Best 0% APR Credit Cards
Finding the right credit card for your lifestyle is important if you’re looking to build credit and responsible spending habits. Many people are tempted by 0% APR credit card offers, thanks to their low-interest appeal. But are these cards too good to be true?
The truth is, 0% APR interest credit cards can make excellent resources — when used smartly. I’ll walk you through some of the top options on the marketplace with 0% introductory APR periods and help you decide if this type of card is right for you.
- Best 0% APR cards summary
- The bottom line
Overview of the best 0% APR cards
|Capital One Quicksilver||Best overall|
|Discover it Cash Back||Bonus cash back|
|Blue Cash Everyday from American Express||Flat-rate cash back|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited||Unlimited cash back|
|Chase Freedom Flex||Big bonuses|
|Citi Simplicity||No late fees|
|US Bank Visa Platinum||Balance transfers|
|Wells Fargo Platinum||Extended 0% APR|
|American Express Cash Magnet||Ongoing rewards|
Capital One Quicksilver
The Capital One Quicksilver credit card is a great overall 0% intro APR card. This cash rewards card offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases, has a long 0% APR period of 15 months, and offers an account opening bonus of $200 if you spend $500 over the first 3 months of opening your account.
It’s also easy to apply for and can be obtained with a FICO credit score as low as 670 (though a higher score will boost your chances of approval). The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card is a no-frills reward card that’s easy to understand, with no hidden loopholes. While this card does not offer ways to earn more benefits or a low APR balance transfer promotion during its intro period, it’s a great all-around card that can help your money stretch further.
Discover it Cash Back
The Discover it Cash Back card is another top choice for anyone interested in a 0% APR introductory period. Cardholders receive 5% cash back on rotating categories (and 1% on all other purchases), a cash match for all rewards cash earned in your first year, and a 14 month 0% APR period. Discover also lets you redeem your rewards at Amazon.com.
You can apply for this card with a minimum credit score of 670 - 690 (though a higher score will increase your chances of approval). One downside to keep in mind is that Discover has a slightly shorter 0% APR period than most other cards. In addition, while 5% cash back is a great offer, it can be difficult to keep track of which categories offer this promo, and might lead to unnecessary new purchases.
Blue Cash Everyday from American Express
If you’ve been wanting to become an American Express member, the Blue Cash Everyday card offers a 15 month 0% introductory APR and no annual fee option. This credit card scores you 3% cash back at U.S. grocery stores, 2% at gas stations and department stores, and 1% on all other purchases. Sign up bonuses include earning 20% back on all Amazon purchases in the first six months and $100 cash back when you spend $1,000 in your first six months.
Those with credit of 690 and above can apply for the Blue Cash Everyday Amex Card. This card also offers Plan It, which allows you to spread payments of purchases $100 or more into fixed payments throughout the month. On the downside, this card offers considerably less rewards than other American Express cards, and has a slightly shorter APR period than others.
Chase Freedom Unlimited
You’ll receive excellent and unlimited cash back rewards with the Chase Freedom Unlimited card. This card has a 15 month 0% APR period, earns you 5% on travel booked through Chase, 3% on drugstore and restaurant purchases, and 1.5% back on everything else. As a sign up bonus, you can earn $200 when you spend $500 in the first 3 months and 5% cash back from grocery store purchases in your first year (excluding Target and Walmart).
I like that this card has no minimum requirement to obtain your cash back. Even if you only have a few bucks available, you’re free to withdraw it. The main downside you should consider before applying is whether or not you’ll be tempted to make extra purchases simply to obtain cash back. You can get approved for this card with a credit score as low as 670 - 690.
Chase Freedom Flex
The Chase Freedom Flex card offers a lot of the same benefits as its Unlimited card. You’ll receive the similar flat bonuses: a 15 month 0% APR period, 5% back on travel booked through Chase, 3% back on drugstore and restaurant purchases, and 1% back on everything else. Sign up bonuses are the same, earning you $200 when you spend $500 in the first 3 months and 5% cash back from grocery store purchases in your first year (excluding Target and Walmart). Those with credit scores of 670 or higher are likely to be approved.
