Derin Clark

Derin Clark

Online Reporter
Published: 12/11/2019

With Christmas adverts already on TV and just over two weeks until Black Friday, the festive shopping season has already begun, however consumers are being warned that if they use credit cards to pay for their Christmas shopping they will have less time to pay off debts before being charged interest compared to a year ago.

Data from Moneyfacts.co.uk has found that consumers can currently find deals offering up to 26 months interest-free on purchases, however a year ago the top 0% offer on purchases was three months longer, at 29 months from Sainsbury’s Bank. As a result, those using credit cards this year need to pay off the outstanding balance three months quicker than a year ago.

Top introductory interest-free purchase credit card offers 

Credit card 0% purchase offer Purchase APR
MBNA Limited 0% Transfer and Purchase Credit Card mastercard 26 months 20.9%
Barclaycard Platinum All-Rounder Visa 25 months 19.9%
Sainsbury's Bank Dual Offer Credit Card Mastercard 25 months 20.9%
Tesco Bank Clubcard Credit Card Purchases Mastercard 24 months 19.9%
Bank of Ireland UK Matched Mastercard 24 months 19.9%
Sainsbury's Bank Purchase Credit Card Mastercard 22 months 20.9%

Rachel Springall, finance expert at Moneyfacts.co.uk, said: “Credit cards remain not just a convenient way to spend for the everyday consumer, but they also offer protection in the event of a dispute with a purchase of goods or services. In addition, consumers can give themselves more time to repay goods if they apply for an interest-free offer. As Black Friday looms, this week may be a popular time to apply for one such offer.

“The Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales offer significant savings on high-end goods, such as electronics. If consumers have little savings or means to buy high-cost items, then a credit card could be a good alternative, but it is important that they work out a realistic repayment plan so they don’t regret the purchase later down the line.

“Shoppers may not necessarily use these sales to buy others gifts for Christmas, in fact, according to PwC, only 20% of consumers buy most of their presents over this period. Therefore, shoppers could still use the plastic again to cover the festive spend – particularly if they have some time left utilise an interest-free offer.

“As it stands, consumers will have less time to pay their debts if they acquire the longest interest-free offer right now, compared to the longest offer this time a year ago – three months less in fact. MBNA currently offers a 0% introductory purchase offer for 26 months, whereas Sainsbury’s Bank had the longest deal a year ago at 29 months.

“Making more than the minimum repayment on a credit card is important to clear debts before an interest-free offer expires. For example, shoppers would need to repay around £116 per month to pay back £3,000 over 26 months. If a borrower made a purchase of £3,000 on a card charging 20.9% APR and repaid just £100 per month, the debt will linger for over three years and it will cost them £1,114 in interest*. This demonstrates how important it is for borrowers to clear their debts faster or take advantage of an interest-free offer to spread their repayments.”

 

*Credit card repayment based on £3,000 purchase, based on an interest rate of 20.9% APR, minimum fixed repayment of £100 (thereafter a minimum of 1% plus monthly interest or £25, whichever is higher) and would take three years and six months to pay back, costing £1,114 in interest over this term.

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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