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What does 55 days interest-free really mean?

Learn how you can save on interest charges when you have a credit card that offers up to 55 days interest-free.

Credit cards with interest-free days give you a period of time in your billing cycle when you can make purchases without being charged interest. To make use of this interest-free period, you usually have to pay your credit card balance in full by the due date on your statement. Use this guide to find answers to the most common questions about interest-free days, compare credit cards with up to 55 days interest-free and learn about the key factors to be aware of when using an interest-free card.

What is the definition of "interest-free days"?

This term refers to a period of time in your billing cycle when you can make purchases without being charged interest on them. Interest-free days begin on the first day of your statement period and end on the payment due date. For example, if you made a purchase on day 1 of a statement period, you could have 55 days to pay it off before interest is applied to the balance. A purchase made on the second day of that statement period would get 54 days interest-free, and a purchase made on day 30 would give you 25 days to pay it off before interest is charged.

Hawaiian shirts and interest free days

Other key definitions you need to know

Before we go further into explaining this credit card feature, make sure you know what these terms mean:

  • Interest-free days.
  • Statement issue date/ billing cycle. This is the date on which the bank issues your monthly credit card statement.
  • Payment due date. The date by which you must pay the balance by to avoid late charges/ fees.
  • Purchase rate. The interest rate charged on purchases.

Answers to the most common questions about interest-free days

What does 55 interest-free days mean?

This means that you get 55 days interest-free on your purchases from the start of your billing cycle when you pay the balance in full by the due date on your statement. You get 55 days interest-free on the first day of that billing cycle, 54 on the second day, and so on.

How do I receive interest-free days?

To be eligible to receive interest-free days you must repay your account's outstanding balance in full by the due date on your statement. Usually, you'll need to pay the full balance for the statement prior to the start of that billing cycle as well as the statement issued at the end of it.

Why does it always say "up to 55 days"?

This is because the amount of interest-free days available varies depending on what day of your billing cycle you make the purchase. While you would get 55 days interest-free on purchases made on the first day of the billing cycle, you'd get 54 on the second day and only 1 day interest-free if you made a purchase the day before your statement was issued for that billing period. So "up to" is used to refer to the maximum amount of days you can get interest-free in your billing period.

Is a credit card with interest-free days suitable for me?

If you pay off your credit card balance in full by the due date each month, a card will interest-free days will allow you to make purchases without paying interest. This could be ideal if you use a credit card to earn rewards or for short-term cash flow such as spending between monthly paydays. But if you think you might not be able to pay the account’s closing balance in full each month, you may like to consider low interest rate credit cards and 0% purchase offer credit cards.

American Express Essential® Credit Card

$0 annual fee

Eligibility criteria, terms and conditions, fees and charges apply

American Express Credit Card Offer

With an American Express Essential Credit Card, you can receive $50 credit to your account when you meet the minimum spend requirement. Plus, enjoy a long-term balance transfer offer and up to 55 days interest-free without paying an annual fee for the life of the card.

  • $0 p.a. annual fee.
  • 14.99% p.a. on purchases
  • 0.00% p.a. for 12 months with 3% BT fee on balance transfers
  • Up to 55 days interest free
  • Minimum income requirement of $40,000 p.a.
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Compare 55 days interest-free credit cards

Rates last updated October 22nd, 2017
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Interest Free Period Annual fee Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Product Description
St.George Vertigo Platinum
12.74% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$99 p.a.
0% p.a. for 24 months with 2% balance transfer fee
Offers complimentary travel insurance, complimentary purchase insurance and access to a 24/7 personal concierge service.
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
19.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$99 p.a.
0% p.a. for 22 months with 2% balance transfer fee
Earn 1 Reward Point per $1 of eligible spend and receive complimentary travel and purchase protection insurances.
Citi Rewards Platinum Credit Card
20.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 24 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
Earn Reward Points per $1 spent as part of the Citi Rewards Program, plus receive complimentary international travel insurance.
St.George Vertigo Visa
13.24% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$55 p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 2% balance transfer fee
Receive up to 55 days interest-free on purchases and the ability to make contactless payments with Visa payWave technology.
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Visa Credit Card
13.24% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$55 p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 2% balance transfer fee
Receive up to 55 days interest-free on purchases and the protection of Verified by Visa online purchases.
ANZ Platinum Credit Card - Exclusive Offer
0% p.a. for 3 months (reverts to 19.74% p.a.)
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($87 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 12 months
Exclusive to finder, receive 0% p.a. interest on purchases for 3 months and 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 12 months with no balance transfer fee.
NAB Low Rate Credit Card
13.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$59 p.a.
0% p.a. for 16 months with 2% balance transfer fee
Receive up to 55 days interest-free on purchases, special offers from Visa Entertainment and Tap and Pay capabilities.
American Express Velocity Platinum Card
20.74% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$375 p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
Receive a complimentary Virgin Australia return Economy domestic flight each anniversary year and complimentary travel insurance.
ANZ Frequent Flyer Platinum
19.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($295 p.a. thereafter)
Get 50,000 bonus Qantas Points when you apply online, are approved and spend $2,500 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months.
ANZ Frequent Flyer Black
19.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($425 p.a. thereafter)
Receive 75,000 bonus Qantas Points when you apply online, are approved and spend $2,500 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months.
Citi Simplicity Card
19.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 p.a.
0% p.a. for 15 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
Earn 5% cashback on eligible purchases (capped at $50 per month) for the first 90 days from card approval.
St.George Amplify Platinum
19.49% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$99 p.a.
Earn up to 1 Amplify Rewards Point per $1 spent and receive complimentary overseas travel insurance.
ANZ Low Rate Platinum
11.49% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$99 p.a.
Enjoy platinum benefits with exclusive discounts, complimentary travel and purchase insurances and a 24/7 personal concierge.
American Express Essential®  Credit Card
14.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 3% balance transfer fee
Receive a $50 credit when you apply online, are approved and spend $750 on your new card within the first 3 months of card membership.
HSBC Platinum Qantas Credit Card
19.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$199 p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months
Receive 60,000 bonus Qantas Points when you meet the spend requirement and earn up to 1 Qantas Point per $1 spent.
Bankwest Breeze Platinum Mastercard
0% p.a. for 13 months (reverts to 12.99% p.a.)
Up to 55 days on purchases
$99 p.a.
0% p.a. for 13 months with 2% balance transfer fee
Receive complimentary international travel insurance, extended warranty cover and 0% foreign transaction fees.
ANZ Low Rate
12.49% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$58 p.a.
Receive up to 55 days interest-free on purchases, up to 3 additional cardholders at no cost and Mastercard PayPass.
Woolworths Everyday Platinum Credit Card
19.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($49 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 14 months
Receive a $50 eGift Card when you apply by 31 January 2018 and make an eligible purchase by 28 February 2018.
Bank of Melbourne Amplify Signature
19.49% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$279 p.a.
Earn 1.5 Amplify Rewards Points per $1 spent and receive an additional card at no extra cost.
Bendigo Bank Low Rate Mastercard
11.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$45 p.a.
A no-frills card with a competitive annual fee and a low variable interest rate of 11.99% p.a. on purchases.
Bendigo Bank Low Rate Platinum Mastercard
11.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$89 p.a.
A low rate platinum card with premium features such as mobile phone and tablet insurance and purchase protections
Bankwest Breeze Classic Mastercard
0% p.a. for 13 months (reverts to 12.99% p.a.)
Up to 55 days on purchases
$79 p.a.
0% p.a. for 13 months with 2% balance transfer fee
Receive up to 55 days interest-free on purchases and free worldwide emergency card replacement.
28 Degrees Platinum Mastercard
21.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 p.a.
4.99% p.a. for 6 months
Designed for travel, benefit from no international transaction fees on purchases and no currency conversion fees.
American Express Business Explorer Credit Card
16.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$395 p.a.
Earn 100,000 bonus points when you meet the requirement and 2 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent.
Bank of Melbourne Amplify Platinum
19.49% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$99 p.a.
Earn 1 Amplify Rewards Point per $1 spent and receive complimentary travel insurance and purchase protection.
Bendigo Bank Platinum Rewards Mastercard
19.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$89 p.a.
Get rewarded for every $1 spent on eligible purchases and balance transfers. Plus, enjoy a range of premium benefits.

