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Best 0% Credit Cards

Up to 30 mths' interest-free spending

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Martin

Updated Weekly

0% credit cards

Do it right and credit cards are the cheapest way to borrow. You can get 0% for up to 30 months on new purchases – yet get it wrong and you'll be stuck in debt for years.

This is a step-by-step guide to the cheapest credit cards for new borrowing and how to use them, saving you £1,000s.

The seven golden rules

If you need to borrow for a defined purchase, then used correctly, credit cards are cheaper than loans. This may be for a football season ticket, where it works out cheaper than forking out for individual matches; you may need a new sofa as the old one's kaput; or it might be to pay for a year's car insurance as the insurer's interest rate for paying by the month is huge.

Before you get a 0% purchases card, there are seven things you need to know. Get this wrong and it can cost you large, so please read the following (even if you only have time to read and remember the headlines it should help protect your pocket).

  • Debt's like fire. Used well, it's great. Used badly, you'll get burned

    Unless you're financially disciplined and doing it tactically for stoozing, it's always worth borrowing as little as you need, and where possible, using savings instead of borrowing. Man holding warning sign

    The worst thing to do with a credit card is to use it to fill the gaps your income doesn't meet each month. That will see borrowings constantly grow and can leave you in a debt spiral (see the Stop Spending guide for more).

    If you definitely need a card, watch out for the following...

    Want to cut existing debt costs?

    Don't use cards to supplement day-to-day spending

    Have you budgeted and planned repayments?

  • Make AT LEAST the monthly minimum repayments (preferably more)

    Ensure you set up a direct debit for at least the minimum repayment as soon as you are accepted. Even though you're paying 0%, you still need to make repayments. If you miss one, you'll lose your 0% deal, so the rate will jump and you'll get a £12 charge.

    However, don't almost clear your card in full – clear it IN FULL if you can. For example, if you've £1,000 debt from spending on a credit card and pay off £999, the fact it's not cleared IN FULL means you pay a month's interest on the whole amount.

    So if you can nearly clear your card, do what you can to totally clear it (even if it's a 0% spending card it's a good habit to get into).

  • Clear the card within the 0% period

    Go even one month beyond the promotional period and the rate rockets, so calculate the amount needed to clear the balance by then. For example, borrow £600 on a year's 0% card, divide the spend by the number of months (£600 / 12) to get the monthly repayment – in this case £50 – and set up a direct debit to do that.

    It may seem obvious, but it's incredibly vital you make a note of the 0% end dates to make sure you pay off the debt in time, or be ready to switch to a new Best Balance Transfer deal. If you forget to switch when the deal ends, the interest cost will swiftly outweigh the card's benefit.

    Quick questions

    What can I do if I can't pay off my debt within the 0% period?

  • Use our eligibility calculator before applying for a speedy check of which cards you're most likely to get – and protect your credit score

    Usually, the only way to know if you'll be accepted is to apply, but each application marks your credit file. But our 0% spending eligibility calculator quickly shows your odds of getting almost every top 0% spending card so you can find the ones most likely to accept you, thus minimising applications.

    Quick questions

    How does the eligibility calculator work?

    Will credit scoring affect the deal I get and my credit limit?

  • Or join our Credit Club for a full credit health check, including free your Experian Credit Report, Affordability Score and Credit Hit Rate

    The new MSE Credit Club is a game-changer. For years the credit market has been shrouded in mystery but our revolutionary tool brings together the key components to give you the full picture, and crucially, what it means for your acceptance chances and how to boost your creditworthiness.

    A credit score alone isn't enough to borrow, as there are other factors at play (it's why many with perfect scores still get rejected). Credit Club shows you...

    1. Free Experian Credit Report – your credit accounts and how you've managed them.
    2. Free Experian Credit Score – how lenders rate your past credit behaviour.
    3. MSE Affordability Score – how lenders assess if you can afford a product.
    4. Your Credit Hit Rate –
    how likely you actually are to be accepted when you apply.
    5. Credit Card & Loan Eligibility Calcs
    – what your odds are of getting specific top deals.
    6. How to improve your credit profile – we show where your profile's strong and weak, and how to improve it.

  • Know 'up to' deals mean you might not get the headline deal you apply for

    There's a catch to watch out for. Some card firms give those with lesser credit histories fewer months at 0% than they advertise. You could, say, apply for a 25-month 0% spending deal, be accepted but given a fewer 12 months at 0%.

    We highlight cards that do this by putting 'up to' before their headline offer, and tell you the other 0% lengths they may offer in the write-ups of the products below.

