Focus on: Now you can get 0% for 18 months on purchases
If you are making a necessary major purchase any time soon and would benefit from spreading the cost, there's some good news in store. The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and its sister bank, NatWest have launched two brand new credit cards, both of which offer a market-leading 18 months 0% on purchases - and that's not even where the perks end.
We take a look in detail so you can establish if they could be the right cards for you.
What's the deal?
The main attraction of the cards is their leading 0% interest on purchases for the first 18 months from opening the account. After this time, an Annual Percentage Rate (APR) kicks in at a representative 17.9% (variable).
As well as spending nothing in interest on purchases for a year-and-a-half, you will be entered into the YourPoints loyalty program in which you can earn one point for every £1 spent. These points can then be redeemed against brands including M&S, Boots, Harvey Nichols and Amazon.
You will also receive an initial 2,500 bonus points on taking out the card - and the same on that anniversary every year thereafter. As a benchmark, 2,000 points equates to a £10 shopping voucher which can be redeemed against the listed brands.
It is possible to transfer an existing balance to the cards - although transfers are not accepted from cards held with the same respective banks. Transfers will also need to be less than 95% of your own allocated credit limit. So if that equates to £2,000 for example, you could switch a maximum of £1,900. The cards do not charge a balance transfer fee but a representative APR of 17.95% (variable) will apply immediately to the debt.
You will need to be over 18 to apply for the cards, have a good credit record and earn at least £10,000 a year.
The absence of a balance transfer fee may be eye-catching but remember the reason for this is that there is no 0% period on balance transfers - interest will be charged immediately at a representative 17.95% (variable). This is even higher than the average of 17.31%, according to Bank of England figures.
While the reward points that you can collect through the cards may be useful, if being rewarded for spending on your credit card is a main priority - especially if you don't tend to shop in the list of stores offered - you may find different kind of credit card suits you better.
The American Express Platinum Cashback for example, offers 5% of what you spend on the card back in your pocket for the first three months, and 2.5% thereafter. And if you are looking for points rather than cash, to spend on flights or in a specific store, other reward credit cards could pay richer dividends. Read more in Clare Francis' article, 'What's best? Cashback or reward credit cards?'
What's the verdict?
If you are looking primarily for a credit card on which you can make a large purchase and spread the cost, the YourPoints World MasterCard Special offers are likely to be your best bet.
Their 18 month 0% offering on purchases, is three months longer than the next best on the market in this camp - the M&S Credit Card which offers 15 months at 0%. However, it does come with a slightly lower representative APR of 15.9% thereafter.
However, if you have a significant balance to transfer, the benefit of the 18 months 0% on purchases is likely to be lost, as this portion of the balance will be charged at an APR of 17.95% straightaway.
If you have debt to transfer then, a far better option is to apply for a card that offers 0% on balance transfers. The Barclaycard Platinum Credit Card with Extended Balance Transfer for example offers a very useful 22 months interest-free for this purpose, in return for a 2.9% fee.
What's more, if you already have a credit card balance, you might question if you really want to spend more on another card before you have paid it off - even if the purchases are initially charged at 0% interest?
As always, shop around and compare all the different kinds of cards against the purpose you need it for, prior to making your application.
Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct