I am a new international student in the US. In our country we didn't have credit cards like in the US and this is a new system to me.

If I get a new credit card in the US with a $2000 credit line/limit and want to buy something whose price is $1000, and I want to do the payment like $100 per month for 10 months (with no extra interest), how can I do it? What is the procedure and the mechanism?

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    Also be aware that most, if not all, credit cards charge very high interest on unpaid balances. The current average is 16.13% (creditcards.com/credit-card-news/rate-report ) You MAY be able to get a card that has an introductory 0% rate, but I think those are only offered to people with good credit ratings.
    – jamesqf
    Commented Jun 21, 2021 at 4:43
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    You specifically, are very unlikely to just get a free loan. You would have to qualify for a 0% APR credit card, pay minimum monthly payments (or larger), and pay off the entire balance before the grace period expires. These offers are usually extended to people with existing good credit. See nerdwallet.com/best/credit-cards/low-interest
    – MonkeyZeus
    Commented Jun 21, 2021 at 13:18
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    Also: DON'T! It's a trap to get you hooked in an endless cycle of debt, consumerism and paycheck to paycheck living
    – Christian
    Commented Jun 21, 2021 at 14:41
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    Even if you do qualify for a 0% introductory rate, you have to be really careful. A lot of times they come with the stipulation that if you don't pay off the entire balance by the end of introductory period, you will owe a very high interest rate calculated against the original balance. Read the fine print, then read it again.
    – Seth R
    Commented Jun 21, 2021 at 15:49
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    @jamesqf A debit card allows all of those, with studies showing that using a debit card results in less overall spending that using a credit card, even when paying off the entire balance monthly. Commented Jun 21, 2021 at 17:31

10 Answers 10


This is possible in some situations, but it's also difficult and risky. I personally have purchased computers, a bicycle, and many musical instruments and accessories using "interest-free" or "0%" financing. Here's how it works:

  • First, you have to get a "store card". This is a credit card that you apply for with the retailer that you want to buy from. The card is actually issued by a third-party bank, and there are banks that make it their main business to issue cards for stores. Synchrony is an example of one such bank. Note that most store cards do not allow interest-free financing.
  • If you qualify (which generally requires a good credit score and history), you will be issued the store card with a spending limit. Note that even though the card is issued by a third-party bank, you can only use a store card to purchase from the retailer it is for.
  • After you are issued the card (which can happen in minutes - even though you haven't gotten the physical card in the mail, the retailer can use the details to charge your purchases right away), you choose a product or products sold by that retailer for which the retailer is offering the interest-free financing. You agree to purchase the product, and the total is applied to your balance on the store card, and you receive the item.

So, in order to do this, the retailer has to offer the interest free financing and you have to qualify for and obtain their special credit card. Retailers and banks only benefit from this arrangement when purchases are fairly expensive, so you normally can only find these offers at retailers that specialize in expensive products that are hobby or luxury goods. You may also find such deals at furniture or mattress stores and high-end electronics stores.

Once you've purchased an item like this, you want to make very sure you pay according to the terms. On the store cards I have used, the interest rate for purchases that are not paid off during the promotional period has generally been 22.50% (APR). That is a brutally high interest rate. Compounding the risk is that the terms I have purchased under are such that if you don't pay off the balance in time, then all of the interest that would have accrued over the finance term is immediately applied to the balance, retroactively. So it's a big risk to take unless you are certain you can pay off the balance. Generally the only way to be that certain is to actually have that money in savings, in which case there isn't as much benefit to buying with no interest.

Also you'd want to pay careful attention to the difference between "24 months, no interest" and "24 equal payments, no interest". In the first case you can carry the full balance for 23 months and then pay off the total at the very end and be charged no interest. In the second case you must pay at least 1/24 of the total every month. If you miss a single month, you will be charged the full back interest and interest will start accruing going forward.

Some examples of retailers with interest-free financing:

Apple: https://www.apple.com/apple-card/monthly-installments/

Sweetwater: https://www.sweetwater.com/financing/

1-800 Mattress: https://www.1800mattress.com/convenient-financing-options.html

Bikes Online (and any place that allows PayPal Credit Buy Now, Pay Later): https://www.bikesonline.com/buy-now-pay-later-paypal/

And there are many others.

