Interest-free credit cards give you a period of time when no interest is charged on your account balance. The 0% interest period varies depending on the card, with some options giving you an introductory 0% p.a. interest rate for purchases or balance transfers and others offering interest-free days on purchases for each statement period.
Use this guide to compare interest-free credit cards in Australia, including different offers currently on the market. You can also find out about other features to consider so that you can find an interest-free credit card that suits your needs.
Exclusive to finder.com.au - Citi Credit Card Offer
Citi Rewards Platinum Credit Card - Exclusive Offer
0% p.a. interest for 13 months on purchases and balance transfers Discounted annual fee of $49 for the first year Exclusive to finder.com.au
Offer ends 31 December 2019
Eligibility criteria, terms and conditions, fees and charges apply
Exclusive to finder.com.au - Citi Credit Card Offer
Save with 0% p.a. interest on purchases and balance transfers (with no balance transfer fee) for up to 13 months and a discounted annual fee for the first year.
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter).
21.49% p.a. on purchases
0% p.a. for 13 months with 0% BT fee on balance transfers
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Best* interest-free credit cards trending now
Compare the features of these interest-free credit cards to see if one is right for you.
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Platinum. Get 0% p.a. interest for up to 15 months on purchases with this rewards card that also boasts complimentary travel and purchase insurance covers.
HSBC Platinum Card. Earn HSBC Rewards Points for your spending and pay 0% interest for the first 12 months on purchases and balance transfers.
What types of credit cards offer 0% interest?
There is a wide range of credit cards that offer interest-free days or 0% p.a. interest promotions. Here, you can find information on a range of different 0% interest credit card options based on how you plan to use your card.
When will I be charged interest on a 0% purchase credit card?
If you still carry a balance at the end of the introductory period. The 0% p.a. offer only applies for an introductory period and will revert to the standard interest rate when the offer ends. For example, if the card comes with 0% p.a. for 6 months, the interest-free period will end 6 months after your card was activated and any remaining balance will begin to collect interest.
If you use your card for a transaction that isn’t considered a “purchase”. While most everyday spending will be eligible for the interest-free offer, transactions such as cash advances or cash equivalent transactions will be charged interest at the cash advance rate from the time they are made.
If you don’t make minimum monthly payments. Even with 0% p.a. interest on your purchases, you'll have to pay at least the minimum amount required by the due date on each credit card statement.
0% balance transfer credit cards
A 0% balance transfer card offers an interest-free period on existing credit card debt that you move onto the new card. The 0% interest rate can last anywhere from 3 to 24 months or more depending on the offer. This gives you the opportunity to repay your debt without collecting any additional interest, which can help you put more money towards paying off the balance faster.
When will I be charged interest on a 0% balance transfer credit card?
If you make new purchases. When you make a purchase on this type of card, the interest rate for purchases will apply from the time the transaction is made.
If you use your card for a cash advance or cash equivalent transaction. With these transactions, interest charges and fees will apply from the time they are made.
Ifyou don't pay off your balance transfer debt by the end of the introductory period. If the balance transfer interest-free period ends and you have an outstanding balance to pay, you'll start collecting interest on it.
0% purchase and balance transfer credit cards
This type of credit card offers an introductory 0% interest rate for both balance transfers and purchases. However, the promotional interest-free periods may be different lengths for balance transfers and purchases. For example, a card could offer 0% interest on balance transfers for up to 15 months but only 0% interest on purchases for the first 3 months.
When the introductory period ends, any remaining debt from purchases or balance transfers will attract interest at the standard variable rate for that card. This rate could also be different for purchases and balance transfers.
Credit cards with interest-free days
Many credit cards offer a certain number of interest-free days for each statement period. For instance, you may see “up to 55 days interest-free” included as a feature on your credit card.
This 0% interest period is usually only available if you pay your balance off completely by the due date on each of your statements. If you carry a balance or make a late payment, you won't be eligible for interest-free days and interest will be applied for all purchases made during that statement period. Usually, you will only be able to access interest-free days again after you have paid your balance in full for one or two consecutive statement cycles.
How to compare interest-free credit card offers in Australia
If you want to get a credit card with an interest-free period, considering the following features and details can help you find one that's right for you:
Introductory period. If the card offers a promotional 0% interest rate for purchases or balance transfers, check how long the introductory period is available for so you can factor this into your repayments and budget. Consider your budget and calculate whether or not you can repay the balance you put on the card while the introductory offer is in place. If not, you might want to look for a card with a longer promotional interest-free period.
