The primary benefit of a 0% APR credit card is the introductory 0% APR interest rate. This rate is available anywhere from 6 to 18 months or more from when the credit card account is opened. Depending on the card offer, it will be applied to new purchases, balance transfers or both. Compare 0% credit cards from our partners and apply online.
A credit card with an introductory 0 percent APR is one of the best deals in personal finance. It's also one of the most important to manage properly.
Used wisely, you can pay for large purchases or pay down existing credit card debt over time with bite-sized, interest-free monthly payments. Used poorly, however, and you'll find yourself making interest payments on a balance sooner than you expected.
The trick in taking advantage of these credit card offers successfully is to remember two things: They're temporary and conditional.
At heart, a 0 percent interest rate is only a promotion, offered to new cardholders during an introductory period of anywhere from six months to 18 months, in general. Afterward, the interest rate will kick in on any remaining balance.
Also, the interest-free promotion is conditional on good behavior -- being consistent in making your monthly payments on time. If you're late, the interest-free period can expire prematurely and you'll be faced with unexpected interest payments. Be sure to understand exactly how much and by when you need to make payments to take full advantage of the 0 percent offer.
The first step in choosing a 0 percent APR credit card is to look at the offer carefully, and also look beyond the promotion. First, check how long the introductory rate (sometimes called the "intro rate" or "teaser rate") will last. Then, know your "go-to rate" -- the rate after the introductory period. You want the longest possible introductory period and the lowest possible go-to rate.
If you plan to transfer an existing credit card balance to the new card, ask about balance transfer fees, which generally run 3 to 5 percent of the balance transferred. It used to be common for balance transfer fees to be capped, but that has become a rarity in today's market.
Finally, consider the benefits of using card, such as the potential to earn free airline miles, cash back or savings on merchandise.
Once you own the card, be sure to plan ahead before making any large purchase. (Remember, you want to pay off your balance before the introductory period ends). Use a debt payoff calculator to see how much you'll need to pay each month on your balance to retire the debt before the introductory period ends -- and be sure you can afford it. Since paying on time is so critical, also consider setting up automatic monthly payments on your balance to avoid being late. Interest-free borrowing is a great deal for both first-time and existing cardholders. Just proceed carefully.
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* See the online 0% APR credit card applications for details about terms and conditions of offer. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. When you click on the " Apply Now" button you can review the credit card terms and conditions on the credit card issuer's web site.