Credit cards Updated:
'Tis (almost) the season to be jolly, but before all that festive fun begins, chances are you've got a bit more shopping to do - and if you're turning to credit, you'll want to find a card that offers a 0% interest deal on purchases to spread the cost of Christmas without interest adding to the bill.
Using cards that offer 0% interest on purchases means you can shop without needing to worry about the financial hangover. You can cover your festive spend and pay the balance off in the New Year, and as long as you go about it the right way - by ensuring you pay off the full amount by the time the interest-free deal comes to an end - it could be a great way to tick everyone off the gift list.
There's a wide range of 0% interest cards to choose from, and competition in the sector is fierce - providers are vying for your business, and are offering record introductory purchase terms to tempt you. But, as with any card, they need to be managed efficiently, and should only be considered by those who are truly financially organised.
Not only will you need to ensure that the full amount can be repaid by the end of the interest-free period - failing to do so will mean interest will quickly start accumulating - but you need to make absolutely certain that you can meet at least the minimum repayments each month, because if you miss one, your interest-free deal will effectively be cancelled and you'll start racking up additional debt.
However, if you make sure you can comfortably afford the minimum payments and have a plan in place of how you'll repay the lot, a 0% purchase credit card could be a great way to cover your festive spend without incurring any interest. Just make sure your credit score is up to scratch before you apply.
Sound like a good deal? Then you'll need to find the card to suit. Here's a run-through of the 0% purchase credit cards currently sitting at the top of the Moneyfacts best buys.
Comfortably taking the top spot in the 0% purchase sector is this card from Virgin Money, which boasts the longest introductory term available. Borrowers can spread the cost of their festive purchases for a market-leading 30 months before interest is charged, and as an added bonus, they can even enjoy 18 months of 0% balance and money transfers to offer the complete interest-free package
Tesco Bank takes second place with its Clubcard MasterCard, a deal which offers 28 months of 0% interest on purchases as well as a three-month 0% balance and money transfer term. This card is particularly suited to loyal Tesco shoppers, who will be able to earn Clubcard points on their spending - ideal for this time of year when the big festive food shop is just around the corner.
Sainsbury's Bank easily secures its place in the top three with this deal: not only does it match Tesco's interest-free term on purchases but it also boasts a balance transfer term that's highly competitive in this sector, and lets loyal Sainsbury's shoppers rack up Nectar points - and if you apply by the end of December and spend £800 at the supermarket giant in the first three months, you'll earn a bonus 5,000 points, too.
Next up is this card from Post Office Money, which boasts an introductory purchase term of 27 months as well as 16 months of interest-free balance transfers (note that a transaction must be made within three months of the account being opened in order to quality for the introductory purchase deal).
Clydesdale Bank comfortably secures a top-five position with its Gold MasterCard, offering an interest-free purchase term of 26 months as well as 0% balance transfers for a whole year. Even after the interest-free periods have come to an end, balance transfers will be charged at a highly competitive annual rate of 11.9%. As an added bonus, money transfers are also permitted and can be arranged at any time, albeit without an introductory term.
Yorkshire Bank just squeezes into the top six with its MasterCard that mirrors Clydesdale's offering, boasting lengthy interest-free periods for both purchases and balance transfers.
Information & Rates correct as at: Information & Rates correct as at: 08.11.2016
Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.
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