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Five 0% cards to spread holiday costs

As many Brits plan their next escape away, we look at the best 0 per cent credit cards to help spread the cost of a holiday.

Almost two-thirds of holidaymakers choose to save up for their trips, research from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme has revealed.

More than half save up in advance to cover the whole cost of the holiday, while a further 14 per cent will save but also pay at least part of the cost with loans or credit cards.

If you’re planning on doing this – say, saving some money but buying flights on a credit card - you should ideally be in a position to pay off the balance in full to avoid interest.

Pick a credit card with a 0 per cent interest deal

If not, you may want to choose a credit card with an introductory interest-free period on purchases.

This will allow you to make an upfront payment then spread the cost over several months without being hit by interest charges.

Many credit cards offer interest-free introductory deals - up to 18 months at 0 per cent in some cases.

Here is our pick of five of the best.

1. Santander Purchase Credit Card

If you want to spread payments over a long time then 0 per cent deals don’t come any longer than the Santander Purchases credit card.

It offers cardholders 18 months interest-free on purchases – the joint longest interest-free period available in the UK.

2. Post Office credit card

For those who only need a couple of months interest-free spending, the Post Office credit card offers three months at 0 per cent on purchases.

One of the big advantages of the card is that you can use it when you’re abroad as it doesn’t charge any commission on overseas spending.

This is different to most credit cards, which usually charge a foreign transaction fee or commission fee, when you use your card outside of the UK.

This can be around 3 per cent, which means if you spend £1,000 while abroad, for example, you would be charged £30 in fees.

3. Tesco Clubcard Credit Card for Purchases

The Tesco Clubcard Credit Card for Purchases offers 18 months interest-free on purchases.

When it comes to interest-free spending, only the Santander card mentioned above equals this deal.

In addition to being highly competitive on purchases, the card comes with a decent rewards scheme which should benefit the regular Tesco shopper.

For every £4 you spend on the card either in Tesco or on Tesco fuel you can earn five Clubcard points in return.

And when you use your card anywhere else you’ll get one point for every £4 you spend.

4. Nationwide Purchases

The Nationwide Purchases credit card is another good choice, offering 15 months interest-free on purchases.

And when it’s time to head off on holiday, you can take advantage of Nationwide’s commission-free “Rewards for Abroad” allowance scheme.

The scheme works like this: for every £5 you spend in the UK you get £1 worth of commission-free spending abroad.

5. Saga Platinum

Available only to the over-50s, the Saga Platinum credit card gives cardholders nine months interest-free spending.

Plus, as with other specialist travel credit cards, no extra fees are incurred when spending abroad.

Careful planning and strict budgeting is key

Nerys Lewis, head of credit cards at, says: "Saving up to cover the cost of a holiday is typically the best policy.

"However, with careful planning and strict budgeting, the right type of credit card can help you cover the cost of a trip without over-stretching yourself financially.

"Then there's the extra protection that credit cards can offer consumers under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 when buying things such as airline tickets."

Before you apply, Lewis adds a word of caution.

"A purchase card is a great way to spread repayments over several months but the zero per cent offers can be withdrawn if you don’t keep making minimum monthly payments.

"Setting up a direct debt to cover this is an easy way to keep on top of your bill.”

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Adam Jolley

Adam Jolley

Adam Jolley is a content producer at He joined us in May 2012 from the world of financial services PR.

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