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Author: Bankrate Staff | Last Updated: September 14, 2018
Credit cards that offer 0% interest, also known as 0% APR, can be extremely useful for consumers who need to make a large purchase or perform a balance transfer. The credit card editors at Bankrate analyzed over 1,000 credit cards with 0% interest offers and graded them against an objective list of category-specific card features to develop our unbiased recommendations for you.
When our editors review credit card offers, we take different credit card features into account depending on the category. The best zero interest credit cards offer lengthy intro 0% APR periods with low or no annual fee, a reasonable ongoing regular variable APR, and a solid balance transfer offer. We also give a few extra points to cards that have both solid 0% interest offers and give consumers the opportunity to earn rewards. Applying for a credit card is a big deal, and Bankrate wants to make sure that the card that you choose to own will take care of both your immediate and future financial needs.
|Card Name||Best for||Bankrate Review Score|
|Capital One® Quicksilver® Card||0% APR period on purchases & balance transfers||93/100|
|Citi Simplicity® Card||0% APR period on purchases & balance transfers||88/100|
|Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Card||Long 0% APR offer with financial tracking & planning||81/100|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited®||0% APR period and flat rate cash back||92/100|
|Discover it® Cash Back||Rotating category cash back||93/100|
|Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card||Best for travel rewards||80/100|
|Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express||Cash back on everyday spending||89/100|
|Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card||Overall 0% APR period for balance transfers||82/100|
|Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card||Earning points rewards||97/100|
|Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card||0% APR period and entertainment rewards||78/100|
It’s important that you do your due diligence to get a 0% APR card that is right for your needs.
Perhaps you have some big purchases on the horizon that you want to buy now but pay off over time. Maybe, you just moved house and you want to get some furniture. Whatever the reason you need a card with a lengthy 0% introductory APR period. There are plenty of cards offering 12-months or more of 0% APR rates on purchases. Whatever the time-period available, just make sure that you can pay off your purchase during the introductory time to ensure that you don’t fall foul of the high-interest rates after this period. It’s also worth considering the cards that offer rewards on spending will allow you to earn cash back or points on your spending while you pay off your balance interest-free.
If you’re looking to consolidate high-interest debt from balances on other cards onto a zero-interest credit card you should look for cards offering 0% APR interest on balance transfers for the longest period of time. This will give you the most amount of time to pay down as much debt as you can while you’re not paying interest. It’s also worth paying close attention to the balance transfer fee. There are a lot of suitable cards for balance transfers in this list but make sure to also check out our list of balance transfer credit cards.
Cards that offer low rates for introductory periods tend to have high rates after that introductory stage is finished. This means that if you frequently carry a balance from one month to the next then you should prioritize a card with a low ongoing interest rate.
The simplicity of the Quicksilver card, with its $150 sign-up bonus, gives card-shoppers a great reason to consider it for balance transfers. It currently offers a 15-month long 0% APR period on purchases and balance transfers, and, additionally, you’ll also earn a flat rate of 1.5% cash back on every purchase you make. As a good-to-excellent credit score is needed to be approved for the Quicksilver, those who don’t value rewards as much as the length of the introductory period may be better off with another card.
Get out of debt or make a large purchase and take 18 months to pay it off without interest using the Citi Simplicity Card. The introductory 0% APR period is longer than most others, making it a smart choice for consolidating and paying off debt, even without the additional rewards you may get with other cards.
Offering a year-and-a-half of zero interest on balance transfers and purchases the Wells Fargo Platinum Visa card is ideal if you’re looking for a long timeframe in which to pay off what you owe. If you value cash back rewards as much as the introductory APR rate then this might not be the card for you as there are other zero interest cards that also offer rewards. However, additional financial management tools like My Money Map (Wells Fargo’s personalized online budgeting and spend-tracking tool) and credit score monitoring can be extremely useful for cardholders working on improving their financial situation.
If you’re seeking a 0% APR card but would still like to be rewarded for your spending, consider the Chase Freedom Unlimited, which pays 1.5% cash back on every purchase made. The 15-month introductory APR period is on-par with most other cards in the category, but the relatively high balance transfer fee is a reminder that this is a rewards credit card first, and a debt consolidation card second.
A rewards-first 0% APR credit card, the Discover it Cash Back makes a case for itself by offering 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases made in accordance with Discover’s 2018 Cashback Calendar after enrollment. The kicker is that Discover will double all of the cash you’ve earned at the end of your first year. Add in a 14-month 0% APR introductory period and you have a quality rewards credit card that affords you the opportunity to pay down debt, too.