However, the Freedom Flex card also offers 5% back in bonus categories that alternate every 3 months, which can score you even better cash back awards. The main drawback is that you’ll need to opt into the bonus categories every 3 months, which can be hard to remember.
Rewards are great, but not everyone benefits from these types of credit cards. If you need a longer 0% APR period, the Citi Simplicity card can offer you 18 months at 0% APR as well as 18 months at 0% APR for balance transfers. This can make paying off bills or debt easier than ever.
While the Citi Simplicity card is not rewards-based, it does offer a no-penalty APR for late payments feature, preventing your APR from increasing down the line. This card is slightly harder than the others on this list to be approved for and you'll need credit near 700 to increase your chances.
U.S. Bank Visa Platinum
Balance transfers can be a smart way to pay off debt while saving on interest. The U.S. Bank Visa Platinum card offers one of the longest 0% APR periods around — 20 months — allowing you to pay down debt and bills without worrying about interest. You can also score cell phone protection up to $600 when you opt to pay your cell phone bill with this card.
This card is not a rewards-based card, so there’s no much reason to continue using it after the introductory APR period ends. I wouldn’t recommend it as a primary card after this period, but it can help you tackle your debt during this period. On the downside, you’ll need a minimum credit score of approximately 720 to get approved for this platinum card.
Wells Fargo Bank Visa Platinum
The Wells Fargo Bank Visa Platinum card is extremely similar to the U.S. Bank Platinum Card. This card offers a long introductory 0% APR period (18 months) and 0% APR balance transfer period (18 months), which is just 2 months shorter than the U.S. Bank card.
However, I’d opt for this card over the U.S. Bank card if you’re looking for a long 0% APR period, because it’s much easier to be approved if you have a slightly lower credit score. While U.S. Bank is looking for good to excellent credit with a minimum score of 720, you can be approved for the Wells Fargo card with minimum scores of 670 - 690.
American Express Cash Magnet
Another top American Express Card to consider if you want a 0% introductory APR period is the Cash Magnet Card. This card boasts a 15 month 0% APR term, 1.5% cash back on all qualifying purchases, and access to special Amex Offers throughout the year. You can also break purchases of over $100 into fixed monthly payments.
The Cash Magnet Card offers simple cash back terms and a $150 signup bonus if you spend $1,000 in your first 3 months of membership. You can apply with a minimum credit score of 680. On the downside, you’ll need to obtain a minimum of $25 in rewards in order to redeem them for cash, and you’re not able to transfer your rewards balance into a bank account like many other cards.
Best 0% APR cards summary
|Credit card issuer||0% APR Period||Rewards Details||Annual Fee||Regular APR||Sign-up bonus|
|Capital One Quicksilver||15 months||1.5% cash back on purchases||$0||15.49% - 25.49% (variable)||$200 in cash back when you spend $500 over your first 3 months|
|Discover it Cash Back||14 months||5% cash back on certain rotating categories; 1% on all other purchases||$0||11.99% - 22.99% (variable)||Receive a cash back match for all rewards cash earned in your first year|
|Blue Cash Everyday from American Express||15 months||3% cash back at supermarkets, 2% at gas stations and department stores, 1% on all other purchases (terms and limits apply)||$0||13.99% - 23.99% (variable)||20% cash back in Amazon purchases for the first six months; $100 cash back when you spend $1,000 over your first six months|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited||15 months||5% back on travel booked via Chase, 3% back at restaurants and drugstores, 1.5% back on all other purchases||$0||14.99% - 23.74% (variable)||$200 when you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months; 5% back on grocery store purchases (up to $12,000; excluding Walmart and Target) in your first year|
|Chase Freedom Flex||15 months||5% cash back in rotating bonus categories; 5% on travel booked through Chase, 3% at restaurants and drugstores, 1% on all other purchases||$0||14.99% - 23.74% (variable)||$200 when you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months; 5% back on grocery store purchases (up to $12,000; excluding Walmart and Target) in your first year|
|Citi Simplicity||18 months||N/A||$0||14.74% - 24.74% (variable)||0% balance transfers for 18 months|
|U.S. Bank Visa Platinum||20 months/ billing cycles||N/A||$0||13.99% - 23.99% (variable)||$600 in protection for your phone when you pay your monthly bill with this card|
|Wells Fargo Platinum||18 months||N/A||$0||15.49% - 24.99% APR||$600 in protection for your phone when you pay your monthly bill with this card|
|American Express Cash Magnet||15 months||1.5% cash back||$0||13.99% - 23.99% (variable)||$150 when you spend $1,000 in your first six months of membership|
Considerations for 0% APR credit card
While 0% APR cards may sound like a dream come true, they should not be used lightly. Here are some factors to keep in mind before applying for a 0% APR credit card.
