Used responsibly, credit cards can help you consolidate old debt and finance new purchases. This holds true for some of the best credit cards available in the market — especially those offering 0% interest on balance transfers, new purchases or both.
The implication is that leveraging such cards can help you spread the cost of your big purchase over time without paying more than the stipulated price of your purchased items. Therefore, they can come in handy when you lack immediate access to cash needed to finance your purchases but are sure you can pay for it during the interest-free period.
The Best 0% APR Credit Cards:
- Best Overall: Chase Freedom Unlimited®
- Best for No Penalty or Late Fees: Citi Simplicity® Card
- Best for Most Extended Introductory APR Offer: Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card
- Best for Fixed-rate Cashback Reward: Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card
- Best for Customizable Cashback Reward: Citi Custom Cash℠ Card
- Best for Balance Transfer: Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
- Best for Big Purchases: U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card
- Best for Cashback on Daily General Purchases: Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
- Best for GM Purchase Rewards: My GM Rewards Card™
At other times, you might have a substantial sum in the bank and decide to keep it for a rainy day. In that case, to finance new purchases, you can borrow cost-free on a credit card. Some credit cards offer 0% interest for over 21 months.
This can substantially add to your savings, especially when carrying a balance on high-interest credit cards. Suppose you’re planning a large purchase for your new business such as tools and equipment or you have lingering debt on your existing card. In that case, it is financially wise to go for 0% intro annual percentage rate (APR) cards. Learn more.
Although your personal situation, income and credit score will often determine your choice of credit card, Benzinga analyzed some of the best 0% intro APR cards to help you make an informed choice. Interest rates are just one consideration, but a 0 APR is a good place to start. Just keep in mind that even with a business credit card, you will not have a 0% rate forever.
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
For a card that costs practically nothing to own, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® offers excellent earn rates and juicy perks. These include unlimited 5% on travel when purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, unlimited 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services, and unlimited 1.5% cashback on other purchases. But remember that bonus points could be limited in their scope or where they can be used.
Special offer: Unlimited Match Cash. Use your card for all your purchases for the first year and Chase will match all your cashback.
A great way to optimize your earnings is by pairing the Chase Freedom Unlimited® with select Ultimate Rewards-earning cards. Chase Freedom Unlimited® also offers a generous 15-month intro APR for balance transfers and purchases, then the standard, variable APR for the card. Transfer fees apply — $5 or 3% of the transferred amount (whichever is greater) when made within 60 days of account opening and $5 or 5% after that. Other perks include trip cancellation or interruption insurance and purchase protection.
A combination of fantastic cashback rewards, welcome bonus, low intro APR and valuable perks makes this card the best overall 0% intro APR card. The catch is that you need an excellent credit score to qualify. The 3% foreign transaction fee also means you must be careful when spending abroad.
- The spending cap for your welcome bonus is very low
- The transfer fee is lower than some competitors
- The welcome bonus is not nearly as large as it could be with other cards
Citi Simplicity® Card
- Regular APR
18.99% – 29.74% variable on purchases and balance transfers; $5 or 3% balance transfer fee, whichever is greater. Balance transfers must be completed within first 4 months of account opening. Rates determined based on your creditworthiness. 29.99% variable for cash advancesRating:
Suppose you’re looking for a credit card that offers you the time and flexibility needed to pay off your debt. In that case, the Citi Simplicity® card is one of your best options. It is one of the best balance-transfer credit cards. As a cardholder, you’re eligible for 21 months of 0% introductory APR on balance transfers made within the first four months of card ownership.
The Citi Simplicity® card charges balance-transfer fees like most balance transfer cards. This is either 5% of the transferred amount or $5, whichever is greater. However, unlike other balance-transfer cards, you’re not charged late fees or subject to penalties — a unique attribute of this card. The absence of late fees or penalty APR can serve as an invaluable safety net should you forget your payment due date.
Although the card offers no cashback, rewards or bonuses, its exceptionally long low interest, no annual fees, no late fees or penalty APR, make it an excellent option for paying down lingering credit card debt.
- Because you pay less in fees, you can better manage your spending and reduce overhead, especially if you manage a business
- Without an annual fee, you don’t start off in the negative while trying to use this card
- Balance transfer fees could add up, depending on how much you plan to transfer
Well Fargo Reflect℠ Card
Although light on features, the Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card comes in handy when trying to pay down debts or stretch payments on new purchases. Its core attribute is the long 0% introductory APR on new purchases and eligible balance transfers. Most cards offer 0% introductory APR on balance transfers, but not all provide the same on purchases — a distinguishing attribute of this card.