Compare up to 4 providers

What should I be wary of when using a credit card with an interest-free days offer?

Using a credit card with interest-free days on purchases can be good if you know exactly what you’re doing. Here are some of aspects you should consider:

  • Making minimum monthly payments. If you’re planning to make no more than minimum monthly payments towards your credit card, know that you won’t get any interest-free days at all.
  • Eligible purchases. Interest-free days are only available for "eligible purchases" made on your card. While this usually includes everyday spending at the supermarket, petrol station, restaurants and so on, exclusions typically apply for cash advance transactions, government payments and some bill payments. Check with your credit card provider for details on what is considered an "eligible purchase" for your card.
  • Dates vary. Don’t expect all your credit cards to come with similar billing cycle dates and dues dates. These dates can vary from one card to the next, even when issued by the same card issuer.
  • Balance transfers. Usually, if you have a debt on your credit card from a balance transfer, you won't be eligible for interest-free days on new purchases. If you want to transfer a balance and make purchases without interest, you could also consider a card with an introductory rate of 0% for purchases and balance transfers.

Compare credit cards with 0% interest on purchases and balance transfers

Making use of interest-free days

Let’s assume you have a credit card that offers 55 interest-free days and its billing cycle begins on the 1st of each month and ends on the 30th. Given the 55 interest-free days, the due date on your credit card statement would be the 25th of next month. So if you were making purchases in June, here's how it would look:

  • 1st June. First day of the statement
  • 30th June. Last day of the statement
  • 25th July. Due date of your payment for June

In this case, the 55 interest-free days begin on 1st June and end on the 25th July when your payment is due. So here's how your interest-free period would work as you make purchases throughout the month:

  • You make a $200 purchase on 1st June. You don’t have to pay any interest towards this purchase until 25th July, which gives you 55 interest-free days.
  • You make a $100 purchase on 20th June. This is the 20th day of your billing cycle, so you don’t have to pay any interest towards the purchase until 25th July. This means you get 35 interest-free days.
  • You make a $150 purchase on 30th June. This is the last day of your billing cycle but the purchase won't attract any interest until 25th July, giving you an interest-free period of 25 days.

When you're statement is issued for June, you'll owe $450. So as long as you pay this in full by the 25th July, you won't be charged interest on your purchases and can continue to enjoy interest-free days for the next billing cycle.

Diagram: How do interest-free days work?

Interest-free days can be tricky to visualise, so we've drawn up a handy diagram you can use to see how it works. As well as showing the interest-free period (in green), we also show when purchases are made, when the statement is issued and what happens if you pay less than the full amount for a billing cycle (the middle one in this case). interest-free-days-cc-diagram


Credit cards that come with 55 interest-free days give you the ability to make purchases and not pay any interest towards them as long as you make timely repayments. Such cards can come with a number of other features as well, so it’s important that you choose a card as per your requirement. Bear in mind that just about every credit card issuer provides cards with interest-free days on purchases, so it is in your most interest to compare as many as possible before making a decision.

More Frequently Asked Questions about interest-free period credit cards

With Australian credit cards that offer interest-free days, the maximum interest-free days you can take advantage of usually vary in between 44 and 55, depending on the card you use. There are also some cards that offer up to 62 days interest-free and some that have extended interest-free finance options with specific retail partners.
Additional cards linked to your primary card follow the same billing cycle as the primary card and offer just as many interest-free days on purchases.
Once you start paying your account’s closing balance in full each month again, you can start making use of interest-free days on purchases.
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NAB Premium Card - Exclusive Offer
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90
ANZ Platinum Credit Card - Exclusive Offer
ANZ Platinum Credit Card - Exclusive Offer

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33 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    NicoleJanuary 25, 2016

    Is paying telstra, synergy, Alinta gas , western power also a cash advance or can I use my credit card

    • Staff
      DebbieJanuary 27, 2016Staff

      Hi Nicole,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      If these falls under bill payments then they may be considered as cash advances. I may suggest that you speak to your provider directly to confirm whether the payments for the mentioned services or utility providers are considered as cash advances.

