0% Intro APR Credit Cards

These cards offer an outstanding 0% intro APR on purchases, balance transfers, or both. This can help you finally get your hands on that big-ticket item you’ve been eyeing, or manage debt by transferring an existing balance. Our experts have analyzed 1,002 different credit card offers with a 0% introductory APR period and listed the 10 best no interest offers from our partners to suit different spending habits.

See the best 0% intro APR offers from our partners below.

Summary

Best 0% APR Credit Cards of 2019

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

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.
at American Express's Secure Site

At A Glance

0% Intro APR Purchase Period
15 months
0% Intro APR Balance Transfer Period
15 months
Regular APR
15.24% - 26.24% variable

See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply

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Highlights

  • $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%).
  • 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores, 1% back on other purchases.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 15.24% to 26.24%.
  • Over 1.5 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2017.
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, and merchandise.
  • No annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Rates & Fees

Annual Fee
$0
Intro Purchase APR
0% on Purchases for 15 months
Regular APR
15.24%-26.24% Variable
Intro Balance Transfers APR
0% on Balance Transfers for 15 months

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Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

6,162 Reviews

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.
at Capital One's Secure Site

At A Glance

0% Intro APR Purchase Period
12 months
0% Intro APR Balance Transfer Period
Intro offer only applies to purchases
Regular APR
14.24% - 24.24% variable

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Highlights

  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
  • Earn 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day and pay no annual fee. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels, through January 2020; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Enjoy a low intro APR on purchases for 12 months; 14.24%-24.24% variable APR after that
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn

Rates & Fees

Annual Fee
$0
Intro Purchase APR
0% intro on purchases for 12 months
Regular APR
14.24% - 24.24% (Variable)
Intro Balance Transfers APR
N/A

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Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard®

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.
at Barclays's Secure Site

At A Glance

0% Intro APR Purchase Period
Intro offer only applies to balance transfers
0% Intro APR Balance Transfer Period
15 months
Regular APR
14.24% variable

See Rates & Fees

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Highlights

  • Enjoy a 0% intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable 14.24% APR will apply
  • Low 14.24% variable APR on purchases and cash advances
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • International Chip and PIN

Rates & Fees

Annual Fee
$0
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Regular APR
14.24% Variable
Intro Balance Transfers APR
See Terms

View All Card Details

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Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card

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.
at Wells Fargo's Secure Site

At A Glance

0% Intro APR Purchase Period
12 months
0% Intro APR Balance Transfer Period
12 months
Regular APR
16.24% - 28.24% variable

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Highlights

  • Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on purchases
  • Enjoy 1.8% cash rewards on qualified mobile wallet purchases, like Apple Pay® or Google Pay™, during the first 12 months from account opening
  • No category restrictions or sign ups and cash rewards don't expire as long as your account remains open
  • Get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card
  • 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers (fees apply), then a 16.24%-28.24% variable APR; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate and fee
  • $0 Annual Fee
  • Select "Apply Now" to learn more about the product features, terms, and conditions

Rates & Fees

Annual Fee
$0
Intro Purchase APR
0% for 12 months
Regular APR
16.24%-28.24% (Variable)
Intro Balance Transfers APR
0% for 12 months

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Chase Freedom®

Chase Freedom®

14,756 Reviews

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.
at Chase's Secure Site

At A Glance

0% Intro APR Purchase Period
15 months
0% Intro APR Balance Transfer Period
15 months
Regular APR
17.24% - 25.99% variable

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Highlights

  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 17.24-25.99%. Balance transfer fee is 3% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
  • No annual fee

Rates & Fees

Annual Fee
$0
Intro Purchase APR
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
Regular APR
17.24% - 25.99% Variable
Intro Balance Transfers APR
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months

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HSBC Gold Mastercard® 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.
at HSBC's Secure Site

At A Glance

0% Intro APR Purchase Period
18 months
0% Intro APR Balance Transfer Period
18 months
Regular APR
Variable APR of 13.24%, 17.24% or 21.24% will apply after the Introductory Period

See Rates & Fees

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Highlights

  • 0% Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 18 months from account opening. Then a variable APR of 13.24%, 17.24% or 21.24% will apply.
  • No Penalty APR.
  • Late Fee Waiver.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $0 Annual Fee.
  • $0 liability for unauthorized purchases.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

Rates & Fees

Annual Fee
$0
Intro Purchase APR
0% Introductory APR on credit card purchases for the first 18 months from account opening
Regular APR
Variable APR of 13.24%, 17.24% or 21.24% will apply after the Introductory Period
Intro Balance Transfers APR
0% Introductory APR on balance transfers for the first 18 months from account opening

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Discover it® Miles

Discover it® Miles

322 Reviews

See Rates & Fees

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.
at Discover's Secure Site

At A Glance

0% Intro APR Purchase Period
14 months
0% Intro APR Balance Transfer Period
Intro offer only applies to purchases
Regular APR
14.24% - 25.24% variable

See Rates & Fees

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Highlights

  • Intro Offer: Discover will match all the Miles you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. For example, if you earn 30,000 Miles, you get 60,000 Miles. That's $600 towards travel!
  • Earn unlimited 1.5x Miles for every dollar spent on all purchases all with no annual fee.
  • No Blackout Dates – fly any airline, stay at any hotel.
  • Redeem your Miles as a statement credit towards travel purchases.
  • Freeze your account in seconds with an on/off switch either on the mobile app or website to prevent new purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Receive Free Social Security number alerts— Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
  • No Annual Fee.

Rates & Fees

Annual Fee
$0
Intro Purchase APR
0% for 14 months
Regular APR
14.24% - 25.24% Variable
Intro Balance Transfers APR
10.99% for 14 months

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Discover it® Balance Transfer

Discover it® Balance Transfer

26,257 Reviews

See Rates & Fees

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.
at Discover's Secure Site

At A Glance

0% Intro APR Purchase Period
6 months
0% Intro APR Balance Transfer Period
18 months
Regular APR
14.24% - 25.24% variable

See Rates & Fees

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Highlights

  • Intro Offer: Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • 100% U.S. based customer service.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Receive Free Social Security number alerts— Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
  • No annual fee.

Rates & Fees

Annual Fee
$0
Intro Purchase APR
0% for 6 months
Regular APR
14.24% - 25.24% Variable
Intro Balance Transfers APR
0% for 18 months

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American Express Cash Magnet™ Card

American Express Cash Magnet™ Card

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.
at American Express's Secure Site

At A Glance

0% Intro APR Purchase Period
15 months
0% Intro APR Balance Transfer Period
15 months
Regular APR
15.24% - 26.24% variable

See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply

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Highlights

  • Earn a $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 or more in purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Unlimited 1.5% Cash Back on your purchases.
  • No Annual Fee.
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, and merchandise.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 15.24% to 26.24%.
  • $0 plan fees for plans set up during your first 15 months of Card Membership with Plan It®, a feature that lets you split up big purchases into monthly payments with a fixed fee.
  • Over 1.5 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2017.
  • Terms Apply.

Rates & Fees

Annual Fee
$0
Intro Purchase APR
0% on purchases for 15 months
Regular APR
15.24%-26.24% Variable
Intro Balance Transfers APR
0% on balance transfers for 15 months

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HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard® 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.
at HSBC's Secure Site

At A Glance

0% Intro APR Purchase Period
Intro offer only applies to balance transfers
0% Intro APR Balance Transfer Period
15 months
Regular APR
Variable APR of 15.24%, 19.24% or 25.24% will be applied

See Rates & Fees

Show Less

Highlights

  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on all purchases.
  • Earn a $150 cash rewards intro bonus after spending $2,500 in the first 3 months.
  • 10% Anniversary Bonus on all Cash Rewards earned once a year.
  • No Annual Fee.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers, then a 15.24%, 19.24% or 25.24% variable APR.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $0 liability for unauthorized purchases.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

Rates & Fees

Annual Fee
$0
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Regular APR
Variable APR of 15.24%, 19.24% or 25.24% will be applied
Intro Balance Transfers APR
0% Introductory APR on balance transfers for the first 15 months from account opening

View All Card Details

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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.


Comparing Zero Interest Credit Card Offers

Updated: February 14, 2019

The best of us get into trouble with our credit cards. We might have had back-breaking medical bills. Or the car broke down again. The fact is, while credit cards are partly for convenience, sometimes they can seem rather inconvenient because of a steep balance.

One of our surveys shows that amongst those who don’t have a plan to tackle their credit card debt, though, 42% gave this as their reason: "I just don’t know where to start."

