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Derin Clark

Online Reporter
Published: 02/11/2020
Christmas shopping

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With England set to go into a month-long lockdown and local restrictions already in place for the rest of the UK due to the Coronavirus pandemic, many shoppers will be looking to do the majority of their Christmas shopping online this year.

Although online shopping can be an easy and safe way of getting Christmas shopping done, it is often advisable to use a credit card when shopping, as it offers greater consumer protection. In addition to this, consumers who decide to use a 0% purchase credit card can also get an interest-free period in which to pay off their credit card debt without incurring additional interest charges.

Unfortunately for shoppers, over the past year the longest interest-free period on a 0% purchase credit card without monthly fees has fallen by six months, from 26 months available in November 2019 to 20 months available today. Meanwhile, three years ago during November 2017, shoppers were able to get 31 months interest-free. “It is clear to see that the length of 0% purchase cards has shortened over recent years,” said Rachel Springall, finance expert at

She added: “If shoppers acquired the top interest-free purchase card today from M&S Bank and spent £3,000, they would need to repay £150 per month to clear the debt before interest applies. However, they would have had 11 additional months to repay their debts in 2017 with the top card from Sainsbury’s Bank and therefore could have reduced their monthly repayment to around £97 per month and still cleared the debt before interest applied.”

Alternative to 0% purchase credit card

Those already with credit card debt and who are looking for an interest-free alternative to a 0% purchase credit card could consider a 0% balance transfer credit card instead. These credit cards allow borrowers to transfer their existing credit card debt, usually for a fee, to the new credit card and then have an interest-free period in which to pay off the balance before interest is added again. Springall said: “The most cost-effective deal depends on how long consumers feel comfortable to pay back their debts, for example with 0% balance transfer cards the top deal from TSB for 29 months charges a transfer fee of 2.95% which is a charge of £88.50 on a debt of £3,000, but there are fee-free options available elsewhere. The top fee-free balance transfer credit cards on the market today are from Santander and Sainsbury’s Bank, both of which have a 0% balance transfer term of 18 months. Therefore, if consumers can pay off their debt within this period, £167 per month approximately for a £3,000 debt, they would save themselves £88.50 compared to the longest 0% balance transfer offer on the market.”

Whether you are accepted for a credit card and the APR you are offered depends on your credit score. You can check your credit score for free and without it impacting your score through our credit check page.


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