Best 0% APR Credit Cards of May 2021

Written by: Jeanine Skowronski | Edited by: Tracy Stewart | Reviewed by: Ted Rossman

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May 6, 2021

Our editorial team provides an unbiased analysis of the products we feature. Our comparison service is compensated by our partners, and may influence where or how products are featured on the site. Learn more about our partners and how we make money. Please note: The star-rating system on this page refers to reviews on the individual issuer’s website, rather than Creditcards.com reviews.

Using a credit card to pay down a balance over time can be convenient, but there is a trade-off: interest charges. You can think of interest as the fee you pay for borrowing money, usually expressed as a percentage of your balance. You can avoid interest entirely if you pay your balance in full each month.

With a zero interest credit card, you get the best of both worlds: the ability to split up payments over a certain amount of time without accruing interest charges. These credit cards will typically offer new cardholders a 0% introductory APR period – usually 12 months or longer – in which new purchases or even balance transfers made with their card do not accumulate any interest.

With the right zero interest card, you can save hundreds or more. Our experts have analyzed 1,002 different credit cards with a 0% introductory APR period and listed the best offers from our partners, making your decision that much easier. For more, check out our payoff calculator to estimate how much you could save with a zero-interest credit card.

Using a credit card to pay down a balance over time can be convenient, but there is a trade-off: interest charges. You can think of interest as the fee you pay for borrowing money, usually expressed as a percentage of your balance. You can avoid interest entirely if you pay your balance in full each month.

With a zero interest credit card, you get the best of both worlds: the ability to split up payments over a certain amount of time without accruing interest charges. These credit cards will typically offer new cardholders a 0% introductory APR period – usually 12 months or longer – in which new purchases or even balance transfers made with their card do not accumulate any interest.

With the right zero interest card, you can save hundreds or more. Our experts have analyzed 1,002 different credit cards with a 0% introductory APR period and listed the best offers from our partners, making your decision that much easier. For more, check out our payoff calculator to estimate how much you could save with a zero-interest credit card.

Best 0% APR Credit Cards of 2021

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card

Good to Excellent

Credit Recommended (670-850)

CreditCards.com credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.
Apply Now

Intro Bonus

$200
$200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening

At A Glance

0% Intro APR Purchase Period
0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases
0% Intro APR Balance Transfer Period
0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for any BTs made in the first 60 days. A 3% fee (min. $10) applies.
Regular APR
13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Good to Excellent

Credit Recommended (670-850)

CreditCards.com credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.
Apply Now

Intro Bonus

$200
Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

At A Glance

0% Intro APR Purchase Period
15 months
0% Intro APR Balance Transfer Period
Intro offer only applies to purchases
Regular APR
14.99% - 23.74% variable
Wells Fargo Platinum card

Good to Excellent

Credit Recommended (670-850)

CreditCards.com credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.
Apply Now

Intro Bonus

No current offer

At A Glance

0% Intro APR Purchase Period
0% intro APR for 18 months from account opening
0% Intro APR Balance Transfer Period
0% intro APR for 18 months on qualifying balance transfers
Regular APR
16.49% - 24.49% variable
Discover it® Cash Back

Good to Excellent

Credit Recommended (670-850)

CreditCards.com credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.
Apply Now

Intro Bonus

Cashback Match™
Intro Offer: Unlimited Cashback Match - only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year! There's no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.

At A Glance

0% Intro APR Purchase Period
14 months
0% Intro APR Balance Transfer Period
14 months
Regular APR
11.99% - 22.99% variable
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

Good to Excellent

Credit Recommended (670-850)

CreditCards.com credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.
Apply Now

Intro Bonus

$200
One-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening

At A Glance

0% Intro APR Purchase Period
15 months
0% Intro APR Balance Transfer Period
Intro offer only applies to purchases
Regular APR
15.49% - 25.49% variable
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply

Good to Excellent

Credit Recommended (670-850)

CreditCards.com credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.
Apply Now

Intro Bonus

Up to $250
Earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases on the Card in the first 6 months of Card membership, up to $150 back. Plus, earn $100 back after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months of card membership. You will receive cash back in the form of statement credits.