    Quick question

    Is there any way to know what deal I will get before I apply?

    Why do lenders give some applicants worse deals?

  • If you're careful, you can use the card like a loan

    A 0% spending card card be used instead of a loan, and is a cheaper way of borrowing as long as you clear the card before the interest-free period ends. Make sure you spend ONLY your loan amount, consider stashing your card in a waterproof bag, then pop it in a bowl of water and in the freezer (that way you put your spending on the card on ice and won't be tempted to use it again).

    The main difference between a loan and a credit card is that loans have structured repayments. The amount you pay back each month is fixed, so you clear the debt in a set time. Therefore to truly replicate the discipline of a loan, you need to repay a fixed amount each month.

    The easiest way to do this is by setting up a direct debit - divide the total loan amount by the number of 0% months, and set it to pay off that much each month so it's clear by the time the card starts charging interest.

Best BuysLongest 0% credit cards

The main aim is to find the card which will give you the longest 0% introductory deal without charging an annual fee. The 'go to' rate that cards jump to after the 0% periods are also listed. But as it's best to pay these cards off by the time the 0% ends, or balance transfer any remaining debt to another 0% card, this shouldn't affect you.

Virgin Money - 30 MONTHS

Longest 0% spending card

Virgin Money* – 30 months 0% (18.9% rep APR after)

This Virgin Money* card offers the longest 0% spending period, and if you're accepted you'll definitely get the full 30 interest-free months.

Need-to-knows
  • Make sure you fully clear the card(s) by the end of the 30 months or you'll be charged 18.9% APR on any remaining balance.
  • Always pay at least the minimum monthly repayment, or you'll lose the 0% deal.
Eligibility Calculator
(MSE's free tool)
APPLY*
(at lender site)

Protect your credit score and check chances of getting card

Stats box
  • Spending length: 30 months 0% | Card issuer: Mastercard | Min income: £7,000
  • Rep variable APR: 18.9% (see Official APR Examples)
  • Minimum repayment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest, or £25
Sainsbury's card

Long 0% and possible £25 bonus Nectar pts

Sainsbury's* Nectar – 28 months 0% (18.9% rep APR after)

This Sainsbury's* card offers a long 0% period, and if accepted you'll definitely get the full 28 months. You'll also earn Nectar points on all spending.

Plus, you'll get 500 bonus Nectar points worth £2.50 each time you spend £20+ in Sainsbury's in the first two months from receiving your card (max 5,000 points, worth £25). Doing a big shop? You can split it into smaller £20 chunks to max the bonus, getting 500 points on each transaction.

Need-to-knows
  • New customers applying by 30 Jul 2018 will get 500 bonus Nectar points worth £2.50 each time they spend £20+ in Sainsbury's in the first two months from receiving their card – but don't use this as an excuse to spend more than you normally would.
  • You can also shop online at Sainsbury's to trigger the points bonuses, but buying anything (incl fuel) at Sainsbury's petrol stations doesn't count.
  • You need to give your Nectar card number when you apply for the credit card.
  • The bonus points will be added to your Nectar account within two months of the end of the offer period.
  • You get two points per £1 spent on Sainsbury's shopping and fuel, and one point per £5 spent elsewhere.
  • Make sure you fully clear the card(s) by the end of the 28 months or you'll be charged 18.9% interest on any remaining balance. Poorer credit scorers may get 21.9% or 28.9%.
  • Always pay at least the minimum monthly repayment, or you'll lose the 0% deal.
Eligibility Calculator
(MSE's free tool)
APPLY*
(at lender site)

Protect your credit score and check chances of getting card

Stats box
  • Spending length: 28 months 0% | Card issuer: Mastercard | Min income: N/A
  • Rep variable APR: 18.9% (see Official APR Examples)
  • Minimum repayment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest, 2.25% or £5
M&S Bank

£25 in M&S vchs + decent 0% period

M&S Bank* – 25 months 0% (18.9% rep APR after)

Accepted new M&S credit card* holders get a decent 25 months 0% on spending. Plus apply via our link by Wed 9 May and you can get a free £25 to spend in M&S on almost anything (incl clothes and food). It's split into two parts...

- £20 M&S voucher. Sent if you spend at least £100 on the card anywhere by 30 June 2018.
- Plus extra £5 in M&S pts. You'll also be sent a coupon with your card. Just swipe it or use online with your card to buy most things at M&S for any amount and you get 500 M&S points, worth £5.