That's where 0% intro APR offers come in. While not a cure-all, a card with a 0% APR offer on purchases, balance transfers or both can help pull you up out of ever-building debt by halting the interest charges that come with carrying a balance. But these offers aren't forever – they can range from 6 months to as high as 18 months or longer, depending on the card. For example, the Citi Simplicity® Card and Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Card are well known for their long introductory periods.

To make the offer work for you, you need to figure out how you got into this situation; plan your way out of the debt by figuring out how many months it will take you to pay it off; and take steps to avoid this situation again. But, we're here to help. We evaluated over 1,000 credit cards with a 0% intro APR offer and calculated the estimated savings of each offer and the other benefits for each card. Below are our top picks for the best zero interest credit cards along with other helpful information on choosing the card right for you and avoiding interest payments. Here, we look at:

To understand how a 0% APR offer can work for you, read on.


best 0 apr credit cards

CreditCards.com's Best 0% Intro APR Credit Cards of 2019

These are our favorite credit cards that offer lengthy 0% intro APR offers on either purchases or balance transfers. Many of them also have great rewards, like the Chase Freedom Unlimited, which offers a 15 month interest free intro period and 1.5% cash back on all purchases.

Credit CardBest For:0% APR - Balance Transfers0% APR - PurchasesRegular APRCreditCards.com Rating
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit CardNo annual fee15 months15 months15.24% - 25.24% Variable4.0 / 5
Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® CardLong 0% intro APR period18 months18 months17.74% - 27.24% Variable4.4 / 5
Chase Freedom Unlimited®Flat-rate cash back15 months15 months17.24% - 25.99% Variable3.1 / 5
Discover it® Cash BackCash back match14 months14 months14.24% - 25.24% Variable3.9 / 5
BankAmericard® credit cardFree access to FICO score18 billing cycles*18 billing cycles15.24% - 25.24% Variable3.9 / 5
U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum CardLow regular APR18 billing cycles18 billing cycles14.74% - 25.74% Variable4.4 / 5
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® CardTravel purchases12 months12 months14.74% - 27.24% Variable3.5 / 5
Citi Rewards+SM CardSign-up bonus12 months12 months15.74% - 25.74% Variable3.0 / 5
Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit cardFlexible rewards12 billing cycles12 billing cycles16.24% - 26.24% Variable2.4 / 5
Citi Simplicity® CardNo late fees21 months12 months16.24% - 26.24% Variable3.7 / 5

*for balance transfers made in the first 60 days

Research methodology

0% intro APR credit cards analyzed: 1,002

Criteria used: 0% intro APR period for purchases, 0% intro APR period for balance transfers, balance transfer fee, regular APR, other rates and fees, rewards rates, extra benefits and features, customer service, credit needed, ease of application, security

What are 0% APR credit cards and what does 0% intro APR mean?

Here's a shocker: Two-thirds of consumers we polled said they had never applied for a credit card to pay 0% on a new purchase. Yet, used correctly, they are a great way to defer paying off debt temporarily while paying no interest.

Have you ever applied for a credit card to pay 0% on a new purchase?...

  •  26%
  • Yes, and I got the 0% APR card
  •  7%
  • Yes, but I wasn't approved
  •  45%
  • No, I've never applied for a 0% card
  •  23%
  • No, I didn't know 0% APR cards existed
  • Source: CreditCards.com balance transfer card survey

What are 0% APR credit cards?

A 0% intro APR card is a product that offers no interest for a set amount of time, sometimes up to 18 months or longer. These are great cards for paying off a card balance (or two) without incurring more interest charges. They are also good for consolidating debt into a single payment. These cards can sometimes offer 0% APR on purchases for a limited time.

What does 0% intro APR mean?

A 0% intro APR means that you pay no interest for a set amount of time on balance transfers on credit cards, purchases or both. With balance transfers, you can avoid the debilitating costs of interest fees, which can number in the thousands of dollars over time. For example, if you have a $3,000 balance on a card and you're paying 17% APR, it would take you 126 months to pay the minimum payment each month. That includes the $3,000 plus $2,241 in interest fees. By using a 0% intro APR card, you can avoid the $2,241 charges, provided that you pay off the debt before the offer ends. A 0% intro APR card can sometimes be used for purchases, as well, which is handy if you have a big purchase coming up.

When is it beneficial to have a 0% interest credit card?

  • Major purchase. Bought a surprise 50-inch TV for your significant other's Christmas gift, but didn't have the funds to pay for it? A card with a 0% intro APR for balance transfers can allow you to pay over time while paying no interest in 2019 and beyond.
  • Consolidation. Some consumers use a 0% APR card to consolidate debt, placing multiple balances on a single card for one easy payment. This is helpful when you are having trouble making bills. In fact, we found that 42% of cardholders have missed a payment at least once, make this an even stronger reason to use a 0% card for consolidation.
  • Balance transfer. This is the most common use of a 0% interest card. Transfer balances on high-interest cards to a card with a 0% intro APR.
  • Non-card debt. You can use the 0% offer for debt other than card balances, although make sure you will pay it off before the go-to interest rate kicks in. A car loan with 3% interest may not be worth your while to transfer, for example, because the interest is already so low and you don't want to risk having the balance on a card with a considerably higher go-to rate.
  • Emergencies. When a sudden bill comes your way, such as a fridge on the fritz, this is a way to cover costs in the short term. If you time it correctly, you can pay for emergencies within the offer's term.
  • Rewards. If the card has good ongoing rewards, a 0% APR card can be a good choice for the long haul. Look at any rewards a card may have that will make the card worth hanging onto after the balance is paid off.

Reasons why consumers miss a card payment...

  •  60%
  • Forgot
  •  35%
  • Didn't have enough money
  •  13%
  • Too busy
  •  11%
  • Traveling
  • CreditCards.com study

Pros and Cons of the Best 0% APR Credit Cards

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Pros

The Capital One Quicksilver Card has increased its 0% intro APR period to 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, effectively competing with the Chase Freedom Unlimited. After the intro period, the APR goes to the regular variable APR of 15.24% - 25.24%.

Cons

This card doesn't have the high cashback rate of the Chase Freedom, which offers 5% back on rotating categories, although you don't have to think about rotating categories what you're using the Quicksilver.

Bottom Line: With no annual fee and unlimited cash back, this card also doubles as a 0% APR card, which means it can be good for the long haul.

Wells Fargo Platinum Visa®

Pros

The Wells Fargo Platinum Visa features a 0% offer of 18 months for purchases and balance transfers – (then 17.74% - 27.24% variable) as well as up to $600 protection on your cellphone ($25 deductible, fees apply) against covered damages or theft when you pay your monthly bill with this card. Also, with 18 months of 0 interest on balance transfers, you can pay $50 a month in 6 months with no interest for that trampoline you bought for the kids. Planning a spring skiing trip? You can pay 0% interest until well into 2020.

Cons

The variable go-to rate is 17.74% - 27.24%, which is quite a high interest rate. Also, there are no ongoing rewards or a sign-up bonus.

Bottom Line: Although there are no rewards, the Platinum Visa is outstanding as a 0% card and you can continue to build credit with it in the long term.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Pros

With a decent 0% intro APR length of 15 months on both purchases and balance transfers, this card matches its competitors and even surpasses in one respect – its ability to partner with Chase Sapphire cards and benefit from those cards' point boosts on the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. The $150 cash back after a $500 spend in 3 months is also competitive. Also, there are no rotating categories to contend with or required quarterly sign-ups.

Cons

With a high variable go-to rate of 17.24%-25.99% APR, the Freedom Unlimited isn't the best choice for carrying a balance after the intro offers end. You can also do better with 1.5% back for certain categories of purchases.

Bottom Line: The Chase Freedom Unlimited's 0% intro APR offer is the right choice for a consumer with a moderate amount of debt. The sign-up bonus and ongoing rewards are competitive, but the go-to rate isn't ideal for someone who plans to carry a balance beyond the end of the 0% offer.

Discover it® Cash Back

Pros

With a fun double your cash back at year end, this card can earn you up to $600 in cash back your first year with its 5% back on select categories up to the quarterly maximum of $1,500 in purchases after activating. That's $75 back each quarter with a $500 monthly spend and $300 at the end of the year. Categories for 2019 include groceries (Q1); gas stations, Uber and Lyft (Q2); restaurants (Q3); and the always popular category, Amazon.com (Q4).

Cons

While decent, 14 months of 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers isn't the longest offer out there – if your primary concern is to pay a sizeable balance off while avoiding interest charges, you may want to look elsewhere. There also isn't a lot in the way of purchase and travel benefits with this card.

Bottom Line: The Discover it Cash Back has one of the lowest variable APRs among 0% cards, with 14.24% - 25.24%, which is handy if you think you may carry a balance after the 0% offer ends. Also, the rewards are strong, even with no sign-up bonus.

BankAmericard® credit card

Pros

The BankAmericard has one of the longest offers on both purchases and balance transfers at 18 billing cycles before the regular APR of 15.24% - 25.24% (variable) kicks in. Not only does it come with no annual fee, but it also has no penalty rate. It is also one of the few credit cards that let you access your FICO score for free.

Cons

There is a time limit to when you must make your balance transfers in order to take advantage of the introductory rate offer: within the first 60 days. Otherwise, there are not many drawbacks to speak of as this card is quite straightforward.

Bottom Line: With no annual fee and a generous offer, the BankAmericard more than viable as a no-interest credit card.

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

Pros

This card's balance transfer and purchase 0% offer is tough to beat, with 18 billing cycles for each. Also, the variable go-to rate is a low 14.74% - 25.74%, just right for paying down after the 0% offer ends. One of the better hidden perks about this card is the $600 cellphone protection ($25 deductible), which comes in handy during unexpected emergencies.

Cons

This is another card without a sign-up bonus or ongoing rewards, making it a bit of a dubious offer for the long haul.

Bottom Line: This card should be one of your top picks if you need a long time to pay off an existing balance or big purchase.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

Pros

If your spending is primarily on travel and dining, consider the Propel which earns 3X points back for purchases in these categories. The sign-up bonus is sizable: 30,000 points, worth $300, is yours after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. Finally, there is no annual fee.

Cons

An intro 0% interest offer of 12 months is mediocre, and is followed by a regular APR of 14.74% - 27.24% variable, which is serviceable on the lower end of the range but very high at the maximum.

Bottom Line: The Propel shines if chasing rewards is your primary goal and the zero interest offer is a secondary concern.

Citi Rewards+SM Card

Pros

If you are looking for a rewards card that doubles as a 0% APR card, the Citi Rewards+ is a good choice. Earn 15,000 points after a $1,000 spend within the first 3 months and earn 2X points at supermarkets and gas stations on up to a $6,000 spend each year, then 1X.

Cons

The 0% APR period is not the longest, at 12 months for purchases and balance transfers (then 15.74%-25.74% variable), and there's a balance transfer fee of 3% or $5, whichever is greater.

Bottom line: This is a good card for the long haul to use for a moderately high expenditure that you need to pay off over time, whether as a purchase or a balance transfer. After that, enjoy a number of ways to earn rewards.

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card

Pros

With a sign-up bonus of $150 after spending $500 in your first 90 days, the Cash Rewards card is a great daily driver without an annual fee. It also has very strong ongoing rewards. In addition to 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, you'll earn 3% cash back on one category of your choice: gas, travel, dining, online shopping, drug stores, or home improvement and furnishings.

Cons

12 billing cycles (then 16.24% - 26.24% variable) of 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers is decent, but there are better offers. Also, note that the 3% and 2% cash back rewards are capped and only apply up to $2,500 in combined purchases per quarter.

Bottom Line: This card is a decent option for consumers seeking a 0 interest credit card, but its primary focus is on cash back and that's what gives it real long-term value.

Citi Simplicity®

Pros

The Citi Simplicity is one of the best credit cards for balance transfers specifically. Among our top picks, it has by far the longest intro 0% APR period on balance transfers at 21 months before the regular APR of 16.24% - 26.24% variable kicks in. In terms of pure length, there are few other options that can stand toe-to-toe with the Simplicity. It also spurns many common fees: there's no annual fee, late fee, or penalty rate.

Cons

The Citi Simplicity, even with its superior 0% offer, has no sign-up bonus or ongoing rewards, which can be a disadvantage when you consider the long-term value of the card. Also note that the balance transfer fee of 5%, minimum $5, per transfer is definitely on the higher side. The Simplicity's 0% period on purchases lasts for 12 months, which is serviceable but not stellar.

Bottom Line: If your sole reason for getting a new card is to pay off a balance without interest, this is the card for you. It has no annual fee and a generous 0% APR offer.

What is a go-to APR?

A go-to APR, or regular APR, is the rate you pay once a 0% intro APR period ends. The go-to rate can easily be 16% or more, so it's in your best interest to work on paying off the balance before the introductory offer ends. That means paying considerably more than the minimum payment.

However, life sometimes gets in the way of our best intentions. There may be a need for you to carry a balance after the offer ends. In that case, it's a good idea to know what variable rate is offered by the card you are eyeing.

One thing to note – there can be a difference between the APR and the interest rate:

Interest rate – With a credit card, the APR, or annual percentage rate, is the same figure as the interest rate. However, with other products—such as mortgages—your APR reflects not only the interest rate but also any points, mortgage broker fees and other charges that you pay to get the loan. For that reason, your APR is usually higher than your interest rate, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says.

APR – While APRs are designed to reflect the cost of a loan over time, in the case of a credit card, it's used to calculate interest that accumulates daily. You can have different APRs associated with your credit card, such as for cash advances or balance transfers.

Prime rate – The U.S. Prime Rate is a commonly used, short-term interest rate in the banking system of the United States. All types of American lending institutions (traditional banks, credit unions, thrifts, etc.) use the U.S. Prime Rate as an index or foundation rate for pricing various short- and medium-term loan products, says FedPrimeRate.com.

Variable APR – An APR range that card issuers offer in which you are issued a rate based in part on your credit rating.

What is the average interest rate on a credit card? What is good?

The national average was at 17.55% the week of February 11, a historic high for credit cards. The average rate among low interest credit cards is currently 14.57%. Usually, the rates are variable and depend on the Federal Reserve's rates as well as your payment habits. In the case of 0 APR cards, the lower rate on the scale is often below the national average.

0% Offers with Go-to Rates That Are Below Average

Card0% OfferGo-to RateAnnual Fee
Chase Freedom15 months, BT & purchases17.24%-25.99% variable$0
The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express15 months, BT & purchases15.24%-26.24% variable$0
Discover it® Cash Back14 months, BT & purchases14.24%-25.24% variable$0

What determines the APR on a credit card?

Credit card issuers assign an APR to your account, based in part on the Federal Reserve's rates, your payment habits and your credit score. The card issuer's interest for that card also influences your rate. Typically, issuers offer a variable rate and you are assigned a rate within that range. If you have been paying on time and you have been keeping your balances low, you have a higher chance of a lower rate.

APRs on credit cards

You aren't charged a single rate with a credit card, unlike other types of loans. Here are the 4 primary types of APRs you can face when you use your credit card:

  • Purchase APR – This APR is applied when you make a purchase. When you allow the balance to carry over past the grace period, you face interest charges. This is the most common interest rate on a credit card.
  • Balance transfer APR – When you transfer a balance to a new card, you can be charged this rate, although there are many cards on the market that don't charge interest for a limited time when you transfer a balance. It is possible for this rate to be greater than the purchase APR, although that's unusual.
  • Penalty APR – If you aren't making payments – in other words, you are delinquent – you can face this rate. This rate is quite a bit higher than the other rates.
  • Cash advance APR – When you take out a cash advance, such as when you make an ATM withdrawal, you are charged this rate. While not as high as the penalty rate, it is typically higher than purchase or balance transfer APRs. There is no grace period with a cash advance, so count on being charged interest from day one.

Why are credit card rates so high?

Credit card issuers don't just charge high rates because they want to gouge the consumer ‐ they face significant risk when they issue a credit card.

Why? Because they are committing to lending you money, just as when a bank grants you a mortgage or car loan. However, cards differ because they are what is called an unsecured product, while a loan to buy a car or house is secured. That means that with a card, there is no collateral, or an asset the lender can recover if you don't pay them their money back.

Also, unlike a lending product such as some student loans in which the federal government may back the loan, no one is backing the loan you are taking out with a credit card every time you make a charge.

How do you calculate interest on a credit card?

When you carry a balance from month to month, you face an interest rate called the Annual Percentage Rate, or APR. The rate depends on several factors including your credit score and the card's variable rate.

You are charged interest when you carry a balance, once the grace period ends. In some cases, such as when you take out a cash advance, there is no grace period. There are two balances on your card when you have a 0% intro offer: the one with the offer and the one without.

While your APR is expressed in a year, according to Discover, card issuers use that figure to calculate charges over your monthly statement period. The easiest way to calculate the interest you owe is to check out the CreditCards.com calculators.

With these calculators you can figure out how long it will take you to pay off a balance with the minimum payment; how to maximize paying off the balance within a specified amount of time or amount each month; or figure out your payoff with a balance transfer calculator.

How Interest Works

If you want to understand the mechanics of how interest is calculated, here's what Discover has to say about calculating the APR on a credit card:

"To find out how much interest you're paying on your balance each day, you can convert your APR to a daily percentage rate. To do so, divide your APR by 365, the number of days in a year. At the end of each day, the card issuer will multiply your current balance by the daily rate to come up with the daily interest charge. That charge is then added to your balance the next day, a process called compounding.

"For example:

"If your credit card has an APR of 15%, it will have a daily rate of .041096%. Let's say a cardholder has a balance of $1,000 at the 15% APR standard interest rate. The next day, interest is added and the balance becomes $1,000.41, plus any additional purchases and minus any new credits or payments. This process occurs each day until the end of the cardholder's monthly statement cycle. So, at the end of the month, the beginning $1,000 balance becomes $1,013 when interest charges are applied at 15% APR."

How do you avoid paying interest on a credit card?

Some 52% of consumers with a card have carried credit card debt in the last year. Of 838 current cardholders polled, YouGov PLC found for CreditCards.com that fewer than a quarter had never carried a balance.

As a cardholder, when was the last time you carried debt?...

  •  52%
  • Within the last year
  •  8%
  • Within the last 2-5 years
  •  13%
  • More than 5 years ago
  •  21%
  • Never
  • Source: CreditCards.com balance transfer card survey

The best way to avoid paying interest on a credit card is to pay in full before the due date each month and don't put a charge on your card that you don't already have the money for.

Another way to avoid paying interest is through the use of a 0% intro APR card. With these cards, you have a set amount of time when you can pay off the balance without incurring interest charges. But heads up: You'll need to pay more than the minimum.

If you are trying to get out from under an existing balance with a 0% offer, there are a number of things you can do to make sure you don't make the same mistake again. With the right steps, you can also work toward building your credit and avoid other bad habits. Here are some tips:

What to do when your 0% intro period ends

  • Don't transfer to a new card. If you have a balance left over after the 0% intro offer ends, avoid temptation to just transfer the balance again, partly because you aren't solving the problem by doing that, but also because lenders may see what you are doing and deem you a risk.
  • Keep the card. Once the debt is paid off, don't close the account. Also, put a small charge on it each month and pay in full to keep the account active. This helps you build your credit. Be sure to pay on time, every time.
  • Is there an annual fee? One reason to close the account is if there is an annual fee that isn't counterbalanced by rewards that you'll use. That said, keep in mind that closing the account can harm your credit if you have a card balance elsewhere.
  • Keep using the old card. You should still use your old card, putting a small charge on it and paying in full each month. As with the balance transfer card, this helps you continue to build your credit.
  • Stick to your budget. There's no point in paying off the balance if you haven't addressed what got you there in the first place. Create a realistic budget with room for fun and savings, so you'll stay true to it.

How to compare two cards with a 0% APR offer

Because there are so many factors when choosing a 0 interest card, you need to make sure you are comparing apples with apples. Is there a balance transfer fee? Do the cards offer sign-up balances? What's the 0% APR offer? The answers to these questions will help inform your decision, which we look at below.

Factors to consider about 0% APR cards with no balance transfer fee

  • What is the 0% offer's term? There's no point in getting a card with no balance transfer fee if the offer's term isn't long enough for you to be able to pay back the debt before the offer ends. In that case, another card may be worth your while.
  • What is the deadline? Often, cards require you to make the transfer within a set amount of time to get the balance transfer fee waived. Make sure it's a deadline you can meet. If you plan to transfer the balance after the offer ends, make sure you budget the balance transfer fee.
  • Is there an annual fee? Cards with no balance transfer fee often have no annual fee. If there is an annual fee, that cuts into your savings with the waived balance transfer fee.
  • Do you plan to make a large purchase soon? Check if the card with no balance transfer fee has a 0% intro offer for purchases if you plan to use the card to make a major purchase, such as plane tickets to the Bahamas for Spring Break. Otherwise, using the card for new purchases and not paying in full can undercut the savings from having the fee waived.

