Credit cards in America have been offering interest free shopping for some time and we’ve always wondered when the trend would pick up here. It’s a great deal: imagine being able to make large purchases and stagger the payment with no interest charged.
Some of our American credit card counterparts offer staggering 18 month interest free periods but it would be unlikely for us to see the same on our shores. After all, regular American credit card interest rates are sometimes double ours.
It may not be up to 18 months, but here's our review of Malaysian banks offering a few months of interest free shopping when you sign-up for a new credit card.
Cards with 0% cashback sign-up offer
- Alliance Bank Cashback Cards. Alliance bank’s cash back cards (Platinum, Gold, Classic and You:nique) offer 0% interest on retail purchases for three months. The cards also give you up to 3% cashback depending on card type and spending tier as well as Timeless Reward points (You:nique credit cards work on a selection of either cashback or rewards points). The cashback rate may be considered low but the Alliance Bank cards offer rewards point as well as cashback that many other cashback cards don’t give you.
- Mach by Hong Leong. The Mach Credit Card is Hong Leong’s
customisable cashback category card. Until the end of November 2013 the Mach Visa comes with three
months interest free spending for new customers. There are ten categories of shopping for
which you can earn cashback of up to 10% every month. Cashback percentages vary for
each spending category and you can sign-up for extra
categories for a small fee.
- Ambank True Card. The Ambank True Card is Ambank’s basic card for credit card newbies just looking for a functional card to get started. The fun part is of course that they are also giving new sign-ups the 0% interest period for three months. The card also has a low interest rate of 12% as long as you are prompt in settling your minimum payments. There’s also no annual fee. A truly fuss-free card.
There's no doubt that there'll be more local banks joining in with these kind of interest free offers. And if we're lucky there might be one or two that run on for a wee bit longer than three months.
Make the most of your interest free period
If you’re looking to check out these credit cards’ interest free period sign-up offers; here are some tips to getting the most from the deal.
- Don’t miss minimum payment. If you read the fine print, you’re sure to find that missing minimum payment during your interest free period will see your regular interest charges slapped on faster than you can say; Visa or Master? So keep those bills paid and up to date.
- Pay off in full before your three months are up. Be sure to settle your outstanding amounts in full before the three months are up. Don't just pay the minimum - pay the lot.
- Keep within set budgets. It might be tempting to think that you can spend more than usual since you are able to repay staggered payments for three months but snowballing debt in that way can only be bad news. Three months isn’t really a long time and you may find that at the end of it you’re stuck with a bigger bill than you thought.