  • 5
    One note - you can use a store card at other retailers if the card is co-branded, meaning it uses a card issuer/network such as Visa, Mastercard, or American Express. For example, Amazon, Best Buy, and Macy's all currently offer both store-only and co-branded cards.
    – TylerW
    Commented Jun 21, 2021 at 13:08
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    @TylerW Good point. Also the Apple Card is actually not exactly a store card and can be used for all kinds of purchases. Commented Jun 21, 2021 at 14:14
  • can you even get a store card without a SSN?
    – rtaft
    Commented Jun 22, 2021 at 20:51
  • @rtaft I know you need a credit report with one of the major agencies. Whether that requires an SSN or TIN, I don’t know. It’s likely that it does. Commented Jun 22, 2021 at 22:02

Trying to frame my advice in a way that technically answers the question:

Don't buy it right away. Pay $100/month to a savings account, and after ten months, buy the item with your accumulated $1000.

This doesn't work if you need the item now, but with some advance planning you can usually identify ahead of time what items you will need in the future.

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    This was my thought, too--of course this is not always easy, which is why converting future money to right now money has a cost. Commented Jun 21, 2021 at 14:46
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    Save $100/mo for a year. After a year, ask yourself what you missed from not having it, then buy it on Craig's list for $100 and save $900 if you still need it.
    – Nelson
    Commented Jun 22, 2021 at 4:48
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    This is not an answer to the question... Commented Jun 22, 2021 at 9:33
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    I'm completely aware that I'm exploiting a technicality in the wording of the question: the OP never said they wanted to buy the item now, only that they want to make payments of $100/month without paying interest. I'm saying, the only way to do this in general is to make the payments to yourself (by saving) until you have enough to purchase the item with cash.
    – chepner
    Commented Jun 22, 2021 at 12:33
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    Optimizing the OP's cash is somewhat beyond the scope of the question.
    – chepner
    Commented Jun 22, 2021 at 16:02

I am a new international student in the US

Aren't you here on an F-2 visa?

that it's price is $1000, and I want to do the payment like $100 per month for 10 months (with no extra interest), how can I do it?

You can't, because there's a cost to borrow money. (EDIT: 0% special offers are -- in my experience -- only offered to people with existing good credit.)

However, there are alternatives for some purchases: some stores offer "XX days (or months) same as cash". That's usually only offered on expensive items at certain stores, and only for creditworthy customers. Or they jack up the price, to make up for the lost interest.

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    "So you say there is nothing like...". Re-read the last paragraph of my answer.
    – RonJohn
    Commented Jun 20, 2021 at 20:50
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    @chepner furniture and appliance stores usually offer "X months same as cash". But that's certainly a subset of retailers.
    – RonJohn
    Commented Jun 21, 2021 at 2:07
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    @RonJohn: And that offer typically disappears when you bargain.
    – MSalters
    Commented Jun 21, 2021 at 9:54
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    I remember one furniture store that offered 0%, 36 months for anything... or 10% discount if you pay immediately 😂
    – Džuris
    Commented Jun 21, 2021 at 15:46
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    A common trick is they will offer something like "0% for 12 months", but will jack up the interest to something really high if you DON'T pay it off in full by the end of the 12 months. They will also set the minimum payment so it actually takes something like 36 months if you only pay that, so it is easy to get fooled into paying a lot of interest if you don't read the fine print.
    – Seth R
    Commented Jun 21, 2021 at 16:09

When you use a credit card and pay over time, you will pay plenty of interest. 16% to 20% a year is not unusual. So the wrong way to do things: Buy a $1,000 item with your credit card. Pay $100 every month. (Because interest will add up very very quickly). A better way to do things: Buy a $1,000 item with your credit card. Reduce your spending as much as possible so you can pay back as much as possible every month, like $350 a month for three months. In this example, this will save you about $100.

A better way is to get money at a lower rate, for example a bank loan. This will be harder to get, but much cheaper. A bank loan will almost always be the best you can get.

Or buy things that come with a low cost or interest free loan. But be careful: One shop might offer something for $1,000 with an interest free loan, while another shop charges $900 for the exact same product without an interest free loan.

And don't believe any salesman. Or saleswoman. Or salesperson. They only want your best - and your best is your money.


