Best 0% Intro APR Credit Cards

Zero interest credit cards offer a 0% introductory APR period, allowing you to lower your monthly debt obligation on big purchases and/or balance transfers. Today's market is full of credit cards that offer introductory periods of up to 21 months interest-free. Below, our experts have compiled advice on how to make the most of these offers and our recommendations for the best 0% interest credit cards from our partners.

These are the best 0% interest credit cards of 2018:

Bankrate.com is an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. The offers that appear on this site are from companies from which Bankrate.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site, including, for example, the order in which they may appear within listing categories. Other factors, such as our own proprietary website rules and the likelihood of applicants' credit approval also impact how and where products appear on this site. Bankrate.com does not include the entire universe of available financial or credit offers.

Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by Bankrate.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.

Best for 0% APR period and unlimited cash back

capital-one-quicksilver-cash-rewards-credit-card-041217.png Card Image
Apply Now ON Capital One's secure website

Capital One® Quicksilver® Card - 0% Intro APR for 15 Months

Recommended Credit Score:
670 - 850

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
0% intro on purchases for 15 months Purchases intro APR
0% intro on balance transfers for 15 months Balance Transfers intro APR
14.74% - 24.74% (Variable) Regular APR
$0 Annual Fee

Bankrate Score

93 out of 100

Card Details

  • One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 14.74%-24.74% variable APR after that
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months; 14.74%-24.74% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for 0% APR period on purchases & balance transfers

citi-simplicity-card-041618.png Card Image
Apply Now ON Citi's secure website

Citi Simplicity® Card

Recommended Credit Score:
670 - 850

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
0%* for 12 months on Purchases* Purchases intro APR
0%* for 21 months on Balance Transfers* Balance Transfers intro APR
15.99% - 25.99%* (Variable) Regular APR
$0* Annual Fee

Bankrate Score

88 out of 100

Card Details

  • The only card with No Late Fees, No Penalty Rate, and No Annual Fee... Ever
  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 21 months from date of first transfer. All transfers must be completed in first 4 months. After that, the variable APR will be 15.99% - 25.99%, based on your creditworthiness
  • 0% Intro APR on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening. After that, the variable APR will be 15.99% - 25.99%, based on your creditworthiness
  • If you transfer a balance with this offer, after your 0% Intro purchase APR expires, both new purchases and unpaid purchase balances will automatically accrue interest until all balances, including your transferred balance, are paid in full
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • The same great rate for all balances, after the introductory period
  • Save time when you call with fast, personal help, 24 hours a day — just say "representative"
  • Enjoy the convenience of setting up your own bill payment schedule on any available due date throughout the month
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for long 0% APR offer with financial tracking & planning

wells-fargo-platinum-visa-card-041718.png Card Image
Apply Now ON Wells Fargo's secure website

Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Card

Recommended Credit Score:
670 - 850

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
0% for 18 months Purchases intro APR
0% for 18 months Balance Transfers intro APR
17.49%-26.99% (Variable) Regular APR
$0 Annual Fee

Bankrate Score

81 out of 100

Card Details

  • 0% Intro APR for 18 months on purchases and balance transfers (fees apply), then a 17.49%-26.99% variable APR; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rates and fees
  • 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 Platinum Visa® Credit Card
  • Free access to your FICO® Credit Score with Wells Fargo Online®
  • Zero Liability protection for promptly reported unauthorized transactions
  • Convenient tools to help create a budget and manage your spending with My Money Map
  • $0 Annual Fee
  • Select "Apply Now" to learn more about the product features, terms, and conditions
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for 0% APR period and flat rate cash back

a0f6d2c0-c8e0-11e8-a3eb-a72e4907d68a.png Card Image
Apply Now ON Chase's secure website

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Recommended Credit Score:
670 - 850

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months Purchases intro APR
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months Balance Transfers intro APR
16.99% - 25.74% Variable Regular APR
$0 Annual Fee

Bankrate Score

92 out of 100

Card Details

  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.99-25.74%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase - it's automatic
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
  • No annual fee
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for rotating category cash back

discover-it-cashback-match-012518.png Card Image
Apply Now ON Discover's secure website

Discover it® Cash Back

Recommended Credit Score:
670 - 850

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
0% for 14 months Purchases intro APR
0% for 14 months Balance Transfers intro APR
13.99% - 24.99% Variable Regular APR
$0 Annual Fee

Bankrate Score

93 out of 100

Card Details

  • 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.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • Receive Free Social Security number alerts—Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
  • No annual fee.
Terms and Restrictions Apply | Rates and Fees

Best for travel rewards

capital-one-ventureone-rewards-credit-card-041217.png Card Image
Apply Now ON Capital One's secure website

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

Recommended Credit Score:
670 - 850

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
0% intro on purchases for 12 months Purchases intro APR
N/A Balance Transfers intro APR
13.74% - 23.74% (Variable) Regular APR
$0 Annual Fee

Bankrate Score

80 out of 100

Card Details

  • 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; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Enjoy a low intro APR on purchases for 12 months; 13.74%-23.74% 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
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for cash back on everyday spending

blue-cash-everyday-card-from-american-express-061616.png Card Image
Apply Now ON American Express's secure website

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Recommended Credit Score:
670 - 850

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
0% on Purchases for 15 months Purchases intro APR
0% on Balance Transfers for 15 months Balance Transfers intro APR
14.99%-25.99% Variable Regular APR
$0 Annual Fee

Bankrate Score

89 out of 100

Card Details

  • $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 14.99% to 25.99%.
  • 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.
Terms and Restrictions Apply | Rates and Fees

Best for flexible rewards points

wells-fargo-propel-american-express-card-071018.png Card Image
Apply Now ON Wells Fargo's secure website

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

Recommended Credit Score:
670 - 850

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
0% for 12 months Purchases intro APR
0% for 12 months Balance Transfers intro APR
14.49%-26.99% (Variable) Regular APR
$0 Annual Fee

Bankrate Score

97 out of 100

Card Details

  • New! Earn 30K bonus points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months – that's a $300 cash redemption value
  • Earn 3X points for eating out and ordering in
  • Earn 3X points for gas stations, rideshares and transit
  • Earn 3X points for travel including flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals
  • Earn 1X points on other purchases
  • $0 Annual Fee
  • 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers (fees apply), then a 14.49%-26.99% variable APR; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rates and fees
  • Select "Apply Now" to learn more about the product features, terms, and conditions
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for no penalty APR

bankamericard-credit-card-041718.png Card Image
Apply Now ON Bank of America's secure website

BankAmericard® credit card

Recommended Credit Score:
670 - 850

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
0% Introductory APR on purchases for 18 billing cycles Purchases intro APR
0% Intro APR for 18 billing cycles for balance transfers made in the first 60 days Balance Transfers intro APR
14.99% - 24.99% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers Regular APR
$0 Annual Fee

Bankrate Score

89 out of 100

Card Details

  • New Offer: 0% Introductory APR for 18 billing cycles for purchases and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days, then, 14.99% - 24.99% Variable APR. 3% fee (min $10) applies to balance transfers
  • No annual fee
  • No penalty APR. Paying late won't automatically raise your interest rate (APR). Other account pricing and terms apply.
  • Access your FICO® Score for free within Online Banking or your Mobile Banking app
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for 0% APR and first late payment penalty forgiveness

hsbc-gold-mastercard-credit-card-101217.png Card Image
Apply Now ON HSBC's secure website

HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card

Recommended Credit Score:
670 - 850

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
0% Introductory APR on credit card purchases for the first 18 months from account opening Purchases intro APR
0% Introductory APR on balance transfers for the first 18 months from account opening Balance Transfers intro APR
Variable APR of 12.99%, 16.99% or 20.99% will apply after the Introductory Period Regular APR
$0 Annual Fee

Bankrate Score

83 out of 100

Card Details

  • 0% Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 18 months from account opening. Then a variable APR of 12.99%, 16.99% or 20.99% 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
Terms and Restrictions Apply | Rates and Fees

Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by Bankrate.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.


Author:  Bankrate Staff | Last Updated: November 6, 2018

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In this article:


Why you should trust Bankrate

Bankrate’s team of experts is focused on bringing you comprehensive, well informed financial guidance for every stage of your life. From mortgages to student loans, credit cards and more, you will find friendly and impartial advice with Bankrate. A 0% APR credit card can be a fantastic financial tool when used appropriately, as it will allow you to save on interest expenses for the length of the 0% APR promotional period. It’s important to have a good plan in place for how you want to use your card and pay it off before your 0% rate ends. When you make your plan, it could become apparent that the promotional period won’t be long enough to pay down what you owe, in that instance, it’s worth considering a personal loan.

Review criteria

A great zero interest card should enable you to achieve your financial goals by offering a long introductory 0% APR period, no annual fee, and a low regular variable APR rate. Our experts award each card a Bankrate score out of 100 by comparing a card’s offering against Bankrate’s proprietary scoring matrix. There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to credit cards so it’s important that you factor in all the variables of your unique situation to find the best card for you.

