debt. Provided you clear the debt before the 0% window ends, you won't have spent any more than the original cost of your purchase.
So, if you know you've got a big purchase ahead of you, going for a 0% credit card is a good option.
The risks of a 0% purchase card
There are some hurdles to consider though.
For starters, you need to make more than the minimum payment each month or you could lose the interest-free offer.
However, this shouldn't be a risk for most as you need to try and pay off as much as possible each month.
Fail to do so and you could be left with a sizeable balance when the 0% window closes.
If this happens, you should consider shifting the remaining debt to a 0% balance transfer card, which will also offer an interest-free period on your debt (although many will charge a fee).
For more on balance transfer cards, head this way.
Finally, there’s the fact that to get your hands on a 0% card, you’ll need to have a very good credit record.
Credit card providers don’t make a habit of handing out these cards to any borrower – ironically, borrowers who would most benefit from breathing space to pay off their debts are the ones who find it most difficult to get their hands on such cards.
So, make sure you use an eligibility checker to determine how likely you are to successfully apply for a card without leaving a mark on your credit report.
Improve your chances of getting a 0% card
It's always a good idea to ensure your credit rating is as spotless as possible.
You can do several simple things to improve your credit rating, which we've detailed in this guide.
Still not found the right card for you? View our complete guide to credit cards to see all your options.