The 0% intro APR on purchases and eligible balance transfers lasts 18 months from the account opening day. Furthermore, you’re qualified for another three months of introductory APR extension when you make a minimum on-time payment during the 0% interest period — form of reward for chipping away at your debts.
Suppose you meet the eligibility requirement for the transfer. In that case, you can strategically leverage this card to get an interest-free loan on all your new purchases or offset some of your lingering debts while avoiding racking up interest. Although balance transfers accrue zero interest, the transfer fee still applies. Making a transfer within 120 days qualifies you for the intro rate and a fee of 3%. After that, you pay a $5 minimum or 5% of the transferred amount, whichever is greater. Other perks include cell phone protection, round-the-clock emergency roadside assistance and online budgeting tools.
- You have quite a lot of time to make transfers
- Working with Wells Fargo also gives you access to all the branches that Wells Fargo has if you need service
- Remember that the intro APR period will come to an end and that could cause problems when need to start making higher payments
Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card
If you’re looking for a balance transfer card that’ll allow you to earn some cash back, you need not look further than the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card. Like its predecessor, the Well Fargo Reflect℠ Card, it offers 0% intro APR on purchases and eligible balance transfers. However, unlike the former, the 0% intro APR for Active Cash® Card lasts 15 months, and there’s no APR extension.
Like the former card, making a transfer within 120 days qualifies you for the intro rate and 3% fee. After that, a fee of $5 or 5% of the transferred amount applies.
However, the core selling point for this card is the cashback and bonuses. Active Cash® Card offers a simple 2% unlimited cashback on all purchases, unlike most balance transfer cards. This cashback requires no quarterly activation or categories to track. Furthermore, you’re eligible for a $200 welcome bonus when you spend $1,000 within the first three months of account opening. Once earned, this reward will typically show as redeemable within one to two billing cycles.
Additional perks include cell phone coverage, zero liability protection for reported unauthorized transactions, robust security features and access to signature luxury hotels. If you’re a globetrotter, this card isn’t for you as it charges 3% on foreign transactions and offers no travel benefits.
- Because rewards are unlimited, it’ll be easier for you to simply shop and earn
- There are backend perks that are quite unique and may work perfectly for you or your business
- Because the rewards rate is not flexible, you might feel you can earn more rewards elsewhere
- The welcome bonus is lower than it would be with other cards
Citi Custom Cash℠ Card
Suppose you want to earn a lucrative reward on day-to-day expenditures effortlessly. In that case, the Citi Custom Cash credit card is your ideal no-fuss, high-earning cashback card. The card offers 5% cashback (capped at $500) in your top eligible spending category each billing cycle and 1% unlimited cash back in all subsequent categories.
The core categories include restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations, streaming services, travel, drugstores, select transit, home improvement stores, fitness clubs and live entertainment. Unlike other cashback cards that typically require you to activate bonus categories every quarter, the reward for this card is automatically adjusted based on your spending habit in each billing cycle.
Additionally, you’re eligible for a $200 welcome bonus when you spend $1500 in the first 6 months of account opening. You often earn this reward as Citi ThankYou Point, redeemable at 1 cent per point or combined with other ThankYou point cards.
As far as the introductory interest rate is concerned, the card offers 0% intro APR on both purchases and balance transfers for up to 15 months from the account opening day.
You must complete the balance transfer within four months of creating your account. Balance transfer fees apply and is either $5 or 5% of the transferred amount, whichever is greater.
Although the spending option covers most everyday categories, the $500 cap on rewards is limiting. As such, it isn’t an excellent choice for those looking to maximize cashback earnings.
- Transferring debt into this card can help you reduce interest payments over time
- You can use the intro APR to save a little money right when the card is opened, especially if you need to make a few purchases very quickly
- The welcome bonus is not nearly as high as those offered by competitors
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
Sometimes life hits hard. An auto accident or life-threatening disease may require quick access to funds. In such a situation, you may lack access to funds, and debt becomes inevitable. A balance transfer credit card can be an invaluable, cost-effective tool to pay off debt incurred as a result of such events, especially if the original debt is on a high-interest credit card. That’s where the Citi® Diamond Preferred® card comes in.
