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Credit cards offer a convenient way to make major purchases or cover emergency expenses. Carry a balance, however, and interest can add up: Americans carry an average $5,221 in credit card debt, according to Experian data.
Credit cards with an introductory 0% annual percentage rate (APR) offer a way to pay off debt without accruing additional interest charges for a limited time. Some of these cards offer intro 0% APRs for new purchases, balance transfers or both. If you've got a big purchase in mind and want to pay it off over time without paying interest—or want to reduce the interest on existing high-interest credit card balances—check out our top picks for intro 0% APR credit cards from our partners.
4 Partner Offers
|Our Picks for the Best Intro 0% APR Credit Cards|
Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card
Intro 0% APR for up to 21 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers
14.49% to 26.49% ongoing variable APR
Earn cash back in the form of a statement credit when you activate offers through My Wells Fargo Deals and use your card to pay at eligible merchants.
Chase Freedom Flex℠
Intro 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months
15.74% to 24.49% ongoing variable APR
Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate; 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining, including restaurants, takeout and eligible delivery services; and unlimited 3% cash back on all other purchases.
Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card
Intro 0% APR for 15 billing cycles on purchases and qualifying balance transfers made within the first 15 days of account opening
14.74% to 24.74% ongoing variable APR
Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice (Preferred Rewards members earn additional cash back), 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases) and unlimited 1% on all other purchases.
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
Introductory 0% APR on purchases for 15 months
15.49% to 25.49% ongoing variable APR
Earn 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%), 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and 1% cash back on other purchases.
Best Overall: Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card
This card offers an introductory 0% APR for 18 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers. After that, the card's variable APR climbs to 14.49% to 26.49%. The intro APR period can be extended three months if you make all your payments on time during the introductory period and the extended period. A late payment may cost you your intro 0% APR, but unlike some cards, won't incur a penalty APR.
Balance transfers made within 120 days of account opening qualify for the introductory APR and a balance transfer fee of 3%, with a transfer fee of 5% thereafter. The minimum fee cardholders are charged is $5 in either case.
The Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card offers other rewards as well. Use it to pay your monthly cellphone bill and receive up to $600 of cellphone protection (subject to a $25 deductible). Through the My Wells Fargo Deals program, you can earn cash back in the form of a statement credit when you activate a deal and use your card to purchase directly from the merchant by the deal expiration date.
Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card
14.49%-26.49% variable APR
- 0% intro APR for 18 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers. Intro APR extension of up to 3 months with on-time minimum payments during the intro and extension periods. 14.49% to 26.49% variable APR thereafter; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate and fee of 3% then a BT fee of up to 5%, min $5
- $0 Annual Fee
- Get up to $600 of cell phone protection when you pay your monthly cell phone bill with your eligible Wells Fargo card (subject to a $25 deductible).
- Through My Wells Fargo Deals, you can earn cash back in the form of a statement credit while you shop, dine, or enjoy an experience simply by using your eligible Wells Fargo Credit Card
- Select “Apply Now” to learn more about the product features, terms and conditions
- Matched For You are statements made by Experian and may not reflect Wells Fargo’s underwriting standards
Best for Flexible Rewards: Chase Freedom Flex℠
The Chase Freedom Flex℠ card has an introductory 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months from account opening; after that, the ongoing variable APR is 15.74% to 24.49%. Be sure to pay your bill on time—if your minimum payment is 60 days late, Chase will end your introductory APR and apply a penalty APR of up to 29.99%.
This card lives up to its name with rewards points redeemable in a variety of ways. Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate; 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service; and unlimited 3% cash back on all other purchases. Rewards can be redeemed for cash back, travel, gift cards and more. Make at least $500 in purchases in the first 3 months after account opening and earn a $200 bonus.
Chase Freedom Flex℠
15.74% - 24.49% Variable
5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter! Plus, earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.
5% cash back on Travel
3% cash back on Dining
1% cash back on All Other Purchases
Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening!
- Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
- 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
- 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®; our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more
- 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
- No minimum to redeem for cash back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!
- 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 15.74% - 24.49%.
- No annual fee - You won't have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Freedom Flex℠ card
- Keep tabs on your credit health - Chase Credit Journey helps you monitor your credit with free access to your latest score, real-time alerts, and more.
Best for Customizable Reward Categories: Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card
Enjoy an intro 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 billing cycles from the date of account opening with this Bank of America card. After that, the variable APR is 14.74% to 24.74%. You must complete balance transfers within 15 days after account opening to qualify. The balance transfer fee is 3% of the amount transferred or $10, whichever is more.
Robust rewards can make this card worth carrying long after the promotional APR ends. Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice, an automatic 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter) and an unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. Although such tiered rewards can add a degree of complexity to getting the most out of the card, being able to choose your rewards category is a nice perk.
Bank of America Preferred Rewards Program members can earn 25% to 75% more cash back on every purchase—or up to 5.25% cash back on purchases in your choice category. You can receive a $200 online cash rewards bonus if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days after account opening.
Best for Cash Back: Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
If you don't need to make a balance transfer, consider this card. It offers an introductory 0% APR on purchases for 15 months from account opening; then the ongoing variable APR is 15.49% to 25.49%. Make one or more late payments, however, and you'll pay a penalty APR of 29.99% for at least six months (see rates and fees).
