Last Updated on February 8, 2023 by Melissa S.
Zilch is a Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) provider that can be accessed in the form of an app. What makes it unique from other platforms is that you can use it to shop at practically any retailer- anywhere that takes Mastercard – rather than being tied in to partner stores.
What’s more, if you don’t like the idea of using Buy Now Pay Later, you can still take advantage of a £5 Welcome Bonus that requires no minimum spend. Note: When I signed up to Zilch in June 2022, the bonus amount was £15. This has now been reduced to £5, but it’s still free money!
In this post, I will give my honest opinion of Zilch and also walk through how I made a £15 purchase completely free with my Welcome bonus, without having to use any credit or BNPL offers.
How to sign up to Zilch
In order to create an account, you will need to download the app and have either a photo driving licence or passport to hand in order to verify your ID.
Sign up via my referral link and receive a £5 Welcome Bonus.
Once your ID has been verified, you will be able to shop via the Zilch app, by clicking through to the retailer.
How Zilch Works
Zilch is essentially a virtual credit card. In fact, on creating an account users will be issued with a virtual Mastercard within the app which can also be connected to Google Pay, Samsung Pay and Apple Pay for in-store payments via your mobile.
As Zilch is accepted everywhere you can use Mastercard, there are thousands of options, including Amazon, eBay, Next, Asda, Deliveroo and Tesco, so it should be easy to find something to claim your welcome bonus on.
How to shop with Zilch
In order to shop with Zilch, simply search for the retailer you want in the app.
Because I received a £15 welcome bonus for using a friend’s referral code, I decided to spend it on a mirror costing £15 that I was already planning to buy in Dunelm. (This bonus has now reduced to £5, but it may be boosted up again in the future!)
Click through to the retailer and you will be prompted to pay in one of 2 ways;
Pay in full and receive 2% cashback as a reward;
Pay in 4 instalments up to the value of £200 and zero interest. (Hence the name Zilch).
Because I was using my welcome bonus, I chose to pay in full, knowing that my purchase would be completely free!
Once you find the product you want, check out as usual but at the point of payment, select your Zilch card number and CVC (You may need to go back to the Zilch app to copy and paste this information over).
Once done, that’s it! Because my purchase was £15, I didn’t need to pay a penny. If my spend had been more, I would have been charged the difference to either pay off in full or split into 4 interest free installments.
Is There Anything You Can’t Buy With Zilch?
According to the official Zilch FAQ, you cannot use Zilch for the following purchases:
- Adult products and content
- Cash advances
- Credit card and loan payments
- Coins or precious metals
- Foreign currency
- Gift cards (Outside of Gift Cards By Zilch)
- Illegal items and activities
- Money transferring services
- Narcotics and drugs including paraphernalia
- Virtual currency, including cryptocurrency
- Weapons, including parts and accessories
It is also not recommended to use Zilch for recurring monthly subscription payments, as this can get very confusing when a monthly payment is being broken into 4 repayments over 6 weeks.
Zilch Instalments Repayment Schedule
If you have opted for the 4 instalment options, the repayments are broken down as follows:
- immediate payment of 25% minimum of the purchase price
- 33% of the remaining amount within 14 days
- 33% of the remaining amount within 28 days
- 33% of the remaining amount within 42 days.
You can also opt to pay earlier if you wish.
The payments will be taken directly from your bank on the scheduled days, so if you opt for the instalment method, you will be required to sign up for a direct debit mandate.
Zilch will send a reminder 2 days before each payment is scheduled to be taken.
Of course, if you just fancy using your welcome bonus or buying outright in full to earn 2% cashback, then you can stick to this option.
Zilch Credit Limit
When you sign up to Zilch, they will run a soft credit check which does not show up on your credit report. You will then be offered an initial credit limit of up to £200. This can be less depending on your credit score.
Over time, your credit limit may be increased if you use your Zilch account wisely, ensuring all payments are made promptly and in full.
Is Zilch Safe?
Yes, Zilch is safe to use. In fact it is the first Buy Now Pay Later provider that is licensed by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority).
When using the Zilch payment card, it offers the same amount of protection as using any bank card. The Zilch card is locked when not in use, so customers would need to sign into the app with their passcode and/or Face ID in order to unlock it.
What is Zilch Anywhere?
Zilch is available at any retailer that accepts Mastercard, but if you happen to want to use it at a store that is not listed, you can do this with Zilch Anywhere.
However, the catch here is that it will cost you 11.5% APR to access retailers outside its partner network.
Considering the number of retailers available for free within Zilch, this is not something I would recommend. Even if you pay outright, your 2% cashback will be cancelled out by that 11.5% fee.
What is Zilch Boost?
When you make a purchase with Zilch, you have the option to “Boost” your available spend by adding more from your registered debit card.
You are not adding any more credit as your Boosted amount comes from your bank account, but it allows you to still spread the cost into 4 monthly payments.
Example: Purchase price is £250
Available Zilch credit: £200
First Payment will be £100 (£50 from your first Zilch installment and £50 “boosted” from your bank)
The next 3 payments will then be £50 each.
You are essentially making a larger first payment in order to split the cost over 4 installments.
Trustpilot stats show Zilch has a Trustpilot Excellent rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars from over 40,000 reviews.
Users particularly like the ease and accessibility of using the Zilch app, and the zero fees.
The top complaints referred to the fact that as you are charged 25% of the purchase price at the point of sale, this can make processing refunds a difficult experience compared to usual.
What are Zilch Rewards?
Currently, when you refer a friend and they make a purchase, you will both earn £15 in Zilch rewards to spend as you wish. If you use my referral code, we will both be rewarded £5 when you open your account.
Zilch Pros and Cons
|Generous £10 Welcome Bonus when you use a referral link||Zilch Anywhere incurs fees and is best avoided|
|£10 Referral bonus for every friend you refer||Refunds can take a while to process|
|Zero fees on purchases if you keep to repayment schedule||Not recommended for those who find credit difficult to manage|
|2% cashback when you pay in full||Non payments will incur fees and affect your credit rating – however obviously this is the case for any non payment|
|You can use it without the credit aspect by paying in full|
|Accessible anywhere Mastercard is accepted|
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Zilch Have An App?
Yes, the Zilch App is available on both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.
What Is the Zilch Credit Limit?
New users are assigned a credit limit of up to £200 when first opening a Zilch account. This may vary depending on your credit rating. Using Zilch responsibly and paying in full or keeping to the repayment schedule could see your limit increase.
Does Using Zilch Affect My Credit Score?
When setting up an account, Zilch will run a soft credit check to check your eligibility. This will not show up on your credit report.
However, if you opt to pay back your purchase in instalments and fail to keep up the scheduled repayments then this may be referred to a debt collection agency, which of course would affect your credit score.
Failure to keep to your repayment schedule will incur fees of 18.1% APR.
This is no different to missing any other type of payment, but it is worth bearing in mind. Stick to the pay in full option if you don’t think you can manage the repayments.
What Fees Does Zilch Have?
The clue is in the name – for the vast majority of options, you will pay no fees, or Zilch! Provided you keep to your repayment schedule, Zilch charges no fees on your BNPL purchase. If you choose to pay in full, you will earn 2% cashback.
If you use Zilch Anywhere, you will pay an 11.5% fee on your purchase price.
As it is entirely possible to use Zilch for free, I wouldn’t recommend using Zilch Anywhere.
How much does Zilch cost?
Zilch is completely free to set up and currently you can earn a £5 Welcome bonus to spend as you wish – no minimum spend required.
Final Verdict – Is Zilch Legit?
Zilch is a completely legit app, regulated by the FCA and with a Trustpilot Excellent rating.
However, I would not recommend it to be used if you are reliant on the credit and would struggle to make the repayments as fees would then cancel out any benefits.
About the Author
Melissa is a working parent who left behind a senior management salary for a better work/life balance. Following her own money saving and money making strategies she was able to clear debt and live a life she loves. Blogging, selling digital products on Etsy and selling preloved items on eBay are her favourite side hustles. Read her story here.