  • 0% Introductory APR Offer: Generally, for 0% interest cards, the longer the period without APR, the better.
  • Balance Transfer Offer: A good 0% interest credit card will also offer a low fee on transferred balances and a 0% APR balance transfer period.
  • Regular Variable APR: Regular variable APR refers to the interest rate you incur on a credit card’s outstanding balance, after the introductory 0% APR period. Standard APR can range from below 10% to over 20%.

Recap: Bankrate’s top picks for 0% interest credit cards

Card Name Best for Bankrate Review Score
Capital One® Quicksilver® Card Unlimited cash back 93/100
Citi Simplicity® Card 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 Travel rewards 80/100
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express Cash back on everyday spending 89/100
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card Flexible rewards points 97/100
BankAmericard credit card No penalty APR 89/100
HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card Late payment forgiveness 83/100

Capital One Quicksilver Card

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.

Card Details:

  • Best for: Unlimited cash back
  • Bankrate Score: 93/100
  • Intro 0% APR term length: 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • Regular APR: 14.74% – 24.74% variable 

Read Bankrate’s full Capital One Quicksilver Card review.

Citi Simplicity Card

Make a large purchase and take 12 months to pay it off without interest using the Citi Simplicity Card. You can also transfer a balance with no interest for 21 months. The introductory 0% APR period for balance transfers 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

Card Details:

  • Best for: Purchases and balance transfers
  • Bankrate Score: 88/100
  • Intro 0% APR term length: 21 months on balance transfer
  • Intro 0% APR term length: 12 months on purchases
  • Regular APR: 15.99% – 25.99% variableCiti

Read Bankrate’s full Citi Simplicity Card review.

Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Card

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.

Card Details:

  • Best for: Long 0% APR offer with financial tracking & planning
  • Bankrate Score: 81/100
  • Intro 0% APR term length: 18 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • Regular APR: 17.49%-26.99% variable

Chase Freedom Unlimited

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.

Card Details:

  • Best for: 0% APR period and flat rate cash back
  • Bankrate Score: 92/100
  • Intro 0% APR term length: 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • Regular APR: 16.99% – 25.74% variable

Read Bankrate’s full Chase Freedom Unlimited review.

Discover it® Cash Back

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 match 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.

Card Details:

  • Best for: Rotating category cash back
  • Bankrate Score: 93/100
  • Intro 0% APR term length: 14 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • Regular APR: 13.99% – 24.99% variable

Read Bankrate’s full Discover it Cash Back review.

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

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.

Card Details:

  • Best for: Travel rewards
  • Bankrate Score: 80/100
  • Intro 0% APR term length: Low intro APR rate on purchases for 12 months
  • Regular APR: 13.74%-23.74% variable

Read Bankrate’s full Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards review.

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

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.

Card Details:

  • Best for: Cash back on everyday spending
  • Bankrate Score: 89/100
  • Intro 0% APR term length: 0% APR for 15 months on balance transfers and purchases
  • Regular APR: 14.99% to 25.99% variable

Read Bankrate’s full Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express Review.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card

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.

Card Details:

  • Best for: Flexible rewards points
  • Bankrate Score: 97/100
  • Intro 0% APR term length: 12 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • Regular APR: 14.49% – 26.99% variable

Read Bankrate’s full Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card review.

BankAmericard credit card

The BankAmericard credit card is a good choice both for purchases that you plan to pay off over time and balance transfers. This card offers 18 months of no interest on both purchases and balance transfers. This card makes our list of best 0% interest credit cards because of its lengthy 0% interest offer. However, this card has no rewards offer. If you really need those few extra months to pay off a purchase or pay down debt, this is a good option. If you are looking for a card with lasting value, we recommend looking at some of the offers with shorter 0% APR intro periods that will reward you for your spending.

Card Details:

  • Best for: Best for no penalty APR
  • Bankrate Score: 89/100
  • Intro 0% APR term length: 0% APR for 18 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • Regular APR: 14.99% – 24.99% variable

Read Bankrate’s full BankAmericard credit card review.

HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card

The HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card gives you a year and a half to pay off a large purchase with a long 18-month 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers (after that a variable 12.99%, 16.99% or 20.99% APR rate applies). The card also charges no annual fee and for your first late payment, they have a forgiveness policy which means you won’t be charged a penalty APR. Late penalty payments can be exorbitant and so, while we always recommend making your payments on time, this offers some peace of mind for that one-off instance.

Card Details:

  • Best for: Late payment forgiveness
  • Bankrate Score: 83/100
  • Intro 0% APR term length: 0% introductory APR on purchases for the first 18 months
  • Regular APR: Variable 12.99%, 16.99% or 20.99%

Read Bankrate’s full HSBC Gold Mastercard® review.