A 0% APR card can be a good way to pay down existing credit card debt without worrying about interest through balance transfers. Before counting on these to act as balance transfer credit cards, however, keep a few things in mind.
First, you’ll want to make sure you have a plan in place to pay your total balance before the introductory APR period ends.
Secondly, know that your credit score might be impacted by a balance transfer. Not only will requesting the transfer possibly ding your report, using a high credit utilization percentage on one card could impact your score. For instance, if you’re approved for $10,000 on a 0% APR card, and you transfer $8,500 in existing debt from other cards, your credit utilization percentage will be at 85% for this card alone, well over the recommended 30%.
Lastly, make sure you research balance transfer fees. While 0% APR is great, some credit cards charge high fees per transfer that you should take into consideration while researching your options.
With that in mind, it can be a good idea to take advantage of balance transfer options, as long as you know you can pay the balance and deal with a higher credit utilization percentage in the meantime.
With a 0% APR credit card, making sure you pay at least your minimum payment on-time every month is very important. Many of these introductory 0% APR cards can cancel your terms if you miss a payment, even by a day. This means your interest rate could change from 0% to the current APR overnight.
Earning rewards on purchases can be great, but if you plan to use a 0% APR card to pay off debt, these cards can be risky. When paying off debt, it's a good idea not to utilize your card until your balance is paid off. Adding a little here and there can be risky and might leave you in jeopardy of not being able to pay off your full balance before the introductory period ends.
Regular APR rates
Since your introductory APR period will end one day, be sure to compare the regular APR ranges before selecting a card, so you don’t get locked into a card with an unusually high APR.
If you’re looking to make a big purchase with a 0% APR credit card to enjoy no interest for 12 to 20 months, it might be worth looking into other options like 0% APR loans. If you’re buying a car, for instance, it might be worthwhile to look for low or no APR loan options, rather than subsidizing your payment amount with a credit card.
Does 0% APR mean no interest charges on a credit card?
Credit cards with 0% APR offer no interest for an introductory period of time. This means you’ll pay no interest on purchases or balance transfers (if offered) during this introductory period. This can make them great options for paying off debt or large purchases interest-free, as long as you pay the balance in full before your introductory 0% APR ending due date, otherwise, you can be hit with a variable APR that can soar into the mid-20% range, based on your creditworthiness.
Can you extend your 0% APR period?
It’s not common that credit cards extend your 0% introductory APR period, but it is possible. It’s best to call the credit card company if you’re facing financial challenges or are hoping to add a month or two to your existing terms.
How long are 0% APR card terms?
The introductory 0% APR periods tend to provide zero-interest from 15 to 18 months. However, some cards offer 12 to14 month APR options, while others extend your APR period to 18 to 20 months.
What’s the minimum balance on a 0% APR credit card?
Most credit card companies will charge you 1% of your balance to meet your minimum payment. There are a few companies, like Discover, who set your minimum payment to 2% of your balance.
The bottom line
You can find great credit cards with 0% APR terms if you have good to excellent credit. Decide which type of card works best for your lifestyle (rewards or simple cards) and be sure to be smart about any purchases made or balances transferred during your introductory 0% APR period.