Credit cards can be a great addition to funding new purchases and consolidating old debts. Some of the best credit cards offer 0% interest on new purchases, credit transfers, or both for up to 20 months.
This can result in significant savings if you have a credit on a high-interest credit card that uses part of your payment for interest charges. It is financially smart to open an introductory 0% APR credit card if you use it responsibly.
What does 0% APR credit card mean?
A 0% APR credit card offers no interest for some time, typically 6 to 21 months. During the initial interest-free period, there is no interest on new purchases, balance transfers, or both (it all depends on the card). These cards can help you consolidate credit card debt by transferring funds to a credit transfer credit card or paying for new purchases over time with no interest.
0% APR vs. Deferred Rate Credit Cards
Although similar, 0% APR credit cards and deferred rate credit cards have different financial consequences. Financing costs are charged retrospectively. Offers with deferred interest are most commonly found on credit cards from shops. If you are signing up for a credit card that promises to not charge interest for some time, make sure it is a 0% APR card or interest deferral promotion. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently issued a notice urging retailers to clarify this distinction.
A CFPB study found that many consumers who do not pay back their balance on these types of loyalty cards have the means to do so. The study showed that once the deferred interest charges occurred, people paid the balance shortly after the promotional period.
According to CFPB, the funding fees surprise consumers. Store credit cards and medical credit cards don’t forego interest on your purchase like the 0% APR bank cards do, but put them aside or postpone them for later, but you won’t be billed for anything at least not at that moment.
If you have paid all of your balance at the end of the deferred interest rate, that’s fine. You don’t owe any interest. However, if you still owe money even if it is only 50 cents after the offer period expires, you will have to pay any accrued interest, which can be hundreds of dollars.
On the other hand, if you have a 0% APR card from a bank, no interest will be accrued during the promotional period. After the promotion period has expired, the normal interest rate will apply, but only from this date onwards.
Does 0% APR Affect Credit Score?
The interest rate on your credit card or the loan does not directly affect your creditworthiness; However, some loans or credit cards may offer you an annual percentage rate (APR) of 0% for some time, which means that the money you borrow will not earn any interest during that period.
This 0% APR won’t hurt your credit either, but it could put more money in your budget to pay off debts, which could improve your credit score.
What are the advantages of credit cards with 0% interest?
- You can avoid paying interest but be aware of when the 0% Interest offer ends so you don’t get into interest charges
- Credit Card Protection – If you buy a credit card, you can claim your money back if the merchant goes bankrupt or the products you buy do not meet your standards.
- Spread the Cost of Buying: If you don’t have a large upfront payment for an expensive item, you can spread the cost out in manageable amounts. Before you know it, you’ve paid back all the debts you owe.
What happens if the 0% interest introductory offer ends?
You can continue to use your credit card even after the 0% introductory period has expired, but any existing credit will earn interest and new purchases can be added to it. If you continue to repay the balance in full every month, you can continue to benefit from 0% interest.
When you want to transfer your balance to a new credit card at 0% interest, there is sometimes a debt transfer fee that is calculated as a percentage of the amount you transferred, usually around 3%.
Choosing a 0% introductory APR credit card
The best 0% interest credit cards offer 0% introductory APR rates that last for at least a year, giving you plenty of time to catch up on old debts or pay for a new purchase. These types of 0% APR offers don’t always extend to all borrowers. In general, you need good or excellent credit to qualify. So, be sure to check your creditworthiness before you apply and consider building your credit before taking advantage of any of these top deals. Before you choose a 0% introductory APR card, check not only the duration of the initial interest rate but also the APR that will be applied after the promotional period ends. After fund transfers during the 0% APR period, life can happen, so it is a good idea to be as prepared as possible.
The Best Credit Cards With 0% APR AND 0% Interest
Here, we’ve rounded up some of the best credit cards that are 0% interest for at least 15 months so you can maximize your savings.
Wells Fargo active cash card:
You get to earn a $ 200 cash bonus after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of Annual Percentage Rate; Funds transfers made within 120 days qualify for the introductory price and a 3% fee, then up to 5% BT fee minimum $ 5 and $0 annual fee. Cash rewards will not expire as long as your account is open.
BankAmericard® credit card:
There is an initial APR of 0% for 18 billing cycles for purchases and all credit transfers made within 60 days of account opening, and then the ongoing APR of 12.99%-22.99% variable APR.
Unlike many other prepaid transfer cards that are only available to people with excellent credit ratings, some applicants may qualify for this card with good credit ratings. The BankAmericard® credit card is a solid option for people who want to start with a longer period with no interest.
