Best 0% APR Credit Cards: Avoid Interest Charges During the Promotional Period

0
13

An introductory 0% APR is a feature offered by some credit cards that gives cardholders a limited timeframe in which they can avoid interest charges on their balance. Normally, a credit card APR sits around 15% to 25% — so you would pay anywhere from $150 to $250 in interest charges annually on a $1,000 credit card balance. 

Introductory APRs can apply either to your new purchases or to a balance transferred from a high-interest credit card. In order to avoid getting charged interest after the introductory 0% APR ends, we recommend paying your balance in full before the promotion is up. And remember to make all your credit card minimum payments on time so that you don’t breach the terms of the promotion.

Intro OfferN/A

APR15.24% – 27.24% Variable APR

Intro Purchase APR0% intro APR for up to 21 months from account opening

Recommended Credit Excellent, Good

Reward RatesN/A

Annual Fee$0

Intro Balance Transfer APR0% intro APR for up to 21 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers

Balance Transfer APR15.24% – 27.24% Variable APR

Balance Transfer Fee up to 5%; min: $5

Foreign Transaction Fees 3%

Penalty APR None

Our Take

The Wells Fargo Reflect® Card offers a unique proposition among 0% introductory APR cards. Not only can you take advantage of the 0% introductory APR on purchases and qualifying balance transfers for an entire 18 months from account opening, but you can earn up to a three month extension on that timeframe if you pay all of your minimum payments on time during the introductory and extension periods. This means you can use up to 21 months from account opening of 0% introductory APR on purchases and qualifying balance transfers (15.24% to 27.24% variable APR thereafter), which is unmatched by any other offer we could find. The trick is — as with all 0% intro APR cards — to be disciplined.

Check out our full review of the Wells Fargo Reflect® Card.

One of the longest intro APR periods

Intro OfferN/A

APR16.49% – 25.24% Variable

Intro Purchase APR0% Intro APR on Purchases for 18 months

Recommended Credit Excellent/Good Credit

Reward RatesN/A

Annual Fee$0

Intro Balance Transfer APR0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months

Balance Transfer APR16.49% – 25.24% Variable

Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

Foreign Transaction Fees 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars

Penalty APR Up to 29.99%

Our Take

The Chase Slate Edge℠ offers a full 18 months of 0% introductory APR on both purchases and balance transfers (16.49% to 25.24% variable APR thereafter), beating out most other cards with intro APR offers. Beyond those 18 months, you’ll have the option to utilize My Chase Plan® on qualifying purchases of at least $100. With this program, you are able to spread out your payments in monthly installments for no interest — the catch is a flat monthly fee of 1.72%. But it is important to note that this fee can end up being very costly, on par with a higher APR if your balance remains unpaid.

See our full review of the Chase Slate Edge for more details.

Intro OfferEarn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months

APR17.24%, 22.24%, or 27.24% Variable APR

Intro Purchase APR0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening

Recommended Credit Excellent, Good

Reward Rates

  • Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases

Annual Fee$0

Intro Balance Transfer APR0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers

Balance Transfer APR17.24%, 22.24%, or 27.24% Variable APR

Balance Transfer Fee up to 5%; min: $5

Foreign Transaction Fees 3%

Penalty APR None

  • Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases

Our Take

You can take advantage of cash rewards on top of the introductory APR on your purchases with the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card. While the 0% introductory APR on purchases and qualifying balance transfers lasts for 15 months from account opening (then a 17.24%, 22.24% or 27.24% variable APR), the 2% cash rewards applies to those purchases and beyond. While you might be able to earn higher rewards rates in individual categories with other cards, this is one of the best credit cards for everyday spending. The cash rewards and welcome offer make up for this being a slightly shorter introductory APR period than some of the other picks.

For more details, see our full review of the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card.

Intro OfferN/A

APR16.74% – 26.74% (Variable)

Intro Purchase APR0% for 20 billing cycles on purchases

Recommended Credit Good/Excellent

Reward RatesN/A

Annual Fee$0

Intro Balance Transfer APR0% for 20 billing cycles on balance transfers

Balance Transfer APR16.74% – 26.74% (Variable)

Balance Transfer Fee Either 3% of the amount of each transfer or $5 minimum, whichever is greater

Foreign Transaction Fees 2% of each foreign purchase transaction or foreign ATM advance transaction in U.S. Dollars. 3% of each foreign purchase transaction or foreign ATM advance transaction in a Foreign Currency

Our Take

The U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card is a great card for a balance transfer, with 20 billing cycles of 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers (though remember you still need to make minimum monthly payments; 16.74% to 26.74% variable APR thereafter). The trade-off is a lack of welcome bonus and rewards, but there is no annual fee either.

For more details, see our full review of the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card.

Intro APR with an intro $0 balance transfer fee

Intro OfferN/A

APR9.99% to 21.49% (Variable)

Intro Purchase APR0% Introductory APR for the first 15 months that your account is open.

Recommended Credit Excellent/Good Credit

Reward RatesN/A

Annual Fee$0

Intro Balance Transfer APR0% Introductory APR for the first 15 months that your account is open.

Balance Transfer APR9.99% to 21.49% (Variable)

Balance Transfer Fee Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater.

Late Payment Fee Up to $37

Foreign Transaction Fees 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars.

Penalty APR None

Our Take

The Union Bank Platinum Visa Credit Card* combines a competitive introductory APR length with the rare feature of an inexpensive balance transfer. Most credit cards will charge a fee when you transfer your balance — usually 3% or 5% of the transaction — which can add to the debt you need to pay off. But if you transfer a balance to the Union Bank Platinum card within the first 60 days of getting approved, you’ll pay no balance transfer fees (3% balance transfer fee with a $10 minimum thereafter). For both purchases and balance transfers, you’ll get 15 months from account opening to take advantage of the introductory APR (after that, you’ll be subject to a variable 9.99% – 21.49% APR).

FAQs

What is a credit card APR?

A credit card APR, or annual percentage rate, is an annual interest rate. A single credit card can have a handful of different APRs that apply to different transactions. For example, there can be a purchase APR, balance transfer APR and cash advance APR.

What is a variable APR?

A variable APR is an annual interest rate that may change without notice. Changes to a variable APR occur because it is tied to the prime rate — the interest rate banks charge their most creditworthy customers. Usually the variable APR is based on the prime rate, your creditworthiness and a premium charged by the credit card issuer. After the 0% introductory APR period expires, your balances will be subject to a variable APR.

What is a purchase APR?

A purchase APR is the annual interest rate that applies to your new purchases on a credit card. A credit card may offer a promotional 0% purchase APR, and the purchase APR may be different from the APR on balance transfers.

What is a balance transfer APR?

A balance transfer APR is the annual interest rate that applies to balances that you move from one credit card to another. Some credit cards offer a 0% introductory APR on balance transfers, but many do not. Your transferred balances are not eligible to earn credit card rewards.

Our methodology

CNET reviews credit cards by exhaustively comparing them across set criteria developed for each major category, including cash-back, welcome bonus, travel rewards and balance transfer. We take into consideration the typical spending behavior of a range of consumer profiles — with the understanding that everyone’s financial situation is different — and the designated function of a card. 

More credit card recommendations

*All information about the Union Bank Platinum Visa Credit Card has been collected independently by CNET and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.

Go to Publisher: CNET
Author: Joe Van Brussel