Companies want to make it easy to buy their big ticket items, especially at times of economic uncertainty. A popular technique is to offer 0% financing when you buy furniture, electronics and other household items. You can also take matters into your own hands with a credit card that offers 0% APR on purchases, balances transferred to the card, or both.
Why 0 Financing is Often a Terrible Idea
While paying for goods and services with 0% interest may sound appealing, there are risks you’ll face that you should be aware of before you take this step.
What’s Hiding Behind 0% Financing
Here are some of the potential problems hiding behind these 0% financing offers:
1.Special financing offers make it easier to overspend. Psychology Today reported that credit card use can easily result in overspending, and the same is true for loans. The key is to understand the monthly payments you are committing to, and ensuring you can handle them. At the same time, try to assess your purchase decision. Would you buy this item if the 0% offer was not available?
2.Some 0% APR offers come with deferred interest. Hidden in the fine print of some 0% interest offers may lurk deferred interest charges. This means that while you’re enjoying monthly payments with no interest, the interest charge accrues over time. If you miss a payment, have a late payment or haven’t paid off the loan by the end of the 0% offer period, the accrued interest gets added to your unpaid balance. The key is to precisely understand what happens if you miss a payment or don’t follow the 0% offer exactly as written…before you take the 0% offer.
3.The 0% offer may be impacting the price. Remember, money has value and someone is paying the interest cost of the 0% financing. Usually the merchant is hiding the cost inside the price you are paying for the item.
What You Can Do
Before considering a 0% interest financing offer on your next purchase, do this: