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What is an intro 0% APR credit card?|

An introductory 0% APR credit card doesn't charge interest on purchases, balance transfers or both made during the promotional period. This can add flexibility to your budget by allowing you to carry a balance and pay off your balance gradually. At the end of the introductory period, any remaining balance starts accruing interest at the card's standard APR.

~What is the longest 0% APR period I can get on a credit card?|

Normally, 0% APR periods are offered for 12 months or more. Many of the better offers can be for up to 18 months, and occasionally up to even 21 months before interest starts to accrue.

~What credit score do you need for an intro 0% APR 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 card|

An 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 get the most benefit from an intro 0% APR 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. Paying more 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 can I avoid paying credit card interest?|

You can avoid paying interest on your credit card by using an intro 0% APR credit card and paying off your balance within the intro period. The simplest way to avoid paying credit card interest is to pay your statement balance in full and on time every month. You can automate this by signing up for autopay and selecting your statement balance. Payment history is the most important factor of your credit score, so it's key to always pay on time.

~Can I request 0% APR on any credit card?|

It is very unlikely that you can request a 0% APR rate on a credit card you currently have. If your current interest rate is too high, consider contacting your credit card issuer to negotiate a lower rate. Otherwise, consider applying for one of the intro 0% APR cards on this list.

~What determines the APR on a credit card?|

Credit card interest rates fluctuate for a variety of reasons; some in your control and some outside of your control.

If the Fed changes its benchmark rate, also known as the prime rate, and you have a variable-rate credit card, your interest rate will change in the same direction the Fed rate changes. For example, a rise in the prime rate will likely cause your credit card APR to increase.

If you're more than 60 days late on a payment, your interest rate can spike with a costly penalty APR. This new rate can apply to existing balances and new transactions until you make six monthly payments on time.