Best 0% credit cards

Best 0% credit cards

Up to 23 months' interest-free spending

Do it right and 0% spending credit cards are the cheapest way to borrow – and a flurry of new top picks have just burst on to the scene. Yet get it wrong and you'll be stuck in debt for years. Our guide has full info on what to watch out for, plus our eligibility calculator will show the cards you've the best odds of getting before you apply.

Who's this guide for? Anyone with a planned, budgeted-for purchase for a retailer that takes credit card.

Want to shift card debt to 0%? See our Balance transfers guide.
Want to borrow £3k+? A cheap loan often beats a credit card.

Other related guides... 0% money transfer cards | All-rounder cards | Debt help | How credit cards work | What is buy now, pay later?

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How do 0% spending cards work?

0% spending cards

Put simply, a 0% spending card offers a number of months where no interest is charged on new purchases. This can save you £1,000s compared to the same borrowing on a standard credit card (assuming you pay them off over the same period of time). 

So done right, there's no cheaper borrowing – though they're not an excuse to overspend. We'd only suggest using a credit card to borrow for a needed, planned, affordable, one-off purchase, eg, replacing a broken fridge. This means  borrowing as little as possible and only an amount you can pay back during the 0% period.

The real danger is using them willy-nilly to supplement your income, as that can result in a vicious cycle. If this is a problem, see our Debt help guide rather than trying to borrow your way out.

The three golden rules

Before applying for a 0% spending card, ensure you read the three golden rules.

  • Set up a direct debit for at least the minimum repayment as soon as you're accepted. Even though you pay 0% interest, you still need to make repayments each month.

    If you miss one you may lose your 0% deal and get a £12ish charge. It may also be added as a missed payment on your credit report.

    You'll also need to be careful not to spend more than your credit limit. If you do, the card provider may end the 0% offer, which means you'll start paying interest.

  • There are no 0% loans, but there are 0% credit cards... so the trick is to turn a card into a loan. 

    Go even one month beyond the promotional 0% period and the interest rate rockets, so calculate the amount needed to clear the balance by then and remember that end date.

    Divide what you spent by the number of 0% months and set up a direct debit to clear it in that time, so it works like a loan where you pay it back in full over a set period.

    So £600 over a year is £50 a month to clear. If you've not cleared it in time, see our Best balance transfers guide for full information on shifting the amount you owe to another 0% card.

  • While purchases on these cards are interest-free for a number of months, you'll need to check if other uses such as balance transfers are as well.

    For example, from our best buys below, M&S Bank, Virgin Money and Sainsbury's Bank all let you transfer a balance over to the same 0% period you would receive for spending, after a one-off fee (these vary from 2.9% to 3% of the balance you're transferring). See our Best all-rounders guide for full info.

    Cash withdrawals are a different case, and you'll usually pay interest from the date of making the cash withdrawal until it's paid off.

    This means you'll most probably see an interest charge on the first statement after the cash withdrawal, which is the interest charged from the date you made the withdrawal until the date the statement was issued.

    But you may also see interest charged on the following statement. There'll be a delay between your statement being drawn up, and you paying it. It may be a couple of days, it may be a couple of weeks, but you'll be charged interest on the cash withdrawal until you pay it off.

Top-pick 0% spending credit cards

Here are our top-pick cards with the next best below, all with a long 0% period.

Important. When comparing, be aware these include 'up to' cards, so poorer credit scorers may get a shorter deal than advertised – unless you're showing as 'pre-approved' in our eligibility calculator. This is the best route as it shows which cards you're most likely to be accepted for.

Top long-0% purchase cards for new cardholders



Tesco Bank
Longest 0% period at up to 23 months (though you may get fewer than this), and Clubcard points. Some accepted could get 18 or 14 months at 0%. It gives one point per £4 on most spending at Tesco (plus the usual one per £1 you'd get with a free Clubcard) and one per £8 elsewhere. So it's worth up to a 0.75% return if used on Clubcard Rewards. After the 0%, it's 20.9% rep APR interest.
Up to 23mths 0%, plus Clubcard points on spending Check eligibility
Apply*




M&S Bank (i) 

Longest definite 0%, plus earn M&S vouchers. It pays one point (worth 1p) per £1 spent at M&S and one point per £5 spent elsewhere, worth up to a 1% return as M&S vouchers. Everyone accepted gets the full 22 months at 0%, after which it's 21.9% rep APR.
22mths 0%, plus M&S points on spending
Check eligibility
Apply*



Sainsbury's
Bank
Up to £25 in bonus Nectar points plus a long 0% at up to 22 months, though you may get a shorter period. Some accepted could get just 14 months at 0%. You get 500 points (worth £2.50) per £35 Sainsbury's spend, up to 10 times in the first two months. That's on top of the standard two points per £1 spent in Sainsbury's (one per £5 elsewhere). So you get up to a 1% ongoing return in Nectar points. After the 0%, it's 20.9% rep APR.
Up to 22mths 0%, plus Nectar points on spending Check eligibility
Apply*

HSBC (ii)

A definite 0% and £25 cashback, so a winner if you can clear the amount you borrow within 18 months. If you apply via our link (the deal's not available direct) by Sunday 31 October and spend £100+ in the first 60 days, £25 is credited within 60 days. All accepted get the full 18 months at 0%. It's then 22.9% rep APR.

