by Derin Clark
Christmas can often be an expensive time of year. Buying presents, decorations, food and drink - the costs can quickly mount up.
Ideally, families should start saving for Christmas well in advance, but in reality this is sometimes not possible. With many families facing financial hardships this year, any savings may have already been spent.
Although it is never encouraged to take on debt and you should always have a plan in place to repay the debt before applying for a loan or credit card, a 0% purchase credit card can be a useful way of helping to spread the cost of Christmas.
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What is a 0% purchase credit card?
A 0% purchase credit card enables users to make purchases on the card and not pay any interest on these transactions for a predetermined time period. The interest-free repayment period can last from any time from a few months to over two years, depending on the card that is chosen.
Once the interest-free period has ended, interest is then added to the remaining balance. As a result, if you are using a 0% purchase credit card to help spread the cost of Christmas, you should only make purchases on the card during the interest-free period and, to avoid paying any interest, have a budget in place that will enable you to repay the balance in full before the interest-free period comes to an end.
As well as this, it is important to remember that your credit score will impact whether you are accepted for the credit card, as well as the credit limit and APR you are offered if accepted. You can check your credit score for free at Moneyfacts.co.uk.
Below we’ve highlighted some of the best 0% purchase credit cards currently available in the charts.
The longest interest-free term
Santander has the longest interest-free term on a 0% purchase credit with its All in One Credit Card Mastercard offering 26 months of no interest. This card charges a monthly fee of £3 and also offers 0.5% cashback on purchases, although £600 per month would need to be spent to match the £3 card fee. Once the interest-free period has ended, this card charges 21.7% APR.
0% purchase offering cashback or rewards
Some 0% purchase credit cards also offer customers rewards when purchases are made on the card. Often the best reward deals are through cards associated with a high street store or supermarket.
For example, M&S Bank’s Shopping Plus Mastercard enables card holders to earn points on purchases made through the card, with more points earned when the card is used in M&S stores, but also allows shoppers to earn rewards when used to make purchases outside of M&S. This card has an interest-free period on purchases for 20 months, after which it charges 19.9% APR.
Similarly, Tesco Bank’s Clubcard Credit Card Purchases Mastercard enables shoppers to earn Clubcard points whenever the card is used in Tesco stores or petrol stations. Points can also be earned when the card is used to make purchases outside Tesco. This card also has an interest-free period on purchases for 18 months, after which it charges 19.9% APR.
Another supermarket that offers a competitive 0% purchase credit card that allows shoppers to earn reward points is Sainsbury’s Bank. Its Dual Offer Credit Card Mastercard enables shoppers to earn Nectar points whenever used in Sainsbury’s or Argos stores.
It also enables points to be earned when used outside these stores, but as with M&S and Tesco Bank’s cards, fewer points are earned per pound when used outside the stores. It offers an interest-free period on purchases for 20 months, after which it charges 21.9% APR.
To see all the interest-free purchase credit cards currently available, visit the 0% purchase credit card chart at Moneyfacts.co.uk