Factors to consider about 0% cards with sign-up bonuses

  • What's the sign-up bonus? Some 0% APR cards offer a sign-up bonus of up to $200.
  • What are the ongoing rewards? You can probably find a 0% APR card with rewards of at least 1% cash back.
  • Is there an annual fee? An annual fee might be required, but it can be an indication that the rewards are superior.
  • Does it have a 0% APR for purchases? Do you need it? Some cards don't have intro APR offers for purchases, so check, if you plan to make a big purchase soon.

Comparing two 0% APR cards with an intro bonus

Card0% OfferIntro BonusOngoing RewardsAnnual FeeGo-to Rate
Chase Freedom Unlimited0% intro APR for 15 months, purchases & balance transfers$150 bonus/$500 spend in 3 mths1.5% back on all purchases$0Ongoing APR 17.24%-25.99% variable
Blue Cash Everyday0% intro APR for 15 months, purchases & balance transfers$150 bonus/$1,000 spend in 3 mths3% back at U.S. supermarkets; 2% back at U.S. gas stations, select U.S. department stores; 1% everything else$0Ongoing APR 15.24%-26.24% variable

As you can see, while the Freedom Unlimited is a good use-it-and-forget-it card, the Blue Cash Everyday is ideal for the family that cooks at home. With both offering 0% APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, they provide cover for a little over a year.

Tips on using 0% credit cards

Zero interest credit cards are among the best weapons in your financial arsenal when you are trying to pay down debt. But they can beat you down if you don't use them correctly. Here, we look at what happens when they are used incorrectly and the right way to use them.

It's all too easy to get behind on your credit card debt. In fact, our survey found that a third of those polled reported having had more than $5,000 in card debt. Don't fall down that path; use our tips to help you pay down your debt and avoid it in the future.

What was the highest amount of credit card debt you've carried?...

  •  22%
  • Up to $1,000
  •  18%
  • $1,001-$2,500
  •  17%
  • $2,501-$5,000
  •  33%
  • More than $5,000
  •  7%
  • Don't recall
  • Source: CreditCards.com balance transfer card survey

What can go wrong when you use 0% interest cards incorrectly?

  • You fail to pay your monthly bills on time. If you violate the agreement, for example you don't pay on time, you can lose the 0% offer. Always pay on time and don't go over the limit.
  • You don't pay off the balance in time. If you don't pay off the balance by the time the offer ends, you will incur interest charges for the leftover amount.
  • You use the card for new purchases. If you use the card for new purchases outside of a 0% offer for purchases, you will incur new interest charges, basically negating the savings you'd otherwise enjoy.

What is the right way to use 0% interest cards?

  • Budget for the balance transfer fee. In most cases, there's a balance transfer fee of 3%-5%. Make sure you'll benefit from the balance transfer even with the fee. Some cards, such as the Amex EveryDay, waive this fee within a set amount of time.
  • Read the terms. Make sure you are clear about how much time you have to make a purchase or transfer. Also, check the fine print for details about fees and penalties.
  • Plan your payoff schedule. Figure out how many months it will take you to pay off the debt so that you get the right card with the right terms. Let's say you owe $3,000. With the Amex EveryDay card, for example, you get a 15-month 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers (then 15.24% - 26.24% variable), which means you pay $200 a month to pay it off before the offer ends. Contrast that with the Discover it Balance Transfer, with an 18-month 0% offer on balance transfers (then 14.24% - 25.24% variable), which means you only pay $166.67 a month before the offer ends. (Keep in mind that while the Amex EveryDay has no balance transfer fee if you transfer within the first 60 days of card membership, the Discover it Balance Transfer 3% fee means you will pay $90 upfront.)
  • Pay it off quickly. Pay off as quickly as possible, because your credit score looks at both your individual and combined available credit, so a maxed-out balance transfer card can negatively influence your score.
  • Avoid new purchases. Avoid new purchases on the card unless you have a plan to pay it off before the purchase terms end. If there is no purchase intro APR, don't put new charges on the card, because you can end up incurring interest with those charges.

All information about The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuer. The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express is no longer available through CreditCards.com.


Laura is an editor and writer at CreditCards.com. She has written extensively on all things credit cards and works to bring you the most up-to-date analysis and advice. Laura's work has been cited in such publications as the New York Times and Associated Press. You can reach her by e-mail at laura.mohammad@creditcards.com and on Twitter @creditcards_lm.


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