18mths 0%, plus £25 cashback if spending £100+ in the first 60 days Check eligibility
Apply*
The next best 0% spending cards. Here are quick details of decent alternatives.
Barclaycard Up to 21mths 0%
21.9% rep APR
Check eligibility
Apply*
Lloyds Bank Up to 21mths 0%
21.9% rep APR
Check eligibility
Apply*
MBNA
0% only on purchases made in the first 60 days
Up to 21mths 0%
21.9% rep APR
Check eligibility
Apply*
NatWest (iii)
Existing customers only
20mths 0%
21.9% rep APR
Apply
The card above is also available for existing RBS (apply) and Ulster Bank (apply) customers. 
Virgin Money 19mths 0%
21.9% rep APR
Check eligibility
Apply*

(i) You can't have had a credit card from M&S Bank in the last 12 months. (ii) You can't have had an HSBC credit card in the last 12 months. (iii) You'll need an existing savings, credit card, mortgage or current account to apply.|See all official APR examples

Top 0% credit cards for poor credit scorers

If you have high levels of current debt, missed payments (recent or historic), bankruptcies, county court judgments (CCJs) or individual voluntary arrangements (IVAs), chances are your credit file might not be in the best shape.

Try our eligibility calculator first to check your chances of acceptance for the cards above, but if it shows no or low odds, then the cards below offer a short 0% period if your credit problems are over a year old. These cards can also help if you've existing, expensive debt...

  • First up, we would caution anyone with past credit problems against new borrowing. Yet the 0% spending period on these cards can be used to give you respite and save you money on costly debts, such as payday loans or overdrafts with high interest. Here's how...

    Step 1: Do normal spending on the 0% spending card up to the credit limit. As you're using it instead of cash from your bank account your income should build up there.

    Step 2: Use the money built up in your bank account to reduce your overdraft or repay lenders. In effect you've now got the debt on the card instead.

    Step 3: No interest is added during the 0% period (up to six months, based on the cards below) so you've got until this ends to reduce your overall debt – though you do need to still pay the minimum monthly repayments. Do ensure you do a budget to work out how to do it.

    Step 4: At the end of the 0% period the rate jumps to the expensive rep APR of the card (up to 34.9% based on those below) so ensure there's no debt on it by then – but in the worst case scenario it's still likely cheaper than payday loans. If the interest rate on the card's higher than the one you pay on your overdraft, use the overdraft to pay off any remaining debt on the card.

Top poor-credit 0% purchase cards for new cardholders 



New. Marbles 
Pay no interest on spending for the first six months, designed for those with a patchy credit history. It's 34.9% rep APR interest after the 0%.
6mths 0% Check eligibility (i)

igd-Capital-One-new-card-2020.png

Capital One

A four-month break from paying interest while rebuilding your credit. After the 0%, it's 34.9% rep APR interest.
4mths 0% Check eligibility
Apply*



Amazon
Three months at 0%, which gives a short time to spread the cost of purchases, plus a £40 Amazon voucher on acceptance. After the 0%, it's 29.9% rep APR.
3mths 0% Apply
The next best poor-credit 0% spending cards. Here are quick details of decent alternatives.
Barclaycard 3mths 0%
33.9% rep APR
Apply*
Post Office

3mths 0%

29.9% rep APR

Check eligibility
Apply*

See all official APR examples. (i) Marbles has asked we send people to our eligibility calc, to reduce demand on them during the pandemic. 

If you can't get these cards, read our Credit cards for bad credit guide for more help to build or rebuild your credit history.

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, plus pros and cons in our Top cashback sites guide.

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Coronavirus credit card help

If you're struggling to pay off debt on an existing credit card due to coronavirus, lenders should provide support. Yet the blanket payment holiday help that used to be available has ended.

So if you're struggling to pay your credit card debt, or you're coming off an agreed payment holiday, lenders are now supposed to provide 'tailored support'. Under this, you could be offered a (further) payment holiday or a period of reduced payments, reduced interest or a repayment plan – lenders should take into account how much you can afford and how your finances are likely to change in the near future.

Providers are expected to report any support they give you to credit reference agencies, which could affect your ability to get credit in future. But don't let that put you off from contacting your provider – missing payments or defaulting is likely to have a far worse impact.

For the latest updates and full information on the support available, see our Coronavirus Finance & Bills Help guide.

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