Editor’s note: This is a transcript of the audio file.

Before you sign up for zero percent interest offers, weigh the odds for both time and money. I’m Kristin Arnold with your Bankrate.com Personal Finance Minute.

A zero percent plan works like this: If you pay the entire loan within a set period of time, the interest is forgiven. That deferment period has to be at least six months. The six-month minimum is a requirement under the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009.

If the balance isn’t paid within the deferment period, the interest that’s been accumulating is added “in a lump sum” to your balance. Going forward, you pay interest at the preset rate.

Many consumers bank on paying no interest and are less likely to worry about their interest rates or shop around. People also have every intention and ability to pay off the loan … then something unexpected happens and suddenly they can’t make the payment.

Before you buy, run the numbers. For more information on financing offers, visit Bankrate.com. I’m Kristin Arnold.