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Are There Such Things as 0% Credit Cards?

Sep 8, 2008
There certainly are 0% credit cards - but that does not mean they can be used with complete abandon. A useful golden rule to remember is that practically any credit card can be 0%, provided you pay off the balance of any spending before the interest is applied. The only exception will be those cards that start accruing interest from the moment of purchase. Since the latter are relatively few and far between, they can be relatively easily spotted - and avoided if necessary.

The majority of credit cards offer a period of up to 59 days between making a purchase with the card and the application of interest on that purchase when it appears on the relevant month's statement of balance. Although this will indicate the minimum amount that must be made (or a penalty for late payment will be imposed) the whole of the outstanding balance must be cleared if you wish to avoid paying any interest. It takes a certain amount of discipline, therefore, to ensure that your use of a credit card remains at 0% interest.

Another way of avoiding paying any interest on credit card purchases is to switch to one of the many providers offering 0% interest. Such is the competition still among card providers that there is a large selection of cards offering this enticement. The actual number available at any one time is difficult to pin down, since offers change from time to time, but there will generally be around 100 different types of card to choose from.

Of course, the zero-interest offer is for a limited period of time - no business can offer free credit indefinitely. This cards currently available offer periods of between 3 and 15 months of interest-free use for purchases. Though by no means a general rule, those that offer the longer interest-free period will be the ones with a higher standard rate of interest once the introductory period is finished. Beware, too, that although purchases using the card might be at 0% interest, cash withdrawals are unlikely to be. The same goes for use of the card overseas, where interest is likely to be charged at a higher than standard rate.

The main danger in taking advantage of such introductory offers is simply forgetting when the interest-free period ends and ensuring that any balance on the account is cleared before then. This date is, clearly, something to be written large in your diary!

Even if you have run up quite a large outstanding balance on your card it is still possible to pay 0% interest on it. This can be done by the simple expedient of transferring the balance to one of the many other credit cards offering 0% interest on balance transfers. Although a one-off charge is likely to be made for such a transfer, once made, however, you have secured a period in which to repay the transferred balance without having to include any interest payments. Although some such cards will also offer an interest-free holiday on both the transferred balance and new spending on purchases, by no means all of them do. If you do not, then your repayments are likely to be going towards the repayment of the transferred balance, while interest on the new purchases continues to accumulate. It pays to beware of this, therefore.

Once again, it will also pay to keep firmly in mind, or have a reliable reminder system, for the end of the 0% period. If you have not managed to repay the whole of the balance on the card during this period, then it could be time to start the whole process again (and pay the further charges) to transfer the new balance to yet another card in order to continue enjoying the use of 0% interest credit cards.
About the Author
Confused.com is one of the UK's biggest and most popular price comparison services. Confused.com helps consumers save money on everything from Credit Cards to Mortgages.
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