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Which credit cards have the longest 0% APR period?

Compare our picks for longest interest-free promotions.

Updated

Fact checked

Our pick for long intro APRs: Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card logo

18 months

Intro APR on transfers

  • Market-leading 18 months intro APR on transfers and purchases
  • Potentially low revert rate of 14.74%-24.74% variable
  • No annual fee
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With a long 0% APR intro period on purchases or balance transfers, you can have more time to pay back your balance without worrying about interest. Note that any balance remaining after the promotion ends will be charged interest at the card’s standard rate — which is usually much higher.

Depending on the size of your debt, the difference between a six-month and 21-month 0% intro APR period could mean hundreds — or even thousands — of dollars saved on interest charges. That said, the longest offers aren’t necessarily right for everyone.

What is the longest 0% period?

Right now, 20 months is the longest 0% intro balance transfer APR in the industry, held by the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card. After the intro period ends, your rate reverts to 13.99% to 23.99% variable. This provides the opportunity to transfer and pay off debt with a long payment window.

As for the longest 0% intro APR period on purchases, most cards offer either 12 or 15 months. Only the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card offers 20 months with a revert rate of 13.99% to 23.99% variable.

Compare the longest 0% intro APR credit cards

Name Product Purchase APR Balance transfer APR Annual fee Filter values
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
0% intro for the first 18 months (then 14.74% to 24.74% variable)
0% intro for the first 18 months (then 14.74% to 24.74% variable)
$0
Long 18 months intro APR periods on purchases and balance transfers. Plus Citi Entertainment℠ for deals on dining and going out.
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 23.74% variable)
14.99% to 23.74% variable
$0
Earn a $200 signup bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months, plus 5% cash back at grocery stores on up to $12,000 in the first year
Citi® Double Cash Card
13.99% to 23.99% variable
0% intro for the first 18 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
$0
This one of the most valuable flat cashback cards. It comes with 2% cash back (1% when you buy plus 1% when you pay) and 18 months to pay off transfers.
Citi Rewards+℠ Card
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 13.49% to 23.49% variable)
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 13.49% to 23.49% variable)
$0
Earn rewards and enjoy a long intro APR period on purchases and balance transfers.
TD Cash Credit Card
0% intro for the first 15 billing cycles (then 12.99%, 17.99% or 22.99% variable)
0% intro for the first 15 billing cycles (then 12.99%, 17.99% or 22.99% variable)
$0
3% on dining and 2% on groceries make this a valuable card for food purchases. Use it while traveling, too, with no foreign transaction fees. Available in: CT, DC, DE, FL, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, SC, VA, VT
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How to compare the longest 0% APR credit cards

It’s always important to research and compare your options. These are the key features to consider when looking at credit cards with long 0% APR periods:

  • Introductory offer.
    In general, you’ll want the lowest promotional interest rate over the longest term.
  • Revert rate.
    This is the regular rate that interest reverts to once the promotional period ends. This is important in case you still have outstanding debt on your card when the revert rate applies.
  • Balance transfer fee.
    Some credit cards charge a balance transfer fee ranging from 3% to 5% of your balance transfer amount. Be aware that cards with longer promotional periods tend to charge a higher balance transfer fee.
  • Maximum transfer amount.
    This could be your new card’s credit limit, or even up to a certain amount, such as $5,000 or $15,000.
  • Other balance transfer conditions.
    This varies with each card, but there may be other conditions limiting where you can transfer your balance from. For example, some cards only allow balance transfers from other credit cards and store cards, while some accept debts from personal loans or even mortgages.
  • Annual fee.
    Credit card annual fees can have an impact on the value you get from a balance transfer offer, so make sure your savings more than offset any card fees.

How long of a balance transfer offer do I need?

You might not need to go out of your way to find the longest 0% APR offer on the market — you only need an intro period long enough for you to pay off your balance transfer comfortably.

If you calculate how long you need to pay off your balance within your monthly budget, you might have more flexibility when it comes to choosing a card.

Other factors to consider

These factors may not be major priorities when choosing a balance transfer card, but they are still worth considering.