Earn 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (after that, you'll earn 1%); 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations; and 1% cash back on other purchases. Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars redeemable for statement credits. Boost your rewards by spending $2,000 in purchases on the card within the first 6 months of account opening to earn a $200 statement credit. Terms apply.
How Do Intro 0% APR Credit Cards Work?
Normally, you must pay your credit card balance in full each month to avoid accruing interest. One way to avoid that interest, however, is to use a credit card with an introductory 0% APR on purchase. These cards don't charge interest on purchases made during the promotional period, which can add flexibility to your budget by allowing you to carry a balance and pay off purchases gradually. At the end of the introductory period, any remaining balance starts accruing interest at the card's standard APR.
Credit cards with introductory 0% APRs on balance transfers let you transfer balances from one or more existing credit cards to the new card. Inform the new card issuer which balances you want to transfer to the new card. The credit card company either pays off those balances directly or sends you a check to pay them off yourself. You'll typically pay a balance transfer fee of 3% to 5% of the amount transferred. Transferred balances have a 0% APR during the introductory period. Any balances remaining after that time will accrue interest at the card's usual APR.
What Credit Score Is Required for an Intro 0% APR Credit Card?
You may need good or excellent credit to qualify for top intro 0% APR credit card offers. The better your credit score, the more likely you'll be approved for cards with higher credit limits, more perks and lower interest rates after the promotional period ends.
Knowing your credit score makes it easier to choose credit card offers for which you're most likely to be approved. Before applying for a new card, review your credit report and credit score to see where you stand. If necessary, consider improving your score prior to applying for intro 0% APR credit cards.
When to Use an Intro 0% APR Credit Card
A intro 0% APR credit card can be used to:
- Finance a big purchase. Preparing to do your holiday shopping, plan for a big vacation or buy new furniture? Use a card offering an intro 0% APR on purchases and you can pay off the purchase over the promotional period without any interest.
- Pay down credit card debt. Move high-interest credit card balances to a card with an intro 0% APR balance transfer offer. Pay off the transferred balance before the end of the introductory period to avoid additional interest charges.
- Consolidate credit card balances. When you've got balances on several credit cards, it's easy to miss a payment date, which can lower your credit score. Streamline your finances by transferring all the balances onto an intro 0% APR balance transfer card, and you'll only have one payment to remember.
How to Benefit the Most From an Intro 0% APR Credit Card
To get the most from your introductory 0% APR credit card:
- Automate monthly payments. Some card issuers prematurely end your introductory 0% APR period if you miss a payment. Automating payments can ensure you're never late.
- Pay more than the minimum due. This helps you pay down your balance faster.
- Keep credit card spending within your budget. An introductory 0% APR card can tempt you to overspend, especially if it has other perks like an introductory cash back bonus. To avoid building up a balance, set a budget for your card spending.
- Pay off your balance before the intro period ends. Whether it's a big purchase or a balance transfer, paying off the balance before the promotional period expires is key to getting the most from your new card. Budget for this by dividing your balance by the number of months in the introductory period. Then commit to paying that amount each month, just like your rent or car payment.
- After transferring a balance, keep old credit card accounts open. Even if you don't plan to use the older card, having a card with a zero balance can reduce your overall credit utilization, potentially boosting your credit score. Closing the original card also shortens the average age of your credit accounts, which may hurt your credit score. Just be sure to resist the urge to take on additional debt.
How to Choose an Intro 0% APR Credit Card
To select the intro 0% APR credit card that delivers the most value, read the card agreement carefully. Ask yourself:
- What do I plan to use the card for? Do you want an introductory APR on purchases, balance transfers or both?
- How long is the introductory 0% period? The longer the promotional period lasts, the more time you'll have to pay off purchases or balance transfers.
- Are there any fees? Most cards charge a balance transfer fee—typically 3% to 5% of the amount transferred. Cards may also impose annual fees, late payment fees or fees for foreign transactions. Make sure the potential savings on interest outweighs any fees.
- What is the balance transfer window? Check the card's terms for the deadline to start or complete a balance transfer to qualify for the intro 0% APR. Completing a balance transfer can take time, so start the process as soon as you're able.
- What is the ongoing APR? Find out what your APR will be at the end of the promotional period. A lower ongoing APR will give you the best long-term value.
- Does the card offer rewards or other perks? Benefits such as cash back or travel rewards add value to a card after the promotional APR period ends.
- How does a late payment affect your APR? Pay late, and some intro 0% APR cards raise your APR to the ongoing rate or an even higher penalty APR.
- How is interest charged? Some transactions may not qualify for the intro 0% APR. For example, cards may charge interest on cash advances even during the introductory period.
- Where do you want to transfer a balance from? You usually can't transfer a balance from one card to another card from the same issuer. For example, you could transfer a balance from a Chase card to a Wells Fargo card, but not from one Chase card to another.
Will an Intro 0% APR Credit Card Help Your Credit?
Paying down debt, making on-time payments and not applying for new credit can all improve your credit. An introductory 0% APR credit card could help too. Having more available credit can lower your credit utilization; using a balance transfer card can help you pay down debt—both of which can improve your score. Just avoid carrying a balance on your intro 0% APR credit card past the promotional period, or your credit score could suffer.
In the market for an intro 0% APR credit card? Experian CreditMatch™ can pair you with cards matching your credit profile.