Standard interest rates. The standard variable purchase and balance transfer rates for credit cards can be as high as 22% p.a. Make sure you check what the promotional rate reverts to when comparing options so that you can budget for any interest charges that may apply if you're still carrying a balance at that time.
Interest-free days requirements. Credit cards that offer interest-free days for each statement cycle usually have specific conditions around eligible purchases and repayments. For example, cash advances are not eligible for interest-free days and you must pay your balance in full by the due date on each statement.
Rewards programs. Some cards earn rewards or frequent flyer points for every $1 spent on the card. These programs can provide extra value, particularly if you have an interest-free credit card for purchases. But be careful you don’t overspend in order to get more rewards, otherwise you may end up with unnecessary debt.
Complimentary extras. Many cards offer complimentary extras such as international travel insurance, purchase protection, extended warranty coverage and concierge services. These perks may add value to your card, but only if you think you will use them.
Annual fees. This cost can range from $20 to over $700 each year. Make sure that the cost of the annual fee doesn't offset the interest savings you'll make from the interest-free offer. You may even want to consider a credit card with no annual fee to help save on your costs.
Balance transfer fees. Some cards have a one-off processing fee of around 2% to 3% when you apply for a balance transfer. If you choose an interest-free card for your existing debt, make sure you look for this fee when comparing options so you can find one that’s affordable.
Interest-free credit cards can be a convenient and affordable way to access additional funds in a wide range of situations. But it’s important to compare your options to find the right type of card for your needs.
Answers to the most popular questions about interest-free credit cards from our users
Yes, regardless of the type of interest-free credit card you choose, you will still need to pay at least the minimum amount required by the due date on your statement.
Regardless of the type of interest-free credit card you choose, you still need to make repayments by the statement due date each month. If you fail to maintain these regular repayments, some of the repercussions you could face include:
Interest charges. If you don’t pay your balance in full by the statement due date, interest will be applied to the remaining debt.
Late payment fees. If you don’t make a payment by the statement due date, a late payment fee may be applied. This can be $10 to $30 on a standard credit card, or more on a charge card.
Overlimit fees. A fee of between $10 and $30 can apply if you don’t repay your credit card balance and go over your available credit limit.
Cancelled promotional interest rates. If you don’t pay the balance, the interest-free promotion may no longer apply. This penalty varies depending on the card, so make sure you check the terms of your offer.
Bad credit. Failing to make repayments could have a negative impact on your credit history – especially if your account goes into default.
Just as there are different types of interest-free offers available, there are many potential "best" interest-free credit cards depending on your individual spending habits and goals. So instead of looking for a single "best" card, you can compare a range of options based on your goals to help you find the right 0% interest rate card for you. For example, if you want to save on existing debt, you could compare 0% balance transfer cards to find one that suits your needs. Or, if you want to save on upcoming purchases, a 0% purchase rate card could be an ideal option. Whatever your goal, remember to consider the ongoing features and costs of the card. These steps will help you choose a card that works for you.
Interest-free cards provide 0% on purchases, 0% on balance transfers and interest-free days on purchases. Depending on your needs, your ideal credit card may feature one or more of these promotions and include other features and benefits. Compare your options and consider what you need and are eligible to apply for. It is important to consider the features and costs of the card to ensure that the benefits outweigh the costs.
The interest-free period varies from card to card. In general, it can range from 6 to 24 months if you have a card with a promotional 0% balance transfer offer, or up to 55 days if it’s an interest-free days credit card. Make sure you read the terms and conditions of the card to ensure that the interest-free period complements your spending habits and financial situation.
You can usually balance transfer to any bank and credit card, excluding banks you currently have a credit card with. See this guide for a complete list of banks that don’t allow balance transfers between each other.
Promotional interest-free periods begin when your credit card is approved. Interest-free days begin on the first day of your statement cycle.
Yes. Transferring your existing balance after a 0% purchase or 0% balance transfer promotion has ended is allowed. Note that any balance transfer request will be subject to lending criteria and approval from the issuer.
Yes, this is generally accepted across balance transfer credit cards. Once you have repaid your outstanding balance, you can cancel the credit card anytime.
Typically, yes. As long as the promotional 0% interest rate applies, your overseas purchases should not attract any interest. However, any transactions that don't count as purchases – such as withdrawing cash from an ATM or buying foreign currency will be charged interest at the cash advance rate for your card. Make sure to check the Product Disclosure Statement for your individual card for the specific details.
Jeremy Cabral is the chief operating officer and global head of publishing for Finder. He has written hundreds of comparisons covering everything from credit cards to travel money to Netflix TV shows. Jeremy has a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) from the University of Western Sydney.
* The credit card offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of credit
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