As a general rule you will pay interest if you pay your balance on a credit card over time. The credit card company is providing a service (loaning you money), and that service costs money.

That said, you can often find credit card offers that give you a promotional rate of 0% for some fixed amount of time when you first sign up. I suppose you could keep signing up for new cards and transferring your balance to avoid paying interest.

Another option is that for expensive purchases, many stores will offer a no-interest payment plan to entice you to make a purchase. Be aware, however, that they often start accruing interest after a certain amount of time if you don't pay off the balance in full.

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    Aren't those promotional rate cards only offered on balance transfers to relatively credit-worthy people?
    – RonJohn
    Commented Jun 20, 2021 at 20:29
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    Yeah, probably. I'm just trying to give OP some options for a fairly unreasonable ask of "give me something of value for free"
    – JohnFx
    Commented Jun 21, 2021 at 1:21


You won't be able to do this with a credit card, as their entire business is built around buy-now, pay-more-later. It may be more difficult to find, but some stores offer Layaway, where you pick out an item, and the store holds it for you until you make the last payment. You don't get it until you've paid in full, but in many cases, the store doesn't charge interest.

Be careful with the layaway fine print

Many stores will charge a small fee to open a layaway account. You'll have to bring 10%-15% up front. You also will pay weekly, not monthly, and the most generous term will be 90 days. If you end up not paying they will keep at least some of your payments, usually as a restocking fee. You also generally won't be able to get hot-ticket items this way as the store can easily find someone with cash-in-hand. And some stores charge some interest as they are essentially extending you credit and holding product for you.

The best way to buy is always cash in hand.

Public Service Announcement about college and credit cards

Credit card companies target college students. They know they'll run it up, and either spend years making the minimum payments, or mom and dad will pay it off.

If you have no credit, go to a bank and get a secured card for $1000. A secured card is a credit card where you open an account with the spending limit. If you can't pay, then the credit union will just use that account. Don't carry it with you and make a few purchases a year on it and pay it off immediately.

  • I think it's worth noting that layaway isn't usually free. You pay a fee to set it up and could pay additional fees if you do not finish paying for the item. If you have a hard time controlling your spending habits then this could be a good way to commit to a purchase but realistically you should just set your money aside and pay in full at a future date. A future date has the benefit of buying that latest model which is important for a commodity such as a T.V. I am 99% sure Wal-Mart only offers layaway during the holiday season by the way.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Commented Jun 21, 2021 at 16:24
  • @MonkeyZeus - You're right. Your better off just saving the money yourself and paying cash-in-hand. Even if layaway is free, saving it yourself means you'll get a newer product, and there is 0 risk of being charged fees or losing your layaway deposits. Commented Jun 21, 2021 at 16:54
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    Layaway is completely a scam built on a (false) FOMO (fear of missing out). You don't get anything at all for the fees you pay and risk of them keeping your money if you fail to keep paying. Commented Jun 21, 2021 at 19:40
  • I reckon I can guess, but with layaway, what happens if the store goes out of business when you've paid for 90% of an item you haven't received?
    – Chris H
    Commented Jun 22, 2021 at 12:36
  • @ChrisH Are you assuming a responsible or irresponsible business? Stores don't generally shut down and pack up overnight and if they do then they were probably not big enough to offer layaway. The customer would likely be contacted and offered the chance to pay off and receive the item. They would rather have this person buy the item since the alternative is to sell it at a liquidated price. If the customer declines to buy out the item then the store might just give it to them if the liquidated price is forecasted to be lower than the 90% already paid.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Commented Jun 22, 2021 at 13:04

Simply put, you (specifically you) are extremely unlikely to just get a free loan especially as an international student. I would be amazed if you could qualify for a credit card at all.

Anyways, if you did qualify for a credit card then it would likely be for 25% APR.

Charging $1,000 to this credit card will cost you:

  • $111.81 per month for 10 months; $1,118.12


  • $212.67 per month for 5 months; $1,063.36

It's simple, paying off the loan faster results in less interest paid.


In the UK, at least, there are quite a few credit providers who operate "buy now, pay later" schemes. Perhaps the most well-known of these is Klarna, which does also operate in the US. Beware, though: if you fail to make your repayments on time, you will be hit with extremely high interest.