Don't use getting the vouchers as an excuse to overspend, but it's a good deal if you just do your normal spending on the card.

Need-to-knows
  • The voucher will be emailed to you no later than 31 July 2018, and it'll be valid from 15 June to 31 August 2018.
  • You won't be eligible for the voucher if you already hold an M&S credit card or have done within the last year.
  • You'll earn one point for every £1 spent in M&S stores and one point for every £5 elsewhere. One point is equivalent to 1p, and points convert into M&S vouchers every three months.
  • Make sure you fully clear the card by the end of the 0% period or you'll be charged 18.9% interest on any remaining balance. Poorer credit scorers could get a higher rate, up to 22.9%.
  • Always pay at least the minimum monthly repayment, or you'll lose the 0% deal.
Eligibility Calculator
(MSE's free tool)
APPLY*
(at lender site)

Protect your credit score and check chances of getting card

Stats box
  • Spending length: 25 months 0%
  • Rep variable APR: 18.9% (see Official APR Examples)
  • Card issuer: Mastercard
  • Min income: N/A
  • Minimum repayment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest, 2.5% or £5

Best Buys Other long 0% purchase cards

Card 0% length Representative variable APR after Eligibility
HalifaxHalifax Up to 30mths 19.9% -
MBNA*MBNA Up to 30mths (1) (2) 19.9% You can use our eligibility calculator for this card – are you pre-approved?
Nuba*Nuba Up to 30mths (1) (2) 19.9% You can use our eligibility calculator for this card – are you pre-approved?
LloydsLloyds Up to 29mths (1) 18.9% -
Post OfficePost Office Money 28mths 18.9% -
Tesco BankTesco Bank Up to 28mths (1) 18.9% -
See all Official APR Examples. (1) Poorer credit scorers could get fewer months. (2) Purchases must be made within 60 days of opening the account to get the 0% period

Best Buys 0% credit cards for poor credit

If you've a history of poor credit, the cards above aren't likely to be open to you (use our eligibility calculator first to check). These cards offer short 0% periods and are designed for people with poorer credit histories. If you're just looking for a card to (re)build your credit, read our Credit Cards for Bad Credit guide.

Aqua

Four months 0% spending while rebuilding your credit

Aqua*

This card from Aqua* is a good option for poorer credit scorers. It offers a four month 0% spending period which can be used to give a respite from existing debts (see below).

Helpfully, our eligibility calculator can tell you if you're pre-approved for this card.

Need-to-knows
  • Even during the 0%, you MUST still make at least the monthly minimum repayments (preferably more) – 0% doesn't mean nothing to pay. If you miss a payment or bust your credit limit you'll get a mark on your credit score and be charged a fee.
  • You need to be super-organised and repay the card IN FULL BEFORE the 0% ends. If you don't clear the card before the four-month 0%-interest period ends you'll be charged a hefty 34.9% representative APR on any balance left. Some people accepted for the card may get even higher APRs, up to 59.9%.
  • Your credit limit will start between £250 and £1,200. If you pay on time and don't bust your limit, Aqua could increase your credit limit on your fourth statement.
  • You get free credit reports/alerts with this card, helping you keep track of your credit rating.
  • You won't be able to get this if you already have an Aqua card.

How to use this card for respite from bank charges and payday loans

Eligibility Calculator
(MSE's free tool)
APPLY*
(at lender site)

Protect your credit score and check chances of getting card

Stats box
  • Rate: 34.9% representative APR (see official APR example)
  • Min income: N/A | Card issuer: Mastercard
  • Accepts defaults? Yes, provided they're a year old or more
  • Accepts CCJs? Yes, provided they're a year old or more
  • Accepts bankruptcies? Yes, provided it's 18 months old or more
  • Minimum repayment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest, or £5
Key questions

What is the free credit report? Aqua appointed Noddle as its credit checker so you'll get access to its online credit report. Noddle does offer free access to a limited credit report, but the one included with the Aqua card typically costs from £5-£15 a month.

You'll also be signed up to receive Noddle Alerts, which highlight any significant changes to your credit report by sending you an email. Finally, you get Noddle Improve, which is a credit score with added tips on how you can improve it if it comes up a little low.

What's pre-approval? Aqua has provided us with info so we can tell many people that they've a 100% chance of getting this exact deal (subject to passing its ID and fraud check). There's no impact on your credit score, though of course if you then apply, that marks your file.

