Choosing 0% APR Credit Cards Wisely: 4 Factors to Consider Before Applying

Editorial Note:

0% APR credit cards are powerful tools to help reduce credit card debt. They allow you to pay off the principal of the debt without accruing interest over a given period of time. This 0% APR offer may apply to new purchases, past balance transfers, or both. If you are looking for 0% APR credit cards, you should know not all cards are created equally. You should choose a card that helps your financial goals.

What Is Your Goal?

You may have different factors to consider depending on if you’re making a large purchase or attempting to eliminate debt. Sometimes, the conditions are just right for purchasing that big value item that you were planning to make. Then, the purpose of your 0% APR credit card is to reduce the financing cost of a new big purchase. For these cards consider the type of credit card, promotional period length, and post promotional APR, among other things.

If your intention is to eliminate debt then you should consider a 0% APR balance transfer credit card. With this card, you can transfer credit card debt from another card issuer and take advantage of a lower interest rate. Be aware that a balance transfer card usually comes with a fee equal to 3-5% of the debt transferred. You may want to search for a card that waives this charge. There is a possibility that this expense may end up eliminating any savings that the low interest rate may provide.

Pro tip: Be very careful not to confuse a deferred interest card for a 0% introductory APR card. A deferred interest card incurs interest during the introductory period. This interest is added to the first payment after the deferred interest period ends. A 0% introductory card will not generate any interest at all. This will be true as long as the terms of the credit card agreement are met. At the end of the introductory period, there will be no deferred interest that must be paid.

0% APR on Purchases

4 Additional Factors Choosing 0% APR Credit Cards

Once you have determined the purpose for your 0% APR credit card, there are other features you should consider. These are listed below.

Promotional period

The length of your promotional period varies between the card issuers. It can be as short as six months, or as long as 21 months. Choose a card with an introductory period long enough to pay off your debts completely in equally divided payments. Depending on your debt and the state of your finances, you will know how much time you need.

Post-promotional APR

Once the 0% APR expires, you should be comfortable with the regular APR of your card. This is especially important if you are unable to pay off your debt balance before the introductory APR expires. Select a card with a low non-promotional APR to help you manage any remaining debt and new purchases going forward.

Annual fees

The card you selected may or may not come with a yearly fee. We recommend that you review the card benefits, the annual expense, and any other fees applicable to the account. Only then can you determine if the card is worth the cost.

Other card benefits

0% APR credit cards may come with other bonuses. These may include cash back offers, travel extras, or other perks. When reviewing credit card benefits, read all the terms and conditions. This is to ensure that you can reasonably access the extras offered on the card. You want to ensure that the requirements to access these perks fit your spending behavior without incurring any excess debt.

For example, a card offering 100,000 travel points sounds like a must-have card. That may be enough points for you and a guest to fly business class on your next trip.  It sounds less appealing if, in order to get this, you must spend $10,000 within the first three months.