While the 0% intro APR promotional period for most balance transfer cards ranges from 12 to 15 months, the Citi® Diamond Preferred® card offers a 0% introductory APR on eligible balance transfers for up to 21 months from the first transfer date — the highest by far. This is in addition to a 12-month, 0% introductory purchase APR starting from the account opening date.
It’s a rate that’ll remain unbeatable as far as intro APR is concerned. The transfer fee is either $5 or 5% of the transferred amount, whichever is greater. When using this card, be sure to complete your balance transfer within four months of opening your account.
Although this $0 annual fee card can help you pay down debt, you’re better off with a card offering a lower balance transfer fee, especially if you have big expenses in the pipeline. Aside from the long promotional period, the card provides zero benefits and no reward.
- Low transfer fees ensure that you can manage your debt without overspending after the fact
- This card can help you get no interest on big purchases right when the card is opened, making it easier to manage these spends
- Because your intro APR could be in effect for quite some time, you may be caught off guard when you start accruing interest charges on purchases you made right when the card was opened
U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card
Suppose you need an extended period to pay off your large purchases or minimize lingering debt. In that case, the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card is your go-to credit card. This credit card offers a 0% introductory APR for up to 24 billing cycles — two full years of 0% interest, after which a variable APR takes effect.
Balance transfer fees apply and are either $5 or 3% of the transferred amount, whichever is greater. For instance, a $10,000 balance transfer will add $300 to your $10,000 balance. To fully benefit from the 0% intro APR, try to pay off all your balance before the introductory period ends. If you choose this card, you must understand that it offers zero or no frills or rewards unless you consider zero annual fees, free credit score alerts and cell phone protection coverage as rewards.
- The option to transfer balances is a good thing for many people who need to consolidate debt
- The intro APR period is extremely long, helping with pressing purchases
- Interest rates on this card may seem higher than you would prefer or as compared with competitors
- Cardholders need to be aware of when their intro APR will end and if they can afford to pay off purchases before interest rates kick in
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
- Regular APR
19.24% – 29.99% variable for purchases and balance transfers | See Rates & Fees 29.99% for cash advances.Rating:
*Terms apply ** Be advised that applicants who do not have a credit history in the U.S. but have had credit cards or loans in Australia, Brazil, Canada, the Dominican Republic, India, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, South Korea, Switzerland or the United Kingdom will need to provide a SSN or ITIN during the application process.
Suppose gas and groceries form a significant part of your daily budget, and you hate the idea of paying annual fees. In that case, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express is your best bet. It is a $0 annual fee card that offers excellent values for light spenders. For instance, the 3% cash back on purchases at a U.S. supermarket, capped at $6,000 annually, can earn you $180 cashback. Subsequently, you earn unlimited 1% on all other purchases.
Then, earn $200 back as a statement credit after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in the first 6 months of Card Membership.
This card offers a generous intro APR on purchases.
However, despite excellent rewards rates and bonus categories, this card lacks the flexibility and competitiveness of its bigger brother, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express — the ultimate gas and grocery cashback card. The upside is that by charging no annual fees, unlike Preferred® Card which charges a staggering $95 ($0 intro annual fee for the first year), the cash back you earn goes straight into your pocket.
If you spend up to $61 weekly on groceries in U.S. supermarkets using the Preferred Card, you’ll earn substantial cash back to offset its high annual fees and surpass the Blue Cash Everyday® Card on a similar budget.
- Because this card can provide you with several cash back rewards, the annual fee its not all that high, as compared with the competition
- Because you also can earn cashback on every purchase, there’s no need to try to align your spending with the card itself
- Not everyone uses the card enough to receive welcome bonus credits
My GM Rewards Card™
When you use the My GM Rewards Card™, you get a robust welcome bonus and collect points on your purchases that can go toward the lease or purchase of a GM vehicle. There’s no annual fee, and you can even use the card overseas with no foreign transaction fee.
Yes, there is a 0% intro APR that expires based on the issuer’s current guidelines, but it gives you time to earn rewards without paying interest.
This is the sort of card you use when you want to put your rewards towards your biggest goals in life. It can also help you if you’re planning on buying vehicles for your children or shuffling vehicles in your family and shopping with GM. Business owners might also do the same to earn rewards towards their business fleet vehicle purchases.
- While the card is designed to give you perks for your car or to help you pay into a new car, it still has all the regular perks that most credit card users get
- Using this card can actually help you keep your car in better condition by helping to pay for services, parts, repairs, etc.
- This card may not seem functional for you if you don’t drive a GM-branded car or do not use the card frequently
How Do 0% APR Credit Cards Work?