Some of these schemes have come under scrutiny recently because many merchants offer them as quick checkout options, allowing customers to easily take out such lines of credit without being fully aware of the terms they're agreeing to.


Every answer so far assumes you're financially illiterate and have no self control or planning ability. While I typically agree with the warnings provided, credit card offers and rewards can be valuable to take advantage of if you're very careful, plan accordingly, and have a high attention to detail. Personally I've received thousands of dollars in bonuses and rewards "playing the system". If you ask me to compare it to my time spent - I could probably pick up a second job and do just as well, but I enjoy this more.

Now, typically, if you were to purchase a $1,000 on an average credit card in the US, and aim to pay $100/month, you'd actually be paying for 11 months, with an 89.11 bill on the last. That's your total interest. With that in mind, you may want to look here if you do need to plan purchasing with credit.

With the above in mind, your goal of buying something for $1,000 and paying it off in 10 months is very doable. Be warned of getting into the wrong mindset, or falling into a pattern of purchasing on credit without paying in full monthly... but a quick google search for "0% APR credit card no prior credit" gives plenty of options. These will be the gimmick-iest and most predatory offers though. Once again, see the wealth of valuable information already provided here. But if you're really looking to, have the time to actually read all the terms and conditions, and are careful throughout the process (setting reminders for payment dates or other needed actions) you absolutely can do this with (imo) a reasonable amount of effort. This is where your attention to detail is key.

I'd pay into a fund like the top answer suggests if I were you, for now, assuming its an option. Just wanted to add some more detail/resources.

P.S. I only didn't link to real offers as I don't think that's allowed in the SE - and like I said, in your situation, I wouldn't. I built my credit for 5+ years before "playing the system" and benefitting from promotions, rewards, or deferred/0 interest.

  • Thank you so much for the information. Some people say if you use intro 0% APR that's fine for avoiding the extra money payment, but it causes bad/negative effect on credit score, because the 35% of the scoring formula is about payment history., is it true?
    – user109157
    Commented Jun 22, 2021 at 20:54
  • As long as you're paying the correct amounts on time, it shouldn't have a negative impact on credit. Most break downs on credit scoring are very rough estimates - the three major bureaus are private entities and while they follow a standard, it does change over time, and between the bureaus.
    – TCooper
    Commented Jun 22, 2021 at 21:58

This line of thinking is the real danger

If I get a new credit card in the US with a $2000 credit line/limit and want to buy something whose price is $1000, and I want to do the payment like $100 per month for 10 months (with no extra interest), how can I do it? What is the procedure and the mechanism?

You just charge it to the card.

The interest is just a matter of perception. Think of the REAL price as the price with interest (e.g. $1100). Do you want to buy that thing for $1100? If so, put it on the card and pay $110 for 10 months.

If you are saying "how do I get it without paying interest", that is just money-grubbing, trying to get something for nothing. That line of thinking is the real danger to you. Because your quest for that "free lunch" will lead you into a ton of very bad deals from predators trying to take advantage of the stupid. There is no free lunch. If you don't want to pay interest, then save $100 for 10 months and buy it at the end of the 10 months.

From a comment:

Also: DON'T! It's a trap to get you hooked in an endless cycle of debt, consumerism and paycheck to paycheck living

Debt slavery. Granted it's not as bad as the real slavery found in the third world, but it feels as bad to the victims.

But that's only a problem for those with poor needs control. If you gotta have it and you're willing to do a deal with the devil, then you're a debt-slave, but you do have that shiny gadget. Oh wait, it was a cheap Chinese piece-o'junk, and it already broke.

The worst of this is with cars and cell phones, when they will happily sell you a new car even though your existing car is "upside down" (owing more on the car than it's worth), and will simply fold that debt into the new loan/lease. Since the financially uneducated usually don't allow themselves ANY spare money to buy out of that hole, their only exit path becomes signing loans on bigger and bigger new cars, with bigger and bigger monthly payments. Eventually the house of cars comes tumbling down, and they wind up bankrupt, and there are people who will finance cars for the bankrupt on even worse terms.

  • Downvoted because this doesn't answer the question. Interest is most certainly not "just a matter of perception."
    – Jivan Pal
    Commented Jun 24, 2021 at 18:12

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