If you are thinking about making a big purchase and want to spread the cost over a period of time, a 0% purchase credit card can be a good option. Just make sure you keep on top of your repayments.

These cards give you an interest-free period to pay off your debt.

The AA is offering the longest 0% period on the market, giving you up to 32 months interest-free on purchases.

However, the offer is only available on purchases made within the first three months of account opening.

[Read more:  What is a 0% balance transfer credit card and how do they work?]

The next best deal on the market is from Sainsbury’s Bank, which gives you up to 31 months interest-free on purchases and the ability to collect Nectar points when you spend.

Plus if you apply by 28 August you can get 5,000 bonus Nectar points when you spend £250 in the firs month of opening the account.

Longest 0% purchase credit cards

Here are the longest 0% periods on offer today for purchases.

Credit card

0% period

Representative APR

AA Dual Credit Card

32 months

18.9%

Sainsbury’s Bank Purchase Credit Card

31 months

18.9%

Halifax Purchase Credit Card

30 months

18.9%

Post Office Money Matched Credit Card

30 months

18.9%

Santander Everyday Credit Card

30 months

18.9%

Tesco Purchases Credit Card

30 months

18.9%

Bank of Scotland 29-Month Purchase and Balance Transfer Credit Card

29 months

18.9%

Halifax 29-Month Balance Transfer Credit Card

29 months

18.9%

Lloyds Bank Platinum 29-Month Purchase and Balance Transfer Credit Card

29 months

18.9%

MBNA All Round Credit Card

29 months

18.9%

Sainsbury's Bank Dual Offer Credit Card

29 months

18.9%

The pros of a 0% purchase card

The beauty of a 0% purchases credit card is, so long as you pay it off within the interest-free period, every penny goes to paying off your debt.

So, if you know you've got a big purchase ahead of you, going for a 0% credit card is a sensible course of action.

[Read more:  The best ways to cheaply spread the cost of a big purchase]

The downsides of a 0% purchase card

There are some hurdles to consider though. What if you don’t manage to clear your balance before the 0% period finishes and you still have thousands of pounds sat on the card?

You have a couple of options. The first is to do nothing – leave your debt where it is, continue making your monthly payments, and your debt will eventually disappear. That said, you will end up spending a decent chunk of cash on interest.

Or you can move the remaining debt to a balance transfer card, which will also offer a period of 0% interest on your debt. 

And then there’s the fact that in order to get your hands on a 0% card you’ll need to have a good credit record. Credit card providers don’t make a habit of handing out these cards to any old borrower – ironically the borrowers who would most benefit from a bit of breathing space in paying off their debts are the ones who find it most difficult to get their hands on 0% cards.

Alternatively, you may find that your credit rating is good enough to get a 0% on purchases card, but not good enough to get the very best 0% balance transfer cards.

Therefore, the best way to get a 0% card is to ensure your credit rating is as spotless as possible.

This article is regularly updated with the latest best buys