At A Glance

0% Intro APR Purchase Period
15 months
0% Intro APR Balance Transfer Period
Intro offer only applies to purchases
Regular APR
13.99% - 23.99% variable
BankAmericard® credit card

Good to Excellent

Credit Recommended (670-850)

CreditCards.com credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.
Apply Now

Intro Bonus

No current offer

At A Glance

0% Intro APR Purchase Period
0% Intro APR for 18 billing cycles for purchases
0% Intro APR Balance Transfer Period
0% Intro APR for 18 billing cycles for any BTs made in the first 60 days. A 3% fee (min. $10) applies.
Regular APR
12.99% - 22.99% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Good to Excellent

Credit Recommended (670-850)

CreditCards.com credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.
Apply Now

Intro Bonus

$200
Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening

At A Glance

0% Intro APR Purchase Period
15 months
0% Intro APR Balance Transfer Period
Intro offer only applies to purchases
Regular APR
15.49% - 25.49% variable
Citi® Double Cash Card

Good to Excellent

Credit Recommended (670-850)

CreditCards.com credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.
Apply Now

Intro Bonus

No current offer

At A Glance

0% Intro APR Purchase Period
Intro offer only applies to balance transfers
0% Intro APR Balance Transfer Period
18 months
Regular APR
13.99% - 23.99% (Variable)
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card

Good to Excellent

Credit Recommended (670-850)

CreditCards.com credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.
Apply Now

Intro Bonus

$150 cash rewards
Earn a $150 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 on purchases in the first 3 months

At A Glance

0% Intro APR Purchase Period
0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening
0% Intro APR Balance Transfer Period
0% intro APR for 15 months on qualifying balance transfers
Regular APR
14.49% - 24.99% variable
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply

Good to Excellent

Credit Recommended (670-850)

CreditCards.com credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.
Apply Now

Intro Bonus

Up to $350
Earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases on the Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership, up to $200 back. Plus, earn $150 back after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership. You will receive cash back in the form of statement credits.

At A Glance

0% Intro APR Purchase Period
12 months
0% Intro APR Balance Transfer Period
Intro offer only applies to purchases
Regular APR
13.99% - 23.99% variable

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Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by CreditCards.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the bank's website for the most current information.

All information about the Navy Federal Credit Union Platinum card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com. The issuer did not provide the content, nor is it responsible for its accuracy.


A guide to zero interest credit cards

Zero interest credit cards let cardholders skip paying an annual percentage rate on purchases, balance transfers or both for a set period of time. You’ll still have to make at least your minimum payments each month, and your APR will change once the 0% introductory APR period expires. Still, these cards can save you thousands of dollars in interest and help you pay back balances faster. The best zero interest credit cards tout long promotional APR periods, usually between 14 to 20 months, and provide value, usually in the form of a competitive interest rate or rewards program, once their intro APR has expired. Here, we look at:


best 0 apr credit cards

Editor’s picks: Best zero interest credit card details

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card: Best for balance transfer

Overview: If paying off debt is your top priority and you have good to excellent credit, the Citi Diamond Preferred Card could be a lifesaver. The card comes with an extremely long introductory APR offer: 0% for 18 months on balance transfers completed within the first 4 months and purchases, after which your APR is a relatively low 14.74% to 24.74% (variable).

Pros: There’s no annual fee. Plus, cardholders do enjoy certain Citi benefits, including Citi Entertainment, Citi Easy Deals and Citi Flex Plan.

Cons: The lack of a base rewards program limits this card’s long-term value. There’s a balance transfer fee of 3% of your balance or $5, whichever is higher.

Who should consider this card? Someone looking for a long intro APR on balance transfers who is worried they might be enticed to overspend if their new card offers cash back, points or miles.

Read our full Citi Diamond Preferred Card review..

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card: Best for flexible cash back categories

Overview: New cardholders can take advantage of a 0% introductory APR on purchases and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days for 15 billing cycles (after that it’s 13.99% to 23.99% variable).

Pros: Choose one of 6 valuable categories each calendar month for 3% cash back: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores or home improvement/furnishings. Plus, you’ll also earn 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter, then earn 1%).

Cons: Keep in mind that any balance transfers will be subject to a fee of 3% ($10 minimum).

Who should consider this card? Someone looking for an intro APR on purchases or balance transfers who is also looking for a cash back credit card that offers bonus rewards on everyday spending, once they’ve paid their balances down.

Read our full Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card review.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®: Best for 0% intro APR with rewards

Overview: You can get 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases, then it’s 14.99% to 23.74% variable.

Pros: Cardholders receive 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 5% cash back on Lyft purchases (through March 2022); 3% cash back on dining and drugstore purchases; and 1.5% cash back on general purchases. The sign-up bonus on this card is $200 after a low $500 spend within the first 3 months.

Cons: There’s no 0% intro APR offer on balance transfers.

Who should consider this card? Someone looking for an intro APR on purchases who is also hoping to secure a competitive sign-up bonus. (Note: Remember to pay any balances off in full before the introductory period expires. Otherwise, you’ll ultimately lose those bonus rewards to interest).

Read our full Chase Freedom Unlimited review.

Wells Fargo Platinum card: Best for long 0% introductory APR period

Overview: The Wells Fargo Platinum boasts an impressive 18-month-from-account-opening introductory APR period for both purchases and qualifying balance transfers (then 16.49% to 24.49% variable APR). If you’re looking to maximize the amount of time you can avoid interest charges, this is one of the best offers on the market.

Pros: The card carries no annual fee.

Cons: There is a tradeoff if you’re going to transfer a balance: a fee of 3% or $5 (whichever is greater) for transfers made within the first 120 days from account opening, then up to 5% after that ($5 minimum). Also, there is no rewards program, so the long-term value of this card is limited.

Who should consider this card? Someone looking for a long intro APR on purchases and qualified balance transfers, given this card touts one of the longest offers currently available. (Just be sure to make any balance transfers in that 120-day window.)

Read our full Wells Fargo Platinum card review.

Discover it® Cash Back: Best for rotating category rewards

Overview: One of the best rewards credit cards on the market, the Discover it Cash Back also touts a 0% intro APR for 14 months on new purchases and balance transfers (11.99% to 22.99% variable after that).

Pros: You earn 5% cash back on the first $1,500 you spend in rotating bonus categories each quarter (upon activation, then 1%) and Discover matches your cash back at the end of your first year. The Q2 2021 categories include gas stations, select streaming services and wholesale clubs.

Cons: There is a 3% intro balance transfer fee (up to 5% fee on future balance transfers).

Who should consider this card? Someone looking for a credit card with well-rounded benefits, including an intro APR on purchases or balance transfers, a potentially low go-to APR and a competitive cash back rewards program.

Read our full Discover it Cash Back review.

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card: Best for no annual fee

Overview: This no annual fee card has a decent 0% intro APR on purchases of 15 months, which means you pay off purchases without paying interest throughout 2021; it’s 15.49% to 25.49% variable after that.

Pros: Cardholders earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases. They can also earn $200 after a $500 spend within the first 3 months.

Cons: There’s no 0% intro APR on balance transfers.

Who should consider this card? Someone looking for an intro APR offer on purchases who ultimately wants to earn cash back without having to think too hard about their card’s rewards program.

Read our full Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card review.

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express: Best for good credit

Overview: There’s a 0% intro APR on purchases (15 months, then 13.99% to 23.99% variable).

Pros: You’ll enjoy an impressive cash back rewards program for no annual fee. That includes 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%); 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores; and 1% cash back on general purchases. Cardholders can also earn a $100 statement credit when they spend $2,000 in their first 6 months of card membership and earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases on the card within the first 6 months, up to $150 back.

Cons: There is no 0% intro APR balance transfer offer.

Who should consider this card? Someone with good credit who is about to make a large purchase they’ll need some time to pay off and ultimately wants to earn rewards on everyday expenses.

Read our full Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express review.

BankAmericard® credit card: Best for low ongoing APR

Overview: With this card, you’ll have 18 billing cycles to take advantage of a 0% introductory APR on both balance transfers made within the first 60 days and purchases. After that, your regular APR ranges from 12.99% to 22.99% variable.

Pros: The low regular APR and lack of an annual fee make this card more valuable than the average 0% APR card.

Cons: The balance transfer fee is a standard 3%, with a $10 minimum.

Who should consider this card? Someone who is looking to avoid rewards on their intro APR card, so they can focus on paying down a balance transfer or large purchase. (Be sure, too, you can make any applicable balance transfers within your first 60 days.) This card is also potentially a fit for someone with good credit who is hoping for a low(ish) go-to APR once the intro period expires.

Read our full BankAmericard credit card review.

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card: Best for dining purchases

Overview: There’s a 0% intro APR offer on purchases for 15 months (then it’s 15.49% to 25.49% variable).

Pros: The SavorOne offers 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, as well as 2% cash back at grocery stores. It’s 1% cash back on everything else. You can also earn $200 if you spend $500 in your first 3 months. There is no annual fee.

Cons: There is no zero percent introductory APR for balance transfers.

Who should consider this card? Foodies looking for an intro APR on purchases who ultimately want to earn rewards on dining, entertainment and at grocery stores.

Read our full Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card review.

Citi® Double Cash Card: Best for cash back

Overview: You’ll pay 0% interest for the first 18 months on balance transfers, after which the APR is 13.99% to 23.99% (variable).

Pros: One of our favorite flat-rate cash back cards, the Citi Double Cash Card offers 1% cash back on general purchases and 1% cash back as you pay those purchases back. There’s no annual fee.

Cons: The balance transfer fee for new cardmembers is either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater. There is no 0% intro APR offer for purchases.

Who should consider this card? Someone looking for a credit card that could bolster their financial health via a long balance transfer offer and encourage long-term responsible spending habits, given the card rewards paying down your balances.

Read our full Citi Double Cash Card review.

Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card: Best for digital wallet purchase rewards

Overview: There’s a 15-month introductory APR period from account opening for purchases and qualifying balance transfers made within the first 120 days (14.49% to 24.99% variable APR thereafter).

Pros: The card keeps its value long after that intro APR period ends, offering 1.5% cash rewards on purchases. Plus, you’ll earn a boosted rate of 1.8% cash rewards on digital wallet purchases for the first 12 months if you use the card to pay through Google Pay™ or Apple Pay®.

Cons: There’s an intro balance transfer fee of 3% or $5 (whichever is greater) for 120 days from account opening, then up to 5% ($5 minimum).

Who should consider this card? Digital wallet adopters who are looking for an introductory APR on purchases or qualifying balance transfers made within their first 120 days from account opening.

Read our full Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa card review.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express: Best for supermarket shoppers

Overview: This popular rewards credit card from American Express offers best-in-class cash back at U.S. supermarkets (6% cash back on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%) and touts a competitive 12-month 0% introductory APR on purchases (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable).

Pros: In addition to the bonus cash back at U.S. supermarkets, cardholders receive 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit, and 1% cash back on other purchases. You also earn a $150 statement credit after you make $3,000 in purchases within your first 6 months of card membership and earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases on the card within the first 6 months, up to $200 back.

Cons: There’s a $95 annual fee, waived the first year, so make sure you spend enough to recoup that cost via the rewards long term. (Learn how to determine if the Blue Cash Preferred or the Blue Cash Everyday is right for you.)

Who should consider this card? Someone looking for a promotional APR on purchases who spends a lot at U.S. supermarkets and can justify the card’s annual fee.

Read our full Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express review.

Comparing the best 0% intro APR credit cards

Credit cardBest for:0% intro APRRegular APRCreditCards.com Rating
Citi® Diamond Preferred® CardBalance transfer18 months On balance transfers completed within the first 4 months and new purchases 14.74% – 24.74% Variable3.9 / 5
Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit cardFlexible cash back categories15 billing cycles On balance transfers made in the first 60 days and new purchases. A 3% fee (minimum $10) applies to all balance transfers. 13.99% – 23.99% Variable4.0 / 5
Chase Freedom Unlimited®0% intro APR and rewards15 months On purchases 14.99% – 23.74% Variable4.7 / 5
Wells Fargo Platinum cardLong 0% intro APR period18 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers 16.49% – 24.49% Variable4.4 / 5
Discover it® Cash BackRotating category rewards14 months On balance transfers and new purchases 11.99% – 22.99% Variable4.3 / 5
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit CardNo annual fee15 months On new purchases 15.49% – 25.49% Variable3.5 / 5
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American ExpressGood credit15 months On new purchases 13.99% – 23.99% Variable3.5 / 5
BankAmericard® credit cardOngoing low APR18 billing cycles On balance transfers made in the first 60 days and new purchases. A 3% fee (minimum $10) applies to all balance transfers 12.99% – 22.99% Variable3.9 / 5
Citi® Double Cash CardCash back18 months On balance transfers 13.99% – 23.99% Variable3.7 / 5
Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card reviewDining purchases15 months On new purchases 15.49% – 25.49% Variable3.7 / 5
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® cardDigital wallet purchases15 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers 14.49% – 24.99% Variable3.8 / 5
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American ExpressSupermarket shoppers12 months On new purchases 13.99% – 23.99% Variable3.2 / 5

How we picked the best 0% intro APR credit cards

Research methodology: We analyzed over 1,000 zero interest intro APR credit cards to identify some of the best offers on the market. The major factors we considered were:

  • 0% intro APR period for purchases: Does the card allow you to skip interest charges of purchases for a set period of time? If so, how long does the offer last?
  • 0% intro APR period for balance transfers: Does the card allow you to skip interest charges on a balance transfer for a set period of time? If so, how long does the offer last?
  • Regular APRs: After the introductory period expires, are the purchase APRs and/or balance transfer APRs reasonable, relative to the current industry average?
  • Balance transfer fee: Do you have to pay a fee to transfer a balance onto the new card and take advantage of the zero percent offer? If so, is the fee reasonable relative to the industry standard?
  • Overall card value: Does the card offer benefits once the introductory 0% APR offer ends? For no-frills cards, we considered whether continued use would cost cardholders an annual fee.

Other criteria used include other rates and fees, rewards rates, extra benefits and features, customer service, credit needed, ease of application and security features.

What are zero interest credit cards?

Every credit card comes with an APR, also known as an interest rate, which is usually expressed as a percentage. APR stands for annual percentage rate and is essentially the cost of using the credit card to borrow money. The lower the interest rate, the less interest you will pay.

If you pay your credit card bill in full each month, you won’t pay any interest charges. But that’s an ideal situation. In fact, according to a recent CreditCards.com survey, just over half of all U.S. adults (51%) added to their credit card debt during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A 0% interest credit card allows you to use the card without accumulating interest for a set amount of time. Some cards even offer a 0% intro APR period for debt you transfer from a different card, too, which can be a saving grace for those who are overwhelmed by an existing credit card balance. Zero interest cards usually require good or excellent credit and often have no annual fee. Keep in mind, you must still make your minimum monthly payments during the 0% intro APR period. Otherwise, the issuer will report a missed payment to the credit bureaus and the account will ultimately go into default.

How do 0% interest credit cards work?

Each zero percent introductory offer is different, but there are a few nuances that you should be familiar with when evaluating each one.

  • Zero percent intro offers are usually only for new applicants. If you’ve already had the card for years when you find out about the 0% intro offer, chances are you won’t qualify. Another situation that usually makes one ineligible for a 0% intro APR offer is completing a product change. Say you call your card issuer and ask to trade your card for a different one without closing your account. Even if the card is new to you, your account wouldn’t be considered new.
  • Some zero percent intro offers are only for balance transfers. With balance transfers, the 0% intro APR offer is usually only valid for balance transfers made within a short period of time after you open the account, such as 60 days. Sometimes you can transfer balances from multiple cards. You’ll usually have to pay a fee for transferring a balance, something like 3% to 5% of the transfer amount. If you still have a balance when the intro APR period is over, the ongoing APR will apply to whatever the current balance is.
  • Some zero percent intro offers are only for purchases. You can carry a balance from month to month without accumulating any interest until your intro period is over. Once that period ends, any balance remaining on your card will accrue interest. As a reminder, you must still make at least your monthly minimum payments during the intro period.

How do I choose a credit card with no interest?

When looking for an intro 0% interest card, you’ll have options – according to our January 2021 survey, there were 36 cards offering a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. But how do you choose one? Start by considering these factors.

  • Credit score: The bulk of cards with high-quality balance transfer and purchase offers require good or excellent credit. There are exceptions, but the offers may not include a term with 0% or they may have a short offer. For example, the Discover it® Student Cash Back offers 0% intro APR for 6 months on purchases and 10.99% for 6 months on balance transfers (then it’s 12.99%-21.99% variable).
  • Balance transfer fee: Most cards that allow balance transfers charge a fee, which is usually 3% or a set dollar amount, whichever is greater. A precious few cards sometimes waive this fee, which can save you hundreds of dollars, depending on your balance. But there’s a tradeoff, because you may not get rewards or a lengthy offer. For example, the Navy Federal Credit Union Platinum card offers no balance transfer fee but no rewards to speak of.
  • Length of offer: When you are looking for rewards in an intro 0% credit card, the zero percent offer is often lower than a card that exclusively offers an introductory 0% on balance transfers and/or purchases. An exception is the Citi® Double Cash Card, which has strong rewards, as well as an 18-month 0% intro APR offer on balance transfers (then it’s 13.99%-23.99% variable).
  • Annual fee: Most cards with a 0% intro offer have no annual fee, although there are a few that do, so check before committing. For example, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express has a 12-month 0% intro APR offer on purchases (then it’s 13.99%-23.99% variable) and a $95 annual fee, although it is waived in the first year.

