Is Credit Card EMI Interest Free? Know more!

Credit cards offer a range of convenient payment options, one of which is the EMI (Equated Monthly Installment) facility. EMI allows cardholders to convert large purchases into smaller, manageable payments over a specified period. While EMI options can make expensive purchases more affordable, there is often confusion about whether credit card EMIs are interest-free.

Let’s delve into how credit card EMIs work, whether they are interest-free, and how to calculate the interest using a credit card interest rate calculator.

Understanding Credit Card EMIs

When you make a purchase using your credit card and opt for EMI, you essentially convert the transaction amount into fixed monthly instalments. This allows you to spread out the cost of the purchase over several months, rather than paying the entire amount upfront. Here’s how it typically works:

  • EMI conversion ─ The bank or credit card issuer offers you the option to convert a transaction above a certain amount into EMI. This amount varies between banks and is often around ₹5,000 or more.
  • Interest rates ─ Banks charge interest on EMI transactions, although the rate can vary based on factors such as the bank’s policies, the tenure of the EMI, and your creditworthiness.
  • Tenure options ─ You can choose the repayment tenure for your EMI, which could range from 3 months to 24 months or more, depending on the bank’s terms and conditions.

Are Credit Card EMIs Interest-Free?


Credit card EMIs are not typically interest-free. Banks levy interest charges on EMI transactions to compensate for the credit extended to you. The interest rates for credit card EMIs are generally higher than regular loan interest rates, ranging from 12% to 24% per annum, depending on the bank and the specific credit card.

How Interest is Calculated on Credit Card EMIs

The interest on credit card EMIs is calculated using the reducing balance method, where interest is charged on the outstanding principal balance after each monthly payment. Here’s a simplified example of how it works:

  1. Principal amount ─ Suppose you make a purchase of ₹50,000 using your credit card.
  2. EMI conversion ─ You opt to convert this amount into 12 monthly installments.
  3. Interest rate ─ Assume the bank charges an interest rate of 18% per annum for this EMI conversion.
  4. Monthly EMI calculation ─ Using a credit card interest rate calculator or formula provided by the bank:
    • Monthly EMI = (Principal Amount + Interest Amount) / Number of Months
  5. Interest calculation ─ Interest for each month is calculated on the remaining outstanding principal after deducting the previous month’s payment.

Using a Credit Card Interest Rate Calculator


To accurately calculate the interest payable on your credit card EMIs, you can use an online credit card interest rate calculator provided by most banks. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Enter loan amount ─ Input the total amount you wish to convert into EMI.
  2. Select tenure ─ Choose the repayment tenure in months (e.g., 6 months, 12 months, etc.).
  3. Enter interest rate ─ Input the annual interest rate charged by your bank for EMI transactions.
  4. Calculate ─ Click on the calculate button to see the monthly EMI amount and the total interest payable over the chosen tenure.

Factors to Consider Before Opting for Credit Card EMIs

  • Interest rate ─ Compare the interest rates charged by different banks for EMI transactions. Some banks offer promotional rates or zero-interest EMIs for specific purchases or periods.
  • Additional charges ─ Check for any processing fees or prepayment charges associated with the EMI conversion.
  • Impact on credit limit ─ Converting a large transaction into EMI reduces your available credit limit until the entire EMI amount is paid off.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Credit Card EMIs

When it comes to managing finances, credit card EMIs (Equated Monthly Installments) offer a versatile solution for handling large purchases. This financial option provides both benefits and drawbacks that consumers should carefully consider. Here, we delve deeper into the advantages and potential disadvantages of opting for credit card EMIs.

Benefits of Credit Card EMIs


1. Manageable Large Expenses

One of the primary benefits of using credit card EMIs is the ability to manage large expenses without the burden of a single, upfront payment. This can be particularly useful for big-ticket items such as electronics, home appliances, or travel expenses.

For instance, purchasing a high-end laptop or booking an international vacation can be financially daunting if required to pay the full amount at once. By converting the purchase into EMIs, you can spread the cost over several months, making it easier to fit into your monthly budget.

2. Improved Budgeting and Financial Planning

The fixed monthly payment structure of EMIs helps with budgeting and financial planning. Knowing the exact amount you need to pay each month allows you to plan your finances more effectively.

This predictability ensures that you can allocate funds toward your EMI payments without disrupting other essential expenses. For many, this structured payment plan can be a significant advantage, helping avoid the financial strain that large, one-time payments might cause.

3. Access to High-Value Purchases

Credit card EMIs enable consumers to access high-value purchases that might otherwise be out of reach. Whether it’s furnishing a new home, investing in essential technology for work, or funding education-related expenses, EMIs can make these important investments feasible.

This financial flexibility can be particularly advantageous in situations where the purchase is necessary but immediate full payment is not possible.

Drawbacks of Credit Card EMIs


1. Interest Costs

The most significant drawback of credit card EMIs is the interest cost associated with them. While EMIs make large purchases more manageable, the interest rates on credit card EMIs can be relatively high, ranging from 12% to 24% per annum, depending on the bank and specific card.

These interest costs can add significantly to the overall expense of the purchase, making it important to carefully consider whether the convenience of EMIs outweighs the additional financial burden.

2. Financial Commitment

Opting for EMIs means committing to monthly payments for the duration of the tenure, which can range from a few months to a couple of years. This ongoing financial commitment can strain your finances, especially if your income or expenses change unexpectedly.

For example, an unexpected job loss or a sudden increase in living expenses can make it challenging to meet your EMI obligations, potentially leading to missed payments and penalties.

3. Impact on Credit Limit

Converting a large transaction into EMIs reduces your available credit limit until the entire EMI amount is paid off. This reduction in available credit can limit your ability to make further purchases or access emergency funds if needed. It’s essential to consider the impact on your credit limit before opting for EMIs, as it could affect your overall financial flexibility.


While credit card EMIs provide flexibility in managing large expenses, they are not interest-free. Banks charge interest on EMI transactions, which varies based on the tenure and the bank’s policies.

Using a credit card interest rate calculator helps you estimate the total interest payable and plan your finances accordingly. Before opting for EMIs, consider the interest rates, additional charges, and impact on your credit limit. Responsible use of credit card EMIs can help you manage expenses effectively while maintaining financial discipline.