What is an interest-free period?

A credit card interest-free period is when you can use your credit card to make purchases without paying interest charges, as long as you repay your balance in full and on time each month. This period varies depending on your credit card and usually starts from your purchase date until the payment due date.

An interest-free period allows you to pay off your balance without additional costs.

What is an introductory interest-free period?

An introductory interest-free period is a promotional period offered by credit card companies. These periods can range from a few months to over a year, depending on the credit card and the terms and conditions.

During this period, you won’t be charged any interest on your purchases as long as you make the minimum monthly repayment. Setting up a Direct Debit is the most reliable way to pay to avoid missing this payment.

What is a standard interest-free period?

Once the introductory period ends, credit cards typically offer a standard interest-free period on purchases.

A standard interest-free period happens when you pay off your credit card balance in full by the due date. You’ll then have a specific number of days to make purchases without being charged interest, so long as you make the next full repayment by the due date.

If you are looking for a credit card with a standard interest-free period, you can explore the options available in our range of credit cards.

All credit is subject to status. Eligibility criteria and terms and conditions apply.

Representative example

24.9% Purchase rate p.a (variable)
24.9% APR Representative (variable)
£1,200 Assumed credit limit

How is a credit card interest-free period calculated?

The interest-free period on a credit card is calculated based on the billing cycle. Typically, you’ll have between 25 to 55 days to repay the amount without being charged interest on purchases. Here’s how it works:

  • You have a billing cycle of 31 days, starting on 1 March.
  • You receive your credit card statement on 31 March, and the payment is due 10 April.
  • You would have 41 days (from the start of the cycle until the payment due date) to pay off the balance without any interest charges on purchases.

It’s important to know your billing period. You may be charged credit card fees if you miss a payment.

How can you avoid paying interest on a credit card?

Pay off your entire balance within the interest-free period to avoid paying interest on purchases.

You can sometimes make minimum monthly payments on your credit card, but you’ll carry a balance forward and be charged interest on the remaining amount. We have further information on how minimum payments and credit cards work.

You also need to be aware that certain transactions can have higher fees, even if you’re within the interest-free period.

What is a grace period on a credit card?

A grace period is the duration between the end of a billing cycle and the payment due date. For example, if your billing cycle ends on 31 March and your payment is due on 10 April, you would have a 10-day grace period.

During this period, you can pay off your credit card balance entirely without being charged interest.

The grace period only applies if you’ve fully paid the previous month’s balance. If you still have an outstanding balance, you may be charged interest from your purchase date.

What types of credit cards offer interest-free periods?

Many credit cards offer interest-free periods. These cards can be helpful for individuals who want to make large purchases and pay them off without paying high interest charges.

Balance transfer credit cards can also offer interest-free periods. These cards allow you to focus on paying down your debt without worrying about additional charges.

Understanding the terms and conditions is essential, no matter what credit card you have. If you need further guidance, our credit card support page can help you.

Published August 2023