Zero Interest Loans

Aside from store creditors or friends/family, there is no such thing as a true no interest loan. In order for the lender to benefit, there must be some form of gain on their end, aside from getting paid back the money you owe them. This is the main reason why interest exists in the first place.

The most common no interest loan today comes in the form of a credit card offer with a 0% introductory APR. It’s a carrot from the offering bank to get your debt onto the lender’s ledger. In this case, any balances you transfer to that card or any purchases made get charged no interest until a certain point, at which the card’s regular interest rate applies. Unless you pay the entire balance off during the introductory period, you will get charged interest eventually. Also, with balance transfers there is always a transfer fee equal to 3% of the balance transferred or a minimum fee, usually around $20-30, whichever is greater.

With any no interest loan, however, there is typically no interest for an initial time period after which you are charged interest.

These offers also come with a strict no-late-payment policy. If you miss a single payment, by even a day, the zero rate gets cancelled and, along with any late charges, your account immediately reverts to a high interest rate with no change of getting the zero rate back.

In the case of store financing, you may have to offer a hefty down payment to get no interest financing, or you may have to make hefty monthly payments over a short period (1-2 years) to pay the item off. You’re paying no interest, but the lack of interest charges gets negated by the increased size of payments.

And this belies the point that few people even qualify for interest free financing in the first place. The aforementioned credit card offers typically go only to people with high credit scores and a spotless credit history. And in the case of in-store financing, such people are the only ones who ultimately end up qualifying. If you’ve ever missed payments on anything, or ever been referred to collections, don’t count on qualifying for no interest financing. Even those who qualify may face restrictions on what they can purchase with the financing, plus they may have to pay additional up-front charges.

There is no such thing as a free lunch, and you won’t find zero interest financing that doesn’t come with restrictions, nor is such financing readily available for anyone other than those with the best credit histories.