The VentureOne card offers a low 12-month introductory APR rate on purchases (13.74%-23.74% variable APR after that) which isn’t the most competitive APR rate on purchases in this list but its real value is in the travel rewards it offers. With this card you can earn 1.25x miles on every purchase and 10x miles on a ton of hotels when you book and buy through hotels.com/venture. This is all with no annual fee. If you’re looking for a low-maintenance travel rewards card that allows you to use the miles you accumulate for any hotel or airline then this could be a good option for you.
The Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express offers 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for an initial 15-month period. Additionally, the card comes with competitive cashback rates on everyday spending, like 3% back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 a year (1% after that), unlimited 2% back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores and 1% on everything else. The only drawback is that your cashback rewards can only be redeemed as statement credit or in American Express’ online catalog, there are other cards that allow you to redeem your cash back into your bank account or for things like gift cards.
With an unparalleled 21-month 0% APR introductory period on balance transfers, the Citi Diamond Preferred makes a strong case for consumers who want or need a longer timeline for paying off debts. You won’t earn the cash back you’d get from other credit cards, but if you’re looking for a no-interest term length of almost two years, rewards are probably not your top priority. Don’t overlook the perks of the Citi Diamond Preferred, though, which include price protection and Citi Private Pass access.
The Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card is one of Bankrate’s favorite rewards cards, and it offers a 12-month 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers. With 3X rewards points across eating out, travel, and popular streaming services, this is a perfect card if you are looking to book a trip that you can pay off over the next year with no interest. Additionally, this card has no annual fee, making it an extremely attractive card that you won’t mind keeping in your wallet long after the intro APR period expires.
The Citi ThankYou Preferred’s competitive introductory APR rates on purchases and balance transfers are not all this card has to offer. If you spend heavily on dining and entertainment this card offers generous rewards for those categories with 2x points and 1x points on everything else. All for no annual fee. For the right user, you will definitely want to keep this card in your wallet after the introductory period is over.
A zero interest card is a credit card that offers an introductory period where you won’t be charged any interest on either purchases, balance transfers–or both. These sign-up offers range from 12 to 21 months and begin from the date you open the account. You may also hear these cards referred to as 0% annual percentage rate (APR) credit cards.
For example, say you sign up for a credit card with a 12-month zero percent introductory offer, and you charge $10,000 worth of items on that card within the first month. If you pay the balance off in full before the end of that 12-month promotional period, you won’t owe any additional interest charges. But, if you spent that same $10,000 on a card with an APR of 18%, and you took a year to pay off the balance, you’d tack another $1,800 in finance charges onto what you already owed.
If you need to make a large purchase, but can’t afford to pay all at once, using a credit card with a standard variable APR could cost you more than you might think. Standard variable (meaning: depending on your creditworthiness) APR rates can reach as high as 28% and compound every month which adds interest to your interest. This can quickly get out of hand. Doing your homework before you make a purchase can save you a lot of money. Here is how much you will save in interest payments on each of Bankrate’s favorite 0% intro APR credit cards if you purchase an item that costs $3,000 and pay $200/mo. towards the balance:
|Credit Card Name||Time to Payoff||Interest Savings|
|Citi Simplicity® Card||14 months||$459|
|Discover it® Cash Back||15 months||$457|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited®||14 months||$472|
|Citi Diamond Preferred||14 months||$410|
|Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card||15 months||$444|
|Capital One® Quicksilver® Card||14 months||$464|
Interest savings calculation is based on a total purchase balance of $3,000, assuming a current regular variable interest rate of 17.21% and $200 monthly payments towards the purchase balance.
You can use Bankrate’s credit card payoff calculator to determine how many months you’ll need to pay off your debt.
For someone carrying heavy credit card debt, a zero percent credit card might be a solution. If you have recurring monthly charges that you put on a card, like tuition or medical bills, then switching to one with an introductory zero percent offer on purchases could help you pay off your bills faster than one that piles on the finance charges every billing cycle. Keep in mind that the introductory period offered with these cards is a temporary promotional period. Once the period is up, the rate resets to a standard APR, and you could potentially be charged a significantly higher interest rate on your balance. It’s best to pay off your balance in full before the promotional period is up.
Those looking to consolidate debt from one or more high-interest credit cards may also benefit from transferring the balances to a card with a zero-interest promotional period. Keep in mind that many balance transfer cards cap the transfer amount at $15,000. And, some cards may also charge a balance transfer fee—typically 3% to 5% of the amount being transferred, which can also add to your debt load.
Before you switch cards, use a balance transfer calculator to make sure that fee you’ll pay for transferring a balance to a new card is less than what you’d pay in interest charges on the original card. If you know you’ll carry a balance even after the promotional zero percent period ends, you may be better off switching to a low-interest credit card instead.
* See the online application for details about terms and conditions for these offers. Every reasonable effort has been made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. After you click on the offer you desire you will be directed to the credit card issuer's web site where you can review the terms and conditions for your selected offer.