  • The cash advance rate.
    This is the interest rate you’ll be charged when you get cash from an ATM or for cash-equivalent purchases such as gambling tokens.
  • Cash advance fee.
    A charge of up to 5% of your transaction amount may be applied to every cash advance transaction you make on your card. This is in addition to the cash advance interest rate.
  • Complimentary extras.
    Many credit cards include additional perks, such as complimentary travel insurance or concierge services. These extras are usually reflected in the cost of the annual fee, so make sure you’re not paying for things you don’t need and eroding your interest savings.
  • Rewards.
    Sometimes you’ll find rewards credit cards, which let you earn points for new spending on your credit card. Note that while some balance transfers let you earn reward points, most don’t. New purchases could attract high-interest charges if you already have a balance transfer on the card.
  • Foreign transaction fees.
    This fee applies when you use your card abroad or for online purchases from an international retailer. It’s usually around 2% to 3% of each transaction.

An additional note on purchase rates: If you know you’ll need to make purchases with the new card straight away, you may want to look at 0% intro APR balance transfer and purchase rate credit cards — but make sure you know when each of the promotional periods end as one can be shorter than the other.

Tips for making the most of a long balance transfer offer

To get the most out of your balance transfer, consider the following tips:

  • Close your old account if you have trouble controlling your spending.
    Closing your old account will prevent you from being charged any further costs, such as the annual fee. It will also help eliminate the temptation to use your old credit card. Make sure the balance is zero after the transfer is complete and then call your issuer to request an account closure. Note that closing your account could negatively affect your credit score.
  • Make regular repayments.
    Make full use of the interest-free period by drawing out a schedule of regular repayments. Aim to pay off your full balance within the promotional period if possible, and follow that schedule responsibly to achieve your debt freedom.
  • Use savings to help pay down the balance.
    Channel all resources towards paying off your debts, including spare cash and savings. This tip is especially relevant if you’re near the end of the balance transfer promotional period and you still have debt remaining.
  • Avoid making new purchases.
    Dedicate all available resources towards paying down your debt. Even if the card is offering 0% intro APR on purchases, remember that any new purchases will accrue interest and set you back.

How much am I allowed to transfer?

The total amount you can transfer is usually a percentage of your credit limit. While some may let you transfer up to 100% of your credit limit, others may only allow you to transfer 95% or even 80%. Sometimes, the card provider lists a fixed amount you can transfer, such as up to $5,000 or $15,000.

But the amount of your balance transfer mostly depends on your credit score and financial situation. If you’re carrying a large debt, consider whether you can transfer the entire amount before applying for the card.

Mistakes to avoid with long-term balance transfers

Avoid the following balance transfer mistakes to make the most of your transfer:

  • Only meeting your minimum repayments.
    Only paying the minimum monthly payment is unlikely to cover your entire debt by the end of the promotional period. If you can afford to put more than the minimum towards your debt, you’ll clear your debt faster.It could take you more than four years to pay off $5,000 worth of debt with a low $100 monthly payment. If you can afford to pay $200 each month, you can have it paid off in two years — the length of some balance transfer cards.
  • Making purchases on your new credit card.
    Using your balance transfer card for purchases isn’t recommended, as it only adds to your debt. Your repayments will automatically go to the purchases that are accruing the highest interest, so you’ll be losing valuable low or interest-free time.

Are there any cards with no interest for 36 months?

At the time of this writing, there is no credit card offering 36 months of no interest. The longest 0% APR period cards offer a 21-month promotional period.

Keep in mind, there are store credit cards that offer a deferred interest period of up to 36 months or more on purchases made at the store. But with deferred interest, you must pay off your full balance before the promotional period ends or you’ll pay interest accrued from the moment you made your transaction.

Bottom line

Research your options and do the math to determine which card will deliver the greatest savings and convenience in the long run. Remember to only buy what you need and spend the rest on repaying that debt. When you compare balance transfer cards, be sure to factor in how well they serve your plan on the whole rather than just the longest intro rate.

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