LOOKING to make a big purchase in 2018?
Then you should think about picking-up a 0 per cent purchase card.
Used correctly a purchase credit card can help you spread the cost of a big-ticket item – like a new kitchen or holiday – without racking up hefty interest charges.
The longest deals on the market now stretch to a whopping 31 months – giving you the chance to pay-off your debt over nearly three years.
The Sun Online has taken a look at some of the cards with the longest 0 per cent periods on the market but before we do, a word of warning.
Always be responsible when it comes to spending on credit cards – try and clear your balance in full each month outside of a 0 per cent purchase period, otherwise you’ll start paying interest on your balance.
If you can’t clear it each month, ideally you should try and pay more back than the minimum monthly payments, otherwise your debt will take longer and longer to clear.
And never use cards to regularly cover gaps in your monthly income either, as doing this will make your balance soar too – always make sure you can afford to pay back what you borrow.
The credit cards with the longest 0 per cent period
This card from Sainbury’s Bank comes with the longest 0 per cent deal currently available – 31 months.
If you’re accepted, you’ll definitely get the full 31-month period and each time you spend £40 or more on shopping at Sainsbury’s in the first two months, you’ll get 1,000 Nectar points worth £5.
If you don’t clear your balance by the end of the 31 months, you ‘ll be charged 18.9 per cent, 21.9 per cent, or 28.9 per cent interest.
The offer is available until March 25.
Just behind the Sainbury’s card is the Post Office Credit Card, which comes with a 0 per cent purchase period of 30 months.
The card also comes with a 30-month balance transfer period, so you can pay down your existing debt and stop incurring interest over two-and-a-half years.
After the 0 per cent period comes to an end, the card will revert to an APR of 18.9 per cent or 22.9 per cent – so do all you can to clear your balance within the 0 per cent period.
You’ll pay a balance transfer fee of 2.75 per cent if you transfer an existing balance.
Purchase credit cards: What you need to know
PURCHASE cards can be a great way of spreading the cost of expensive items. But you’ve got to use them properly otherwise it could cost you.
Here are some tips from MoneySavingExpert on what you need to know:
Never miss a payment – Being in a 0 per cent period doesn’t mean you don’t have to make your monthly repayments. If you miss just one payment you’ll lose your 0 per cent period all together and start being charged interest on your balance.
Clear you balance – If you don’t clear your balance within the 0 per cent period, you’ll start being charge interest. Work out how much you need to pay each month by dividing your balance by the number of months you 0 per cent period is and set up a direct debit for that amount.
You might not get the headline 0 per cent period – Only those with the very best credit histories will get accepted for the cards that have lengthy 0 per cent periods, and some providers could offer you a deal with a shorter period instead. Check the details of the card you’re looking at to see what you might be offered below the headline offer.
Halifax also offers a 30-month 0 per cent deal for those with the very best credit history.
You could still be accepted for the card if you don’t have the best rating – but you’ll be offered a reduced 0 per cent period of nine months instead of 30.
You’ll be charged interest at a rate of 1.89 per cent or 27.95 per cent when the 0 per cent period comes to an end.
The card also comes with a 0 per cent balance transfer period of six months (its transfer fee is 3 per cent).
You can only apply for this card via the Halifax website.
If you have a great credit rating you could get up to 28 months with Tesco Bank’s purchase card.
If you don’t get accepted for the headline offer, you could be offered a 0 per cent period of 22 or 16 months instead.
You can also earn clubcard points when you spend and it has a short balance transfer period of three months too.
Once the 0 per cent purchase period ends, the card’s APR will jump to 18.9 per cent.
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You’ll get 28-months to pay-off a big purchase if you get accepted for Virgin Money’s purchase card.
After that you’ll pay interest at a rate of 19.9 per cent.
It also comes with a balance transfer period of 18 months (two per cent fee).
How to cut the cost of your debt
BEING in large amounts of credit card debt can be really worrying. Here are some tips from Citizens Advice on how you can take action.
Check your bank balance on a regular basis – knowing your spending patterns is the first step to managing your money
Work out your budget – by writing down your income and taking away your essential bills such as food and transport.
If you have money left over, plan in advance what else you’ll spend or save. If you don’t, look at ways to cut your costs
Pay off more than the minimum – If you’ve got credit card debts aim to pay off more than the minimum amount on your credit card each month to bring down your bill quicker
Pay your most expensive credit card sooner – If you have more than one credit card and can’t to pay them off in full each month, prioritise the most expensive card (the one with the highest interest rate)
Prioritise your debts – If you’ve got several debts and you can’t afford to pay them all it’s important to prioritise them.
Your rent, mortgage, council tax and energy bills should be paid first because the consequences can be more serious if you don’t pay
Get advice – If you’re struggling to pay your debts month after month it’s important you get advice as soon as possible, before they build up even further.
Groups like Citizens Advice and National Debtline can help you prioritise and negotiate with your creditors to offer you more affordable repayment plans
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