#credit card loans
Get card ‘loans’ as low as 0%
- By Eesha Updated October 2015
Small loans tend to be quite expensive. So, instead of getting a loan, manipulate a credit card to do it at a fraction of the cost. This is a full guide to turning plastic into a loan, letting you borrow much more cheaply and overpay or underpay without penalty.
In this guide
Picking the perfect method
The cheapest credit cards can substantially undercut the cheapest loan rates for certain amounts, and allow totally flexible repayments. But you need to get smart, and make that plastic bend to your will.
There are a couple of methods, depending on what you need the money to do. Some are simple, others require a bit of playing about. Pick what you need from the options below.
“It ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it.”
I want to cut the cost of existing credit card debts.
This is easy. Special ‘balance transfer’ credit cards are designed for this purpose. They pay off one card with a new one, hopefully at 0% for a fixed period. This allows you to pay down the debt quicker.
If this is what you need to do, don’t use the methods in this guide. Instead, read Best Balance Transfers for the full rundown and all the current best buys.
I want to pay off an existing loan.
If you want to make an existing personal loan cheaper, read Cut the Cost of Existing Loans first, as it isn’t always simply a case of getting a lower interest rate to make it cheaper. Sadly, penalties can mean it’s not worth switching – the guide has a calculator to help you work it all out. If it doesn’t work for you, try another option from the ones below.
I want to make a big one-off purchase(s), and can pay by card.
The easiest way is to buy whatever you need on a card that has the longest 0% or low rate for purchases. In other words, it’s interest-free (or low interest) on debts from spending, though you must make at least the minimum repayments. See the top 0% credit cards .
I need the lump sum in cash.
A lot of things fit into this category, from buying a new car from a garage that doesn’t accept credit cards, to paying back a friend you owe money to.
If you want to keep things simple, or are borrowing a large amount (over about Ј5,000), check out the normal Cheapest Loans guide.
For anyone borrowing less, or happy to try something a bit more complex, you can get clever and use credit cards with a special feature to make big savings.
Please read the whole of this guide in detail though, and ensure you understand it correctly before proceeding. A mistake could cost you big. Jump down to ‘Plastic loans’ .
Best Buys If you can use a card to pay
If you’re going for the simpler route of spending on a cheap credit card, you’ll need to apply for a new one – and remember this means passing a credit score. The crucial thing is to ensure it’s fully repaid by the end of the 0% period, or switch the debt to a top Balance Transfer card.
Check your eligibility with NO credit file mark
You’ll see that most cards in this guide have a link to our eligibility checker tool, which we’ve designed to allow you to see the probability of getting the card.
We do a ‘soft’ credit search which YOU can see, but lenders CAN’T, so it has no impact on your future creditworthiness – and lets you see the chance of you getting the card without applying for it.
We map the details you give us against lenders’ criteria, and show your chances for all the 0% and long term purchase cards that we can do so for.
Check your eligibility here
Here are the current best buys – more picks and info in 0% Credit Cards. For more card options, see the credit card guides page.
Longest EVER 0% ‘loan’ period offered on a card
Post Office* 27 months 0%
This Post Office* card offers a massive 27 months 0% on spending provided you make at least one purchase in the first three months. If you don’t you’ll only get the 0% deal for the first 16 months – which won’t make it a good deal.