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Your credit card’s interest-free period, explained

How up to 55 days interest-free works – and how you can use it to save on credit card interest charges.

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Most credit cards offer "up to" a set number of interest-free days for new purchases, which gives you a period of time when you can use your card without being charged interest. Usually, you need to pay your credit card balance in full by the due date on your statement to make use of this interest-free period.

If you don't want to pay interest on your credit card, interest-free days are a valuable feature. So, let's take a closer look at how it actually works.

What does "interest-free days" mean?

Interest-free days give you a period of time when you can make purchases without being charged interest during your credit card billing cycle. They 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 day 2 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.

In 9 years I've never paid credit card interest – here's how

Other key definitions

When you're reading about interest-free days, you'll come across a number of other terms that relate to this feature. Here are the key ones to take note of:
  • Statement period/billing cycle. This is the time when you can make purchases and avoid interest with interest-free days. The statement period usually runs for 30 days, or from when your last statement was issued to when the next one is issued.
  • Statement issue date. 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 to avoid late charges/fees. If you want to get interest-free days, you'll usually have to pay your full balance by this date.
  • Closing balance/payment closing balance. This is the total you need to pay by the due date on your statement if you want to get interest-free days for the next statement period. The "closing balance" is usually the total of what's owed on your account, while the "payment closing balance" might be different if you have a promotional rate or offer for part of your balance.
  • Purchase rate. The interest rate charged on purchases. Interest-free days help you avoid this cost.

Answers to the most common questions about interest-free days

How do I get interest-free days?

You usually need to repay the full closing balance that's listed on your statement by the due date to get interest-free days. In most cases, you'll also need to pay the full balance for the statement that you got before 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"?

The term "up to" refers to the maximum number of interest-days you can get with your credit card. This is because the actual number of interest-free days depends on what day of your billing cycle you make a purchase.

So, on a card with "up to 55 days interest-free", if you made a purchase on the first day of your statement period, you'd get 55 days interest-free for it. And if you made a purchase on day 30 of that statement period, you'd get 25 days interest-free.

Can I make interest-free purchases with a balance transfer credit card?

Sometimes, but it depends on the card. Some credit cards only offer interest-free days for purchases when you pay the account's entire closing balance, including any balance transfer debt. Other credit cards let you make interest-free purchases when you have a balance transfer, as long as you pay the entire purchase balance for your statement – and may even list that balance on your statement.

For example, NAB has an "interest-free days payment" amount that you can pay to still get interest-free days while you carry a balance transfer debt, while Westpac has a "Monthly Payment Balance" that shows the amount you need to pay to get interest-free days on purchases.

When you're looking at different cards, check the details for the balance transfer and/or interest-free days to see if you'll be able to get an interest-free period for new purchases.

Do interest-free days cover all credit card spending?

No. Interest-free days only apply to new purchases on your card. This usually covers all your everyday spending – including groceries and other retail shopping, petrol, dining out and even medical appointments.

But transactions that don't usually get interest-free days include cash advance transactions, gambling, balance transfers, BPAY payments and some bill payments.

When is a credit card with interest-free days worth it?

Most credit cards in Australia offer interest-free days on purchases. So, if you pay off your credit card balance in full by the due date each month, a card with interest-free days means you can 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.

You could also use it as an alternative to other buy now, pay later services. 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.

Compare 55 days interest-free credit cards

1 - 20 of 40
Name Product Purchase rate p.a. Interest-free period Balance transfer rate p.a. Annual fee

HSBC Platinum Credit Card

HSBC Platinum Credit Card
19.99%
Up to 55 days on purchases
0% for 36 months
$29 for the first year ($129 thereafter)
Save money with a 0% balance transfer rate for 36 months (with no BT fee), a first-year annual fee discount and free travel insurance.

Citi Clear Card - Balance Transfer Offer

Citi Clear Card - Balance Transfer Offer
14.99%
Up to 55 days on purchases
0% for 36 months
$99
Offers 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 36 months with no balance transfer fee. Plus, complimentary insurance covers. Ends on June 29.

Citi Premier Qantas Card

Citi Premier Qantas Card
0% for 6 months, reverts to 21.49%
Up to 55 days on purchases
0% for 6 months
$175 for the first year ($350 thereafter)
Get 80,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $4,000 in the first 90 days and a 0% purchase rate offer. Plus, a first-year annual fee discount.

Westpac Low Rate Card - Cashback Offer

Westpac Low Rate Card - Cashback Offer
13.74%
Up to 55 days on purchases
6.99% for 12 months
$59
A no-frills card offering up to $400 cashback: $100 each month you make at least $1,000 of eligible purchases for the first 4 months.

Qantas Premier Platinum

Qantas Premier Platinum
19.99%
Up to 55 days on purchases
0% for 18 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$225 for the first year ($299 thereafter)
Earn 80,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months and save with a reduced first-year annual fee.

Bendigo Bank Low Rate Credit Card

Bendigo Bank Low Rate Credit Card
0% for 20 months, reverts to 11.99%
Up to 55 days on purchases
0% for 20 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$45
Save money on interest for up to 20 months with 0% p.a. on purchases and balance transfers (11.99% p.a. after). Plus, a $45 annual fee.

Citi Clear Card - Cashback Offer

Citi Clear Card - Cashback Offer
14.99%
Up to 55 days on purchases
0% for 15 months
$49 for the first year ($99 thereafter)
Get $250 cashback when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days. Plus, free wine when you dine and purchase insurance cover.

