I'm trying to translate the phrase "Pagar a meses sin intereses" from spanish. I have searched for translations and the most convincing for me is "to pay in installments" but I'm not sure it expresses the same concept, and don't know if it's the most commonly used in english. I'm looking for a phrase or term that is commonplace and accurate.

For non-spanish speakers: If you make a purchase with a credit card and instead of paying the full amount immediately, you pay amount/number_of_months without incurring any interest from your bank.

Edit - Examples in a sentence: Compré mi computadora a 12 meses sin intereses. ¿Puedo pagar a meses (sin intereses)?

More clarification: I'm from Mexico and this type of purchase is very common here. You pay by credit card and the total amount is split and each fraction paid monthly. In some other Latin American countries it's called "pagar en cuotas". It is different from a loan because there's no interest incurred. I don't want a precise legal term, but rather the most common way to refer to this type of payment, preferably a simple phrase that isn't an explanation in itself but a concept.

  • What is the rest of the sentence you are trying to use this phrase in? or is it just the phrase?
    – katatahito
    Commented Jul 3, 2019 at 7:23
  • It's more a matter of knowing the actual and correct translation of the term.
    – marmant
    Commented Jul 3, 2019 at 7:25
  • A similar thing to this would be if someone takes out a personal loan, or a car loan - so long as they pay the agreed upon amount each month the total cost of the loan doesn't change. However, this monthly payment amount already takes into account the interest/fees that would be charged over the agreed upon time frame. I am not sure of a case (maybe layaway but those payments are to a store and you don'T get the object until you pay in full) where there is not interest or fee paid when a bank is fronting money.
    – katatahito
    Commented Jul 3, 2019 at 7:30
  • If you say pay in/by instalments, that's perfectly idiomatic but it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with credit cards. It sounds as though that's important, in which case you can say (pay by credit card in x interest-free instalments). Unless credit cards work very differently where you are, even if the store charges the instalments to the card without any interest, the customer could still end up paying interest under the credit card agreement - so you might need to be careful if this is contractual and/or is in a highly regulated area.
    – user339660
    Commented Jul 3, 2019 at 8:04
  • interest-free credit
    – Smock
    Commented Jul 3, 2019 at 11:21

2 Answers 2


After posting the same question on Money and Financing as suggested, surprisingly there isn't ONE term used for it. It varies even for different stores, apparently. This is really interesting to me since in Mexico the Meses sin intereses term in generalized completely. Sometimes shortened to just meses or MSI. It seems it is not only a language issue, but also cultural, and I did not expect that.


You probably want "interest-free". (In this sense "free" means "without", as in "gluten-free").

Example 1:

  • Compré mi computadora a 12 meses sin intereses.
  • I bought my computer in 12 months, interest-free.

Example 2:

  • ¿Puedo pagar a meses (sin intereses)?
  • Can I pay monthly, interest-free?

If you want a precise term for a legally equivalent transaction, then it really depends on what the terms of the contract are. There are numerous schemes, such as hire-purchase, personal-contract-hire, and so forth, which may have a different bundle of rights and obligations.

  • 2
    If you want the precise term, it might be better to ask over on Money and Finance. Commented Jul 3, 2019 at 9:45
  • I don't think that 'I bought my computer in 12 months' would be understood by a typical English speaker in the way that is intended here.
    – jsw29
    Commented Jul 3, 2019 at 15:06
  • I agree with @jsw29, the use of in would be a bit confusing.
    – marmant
    Commented Jul 4, 2019 at 0:57
  • How about “bought over twelve months”? Commented Jul 4, 2019 at 17:48
  • @jsw29 I agree "over" would be more idiomatic but I don't agree that "in" would not be understood. Source: Me, a native English speaker.
    – Ben
    Commented Jul 5, 2019 at 8:50

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