Interest-free credit cards

Some credit cards offer an interest-free period which can make borrowing more affordable for a while. Read our guide to learn how 0% interest credit cards work and how to find one.

What are interest-free credit cards?

A 0% interest credit card lets you borrow money without having to pay interest for a set number of months. There are several different types of interest-free credit cards including:

  • Purchase credit cards. People often use this type of card to spread the cost of big, one-off purchases such as furniture.
  • Balance transfer cards. Are you paying interest on your existing credit card debt? You may be able to save money by moving your debt to a balance transfer card with a 0% interest period.
  • Money transfer cards. Need cash? This type of card lets you borrow money and pay it directly into your bank account.

With Experian, you can compare credit cards from across the UK market. But remember, we’re a credit broker, not a lender†. This means we can help you find deals, but only the lender can offer you credit.

How long are credit cards interest free?

Your 0% period won’t last forever. When it ends, you’ll usually be put on a relatively high interest rate. So how long do you have? It depends – some cards stay interest-free for around three to six months while others may go up to around 30 months or more. You’re more likely to be offered a longer interest-free period if you have a Good or Excellent Experian Credit Score.

What should I consider before getting an interest-free credit card?

A 0% interest rate may seem like a no-brainer. But before you rush to sign up, remember that all types of credit cards have pros and cons. Here are some key things to consider before applying for an interest-free credit card.

  • You may be charged fees. You may have to pay a fee to set up a 0% interest card or to transfer a balance from an existing card. It’s worth remembering this when you’re comparing the cost of credit cards.
  • You must make monthly payments. Even though you won’t pay interest during the 0% period, you’ll still need to make the minimum monthly payments. Make sure you can afford to borrow before you apply.
  • Lenders may end the 0% period early. You may lose your interest-free period if you break the terms of your credit agreement, such as by going over your credit limit or missing a payment.
  • Your card may get expensive when the 0% period ends. If possible, try to pay off your balance before this happens. If you can’t afford to, you’ll usually end up paying a high interest rate. Any interest you owe will be added to your balance, meaning your debt can grow quickly even if you don’t spend more money on your card.
  • Your credit score may be affected. Your score will dip when you take out credit, but it should recover if you manage your card sensibly. Using a credit card responsibly can improve your score over time. But missing payments or carrying over a large balance from month to month may lower your score.

Can you get 0% interest on an existing credit card?

It’s unlikely you’ll be offered an interest-free period on a card you already have. This is because lenders typically use 0% interest periods to attract new customers or to get existing customers to take out a new card. It’s worth seeing if you can save money by switching your credit card. You can compare cards with Experian – it’s free and won’t affect your credit score. Just remember we’re a credit broker not a lender†.

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Who are interest-free credit cards for?

Your chances of getting interest-free credit card offers are better with a high credit score. This is because a high score suggests you’re more likely to pay back lenders. Lenders tend to save their best 0% interest credit cards for customers they most want to attract. And while each lender looks for slightly different things, a good credit score can go a long way to helping you get accepted.

Got a low credit score? You may still be able to get a 0% interest credit card. But it’s likely your credit card’s interest-free period will be shorter. You may also be offered a lower credit limit as this helps lenders reduce the risk of you not paying them back.

How do I get a 0% interest credit card?

Here are some tips to help you successfully apply for a 0% credit card.

  • Shop around. See interest free credit card offers from across the UK market when you search cards with Experian. It’s free, takes minutes and won’t affect your score.
  • Get your finances in shape. Lenders may look at information such as your monthly income and outgoings when deciding whether to approve you. Make sure you have more than enough to pay your credit card bills on time every month.
  • See if you can improve your credit score. You may be able to give your score a quick lift by registering to vote or sharing information about everyday payments with Experian Boost.
  • Have important information to hand. You may need documents such as ID, payslips and bank statements when you apply for a credit card.
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