Kogan Money Black Card - Exclusive Offer

Exclusive
Kogan Money Black Card - Exclusive Offer
20.99%
Up to 55 days on purchases
0% for 30 months
$0
Save with a $0 annual fee and a 0% introductory rate on balance transfers. Plus, earn $30 Kogan.com Credit and uncapped rewards points.

St.George Vertigo Card

St.George Vertigo Card
13.99%
Up to 55 days on purchases
0% for 32 months
$0 for the first year ($55 thereafter)
Get a 0% interest rate on balance transfers for 32 months (with no balance transfer fee) and a $0 annual fee for the first year.

American Express Platinum Edge Credit Card

American Express Platinum Edge Credit Card
20.74%
Up to 55 days on purchases
$195
Get a $200 statement credit when you spend $200 at Amazon.com.au. Plus 30,000 bonus Membership Rewards.

Citi Rewards Card - Velocity Points Offer

Citi Rewards Card - Velocity Points Offer
21.49%
Up to 55 days on purchases
0% for 15 months
$0 for the first year ($149 thereafter)
Earn 60,000 bonus Velocity Points when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days. Plus, $0 first-year annual fee.

ANZ Low Rate

ANZ Low Rate
12.49%
Up to 55 days on purchases
0% for 30 months
$0 for the first year ($58 thereafter)
Now eligible for Cashrewards Max. Save with 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 30 months (with no BT fee) and $0 first-year annual fee. Plus a 12.49% p.a. purchase interest rate.

Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Card

Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Card
13.99%
Up to 55 days on purchases
0% for 32 months
$0 for the first year ($55 thereafter)
Save with a 0% interest rate on balance transfers for 32 months (with no balance transfer fee) and a $0 annual fee for the first year.

St.George Amplify Platinum

St.George Amplify Platinum
19.49%
Up to 55 days on purchases
0% for 24 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$29 for the first year ($99 thereafter)
Earn 100,000 bonus Amplify Points (worth $450 in gift cards) when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days. Plus, a first-year annual fee discount and Kayo cashback offer.

American Express Velocity Escape Card

American Express Velocity Escape Card
20.74%
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0
Get 0.75 points on your everyday purchases, uncapped, and a $0 annual fee for the life of the card.

American Express Velocity Platinum Card

Finder Award
American Express Velocity Platinum Card
20.74%
Up to 55 days on purchases
$375
Earn 100,000 bonus Velocity Points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. Plus, a complimentary return domestic flight per year.

Citi Rewards Card - Purchase and Balance Transfer Offer

Citi Rewards Card - Purchase and Balance Transfer Offer
0% for 14 months, reverts to 21.49%
Up to 55 days on purchases
0% for 14 months
$49 for the first year ($149 thereafter)
Save with 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 14 months with no balance transfer fee. Plus, $49 first-year annual fee.

ANZ Platinum Credit Card

ANZ Platinum Credit Card
0% for 25 months, reverts to 20.24%
Up to 55 days on purchases
21.24%
$0 for the first year ($87 thereafter)
Now offering Cashrewards Max. Receive a 0% purchase rate offer for 25 months and a $0 first-year annual fee. Plus, complimentary overseas travel and medical insurance.

BankSA Vertigo

BankSA Vertigo
13.99%
Up to 55 days on purchases
0% for 32 months
$0 for the first year ($55 thereafter)
Offers 0% p.a. for 32 months on balance transfers (with no balance transfer fee). Plus, a $0 first-year annual fee.

St.George No Annual Fee

St.George No Annual Fee
0% for 12 months, reverts to 20.74%
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0
Save with a 0% p.a. interest rate offer and a $0 annual fee. Plus, a minimum credit limit of $500.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Other key details for interest-free days

  • Minimum monthly payments. You usually can't get interest-free days for purchases if you only pay the minimum amount required on your statement, as most credit cards only offer this benefit when you pay your balance in full by the due date.
  • Statement dates. Don’t expect all your credit cards to have similar billing cycle dates and dues dates. These dates can vary even if you have two cards from the same card issuer.
  • Instalment plans. If you set up an instalment plan for part of your credit card balance, you will usually have to pay the required instalment repayment, as well as the rest of your monthly account balance, to remain eligible for interest-free days. These details are shown on your credit card statement, as well as your provider's website. If you're unsure, contact your provider to check whether you can still get interest-free days when you have an instalment plan.

Example: 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 of 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 your 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 you can see this handy diagram to understand 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 questions about credit card interest-free periods

What is the maximum number of interest-free days I can get?

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. In the past, some cards have offered up to 62 days interest-free and others have extended interest-free finance options with specific retail partners.

Do additional cards also get interest-free days?

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.

I can’t pay my account’s closing balance in full this month, but I can in the future. Will I ever get interest-free days again?

Usually, when you carry a balance over to your next statement period, you won't be eligible for interest-free days for that statement period. To get the interest-free period back, you'll need to pay the total amount listed on your next 1-2 statements by the due date. This does vary by card, so check the details for your account or ask your credit card provider what you need to do to get interest-free days again.

Back to top

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  • Cash advances – the interest rate and fee you’ll pay

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  • Cash advance fees

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  • What is a cash advance?

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32 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

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      DebbieJanuary 27, 2016Staff

      Hi Nicole,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      If these falls under bill payments then typically they may be considered as cash advances. I suggest that you speak to your credit card provider directly to confirm whether the payments for the mentioned services or utility providers are considered as cash advances. You can also revisit your cardholder agreement with your credit card provider to learn more about their terms.

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

      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?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      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

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      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?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JonathanApril 8, 2015Staff

      Hi Ben,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

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

      You can press 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.

      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

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      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

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      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

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