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How do 0% credit cards work?

Exploring 0% introductory or promotional rates and how you can use them.

A 0% credit card is a credit card with a 0% introductory/promotional interest rate available for a set duration. This means you can spread costs by paying off less than the full amount each month and still pay no interest. Once the offer ends, the standard rates will apply to the remaining balance of your card.

  • Your 0% offer is usually on specific transactions like card purchases or balance transfers.
  • To keep your 0% rate, you’ll still need to make your monthly minimum payment on time and stay within your card’s credit limit.
  • Introductory or promotional offers are subject to status and availability.

0% credit cards can let you borrow without paying interest

With a 0% interest rate offer, you use your credit card without paying interest on your balance for a set period of time. This usually relies on you using your card for its intended purpose (e.g. card purchases or balance transfers) and paying off your balance before your offer ends.

What is an interest rate?

 

0% offers are for a set period of time

Your 0% interest rate is usually an introductory/promotional offer given to you for a limited time. Afterwards, any remaining introductory/promotional rate balance, will be charged at the card’s standard rate.

What is an introductory or promotional rate?

 

You must still make your minimum payment on time

Even if you’re paying no interest, you still need to make at least the minimum payment towards your balance every month. Otherwise, you could end up losing your introductory/promotional rate.

What is a minimum payment?

Ways to pay your credit card

 

Going over your credit limit might mean losing your 0% rate

Avoid going over your credit limit by checking on your credit card statement regularly. With us, you can also check on Internet Banking or the Lloyds Bank mobile app, so you know when you’re nearing your limit.

What is a credit limit?

Key things to know about any 0% credit card

To make the most of your 0% offer check your card’s terms and conditions and your statements. These include details about your introductory or promotional rate and its expiry date, helping you to keep track.

When your 0% interest rate starts

Promotional rates usually start from the day you open the account or from the date you make your first transaction, so make sure you understand the details of your offer. Other cards may vary.

If you have an ‘offer window’

For example, you might have 0% interest for 18 months on balance transfers made up to the first 90 days from account opening. Any transfers made later would be at your standard rate, unless new transfer offers have been made available to you. Offer windows may vary, so always check your offer details. Transfer fees may apply.

What your 0% interest rate applies to

Often, a 0% rate will only apply to one primary transaction type, for example balance transfers or card purchases. If you use your card for other things, bear in mind that you might be charged a higher rate of interest. 

The date your 0% interest rate ends

Your credit card provider should always give you a warning when your offer is coming to an end. If you know this date in advance, you can plan for it – as you’ll then be paying your standard rate on any remaining balance.

Always plan how you’ll use a 0% credit card

If you plan ahead, you can apply for a card that offers an introductory or promotional rate on the particular use you require.

Card purchases

If you’re hoping to spread the cost of a large purchase, an introductory or promotional 0% interest rate on credit card spending might help.

How a credit card works

Balance transfers

Moving existing borrowing to a 0% interest introductory or promotional offer could reduce your outgoings. Transfer fees may apply.

What is a balance transfer?

Money transfers

To meet an unexpected expense, you could use a 0% interest money transfer from a credit card. Transfer fees may apply.

What is a money transfer?

How you can make the most of a 0% credit card

  • A 0% interest rate offer might provide the flexibility you’re looking for, but check thoroughly to ensure the credit card is right for your needs.
  • Be realistic about how long it will take to pay your borrowing back, and plan out how you’re going to use the card accordingly
  • Try to pay off as much of your balance as you can, as soon as you can. If you don’t and your 0% offer period ends, you could pay higher interest rates.
  • Be aware that using your card for other purposes not covered by the promotional rate, for example cash withdrawals, could increase the amount of interest and fees you pay overall.

OneCheck – our credit card eligibility checker

With OneCheck, you can see which credit cards you’re eligible to apply for and what your credit limit is likely to be. Plus, it won’t affect your credit score. 

Check your eligibility

Frequently Asked Questions

Key points on 0% credit cards

  • A 0% credit card has an introductory or promotional 0% interest rate for a limited period.  
  • Usually the 0% interest rate applies only to certain transaction types, such as card purchases or balance transfers.
  • When your introductory or promotional offer comes to an end, your remaining balance will be charged at the card’s standard rates.
  • To avoid paying higher interest rates, plan ahead and try to pay off your balance in full before the 0% offer ends.
  • If you don’t keep to the terms and conditions of your card, for example by not making your minimum payment on time, then you risk losing your introductory or promotional offer.

Where next?

Important legal information

Lloyds Bank plc. Registered office: 25 Gresham Street, London EC2V 7HN. Registered in England and Wales No. 2065. Lloyds Bank plc is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority under registration number 119278.