The average APR on credit cards was 15.10% in Q3 of 2019. If you’re not paying your credit card balance in full each month, interest costs can creep up quickly and make a major dent in your budget.
One way to save, especially if you’re trying to pay down high-interest credit card debt or make a large purchase, is to use a 0% APR credit card. These cards provide you with a 0% APR for a set period. As long as you pay off your balance before the end of that period, you can avoid paying interest altogether.
If you’re looking for the best 0% APR credit cards, consider the fantastic options below.
How to choose the best 0% introductory APR credit card
When choosing the best 0% APR credit card, it’s important to look at your situation and goals. For example, will you be using the card for a future purchase? Or are you planning to use it to help pay down your credit card debt?
If you’re looking to finance a large purchase, opt for a credit card that offers a 0% introductory APR on new purchases. On the other hand, if you’re hoping to transfer an existing balance from another card, a 0% introductory APR on balance transfers will help you tackle your principal faster. Some cards offer both perks, though introductory periods can vary.
Here are a few other things to keep in mind as you consider 0% APR credit cards:
- Length of the introductory period: Find out how long the introductory period is. Some cards, like the Citi Simplicity card, come with a introductory APR on balance transfers for 18 months. The longer your introductory period, the more likely you are to avoid interest payments.
- Balance transfer fee: Pay attention to the balance transfer fee, as it’s common to see a fee of 3% or 5%. Run the numbers to determine if your interest savings will offset any balance transfer fee, and keep in mind that some cards will also waive this fee if you complete your balance transfer within a set period.
- Welcome offer: While a welcome offer isn’t everything, it is definitely worth considering as you shop around for a credit card. For instance, with a card like the Discover it Cash Back, Discover will automatically get an unlimited dollar-for-dollar match of any cash back you've earned at the end of your first year. Or you might opt for a card like the American Express Blue Cash Everyday, which comes with a straight cash bonus. New cardmembers can earn $150 cash back after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months.
- Other rewards and perks: In some cases, it might make sense to get a card that you’ll keep using after the introductory period ends. Consider a cash back card or a travel rewards card that fits your lifestyle and comes with additional benefits.
Think about your goals, compare a few cards, and narrow down your options. Figure out how much you need to pay each month so that your balance is down to zero before the end of your introductory period.
What is the best 0% APR credit card?
There are plenty of great 0% APR credit cards out there. Here is a look at some of the best options available today:
||Intro purchase APR details||Intro balance transfer APR details||Welcome bonus||Annual fee|
|Chase Freedom||0% APR for 15 months||N/A||$200 cash back bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months||$0|
|Discover it Cash Back||0% APR for 14 months||0% (for transfers that post to your account by by October 10, 2020) APR for 14 months||Automatically get an unlimited dollar-for-dollar match of any cash back you've earned at the end of your first year||$0|
|Citi Simplicity||0% APR for 18 months||0% APR for 18 months||Get 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 18 months||$0|
|Amex Blue Cash Everyday||0% for 15 months||N/A||Earn $150 cash back after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months||$0|
The Chase Freedom card offers 5% cash back in rotating bonus categories (up to $1,500 in combined purchases per quarter) and 1% cash back on all other purchases. It also comes with a $0 annual fee, and you can earn $200 cash back bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months.
The Chase Freedom is a great card if you want the flexibility of an introductory APR on new purchases. It offers a 0% APR on purchases for 15 months.
Discover it Cash Back
With the Discover it Cash Back, cardmembers earn 5% cash back on rotating categories (up to quarterly maximum). However, rather than offering a traditional welcome bonus with this card, new cardmembers automatically get an unlimited dollar-for-dollar match of any cash back you've earned at the end of your first year. There is a $0 annual fee with this card, making it an inexpensive option.
One of the interesting features with this card is that there is a 0% (for transfers that post to your account by by October 10, 2020) APR on balance transfers for 14 months — and the fee is 3% for balances transferred by October 10, 2020 and 5% after that. This card also offers a 0% APR on purchases for 14 months, making it a solid choice for those wishing to make a large purchase or tackle their debt.
The Citi Simplicity card is not a rewards card. However, if you need a considerable amount of time to pay down your high-interest debt, this card is a great option. It offers a 0% APR on balance transfers for 18 months, one of the longest periods on this list. This gives you more time to pay down your principal, without worrying about interest getting in the way. The only drawback with this card is its balance transfer fee — $5 or 3%, whichever is greater, but the interest savings might be enough to make up for that.
The Citi Simplicity card also has a 0% APR on purchases, but for only 18 months. If your main focus is getting out of debt, this card can be a big help. It also has a $0 annual fee.
Amex Blue Cash Everyday
If you’re looking for a card that offers tiered cash back on the things you use the most, the American Express Blue Cash Everyday is worth considering. This card features a $0 annual fee, and you can earn 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets up to $6,000 a year, 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, 1% cash back on other purchases. Plus, it comes with a generous welcome offer; you can earn $150 cash back after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months.
With the Amex Blue Cash Everyday card, you get a 0% APR for 15 months on purchases. While there's no intro balance transfer offer with this card, it comes with other perks that may make it a valuable addition to your wallet.
Why we chose these cards (methodology)
We chose these 0% APR credit cards for their relatively long introductory rates, along with some of their other perks. This list contains a mix of cards that offer rotating, tiered, and flat cash back programs, as well as cards that don’t offer rewards, but do offer longer 0% APR introductory periods. We created this list for consumers with different needs and preferences in order to help them find a card to achieve their long-term financial goals.
The bottom line on the best 0% APR credit cards
What is the best 0% APR credit card? In the end, it’s all about what is most compatible with your goals and priorities. A good credit card can complement your budget, provide you with cash back, and help you manage your money.
To get the most out of a 0% APR credit card, though, it’s important to pay your bill on time, focusing on responsible use to build your credit score and avoid paying interest.