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Getting a 0% APR credit card can be a good way to temporarily stop paying interest on your purchases or balance transfers — sometimes both.
Best credit cards with 0% intro APR
Compare your options with this list of stellar cards.
Best for longest 0% intro APR period for purchases and balance transfers: U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Credit Card
If you’re after the longest intro APR on purchases and balance transfers, the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Credit Card is the right pick.
Best for longest 0% intro APR for balance transfers: Citi Simplicity® Card
If you want to squeeze the most out of your 0% intro balance transfer APR period, try the Citi Simplicity® Card. It edges out the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Credit Card here by a month. Though the intro APR on purchases isn’t nearly as impressive, it’s still solid.
Best for cashback rewards: Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card
If you want rewards along with an attractive intro APR, try the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card. On top of getting 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers, you’ll receive a solid 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
Best for travel rewards: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card
Best for no balance transfer fee: Amex EveryDay® Credit CardPlease note: All information about Amex EveryDay® Credit Card has been collected independently by Finder and this card is not available through this site.
The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card offers an attractive promotion: No fees on balance transfers you make within the first 60 days following your account opening. Very few cards offer this benefit.
The card surpasses its competitors — such as the Chase Slate® credit card — because of its elevated rewards for US supermarket spending.
A quick look at the best 0% intro APR credit cards
- U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Credit Card: Best for longest 0% intro APR period for purchases and balance transfers
- Citi Simplicity® Card: Best for longest 0% intro APR for balance transfers
- Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card: Best for cashback rewards
- Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card: Best for travel rewards
- Amex EveryDay® Credit Card: Best for no balance transfer fee
How we selected our top cards
We compared these 0% APR credit cards based on a few factors, including balance transfer and annual fees, rewards programs, points or cash back earned per dollar, welcome offers, and other factors consumers might consider when looking for the best interest-free credit cards. Cards with standout performance in one or several of these areas were chosen as our top pick in a category.
What’s changed in 2020
The strong performance of these 0% APR cards ensured that our list remained relatively similar this year. However, Wells Fargo earned a spot thanks to a 0% APR card that also happens to be surprisingly generous with its travel rewards.
Our pick for transfer and purchase intro APRs
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American ExpressRead more
Compare 0% intro APR cards
What is a 0% APR credit card?
A 0% APR credit card offers no interest on certain balances for a period of time. This can apply to purchases, balance transfers or both. Of course, the 0% intro APR doesn’t last forever: After it expires, your remaining balance will accrue interest at a higher, normal APR.
Types of 0% APR credit cards and when you should use them
When you evaluate a 0% APR card, check if the special interest rate applies to purchases, balance transfers or both.
Purchase 0% APR cards
When you buy something with your card during the intro APR period, it won’t accrue interest until your promotional interest rate expires. This is like getting a no-interest loan — one that you have the luxury of paying off over an extended period of time.
- Use a 0% purchase APR card for large, one-time purchases like furniture, a vacation, holiday shopping or emergency expenses.
Balance transfer 0% APR cards
There are 0% intro APR balance transfer cards that can help you pay off your debt from other credit cards with no interest.
- Use these cards to move your debt from another card with high-interest rates and pay it off in up to 21 months with a 0% introductory rate.
How much can I save on interest with a 0% APR card?
Many people don’t realize how much money they spend on credit card interest. The following table shows the interest you can save on a $2,500 balance with a 0% APR product.
|Credit Card A||Credit Card B||Credit Card C|
|Repayment period||15 months||15 months||15 months|
How to compare 0% APR cards
Before you pull the trigger and apply for a 0% APR credit card, here’s what to keep in mind:
Purchase or balance transfer APR
If you’re making a large purchase to pay off over time, look for a 0% intro APR on purchases. If you want a lower interest rate on your debt, look for a 0% intro APR on balance transfers.
0% APR length
Most credit cards offer an intro APR period between 12 and 15 months. If you want the longest 0% period on balance transfers, you might need to settle for a more simple card with no rewards.
Most cards with 0% intro APR period come with no annual fee. But there are a few that do charge an annual fee. Consider if the card’s benefits will make the fee worth it.
Balance transfer fees
Balance transfer cards often come with fees of either 3% or 5% of the amount transferred. This can make your $5,000 balance transfer cost either $150 or $250. Determine if the fee would be more or less than the interest you’d save. If it’s more, the card may not be worth it. There are some cards, though, that waive the balance transfer fee for a certain period after you open your account.
Cards that offer 0% intro APR period are often cashback cards. However, travel cards, including airline and hotel cards rarely offer this perk.
Be careful with balance transfers
With most cards, your balance transfers only qualify for the intro APR if you make them within a certain time. Transfers you make after that will accrue interest at the normal APR.
What do I do when my 0% intro period ends?
If you still have a balance on your card and your intro APR will expire soon, you have a few options. For more information, read about what happens when an intro APR period ends.
- Try to pay off the balance as soon as possible. If you tighten the belt for a while, you might be able to accomplish this before your balance starts accumulating interest.
- Let your balance start accruing interest at the normal rate. If your balance isn’t too high, you might not mind your intro APR expiring before you’ve paid off your debt. Consider making a solid plan to pay off your balance so you don’t pay too much interest.
- Make a balance transfer. You may be able to get a 0% intro APR balance transfer card, which could help you pay off your balance with lower interest. If you do this, however, consider whether you’re making progress toward paying off your debt — or if you’re just shuffling it around.
Card providers are unlikely to approve you for a balance transfer card if your credit utilization ratio is very high. They’ll be wary of taking you on as a customer if they think you’re drowning in debt.
- Take out a personal loan. If you don’t want to deal with another card but you want a lower interest rate on your balance, consider a personal loan. You could get an APR that’s substantially better than your credit card’s normal APR.
Here are a few things you should know about 0% APR credit cards
- Typically, 0% intro APR periods last between 12 and 15 months. Intro rates must last at least six months by law, and they’ll top out at around 20 months.
- You’ll rarely get a 0% intro APR on cash advances. As a double whammy, these transactions almost always start accruing interest at a high rate right after you make them.
- You still need to make at least the minimum payment during your 0% intro APR period. Failing to do this may land you with a late fee. It may also cause you to lose your intro APR, meaning you’ll be stuck paying the regular APR on your remaining balances.
Getting a 0% APR credit card can be a smart move for certain purchases, and it can be helpful if you need a lower interest rate on existing debt. However, be careful with it — your card provider is hoping you won’t pay off your balance by the time your 0% intro APR ends.
To avoid this, know precisely what you’ll use your card for. Then make a plan to pay off your debt before your 0% intro APR expires.
If you think you’ll carry a balance for a long time, consider a low-interest rate credit card.
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