Cap One

Similar credit building option to the card above - four months 0% spending

Capital One Classic Complete*

This card from Capital One* can help you repair your credit history and also offers four months 0% on spending. This can be used to give you respite from existing debts (see below on how to do this).

Need-to-knows
  • This card is only available through our link or at MoneySupermarket (we're part of the same group).
  • Even during the 0% period, you MUST still make at least the monthly minimum repayments (preferably more) – 0% doesn't mean nothing to pay.
  • Outside of the 0% period make sure you clear the card IN FULL or you'll pay a horrid 34.9% interest on any balance left over.
  • Credit limits start from £200 to £1,500.
  • This card also offers 0% on balance transfers for four months which could give you a respite from existing debts, though there's a hefty 3% fee.
  • If your credit score improves, see our 0% Spending Cards guide.

How to use this card for respite from bank charges and payday loans

Eligibility Calculator
(MSE's free tool)
APPLY*
(at lender site)

Protect your credit score and check chances of getting card

Stats box
  • Rate: 34.9% representative APR (see official APR example)
  • Min income: N/A | Card issuer: Mastercard
  • Accepts defaults? Yes, provided they're a year or more old
  • Accepts CCJs? Yes, provided they're a year or more old
  • Accepts bankruptcies? Yes, provided it's a year or more old
  • Minimum repayment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest or £5

Best Buys Cheapest long-term low rate deals

Here, the aim is to get a card where the low rate is for the long term, not just an introductory offer. While it's not 0%, it does mean that you don't have to remember to shift from card to card every few months, and know you've got a deal for the long term.

MBNA Low Rate

Low interest rate for four years, good loan alternative

MBNA* – 4.9% interest for 48 months, 0.5% balance transfer fee

The MBNA* Low Rate card offers a low interest rate of 4.9% for four years on purchases made within 60 days of account opening. If you've a big purchase to make, it's a good alternative to a loan as the interest rate beats the best buys up to around £5,000 – just make sure you budget to pay it off by the end of the 48 months.

Need-to-knows
  • After your low rate ends, or for purchases made after 60 days, you'll pay 8.9% interest a year on any debt.
  • Some poorer credit scorers getting this card may be given initial interest rates of 9.9%, jumping to 11.9% at the 48 months' end.
  • This card also offers balance transfers and money transfers at 4.9% interest for four years, with a 0.5% fee.
Stats box
  • Spending rate: 4.9% for 48mths then 8.9% (see Official APR Examples)
  • Min income: £20,000
  • Card issuer: Mastercard
  • Min repayment: Greater of 1% of balance plus interest or £25
Tesco Low Rate

Cheap long-term, low-rate card

Tesco 5.9% rep APR, no balance transfer fee

The Tesco Low APR credit card offers 0% on spending for one month, and then a low-ish 5.9% representative APR on all spending after. It's a good option if you want a guaranteed low rate for the life of the card, plus you can earn Clubcard points on purchases.

Need-to-knows
  • Not everyone will get the low 5.9% APR. Some will get a higher APR of 10.9%.
  • You get Clubcard points on your spending – one point for every full £4 spent at Tesco stores or petrol stations, one point for every £8 elsewhere.
  • Tesco can increase the rate after a year. But you can reject this rate hike.
  • Always pay at least the monthly minimum payment or you'll get a penalty for late payment and a mark on your credit file.
  • Don't withdraw cash on this card. It usually isn't at the cheap rate and cash withdrawals hit your credit file.
  • The card also offers balance transfers at 0% for one month, followed by a rate of 6.054% for the life of the balance.
ELIGIBILITY CHECK NOT AVAILABLE
APPLY
(at lender site)

Protect your credit score and check chances of getting card

Stats box
  • Spending rate: 5.9% APR (see Official APR Examples)
  • Min income: £5,000
  • Card issuer: Mastercard
  • Min repayment : Greater of 1% of balance plus interest or £25

Cashback sites may pay you for signing up

As an extra boon, members of specialist cashback websites can be paid when they sign up to some financial products. Do check that it's exactly the same deal though, as terms can be different. And remember the cashback is never 100% guaranteed until it's in your account. 

Full help to take advantage of this and pros and cons in our Top Cashback Sites guide.

0% spending cards Q&A

  • How much could I save?

  • Can these cards be used for balance transfers too?

  • What should I do if I'm worried about being or have been rejected for these cards?

  • I need longer than 30 months to pay off my purchase. Are there any other options?

  • Is there another way to keep my debt at 0% for longer?

Get Our Free Money Tips Email!

For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes - join the 12m who get it. Don't miss out