      To know more which credit card transactions fall on cash advances, kindly refer to this guide.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Debbie

  2. Default Gravatar
    HayleyNovember 18, 2015

    Hi,
    If my statement closes on say the 30th October and I owe $100 on my credit card which is due 15th November, if I pay the $100 off on the 10th November and then proceed to spend another $50 on my credit card that same day, is my balance considered cleared on the 15th November and that $50 goes to next months billing cycle or will I be charged interest on that new $50 now?

    • Staff
      JonathanNovember 20, 2015Staff

      Hi Hayley, thanks for your inquiry!

      To allow us to assist you further could you provide us with a specific bank please?

      Cheers,

      Jonathan

    • Default Gravatar
      HayleyNovember 20, 2015

      Hi Jonathan,

      ANZ – Platinum rewards

    • Staff
      JonathanNovember 22, 2015Staff

      Hi Hayley, thanks for your response.

      Even if you had cleared your $100 outstanding balance, your entire balance (including the $50) would have to be cleared before your payment due date in order to receive interest-free days on your purchases.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,

      Jonathan

  3. Default Gravatar
    BenApril 7, 2015

    Hi

    Iv just got a mortgage and want to utilize a credit card with my monthly day to day spending so I can pay my weekly income straight off the mortgage. I then want to redraw from my mortgage to pay off my credit card each month.

    Can I get a card which will allow me to make both purchases and cash withdrawals which will be interest free over a 1 month period?

    • Staff
      JonathanApril 8, 2015Staff

      Hi Ben, thanks for your inquiry!

      Please refer to the following link for a list of 0% purchase cards. Unfortunately there are no interest-free rates on cash advances, although there are low rate cash advance cards available.

      Cheers,

      Jonathan

  4. Default Gravatar
    MariaSeptember 30, 2014

    My question is:
    If I paid in full one period, it supposes I am not going to be charged with interest for that period (which is reflected in my next statement). My bank charged me interest anyway the next period. I asked the bank and they replied that only if I pay in full every period I am not getting charged with interest.
    Is that correct?
    Thanks…
    Maria

    • Staff
      ElizabethOctober 1, 2014Staff

      Hi Maria,

      Thanks for your question.

      This is correct. Only by paying your balance in full each month are you able to avoid interest on purchases each statement period.

      Hope this has helped.

      Thanks,

      Elizabeth

  5. Default Gravatar
    StellahSeptember 16, 2014

    If I do an EFT with my credit card do I benefit the up to 55 days interest free credit if I pay back the balance in full

    • Staff
      ShirleySeptember 17, 2014Staff

      Hi Stellah,

      Thanks for your question.

      Yes as long as you’re using the EFT for a purchase (not a cash advance) and pay your balance in full within the statement period, the interest free days apply.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

  6. Default Gravatar
    CamAugust 23, 2014

    i am looking to buy a $4908.81 laptop for my University Course which requires a powerful Laptop, i was wondering what which 0% interest free on purchases credit card i should apply for i plan to pay it off over 9 – 12 month period.

    i’m confused by the 55 day interest free period because i am only using it for this one purchase and plan to cancel the card straight after i’ve payed my purchase off. does this mean i have to pay my entire purchase off by 55 days or do i need to pay a certain amount per month?

    • Staff
      ShirleyAugust 27, 2014Staff

      Hi Cam,

      Thanks for your question.

      If you have a 0% Purchase Card, the 55 days interest free don’t apply until after your introductory period is over. For example, if you have a card that has 0% for 12 months, then during your first 12 months you don’t pay interest on that purchase (except for minimum repayments).

      After that 12 months is over, then the 55 days interest free days apply, given that you don’t carry a balance from one statement period to the next.

      Hope this helps,
      Shirley

    • Default Gravatar
      August 27, 2014

      Thanks Shirley,

      if i pay the item off well before the 12 months is up that would mean I wont pay for any interest correct?

      i would be able to cancel the card right after paying off the item or do i have to keep the card for 12 months before cancelling the card?

