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Interest free credit cards

An interest free credit card gives your bank account a break and could save you around $371 on a $3,000 purchase.

1 - 3 of 23
Name Product Purchase rate p.a. Balance transfer rate p.a. Annual fee Interest-free period
Coles No Annual Fee Mastercard - Bonus Points Offer
0% for 6 months, then 19.99%
$0
Up to 55 days on purchases
Get 20,000 bonus Flybuys points (worth $100 Flybuys Dollars) and 0% interest on purchases for the first 6 months.
Credit Union SA Education Community Credit Card
0% for 6 months, then 11.49%
0% for 6 months, then 11.49%
$0
Up to 55 days on purchases
Save with an ongoing $0 annual fee and 0% p.a. interest on purchases, balance transfers and cash advances.
NAB StraightUp Card
0%
$0
Save with 0% p.a. interest charges and 0% foreign transaction fees. Plus, $0 monthly fees when you don't use the card or carry a balance.
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Nicole-Pedersen-McKinnon
This article was fact-checked and reviewed by , an accredited and award-winning finance broker and industry mentor. Content has been updated for 2024.

What is an interest free credit card?

An interest free credit card offers you a 0% interest rate, usually for an introductory period. After that, any unpaid balance will be charged interest until you pay it off. This gives you a set period of time when you can use the credit card without being charged interest.

Interest-free deals are usually promotional, so you need to apply before an offer ends to take advantage of the 0% interest rate. You also need to make minimum repayments each month (usually about 3% of your total balance) but it's wise to pay off more if you can.

Finder's best interest-free credit card offers for March

EXPERTREVIEW

Updated 7 March 2024 by Finder's money editor, Richard Whitten.

The average Australian with a credit card spends over $2,500 each month, according the Finder analysis in February. With credit card interest rates for purchases going up to around 28% p.a., the cost could quickly add up.

One way to save on interest is by getting a card with an introductory 0% interest rate for purchases or balance transfers. Here's our pick of offers in the Finder database:

  • 0% p.a. purchase rate and no annual fee:
    The Coles No Annual Fee Mastercard offers 0% interest on purchases for the first 6 months and no annual fee ever.
  • 0% p.a. purchase rate and rewards:
    The Citi Rewards Card offers 0% interest on purchases for the first 12 months and earns 1 Citi Rewards point per $1 on eligible spending in Australia (up to $10k per statement period) and eligible spending overseas (uncapped).

Keep in mind: There's no one best credit card for everyone, so check details that matter to you.

Example: How much you can save with an interest-free card

Say you want to book a holiday for $3,000 and plan to pay $250 off the balance each month.

If you paid for it on a credit card with a 20.07% p.a. interest rate, it would take you just over a year (13.50 months) to pay off the balance and cost you around $377 in interest charges.

In comparison, if you had a credit card that offered 0% p.a. on purchases for 12 months and made the same $250 monthly repayments, you could pay off the holiday in 12 months with no interest charges.

Types of credit cards that offer 0% interest

There are 3 types of cards that offer 0% interest:

  • Credit cards with 0% interest on purchases
  • Balance transfers credit cards
  • 0% interest credit cards that have monthly fees instead
Shopping cart with gift box and shopping bag
0% purchase credit cards

Offer 0% interest on new purchases for a promotional period, typically between 3-15 months and sometimes longer (e.g. 20 months). Since the average credit card interest rate in Australia is about 20% p.a., these interest-free offers are designed to help you save money and avoid collecting debt.

Red and yellow credit cards with arrows
0% balance transfer credit cards

Charge 0% interest on balance transfers for a promotional period, ranging from 6 months to 32 months. If you're paying an average Australian interest rate of about 20% p.a., a 0% balance transfer could save you heaps on interest.

Red credit card with a dollar sign
No interest, monthly fee credit cards

These cards charge a monthly fee instead of interest when you use them or carry a balance. This means you'll know exactly how much you'll have to pay. Monthly fees range from $10 to $25 and are set based on your credit limit.

