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: October 18, 2018
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How we chose our top picks
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.
- 0% Introductory APR Offer – As far as we’re concerned, for 0% interest cards, the longer the period without APR, the better. That’s why we pay close attention to the fine print around the 0% introductory APR offer to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
- Balance Transfer Offer – Credit cards that offer 0% interest rates oftentimes include introductory balance transfer offers. A good 0% interest credit card will offer a low fee on transferred balances — usually around 3%-5% of the transferred amount. It can be a great tool to consolidate debt, reduce the cost of what you owe, and pay down your balance.
- Regular Variable APR – The 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%. Consumers should be aware of what the regular APR is because this will be the cost of carrying credit card debt if a purchase or balance transfer is not paid off within the 0% APR introductory period.
- Annual Fee – In the 0% interest category, it is rare to see a card that charges an annual fee. Usually, these fees are associated with rewards and luxury cards and are the cost of access to these programs. However, an annual fee is a something to look out for on 0% interest cards, as the fees will likely outweigh the benefit of paying for a purchase over time without the cost interest. In this category, if a card has an annual fee, it will lose a few points in our book.
Recap: Bankrate’s top picks for 0% interest credit cards
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.
- Best for: No annual fee
- 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
- Best for: 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.
- Best for: Large purchases
- 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.
- Best for: Unlimited cash back
- Bankrate Score: 92/100
- Intro 0% APR term length: 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
- Regular APR: 16.74% – 25.49% 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 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.
- Best for: Bonus 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.
- Best for: Earning 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.
- Best for: Gas and grocery purchases
- 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.
- 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.
Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card
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.
- Best for: Best for bonus rewards on entertainment spending
- Bankrate Score: 78/100
- Intro 0% APR term length: 0% APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
- Regular APR: 15.49% – 25.49% variable
Read Bankrate’s full Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card review.
HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card
This offer is currently unavailable
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 12.74%, 16.74% or 20.74% 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.
- 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 12.74%, 16.74% or 20.74%
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.
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 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
|Citi Simplicity® Card
|Discover it® Cash Back
|Chase Freedom Unlimited®
|Citi Diamond Preferred
|Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card
|Capital One® Quicksilver® Card
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
- 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.
- 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.