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What is a credit card interest-free period?

An interest-free period is the amount of time you have to pay back what you owe on a credit card before having to pay any interest.

What is an introductory interest-free period?

Some lenders offer an introductory interest-free period on credit card purchases or balance transfers. The length of this period will vary depending on the card you choose, but it could last for 2 years or more. During that time, you wouldn’t have to pay interest on your balance, as long as you made at least minimum repayments on anything you spent.

Explore: What is a 0% credit card for?

What is a standard interest-free period?

A standard interest-free period occurs when you pay off your credit card balance in full each month by the due date. From that point, you’ll have a certain number of days to make purchases where interest won’t be charged, if you make the next repayment in full before the due date. Interest-free periods on credit cards can be useful for a number of reasons.

These include:

Keep in mind, you should always make sure you can afford to repay anything you spend on a credit card.

How do credit card interest-free periods work?

When you buy something on a credit card, you're borrowing money that will need to be paid back within a certain time. This interest-free period can vary between lenders. Most cards generally give you up to 56 days to make a repayment before interest is applied, as standard. 

For example, if your credit card billing cycle is 31 days and you make a purchase on 1 October, you may have until 25 November to pay this money back without being charged interest. 

If you make a purchase on 10 October, or 25 October, this would fall into the same billing cycle and still need to be paid on 25 November. 

Always check the billing cycle of your credit card to ensure you don’t miss a repayment as these can vary between lenders.

Missed or late payments can incur a fee and negatively impact your credit score

Explore: How to avoid credit card charges

How can you avoid paying interest on a credit card?

Paying off the full balance of your credit card when it’s due can help you avoid paying interest.

There may be the option to make minimum payments, but you should try to pay the full amount where possible. This is because anything left on your credit card, after you’ve made a minimum payment, may have interest applied. 

Paying off your credit card in full can also help you avoid building up debt. You may want to set up a Direct Debit or standing order so you don’t miss a repayment. 

Some transactions carry higher fees, which may apply even within the interest-free period on purchases. These can include:

  • Withdrawing cash
  • Buying foreign currency
  • Buying gambling/betting chips

Explore: Tips for paying off your credit card 

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