Pros and cons of interest free credit cards

Interest free credit cards can be a useful tool to help you save money when you want to buy now and pay later. They can also help you pay off existing debt faster. But there are some potential downsides to these offers. Make sure you consider all the pros and cons.

Pros

  • Save on interest costs. The obvious benefit of these cards is that you won't have to pay interest for the introductory period.
  • Pay off debt faster. By not paying interest on your balance, you'll be able to pay it off a lot faster because the amount won't be creeping up every month.
  • Complimentary extras. Some interest-free credit cards offer perks like travel insurance or rewards that could help you get more value out of the card.

Cons

  • Revert rate. If you don't pay off your balance in full during the introductory period, this is the interest rate you'll pay on the remaining balance.
  • Temptation to spend. Because you're putting off paying interest, it could be tempting to spend more than you can actually afford in the short term.
  • Credit score impact. If you already have a weak credit score, another enquiry could decrease it further and you may not be approved.

How to compare interest free credit card offers

If you want to get a credit card with an interest-free period, consider these features and details to find one that's right for you:

  • How long is the interest-free period?

Unless you've got some short-term purchases in mind, the longer the introductory period, the better. This gives you more time to make interest free purchases and pay them back before the revert rate kicks in.

Tip: You'll usually get the most value from a 0% interest offer if you can pay off the entire credit card balance before interest applies. You can use a repayment calculator and set calendar reminders to help you pay it off before the end of the introductory period.
  • What is the revert purchase interest rate?

This is the rate you'll pay if you don't pay off your purchases before the introductory period expires and also the rate you'll pay ongoing – and can be as high as 27% p.a.

  • What are the requirements for interest-free days?

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.

  • Is there a rewards program?

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.

  • Are there complimentary extras?

Many cards offer extra perks such as complimentary international travel insurance, purchase protection, extended warranty coverage and concierge services. These perks add extra value to your card if you use them.

  • Are there any account fees?

While some cards have $0 annual fees, others charge fees that range from $25 to over $700 each year. And if you get a no interest credit card that charges a monthly fee instead, the costs could add up over time. Either way, make sure the savings you'll get from the interest-free period will offset the cost of these account fees. You may even want to consider a credit card with no annual fee to help save even more.

What about credit cards with interest-free days?

Many credit cards offer a certain number of interest-free days for each statement period. For example, up to 55 days interest-free on purchases.

You'll typically get this interest-free period when you pay the total balance listed on your credit card statement by the due date. How many interest-free days you'll get for each purchase also depends on when it's made in your statement cycle. See Finder's guide to interest-free days to learn more about how this works.

When will I be charged interest?

Even if you get a 0% interest rate offer for purchases or balance transfers (or both), there are times when you may be charged interest on your account. Here are some examples of 0% purchase credit cards and 0% balance transfer cards.

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 go back to the standard purchase interest rate when the offer ends. For example, if the card offers 0% p.a. for 6 months and reverts to 19.99% p.a., the interest-free period will end 6 months after you get the card. Then, any remaining balance from purchases would be charged the 19.99% p.a. interest rate.
  • When you use your card for a transaction that isn't considered a "purchase". Most everyday spending will be eligible for the interest-free offer. But transactions such as cash advances will be charged interest at the cash advance rate from the time they are made. This usually includes ATM withdrawals, foreign currency, gambling products (e.g. lottery tickets) and sometimes even BPAY payments. But keep in mind that the definition of a cash advance is different between credit card providers.
  • If you don't make minimum monthly repayments. Even with an interest-free period on your purchases, you'll have to pay at least the minimum amount required by the due date on each credit card statement (usually about 3% of your total balance).

On a 0% balance transfer credit card

  • If you make new purchases. The interest rate for purchases will apply if you make a new purchase when you have a balance transfer. And even if you pay off the purchase by the statement due date, you won't eligible for interest-free days on purchases with most cards while you're paying off a balance transfer.
  • If you use your card for a cash advance or cash equivalent transaction. If you use your card for an ATM withdrawal, gambling or another cash advance transaction, you'll immediately attract the cash advance interest rate.
  • If you don't pay off your balance transfer debt by the end of the introductory period. If the introductory 0% period ends and you have an outstanding balance to pay, any remaining balance transfer debt will attract the revert rate. This is usually the cash advance interest rate.