How does your credit score affects your interest rate?

Not only does your credit score impact whether you get credit, your score affects what interest rate you get. This is true of all types of credit, including mortgages, car loans and credit cards.

For credit cards in the U.S., the interest rate is usually a variable, typically the prime rate plus a margin of, for example, 10.99%. That’s where your credit score comes in.

Your credit card issuer will look at your application and your credit score to decide where on that variable range your interest rate will land. For example, the range may be 11.99%-22.99% variable APR, and because you have excellent credit and a solid income, you are granted a lower interest rate of say, 12.99%. Have a credit report that shows some missed payments? The interest rate you are assigned will likely be on the higher end.

How to make the most of your zero interest intro APR

Transfer existing, high-interest debt

Chipping away at credit card debt is a good thing, but it’s even better to do so without paying interest charges.

For example, say you’re currently carrying a $2,000 balance on a credit card with a 16% APR and you’re making $60 monthly payments. You can expect to pay that balance off in 45 months and pay $662.73 in total interest. Were you to transfer your balance to, say, the BankAmericard® credit card, which offers an 0% Intro APR for 18 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days at 3% fee (min. $10), you could expect to pay that balance off in 37 months and pay $212.51 in interest**. That means you’ll pay the balance back 8 months sooner and save $450.22 in interest.

Our balance transfer calculator can help you determine how much you could save by transferring your current balance to various cards with a 0% intro APR.

Plan large purchases ahead of time

Do you have a home improvement project on the horizon? What about a car repair, or even a vacation? If you have a large purchase planned, taking advantage of a 0% intro purchase APR offer can reduce some of the financial strain.

Using our balance transfer calculator, if you were to charge $3,000 in car repairs to a credit card with an 18% APR on purchases and pay those repairs off in $500 monthly increments, you would pay $168.04 in interest over 7 months. But if you charged those repairs to a credit card with a 0% introductory offer for at least 6 months, you could skip interest entirely and pay your balance off one month earlier.

Make sure your balance is as close to zero as possible when the intro period ends

Any balance that you still owe at the end of your 0% intro period will be subject to interest charges, even if you made the purchases before the intro period ended. For that reason, you should be hyper-aware of when that period ends.

For instance, let’s say you charged $5,000 to a zero percent interest credit card, but are only able to pay off $2,000 before the 0% introductory offer expires. If that card then carries a 22% APR and you start making $500 monthly payments, it’ll take you another 7 months to pay off the balance and you’ll pay $208.34 in interest.

* *All calculations were obtained using our balance transfer calculator.

How to reduce your interest costs

All good things must come to an end, and that includes 0% introductory APR periods. When that time comes, your credit card balance will be subject to interest charges, which can add up quickly if you’re not careful. Let’s look now at how to minimize your interest costs.

  • Don’t carry a balance over to the next month. The best way to avoid interest charges is to pay your balance in full and on time each month. Not only will you avoid interest charges, but you’ll also give your credit score a boost.
  • Pay more each month. By paying just $100 more each month toward your balance, you can dramatically lower how long it takes to pay off the debt, as well as the total you pay in interest.
  • Ask for a lower rate. We’ve found that by picking up the phone and calling, you have a fair shot of getting your issuer to lower the rate.

Further reading: Guide to lowering your credit card interest rate

Alternatives to 0% APR credit cards

If you’re looking to pay down a balance over time while minimizing interest charges, a 0% intro APR card is one of the best ways to do so. But there are shortfalls, like the fact that you usually need good to excellent credit to qualify. Here are a few similar options for those looking to pay minimal interest.

  • Bad credit? Consider transferring a balance to a card with no intro APR. Not all balance transfer cards offer introductory 0% interest periods. If you’ve got bad credit, you might have a better shot at approval for a balance transfer card with no introductory APR offer. If you can find a card with a better APR, you may still be able to save money by transferring a balance, even without the introductory period.
  • Look for a low interest credit card. While a 0% intro APR period is nice, the ongoing interest rate is important in the long term. If you might carry a balance in the future, a low interest card can save you money.
  • Negotiate a lower APR with your current issuer. Some credit card issuers may lower your APR if you make a good case for why you need it. Citing the current financial hardship you’re experiencing, as well as a positive history of on-time payments, will help your case. Read our full guide to lowering your credit card interest rate for step-by-step help.

Further reading: Guide to doing a balance transfer with bad credit


Frequently Asked Questions