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0% credit card deals disappearing: should you act now?

Lenders are moving to reduce the length of interest-free periods on credit cards – and there are fewer of these deals available, according to new research. The average length of an introductory term on 0% purchase credit cards[1] has tumbled 32 days since May 2017, according to financial information site Moneyfacts. The number of deals on offer has fallen well below 100.

Which? explains how this trend will affect borrowers and picks out the best 0% deals still available.

How 0% purchase card deals are changing

The recent downward trend could signal the beginning of the end for long-lasting 0% deals. Moneyfacts’ analysis shows the length of 0% purchase offers have shrunk from 389 days in May 2017 to 349 days in November 2017 – equating to just under 12 months.

Yet deals today remain significantly longer than those available 5 years ago. The average interest-free purchase deal lasted 185 days in November 2012 – or around six months. Moneyfacts also found there are fewer 0% purchase products on the market.

Today borrowers can pick from 93 deals, compared to 101 five years ago.

November 2012 November 2016 May 2017 November 2017
Number of cards with 0% purchases 101 99 102 93
Average 0% purchase deal term (days) 185 287 381 349

Source: Moneyfacts If you’re looking for a credit card to use over Christmas and the January sales, you might want to act quickly, before more deals start disappearing or getting shorter.

Why the length of a 0% credit card is important

A 0% purchase credit card is a great tool if you want to spread the cost of an expensive purchase or lots of little purchases over a period like Christmas – and the length of a deal is crucial in picking the right one for your circumstances. A longer lasting deal will allow you to spread the cost into smaller repayments.

As an example, if you were to spend GBP2,000 on the Sainsbury’s Bank Purchase Credit Card,[2] which lasts 31 months, you would need to pay GBP64 a month to clear it in time. Fewer products and shorter deals are bad news for borrowers, as it means there is less choice. The chance that longer lasting deals will start drying up may make it harder to spread the cost of your spending.

Are there any good 0% purchase deals left?

You can use Which?

Money Compare[3] to shop for a 0% purchase credit card. To save you some time, we’ve selected the best deals with the longest 0% purchase periods that are still available. Source: Which?

Money Compare[4]

How to pick the right credit card for you

A 0% purchase credit card won’t be right for everybody. If you have large credit card debts, a 0% balance transfer deal[5] could help you transfer the balance and can clear what you owe in a manageable way. Alternatively, if you have the money to pay off your card in full each month, a reward[6] or cashback[7] credit card can help you earn something back every time you spend.

Which? Limited is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Which? Financial Services Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 527029).

Which? Mortgage Advisers and Which? Money Compare are trading names of Which?

Financial Services Limited.

References

  1. ^ 0% purchase credit cards (moneycompare.which.co.uk)
  2. ^ Sainsbury’s Bank Purchase Credit Card, (moneycompare.which.co.uk)
  3. ^ Which?

    Money Compare (moneycompare.which.co.uk)

  4. ^ Which?

    Money Compare (moneycompare.which.co.uk)

  5. ^ 0% balance transfer deal (moneycompare.which.co.uk)
  6. ^ reward (moneycompare.which.co.uk)
  7. ^ cashback (moneycompare.which.co.uk)

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