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0% Interest Credit Cards

Zero interest credit cards are geared towards consumers looking to transfer a balance or make a big purchase. Also known as 0% APR credit cards, today’s market is full of credit cards that offer introductory periods of up to 21 months interest-free. The experts at Bankrate have compiled advice and recommendations on how to make the most of a 0 interest credit card.

In this article:

Bankrate’s Best 0% Interest Credit Cards

How we chose our favorite 0% interest cards

Bankrate’s experts researched over 300 credit cards to choose our favorite cards with low or no interest. Key features in our analysis include APR, annual fee, late and other fees, rewards, bonuses and perks, and credit threshold. The top cards in this category give consumers the opportunity to pay down debt, make large purchases, and earn rewards.

How do zero 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 0% 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 annual percentage rate (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.

In Review: Bankrate’s Favorite Zero Percent Interest Credit Cards

Citi Simplicity Card

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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.

Card Details:

  • Issuer: Citi
  • Best for: Paying off large debts over 18 months without interest
  • Bankrate Score: 88/100
  • Intro 0% APR term length: 18 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • Balance transfer fee: 5% or $5, whichever is greater
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 15.74%-25.74%

Editor’s take:

If 0% APR term length is the one and only feature you’re looking for in a credit card, Citi’s Simplicity Card is the one you want to go with.

BankAmericard Credit Card


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The BankAmericard Credit Card offers a nice 0% APR introductory term length at 15 months in addition to a more flexible balance transfer rate than most other cards in the category. If you’re looking to pay down a large purchase or have a sizable balance to transfer from another card, the BankAmericard balance transfer fee is 3% (min. $10).

Card Details:

  • Issuer: Bank of America
  • Best for: Transferring a balance and paying it off without interest
  • Bankrate Score: 89/100
  • Intro 0% APR term length: 15 months on purchases, 60 days on balance transfers
  • Balance transfer fee: 3% or $10, whichever is greater
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 14.49%-24.49%

Editor’s take:

If you’re looking for a 0% APR card and also need to transfer a balance, the BankAmericard is a wise choice, especially if you already bank with Bank of America.

Chase Freedom Unlimited


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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:

  • Issuer: Chase
  • Best for: Collecting flat-rate cash back while paying down debt
  • Bankrate Score: 92/100
  • Intro 0% APR term length: 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • Balance transfer fee: 5%
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 16.49%-25.24%

Editor’s take:

This is an excellent supplementary card to Chase’s Sapphire lineup, as its cash back can be converted to points. Think of the 0% APR introductory period as a perk of owning this card, not a primary reason for getting it.

Discover it® Cash Back


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Another 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.

Card Details:

  • Issuer: Discover
  • Best for: Large first-year bonus
  • Bankrate Score: 93/100
  • Intro 0% APR term length: 14 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • Balance transfer fee: 3%
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 13.49%-24.49% (Variable)

Editor’s take:

If you can comfortably pay off the debt you intend to use this card for over the first 14 months, the cash back you’ll earn on it can’t be beat.

Citi Diamond Preferred


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With an unparallelled 21-month 0% APR introductory period, 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.

Card Details:

  • Issuer: Citi
  • Best for: Making low monthly payments on balance transfer debt without interest
  • Bankrate Score: 82/100
  • Intro 0% APR term length: 21 months on balance transfers, 12 months on purchases
  • Balance transfer fee: 5% or $5, whichever is greater
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 14.74%-25.74%

Editor’s take:

Primarily to be used as a 0% APR card for balance transfers, the Citi Diamond Preferred won’t give you as much time to pay off new purchases as other cards. If you want a small monthly payment on a balance transfer, though, this is your best option.

Chase Freedom


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For savvy rewards cards users looking for a 0% APR credit card, the Chase Freedom is a solid option for getting cash back without accruing interest for the first 15 months. Another credit card with bonus rotating quarterly categories, the Chase Freedom will pay you 5% cash back on select spending like groceries, wholesale clubs, movie theaters, etc. If you are up for tracking the categories and can maximize your spend, you’ll get a nice return. Again, the 0% introductory APR is a great perk if your credit is good enough to get you approved.

Card details:

  • Issuer: Chase
  • Best for: Maximizing cash back on quarterly spend categories
  • Bankrate Score: 90/100
  • Intro 0% APR term length: 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • Balance transfer fee: 5% or $5, whichever is greater
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 16.49%-25.24%

Editor’s take:

If you have the time to track your quarterly spend, this is a great option for earning cash back. Keep in mind that the 5% rewards rate is capped on $1,500 in quarterly spending.

Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express

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The Blue Cash Preferred from American Express offers 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months. Additionally, this is the cash back card with some of the highest rewards rates on the market today. If you’re looking to pay down a debt and also find yourself at the grocery store or gas pump quite often, you can’t go wrong with the Blue Cash Preferred. You’ll earn 6% cash back at supermarkets and 3% cash back at gas stations. Reward cash is not as flexible as it is with other issuers (you can only apply it as a statement credit or to purchase gift cards), but the sheer amount of cash you’ll earn back is enticing.

Card Details:

  • Issuer: American Express
  • Best for: Families with debts to pay down
  • Bankrate Score: 92/100
  • Intro 0% APR term length: 12 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • Balance transfer fee: $5 or 3%, whichever is greater
  • Annual fee: $95
  • Regular APR: 14.49%-25.49%

Editor’s take:

Families with high grocery and gas bills will love the benefits of this card. If you are looking for a card you’d like to keep in your wallet after the introductory APR period expires, look no further.

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card


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The simplicity of the Quicksilver card and its $150 sign-up bonus give reason to consider it for your balance transfer, considering it also carries a 15-month long 0% APR period on purchases and balance transfers. 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 highly as length of introductory period may be better off with another card.

Card Details:

  • Issuer: Capital One
  • Best for: Earning flat-rate cash back with a lengthy intro 0% APR period
  • Bankrate Score: 93/100
  • Intro 0% APR term length: 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • Balance transfer fee: 3%
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 14.49%-24.49%

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.

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.

Use a credit card payoff calculator to determine how many months you’ll need to pay off your debt.

Debt Consolidation 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.

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.

Recap: Bankrate’s Top 0% Interest Cards

Card Name Introductory APR Best For
Citi Simplicity Card 0% interest for 18 mos. No late fees
BankAmericard Credit Card 0% interest for 15 billing cycles Balance transfers
Chase Freedom Unlimited 0% interest for 15 mos. Flat-rate cash back
Discover it® Cash Back 0% interest for 14 months; 13.49%-24.49%( Variable) Rotating category cash back
Citi Diamond Preferred Card 0% interest for 21 mos. on transfers, 12 mos. on purchases Lengthy 0% intro APR period
Chase Freedom 0% interest for 15 mos. Bonus reward categories
Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Experess 0% interest for 12 mos. Gas and groceries
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards 0% interest for 15 mos. No annual fee