The only time you'll never pay interest on a credit card is if you get a no interest credit card that charges a flat, monthly fee instead, such as the CommBank Neo or NAB StraightUp. But you'll still be charged fees while you're using the card and paying it off. That's why it's important to compare a few cards and choose one that works for you.

Want to get an interest free credit card now? Compare cards with 0% purchase rate offers in the table above. Or, check out Finder's guides to 0% balance transfer credit cards and no interest, flat fee credit cards.

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16 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    FaisalMay 20, 2023

    i need a credit card for all ages

      AvatarFinder
      AmyMay 23, 2023Finder

      Hi Faisal,
      Credit cards can only be issued to people aged 18 and older if they meet the eligibility requirements. Some credit cards also allow people under 18 to be added as a secondary cardholder, but usually they need to be 16 or over. If you want a card for someone of a different age, you could consider debit cards for children or other prepaid cards that sometimes have lower age requirements. I hope that helps.

    Default Gravatar
    HayleyNovember 20, 2016

    Hi,

    I am needing an amount of $6800 and will be able to pay it back over a year. I will not be using the card for anything else but this one off overseas payment. What would be the best thing for me to do?

      AvatarFinder
      DeeNovember 21, 2016Finder

      Hi Hayley,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      If you are looking for a credit card for overseas payment, you may want to consider reading our overseas transaction fees guide and find credit cards that may not charge foreign currency conversion fees.

      You may also want to consider cards with 0% purchase interest rate. These cards allow you to save on interest payments during the promotional period in case you don’t intend to pay your balance in full at the end of the billing period.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

    Default Gravatar
    davidFebruary 15, 2016

    if i pay out the balance in the interest free period can i then cancel the card with no fees.

      AvatarFinder
      JonathanFebruary 15, 2016Finder

      Hi David, thanks for your inquiry!

      Yes this is generally accepted across balance transfer credit cards. Once you have repaid your outstanding balance you can cancel the credit card anytime.

      Cheers,

      Jonathan

    Default Gravatar
    sharonSeptember 8, 2015

    Good morning, I read with interest the balance transfer credit cards with no interest for a period of time. I, like many people have that problem of having not paid my CC on the due date and now have a big balance. I currently have an ANZ Platinum CC, can I apply for a balance transfer with no interest?

    Thank you

      AvatarFinder
      JonathanSeptember 8, 2015Finder

      Hi Sharon,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      Balance transfers can be a great way to repay an outstanding credit balance interest-free. You may like to compare balance transfer offers and cards.Select ‘Go to Site’ to head over to their website to apply. Please ensure to read through the relevant product disclosure statement and terms and conditions to ensure that you got everything covered before you apply to the card.

      Cheers,
      Jonathan

    Default Gravatar
    BillyJune 12, 2015

    Hi, I’m looking for a credit card to allow me to pay bills between payments from work. Would use it very little only when my funds are a bit tight. Any recommendations? Suggestions

      AvatarFinder
      sally.mcmullen@hiveempire.comJune 12, 2015Finder

      Hi Billy,

      Thanks for your question.

      If you are only planning on using your credit card sporadically, you may wish to consider low interest rate credit cards or no annual fee or a low income credit card.

      Credit cards with high annual fees and rates usually come with extra features such as concierge services, complimentary insurance, and rewards programs. If you are after a credit card to use as a backup for your finances, some of these no frills options may be of interest.

      You can select the “Go to Site” button of your preferred credit card to proceed with your application. You can also contact the provider if you have specific questions. A gentle reminder, please ensure to read through the relevant product disclosure statement and terms and conditions to ensure that you got everything covered before you apply.

      I hope this has helped.

      Thanks,
      Sally

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