      My plan is to pay at least 1/4 of the laptop off the first payment then pay 100+ a week after than until i pay it off

    • Staff
      ElizabethAugust 28, 2014Staff

      Hi Cam,

      That’s correct. If you make a purchase on a 0% purchase card and pay off your balance before the introductory period is over, you will not incur interest on the purchase you made with the card. You are also able to cancel the card after you finish paying off your remaining balance.

      Thanks,

      Elizabeth

  7. Default Gravatar
    Nesh001June 12, 2014

    Hi,

    according to above example,
    card balance due date = 25th May
    If I pay the balance in full by 20th May & if use the card again ($1000) on 23rd (before 25th card balance due date)
    do I get interest free on $1000 till next card balance due date?

    Thanks

    • Staff
      ShirleyJune 16, 2014Staff

      Hi Nesh001,

      Thanks for your question.

      Unfortunately you would only have two interest free days because the interest free period is up to 25th May.

      If you would like to get maximum interest free days, you may want to consider making the purchase after the 25th. Please note that interest free days are voided if you hold a balance from one statement period to another, and during a balance transfer.

      The video explains the concept in a more digestible manner.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

  8. Default Gravatar
    JasOctober 28, 2013

    I am looking at getting a credit card to pay for surgery up $5000. I want to be sure I get the best possible card for this purpose. I would definitely be paying the monthly payment by the due date and I would be hoping to have the total paid off in a year. Can you suggest which card you think would be best?

    • Staff
      JacobOctober 29, 2013Staff

      Hi Jas.

      Thanks for your question.

      Please have a look at our page on introductory purchase rate credit cards. These credit cards have a special interest rate on purchases made on the card for an introductory period. When you’re on this page, you can click the table headings to arrange the cards from lowest to highest interest rates, annual fees etc. and vice versa. You can also use the check boxes to the left of the table to compare cards one on one.

      At the end of the introductory period, any unpaid purchases will be charged at the variable annual percentage rate for purchases. You will still be required to make the minimum repayment each month.

      I hope this helps. And let us know if you have any further questions.

  9. Default Gravatar
    KapilaOctober 19, 2013

    Good One….Thanks for the details. How does the HSBC 51 day interest free plan works?

    • Staff
      JacobOctober 21, 2013Staff

      Hi Kapila.

      Thanks for your question. HSBC offer up to 55 days interest free with their credit cards. You can compare HSBC credit cards on this page. You can find out information about these credit cards by reading the cards review.

      I hope this helps.

  10. Default Gravatar
    JohnJune 18, 2012

    For those that are confused, Yes any purchases in May (Say the 1st of May) would be part of the next statement, and would have 55 interest free days until 25 June… BUT ONLY IF YOU PAID YOUR BALANCE IN FULL FIRST. If you paid the card off to $0.00 on 1 May then your purchase would be interest free until 25 June, if your balance was still outstanding, then even a purchase on 24 May would only have 1 day interest free.

    So basically to reset your interest only days and not pay interest:
    Pay off the balance of the card before the due date
    AND
    1.Pay it off on the 1st day (in the example 1 May) of the statement will give you 55 days interest free (in the example up to 25 June)
    OR
    2. Pay it off on the due date(in the example 25 May) will give you 30 days interest free for purchases before the statement start date (in the example 1 June)
    OR
    3. If you pay it off on the due date (in the example 25 May) do not use it until the start of the next statement period (in the example 1 June) The you would not have to pay it off until the following months due date (25 July).

    Your interest only days ONLY reset after the balance has reached $0.00 so if you had $450 of costs in April, PAID OFF $350 1 May, then SPENT $200 on 24 May, and PAID OFF the $100 left over from the $450 on 25 May, on 26 May you would immediately start paying interest on the outstanding $200 because you never reduced the balance to $0.00.

    My suggestion is to have 2 cards, preferably ones that don’t have an annual fee, then simply alternate the cards each month so you can have the full interest free days.

    Eg:
    Jan:Use card 1
    Feb: Use Card 2, Pay off Card 1
    Mar: Use Card 1, Pay off Card 2
    Apr: Use Card 2, Pay off Card 1
    May: Use Card 1, Pay off Card 2
    Jun: Use Card 2, Pay off Card 1
    etc…

    As long as you can pay off the cards, you don’t have a problem, however if having 2 cards just means you will spend more, I would advise against it.

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