Friday, October 7

How to borrow at 0% ie no cost (or as close to it as possible)-Martin Lewis’s cards, loans, BNPL and overdrafts masterclass

Buy now, pay later: Easy, quick, interest-free, NO protection

Best used for borrowing up to £300. Buy now, pay later (BNPL) does exactly what it says on the tin. Usually, you get offered it at online (and some real) checkouts. The aim is to push you to get the item now and to spread the cost over a few weeks or months. Our Should I buy now, pay later? guide takes you through it, but in brief:

✔️ Pros: Interest-free, so no cost | Easy to get | Repayments are fixed

Cons: Encourages people to borrow on impulse, when it’s not needed | It’s (currently) mostly unregulated-so no recourse to the ombudsman if things go wrong | No Section 75 protection on purchases | Very short-term

The biggest problem with BNPL is people get it when they don’t need it. They attempt to seduce people in at online checkouts as “an easy way to spread the cost”, but borrowing should be planned, not sold.

However, if you do need occasional short-term borrowing on items you need for up to a couple of hundred quid, provided you have the money to repay, it’s easy and interest-free.

Be aware, if things go wrong it can hit your credit file, you may not get what you ordered delivered, you may be charged late payment fees and more, and currently, if you’re in dispute you are reliant on the firm to do the right thing or else you’ll have to take them to court.

MSE and I were among those strongly campaigning for BNPL to be regulated so you get those protections. The Government has agreed that this will happen, which will improve things, but it’s like wading through treacle-hopefully it will be in place sometime next year.

The current top deals: There are no top picks here, as it’s linked to whichever BNPL firm the place you are shopping at offers.