What is a 0% credit card for?

Choosing a 0% interest credit card can help you stay on top of your finances. You can use them to pay for expensive items in lower monthly instalments, or just to transfer an existing credit card or store card balance to help you clear a debt.

How does a 0% credit card work?

0% credit cards work by offering no interest on certain types of transactions for a set period of time. During the interest free period, you won’t pay anything extra over the balance you owe, for those certain types of transaction. You’ll still need to make sure you cover the minimum payment on your statement each month.

There are two main types of interest free credit card:

  • 0% interest purchase credit cards
  • 0% interest balance transfer credit cards

Some cards also have 0% rates on both types of transaction, although there might be other fees or charges you need to pay to use the card, like a balance transfer fee.

Learn more about M&S Credit Card fees and charges.

Why would you use a 0% purchase credit card?

If you need to replace your washing machine, or are planning on buying supplies for a big event like a wedding, then a 0% card for purchases could be just the ticket to spread the costs.

Putting your spending on a 0% interest purchase credit card gives you the flexibility to pay for what you buy in smaller amounts over a period of months.

As well as saving you money on the interest, lots of 0% credit cards also offer perks like store points, or vouchers so you get another little boost every time you use them. Compare M&S Credit Cards for balance transfers or purchases to find the right card for you.

Key things to know about any 0% credit card

Your interest free period won’t last forever, so keep a close eye on how long the 0% rate applies, to avoid getting caught out. Your card will revert to a standard rate at the end of the introductory or promotional 0% rate. Find out more about interest free periods on credit cards.

If you go over your agreed credit limit, you are also likely to be charged extra, and it could affect your credit rating.

0% credit cards vs personal loans

Choosing between a 0% credit card and personal loan is completely dependant on your borrowing needs.

A personal loan can help cover costs from needing a new car to renovating your home, and you’ll pay a fixed rate of interest every month on what you borrow. But a personal loan may not provide you with the flexibility of a credit card.

With a 0% balance transfer or 0% purchase credit card offer, there is no interest on certain types of transactions for a set period of time; but only for the time specified in your deal.

When the 0% interest period ends, if you haven’t cleared the balance on your card you could end up paying even higher interest than with a loan. APRs on credit cards tend to be higher than for loans, so costs can quickly add up.

When comparing an interest free credit card with a loan, remember to take into account the amount you are looking to borrow, your need for repayment flexibility and any other perks on offer as part of the deal too. For example cashback on purchases or store vouchers can help stretch your money even further.

Find out more about our M&S Credit Card Shopping Plus offer.

Published August 2023