Apple's running a deal which allows those buying a new iPhone, iPad, Mac or other pricey device to pay for it in 12 monthly instalments, interest-free. You'll need to move fast though – applications close on Tuesday 14 March.

Buying a new Apple device is never MoneySaving of course, but if you're going to get one anyway, that's all the more reason to buy it the right way.

Subject to a minimum spend and being accepted, you can get the 0% deal on all Apple products – including the iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 6s and 6s Plus, all iPads and Macs and Apple Watches, Apple TV and accessories – plus many third-party products.

This can be a free and easy way to spread the cost of expensive new tech, and for iPhones is cheaper than most mobile contracts. It may be possible to buy a new Apple device elsewhere for less though, or spread the cost for longer, as we explain below.

How does the deal work?

You must apply for the deal via Apple's site* (you can't get it in-store). It's done via a 0% loan or credit agreement from one of two lenders – you'll have to choose which to apply to, and the deals work differently (you'll be credit-checked for both):

  • With Barclays, you're applying for a loan. If approved, you'll be offered between three and 12 months at 0%. You can choose to turn down the offer, though the search will still appear on your credit file. If you accept, you must pay off the loan within the period given.
  • With Paypal Credit, if accepted you'll be granted, well, credit used to fund your purchase, which can then be paid off over 12 months at 0% (more like a credit card, but without the plastic). Crucially you could be granted more credit than the cost of your order. The remainder can (but doesn't HAVE TO) be used for other purchases via PayPal in future – but with interest. See full info below.

Repayments will be divvied up equally by month depending on the repayment plan offered (and there's no penalty should you choose to repay early). Remember, this is a credit agreement so you MUST keep up with payments.

This table sums up the other differences between the two options:

Apple 0% financing options

  0% length Min spend Can you use it on non-Apple products? Delivery Application process time
Barclays Partner Finance 3-12mths £399 Yes, if no more than one third of total order value Home only Up to 48 hours
PayPal Credit
(see full info below)
12mths £99 Yes UK-wide, plus store collection Immediate (1)
(1) You'll get an immediate yes or no – if you have something on your credit report that requires a manual check, you're likely to be declined.

How do I apply?

Follow these steps to apply:

  1. Shop and add items to your basket on the Apple site. Do this in the normal way – though bear in mind the minimum spend(s).
  2. Check out and opt to pay via the interest-free deal by 11.59pm on Tue 14 Mar. When you get to the payment stage, click the 'Instalments' tab. Then choose between PayPal Credit and Barclays (if you opt for PayPal, you'll be offered 6, 12, 18 or 24 months – choose the 12-month plan to get the 0% deal). Complete your order.

A good and free way to spread the cost – but there are other options

If you're set on an Apple product, then if you can get approved this is a free way to spread the cost, and as you apply via the Apple site, it's relatively hassle-free. But you can buy some devices cheaper elsewhere or spread the cost for longer, so it can be beaten. Here are the key points to consider.

  • This beats MOST mobile contracts if you're getting an iPhone. Eg, at the time of writing Vodafone is selling the 32GB iPhone 7 on a high use contract that costs £1,148 over two years. Buying the same phone on 12 months' 0% financing and pairing it with top equivalent Sim works out at just £887 over the same period.

    It's sometimes possible to get cut-throat tariffs from third party contract resellers that actually beat buying the handset outright and pairing it with a Sim – find the top deals using the right comparison sites.
  • iPhones and other Apple products may be cheaper elsewhere. Eg, you can currently get the 32GB iPhone 7 for £579 from Giffgaff* (it's £599 from Apple), or John Lewis provides an extended two-year warranty for £599.
  • You can also spread the cost for longer via a 0% credit card. Eg, you can currently get up to 30 mths' 0% on spending with Halifax (see full options in Best 0% Credit Cards). Of course not everyone will be approved for such a card, and some simply wouldn't trust themselves with one (though you can always stash it in the freezer to resist temptation).
  • Just want an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus? You can spread the cost over a longer interest-free period. Apple's separate, in-store-only iPhone Payments scheme offers 0% finance over 20 months and it's an ongoing deal.
  • Buying a Mac, iPad or another device? There are few other 0% finance options. You can sometimes get it but it's less common, which makes this a decent option. Bear in mind though you CAN'T use Apple's student discount if you go for this interest-free deal.
  • This will appear on your credit file. As with all forms of credit, applications like this will go on your file – just worth bearing this in mind if you have a big credit application on the horizon, such as a mortage. See our Credit Scores guide for full help.
Buying a new iPhone, iPad or Mac? Apple deal lets you spread the cost over a year INTEREST-FREE
Apple deal lets you spread the cost over a year INTEREST-FREE

What happens if I can't keep up with repayments?

If you fail to keep up with repayments, Barclays or PayPal would take the same action as any other finance provider – it may result a black mark on your credit file, for example.

PayPal also charges £12 fee for late repayments and would charge its standard 17.9% rep APR on any outstanding balance at the end of the 0% period. Barclays doesn't have a set late payment fee but says it will work with customers on a "a case-by-case basis".

How PayPal Credit works

On top of what you borrow to pay for the Apple purchase, you'll be offered extra credit (the exact amount varies depending on the device you buy, your credit score etc.).

Paypal Credit will become a payment option on your PayPal account, though it WON'T be the default form of payment and you DON'T have to use it if you don't want to. But bear in mind the total credit you're given may appear on your credit report.

While you can't remove PayPal Credit from your account until the Apple device instalments end, you can call up and reduce your credit limit if you want. If you use PayPal Credit (outside of the Apple offer) you'll pay 0% for four months on purchases over £150, then 17.9% rep APR. It's a straight 17.9% rep APR on purchases up to £150 – there's no interest-free period.

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