How do 0% interest credit cards work?

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 a 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.

Why get a zero interest credit card?

It’s important that you do your due diligence to get a 0% APR card that is right for your needs. There are many reasons someone might consider a 0% interest card, here are a few use cases.

Holiday season

As we’re nearing the holiday season many people might be considering the expense associated with the festivities. Food, gifts, and traveling to see friends and family can add up fast and if you’re charging these purchases to a standard credit card, and can’t pay off everything you owe at once, you’ll be incurring regular variable APR rates. That short-term cash flow issue can become hard to handle when your balance begins accruing sizable interest. Putting in a little bit of forethought and applying for a zero interest card in preparation for those expenses means you will have time to pay off what you owe without incurring interest.

It’s important to be disciplined, not spend more than you can pay off within the introductory window and factor in the cost to pay off this card in your emergency fund in the case of unforeseen loss of income. However, if used responsibly, a 0% APR card can give you one less thing to worry about over the holidays.

New home

New homeowners know that the expenses don’t stop once you buy the house. If you’re upsizing there are more rooms that might need to be furnished, if you’re downsizing you may still want to use this as an opportunity to buy some new appliances. Unexpected breakdowns and moving fees can also put a sizable dent in your funds.

A zero interest card can be a way to finance these expenses and pay them off interest-free over time, with some cards offering as much as a year-and-a-half at no interest. It’s also worth considering cards that offer rewards on spending as this will allow you to earn cash back or points on your sizable home-related purchases while you pay off your balance interest-free.

Weddings and honeymoons

Weddings are getting more and more expensive. The average cost of a wedding in the United States was $25,764 in 2017 and a lot more couples are financing the event themselves, without help from friends and family. While it’s always better to save up for the big day and, ideally, start your marriage without credit card debt for some people that’s just not realistic. Instead of using a credit card which charges standard variable APR on your balance, consider a 0% APR card which will at least give you a cushion of time to pay back the wedding or honeymoon expenses.

How to choose a zero interest credit card that is right for you

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.

How much can you save with a 0% intro APR offer?

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
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.

Is it wise to finance a big-ticket item with a 0% APR card?

The simple answer to this question is, it depends. Depending on your situation a zero interest card can be a great way to meet your financial needs without incurring expensive interest charges. If you’ve moved house and need to buy appliances for instances, a 0% APR card can make a lot of sense.

However, there are times when using a zero interest card is not a great idea. For instance, if you don’t have the regular income to pay off what you spend then it’s unlikely you’ll pay off your balance within the zero-interest window. Or, if you charge unnecessary and unplanned expenses to your card. A zero interest card works best when you have a specific plan in mind. Maybe your washing machine broke and you need a new one, buying it on a card with a 12-month 0% interest-free offer means that you can spread the cost of the washing machine into manageable chunks and not pay any interest. Potentially saving you hundreds of dollars. If you buy the washing machine and then charge an unplanned and unnecessary vacation on the card, this means you have more to pay off and you could run the risk of carrying a balance on the card after the introductory period is over.

It’s important to have a plan and keep what you owe down to a minimum. A 0% APR card isn’t free money, one day those interest charges will kick in and it’s important that you’re not carrying a balance when that happens. Used properly though, they are a great tool to help you fund large expenses and save on interest payments.

Pros and cons of zero interest cards

Pros

  • If you plan on buying a big-ticket item and can’t pay for it all at once, a zero interest offer can give you some breathing room to pay it off without accruing interest.
  • A zero interest offer on purchases is often coupled with a zero interest offer on balance transfers, which can help you pay off your debt more quickly.
  • If you have an emergency, using a credit card with a zero interest offer can help you get out of a jam, without incurring extra costs.
  • In addition to the 0% APR introductory period, some cards offer rewards like cash back or airline miles.

Cons

  • After the introductory period ends, you could be stuck with a card that has a higher-than-average APR.
  • You could be tempted by the zero interest period into spending more than you can afford.
  • If you don’t stick to a plan to pay off the balance when your zero percent period is up you could get socked with high finance charges on any remaining debt.
  • These cards are typically designed for and offered to those with good to excellent credit. If your credit is in poor standing, you may have trouble qualifying.

Consolidating debt? Consider all your options

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.

More reviews and research

Still deciding and want to do more reading? We have you covered. We have in-depth reviews of most major credit cards that offer a 0% intro APR period for both purchases and balance transfers. Check them out below.

* 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.