List Of 0% APR Credit Cards

Card nameIntro APR on purchasesPurchase APRIntroductory APR for Balance TransfersTypes of Rewards
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card0% introductory APR for 12 months15.74% to 27.74%0% introductory APR for 12 monthsPoints
Chase Freedom® Credit Card0% introductory APR for 15 months14.99% to 23.74%0% introductory APR for 15 monthsCash Back
Chase Freedom Unlimited® Credit Card0% introductory APR for 15 months14.49% to 26.24%0% introductory APR for 15 monthsCash Back
Discover it® Miles Credit Card0% introductory APR for 14 months13.99% to 24.99%10.99% introductory APR for 14 monthsRewards
Spark® Miles Select from Capital One®0% introductory APR for 9 months14.74% 18.74% or 22.74%% introductory APR for monthsRewards
VentureOne® from Capital One®0% introductory APR for 12 months14.49% - 24.49%% introductory APR for monthsRewards
Harley-Davidson® Visa Signature® Credit Card0% introductory APR for 12 months13.99% to 22.99%0% introductory APR for 12 monthsRewards Points
Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business0% introductory APR for 9 months14.74% 18.74% or 22.74%% introductory APR for monthsCash Back
Quicksilver® Credit Card0% introductory APR for 15 months14.74% 22.74% or 26.74%0% introductory APR for 15 monthsCash Back
SavorOne℠ Rewards from Capital One®0% introductory APR for 15 months15.49% - 25.49%0% introductory APR for 15 monthsCash Back
Wells Fargo Cash Back College Visa® Card0% introductory APR for 6 months13.15% to 23.15%0% introductory APR for 6 monthsCash Back
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card0% introductory APR for 12 months15.99% to 26.99%0% introductory APR for 12 monthsCash Back
SunTrust Cash Rewards Credit Card0% introductory APR for 15 months13.24% - 23.24%0% introductory APR for 15 monthsCash Back
Discover it® Chrome for Students Credit Card0% introductory APR for 6 months14.99% to 23.99%10.99% introductory APR for 6 monthsCash Back
Discover it® Chrome Gas & Restaurant Credit Card0% introductory APR for 14 months13.99% to 24.99%0% introductory APR for 14 monthsCash Back
Special Connections® MasterCard® with Rewards0% introductory APR for 12 months11.99% to 21.99%0% introductory APR for 12 monthsCash Back
KC Royals™ Mastercard®0% introductory APR for 12 months15.99% to 21.99%0% introductory APR for 12 monthsCash Back
BMO Harris Bank Cash Back MasterCard®0% introductory APR for 6 months15.74%17.74% 20.74% or 23.74%0% introductory APR for 12 monthsCash Back
Bank of the West Cash Back World Mastercard®0% introductory APR for 6 months17.74% to 24.74%% introductory APR for monthsCash Back
MLB™ Cash Rewards Mastercard® from Bank of America®0% introductory APR for 12 months15.24% to 25.24%0% introductory APR for 12 monthsCash Back
Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card0% introductory APR for 15 months13.99% to 23.99%0% introductory APR for 15 monthsCash Back
Susan G. Komen® Cash Rewards Visa® Credit Card from Bank of America®0% introductory APR for 12 months15.24% to 25.24%0% introductory APR for 12 monthsCash Back
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express®0% introductory APR for 12 months13.99% to 23.99%% introductory APR for monthsCash Back
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express®0% introductory APR for 15 months14.99% to 25.99%0% introductory APR for 15 monthsCash Back
Wells Fargo Visa Signature® Card0% introductory APR for 15 months14.49% to 27.99%0% introductory APR for 15 monthsRewards Points
Wells Fargo Rewards® Card0% introductory APR for 15 months18.49% to 27.99%0% introductory APR for 15 monthsRewards Points
Citi® ThankYou® Preferred Credit Card0% introductory APR for 15 months15.49% to 25.49%0% introductory APR for 15 monthsRewards Points
Citi® ThankYou® Preferred Credit Card for College Students0% introductory APR for 7 months16.49% to 26.49%% introductory APR for monthsRewards Points
Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card0% introductory APR for 12 months16.99% to 24.99%% introductory APR for monthsRewards Points
Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students0% introductory APR for 12 months16.99% to 24.99%% introductory APR for monthsRewards Points
Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card0% introductory APR for 12 months14.99% to 24.99%0% introductory APR for 12 monthsRewards Points
Amex EveryDay® Credit Card0% introductory APR for 12 months14.99% to 25.99%0% introductory APR for 12 monthsRewards Points

Be Wise in Your Choice

If you decide that you do need a new credit card, 0% APR credit cards may be a good way to go. The type of card you ultimately select will be a function of its purpose, post promotional behavior, and other benefits. Remember to review your card holistically, and not have tunnel vision on one particular feature. Don’t forget to read the card’s fine print before making a selection. You want to ensure that the card you select works for you and not the other way around.

Roman Zelvenschi

I started a digital marketing agency Romanz Media Group Inc. 12 years ago. Running my own business quickly taught me the importance of cash flow. Making sales was not enough, I had to have money in the bank to pay the vendors, staff and personal bills.

During those early stages of the company I learned how to get creative with debt and to save on interest cost. I paid for everything I could with a credit card to both get more points and to extend the payment date by 25 days (credit card grace period). I then utilized a 0% balance transfer offers to rotate this debt.

I learned a lot during this process and made a lot of mistakes. My key lesson is that the most important part of being financially independent is how much I managed to save, rather than how much I earned. Staying disciplined with savings and tracking spending is not easy and I tried many different methods to stay on track.

FinancialFreedom.Guru is a side project where I and my staff are trying to share the practical knowledge on how to understand finances and to build wealth.

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