The interest rate on a credit card is the amount you pay for borrowing money on it. This rate is typically quoted as a yearly rate and, as such, referred to as the annual percentage rate or APR. If you pay your total balance on time every billing cycle (28 to 31 days depending on lenders), you needn’t worry about the interest rate.
However, when you carry a balance on your card, you automatically owe interest. You can calculate your credit card interest charges through simple math. For instance, suppose the APR on your card is 16.99%, and your average daily balance (ADB) for a 28-day billing cycle is $5,000. Calculate the interest rate as follows:
Calculate your daily rate => APR (16.99%) divided by 365 (days in a year) = 0.0465%
Multiply your daily rate by days in the billing cycle and your balance => 0.0465% * 28 * $5,000 = $65.10
Your monthly interest charge = $65.10
A 0% APR credit card offers the user zero interest for a specific period, typically 12 to 20 months. You’re not charged interest on a balance transfer or new purchases during this period. The implication is that you can leverage the grace period to consolidate your credit card debt with a balance transfer or finance new purchases without incurring interest charges. With balance transfer credit cards, there’s often a limit on the amount of debt you can transfer. This is typically less than your overall credit limit. In addition, you may be charged a transfer fee.
The Pros and Cons of 0% APR Credit Cards
How any credit card impacts you financially depends mainly on your usage. A balance transfer or 0% intro APR card can be a godsend when used responsibly. It can also jeopardize your finances and leave you with regrets when used the wrong way. Understanding each credit card’s underlying advantages and disadvantages is an excellent way to start when choosing a credit card. That way, you can avoid ending up worse off than you started financially. Look at some of the pros and cons of balance transfer cards.
- Saves you a considerable amount on interest
- Lowers your credit card monthly payment
- Helps you to reduce lingering debt
- Provides you with fantastic rewards, bonuses and perks
- Late payment can quickly torpedo your plans
- The new card may impact your credit score
- A balance transfer fee may apply to transferred debt
- Intro 0% APR doesn’t last forever
- You can become complacent because of zero interest
How to Pick the Best 0% APR Credit Card
A balance-transfer card is more beneficial when you understand and stick to the terms of its offer while working out repayment. Here are the things you need to know when picking a balance transfer card if you hope to enjoy its benefits:
Do your due diligence
Research the best 0% APR credit cards available in the market. Many such cards are available, so filter according to the length of the 0% APR, cashback, bonuses and perks. Usually, cards that offer some rewards in addition to a long zero-interest duration are ideal. However, if your interest is in balance transfer or paying for a new large purchase, focus on cards offering the most extended 0% APR duration and no rewards.
Read the card details
Familiarize yourself with every detail of your chosen 0% APR credit card. These include the APR expiration date, balance-transfer fees, timeline for completing the balance transfer and the interest rate once the intro period ends.
Work out payment plan
You need to create a repayment plan to enable you to pay up in time. Typically, what you need to pay monthly to have a zero balance at the end of the zero interest period depends on the duration of zero interest (0% APR) on your card. For instance, suppose you have a $5,250 balance on a Citi® Diamond Preferred® that offers a 0% APR for 21 months on balance transfers (17.99% to 28.74% variable APR after). In that case, you need to pay $250 monthly before the intro period ends. That is a $5,250 balance divided by 21 months of zero interest. This will vary for each card depending on the length of the 0% APR.
Ultimately pay off your balance
Clear all lingering new purchase balances or transferred debt before the 0% APR period ends or you’ll be hit with the regular purchase APR.
Frequently Asked Questions
What credit score do I need to get an intro 0% APR card?
Qualifying credit scores for most intro 0% APR cards range from good to excellent. If you have a fair credit score, you may not qualify.
What happens when the 0% intro APR ends?
Once the intro 0% APR ends, the regular APR applies for subsequent purchases or balance transfers, so it’s vital to pay off your balance before it ends.
What is a 0% Intro APR credit card?
A 0% intro APR is an interest rate offered to a card user within a specific period during which they’re not charged interest on new purchases or balances transfers.
What’s the difference between a balance transfer card and a 0% APR card?
Balance transfer implies moving high-interest debt from one or more credit accounts to another credit account (often referred to as a balance transfer credit card). This credit card has a low or 0% interest rate or APR. So, in a nutshell, the terms balance transfer card and 0% APR card are interchangeable. A 0% APR card is a tool for a balance transfer.