Citi® Diamond Preferred® card:
The long 0% period is the defining feature of this card that gives you over a year to reduce debt. The Citi® Diamond Preferred® card is all about the long initial 0% APR period.
Chase Freedom Unlimited®:
You get an introductory APR of 0% on purchases for 15 months, then the ongoing APR of 14.99%-23.74% variable APR. This card brings back 5 shillings on trips booked through Chase. New cardholders can also receive a cash bonus. Chase Freedom Unlimited® starts with a great start period of 0% APR (and a good bonus offer) and offers ongoing value with its cashback rewards.
Citi Simplicity® Card:
The card’s initial APR is some of the best on the market, but it is notable for the lack of late fees. But a warning to the forgetful, if you pay late, your creditworthiness could still suffer. The Citi Simplicity® Card offers a long 0% initial APR period for both purchases and transfers of funds, and there are no late fees or APR penalties.
Wells Fargo Platinum Card:
The Wells Fargo Platinum Card offers a generous introductory offer for eligible purchases and balance transfers that can be a great tool for paying off debt. This card also provides free access to your FICO® Score and the My Money Map online spending and budgeting system. If used responsibly, this card has the potential to be an extremely useful tool for managing your finances.
Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card:
The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card offers more than just introductory APR offers. You can also choose one of the six categories to earn 3 shillings while earning 2 shillings in grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $ 2,500 on combined purchases of 3% and 2 categories per quarter, then 1%), along with 1% on all other purchases.
This card offers a long 0% initial APR period if purchases and credit transfers are made within the first 60 days (13.99% – 23.99% variable annual percentage rate).
American Express’s Blue Cash Everyday® card:
American Express’s Blue Cash Everyday® card offers the opportunity to make money with family purchases while enjoying the benefits of a 0% initial APR. The card selects certain department stores that allow you to minimize some of the cost of your family’s food, clothing, and exercise.
This card offers no interest on purchases for 15 months (variable 13.99% 23.99% APR thereafter). The standout features are the premium rates in select Supermarkets, Gas Stations, and some of the costs to feed, clothe, and travel your family.
Bank of America® Unlimited Cash:
Bank of America customers who qualify for Preferred Rewards status have a variety of options when it comes to earning huge cash rewards with the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card. You get an inexpensive card with a decent fixed cashback rate.
Chase Freedom Flex℠:
This card has the strength to cover almost all of your credit card expenses without an outrageous price tag; the card has an annual fee of $ 0, but it has an inflated income structure that covers a wide range of expenses, including travel expenses.
Pharmacy and dining room as well as changing quarterly bonus categories in areas that many households are likely to find useful. Changing quarterly categories receive 5% rewards when activated, up to a combined quarterly maximum of USD 1,500 reward rate. It’s in a Travel competition with some of the best Premium Travel Cards with generous rewards rates in several other categories.
Chase Freedom Unlimited®:
A good overhead card that allows you to offset new purchases at 0% APR, pay no annual fee, and still get at least 1.5 refunds on all purchases. Earn a $ 200 bonus after spending $ 500 on purchases in the first 3 months Unlimited minimum earnings of 1.5% on cashback rewards.
Amex EveryDay® Credit Card:
If you’re looking for a solid introductory APR deal and are often spending in U.S. supermarkets, this is the card for you. You get the opportunity to earn a 20% bonus on all points earned, 2 Membership Rewards points per dollar up to $ 6,000 spent annually in US supermarkets (then 1 point per dollar). No annual fee.
HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card:
The HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card comes with a very long initial APR period of 0%, with no annual fee or APR penalty. Without a rewards program and a welcome bonus, this is a pure transfer of credit or a large shopping card, but the transfer fee of 4 balances makes it less attractive. No overseas transaction fees. Once every twelve months, late fees are waived. No penalty with 18 months 0% introductory APR followed by standard APR.
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card:
It’s ideal for low-maintenance cardholders. Not only can you finance new purchases with the card’s initial APR, but you also get unlimited cashback for the same flat rate, no matter where, when, or what you buy.
There are juggle card categories or it has an annual fee that lowers your savings. The fixed rate of cashback offers good long-term value and should provide a solid foundation. Their sign-up bonus offers an impressive 40% ROI, and spending requirements should be pretty easy to meet.
It’s also a good idea to think about long-term value. If you have a lot of debt, you can prioritize the duration of the introductory-APR offer, but if the difference between 12-18 months isn’t that important to you, consider the added values that comes with the 0% introductory APR offers, such as rewards, additional fees or benefits.