How do 0% credit cards work?

0% interest rates are usually part of an introductory or promotional offer on a credit card, available for a set period of time.

Using and managing a 0% credit card

0% offers on borrowing

0% offers make it possible to use a credit card, without paying interest on qualifying transactions for a period of time. For example, a credit card might offer 0% interest for up to 12 months on purchases.

Keep an eye on expiry dates

When a 0% introductory or promotional interest rate ends, the standard interest rates for your account will apply to any remaining balance, so aim to pay off your balance in advance to minimise any interest costs on your borrowing.

Make payments on time

Even when no interest is being charged, you still need to make at least the minimum payment on time each month, or you could lose any promotional interest rates. Due payment details are included on your latest statement.

Stay within your credit limit

If you go over your agreed credit limit, some lenders might charge you and a report could be made to the credit reference agencies, which will affect your credit score. You could also lose any promotional interest rates on your account.

Useful to know about 0% credit cards

 

  • When does a 0% offer begin?
    Introductory interest rates usually start on the day your account is opened, while promotional interest rates start on a defined date. In either case, make sure you check through all of the offer details, so you understand any terms and conditions.
     
  • Is there an ‘offer window’?
    0% interest rates may only be available on transactions made within a set period from account opening, usually between 60 and 90 days, or within a specified date range. After that, the standard interest rates will apply to new transactions.
 
  • What’s included in your offer?
    0% interest rates might only apply to one transaction type, such as balance transfers or card purchases. If you use your card for other things, it’s important to know that the standard interest rates will apply, which are likely to be higher.
     
  • When does a 0% offer end?
    At Halifax, your monthly statements include a breakdown of the interest rates which apply to your balance, along with any expiry dates. All lenders should let you know before a 0% interest rate ends and the standard rate will apply instead.

What do you need a credit card for?

0% interest rates might only apply to one transaction type, so think about the reason you need a credit card to focus your search. Introductory or promotional interest rates are available subject to status and eligibility.

Card purchases

If you’re planning a large purchase, need a card for everyday spending, or just for emergencies, a credit card can be a flexible way to borrow and spread repayments over time.

Balance transfers

With a balance transfer, you could move existing credit and store card balances to a single credit card. With everything in one place, your outgoings could be easier to manage. Transfer fees might apply.

Money transfers

Some credit cards offer the option to transfer money to your UK current account, which could help you to manage unexpected bills, or to make cash only purchases. Transfer fees might apply.

Making the most of a 0% credit card

  • Make sure you check and understand the interest rates which apply to your account.
  • You might have a set number of days from the date your account is opened to use any introductory interest rates on card purchases – usually around 60 days. After that, and when any introductory interest rates expire, your standard interest rates will apply instead.
  • You must make at least the minimum payment on time each month, but it’s a good idea to pay more to reduce your balance and limit any interest costs, especially if you hope to clear your balance before any 0% offers end.
  • It’s useful to remember that 0% interest rates often apply to one transaction type. If you use your credit card for other things, it’s likely the borrowing costs will be higher and it could take you longer to repay your balances.

Think through your options

  • Does this option suit my borrowing needs, or should I consider alternatives, such as a loan or car finance?
  • Will I be able to make repayments, even if my circumstances change?


Other borrowing options

See if you’re eligible

An eligibility check makes it easy to find and compare Halifax credit cards. Our short form only takes around five minutes to complete.

  • We’ll tell you which Halifax credit cards you’re likely to be accepted for.
  • You’ll see the credit limit you’re likely to get.
  • With no impact to your credit score.
Check your eligibility

Frequently asked questions on 0% credit cards
 

  • When you’re looking for a credit card, you might notice that some introductory interest rates are advertised as being available for ‘up to’ a certain number of months. That basically means you could be offered the advertised rate, but you could also be offered a shorter duration instead, based on an assessment of your personal circumstances.

    More on introductory and promotional rates

  • Different rates of interest might apply to portions of your balance, depending on the transaction type, and whether a standard or introductory interest rate applies. You’ll find details in:

    • Your monthly statement – the transaction pages include a breakdown of the interest rates which apply to your balance, along with any expiry dates.
    • Your account terms and conditions – these are issued by post after your application is approved, and if the terms of your account have changed, so make sure you’re looking at the latest version.

A summary on 0% credit cards

A 0% credit card has an introductory or promotional interest rate for a limited period.

 

  • 0% interest rates usually apply to a certain transaction type, e.g. card purchases or balance transfers.
  • There might be an offer window – usually around 60 days – to make any qualifying transactions.
  • When an interest rate expires, any remaining balance will be charged at the card’s standard rates.
  • You could lose 0% interest rates if you don’t make payments on time, or go over your credit limit.

Halifax is a division of Bank of Scotland plc. Registered in Scotland No. SC327000. Registered Office: The Mound, Edinburgh EH1 1YZ. Bank of Scotland plc is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority under registration number 169628.