Credit cards

Understanding interest free credit card purchases

What is a 0% APR credit card?

A '0% APR' or 'interest free' credit card offers you a window where you can borrow money without paying interest, often for an introductory period.

This means that you can spread the cost of purchases over several months, without paying any interest on top. It can also be a cost-efficient way to purchase large items such as a television or a new sofa.

Remember - you'll need to keep up with your monthly repayments, and make sure any purchases are paid off in full before the end of the 0% period to avoid paying interest on them.

Once this offer period has ended, any remaining balance will start earning interest until you've made a full payment to clear the statement balance. This could include your cash advances and balance transfers.

How to make the most of your interest free period

Credit cards offer a flexible way of borrowing which means you can choose to repay different amounts each month depending on your budget.

A credit card purchase rate of 0% is an introductory offer and will last for a fixed period, usually a few months. After this period, your lender will start to charge interest on purchases.

If you want to purchase a large item, it's important to think about how to structure your repayments so that you’re able to repay the full amount within the interest free period.

How you could structure your repayments


Purchase your item using a 0% APR credit card.


Split the total balance left on the card by the number of months remaining on the 0% offer period.


Set up a direct debit for that amount to be paid each month until the 0% offer expires.

What if I want to spread my repayments over a longer period?

As long as you meet the minimum monthly payments, it’s possible to stretch your credit card payments over a longer timeframe than your agreed interest free period. However, once your introductory 0% purchase rate expires you will be charged interest on these payments.

You could also pay less interest by taking out a loan to fund a key item or project instead. Our Borrowing Needs tool could help you find the right borrowing method for you.

Our range of credit cards

Head on over to our credit card hub to take a look at our range of credit cards. It's all here in one place. 
Eligibility applies. Over 18s only.

Other ways we can help

Applying for a credit card

Credit card applications aren’t always successful. To improve your chances of a successful application, we’ve put together a 5-step list of things you can do.

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Our guide to credit cards

Want a bit more background detail about how credit cards work? In our handy guide, we run through the different types of credit cards and help you understand the basics, as well as offering you some useful tips.

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Cost of living

If you are concerned about being unable to make your repayments on your NatWest credit card, we have lots of guidance and support to help you.

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Something else we can help you with?