Whats a 0% Interest Credit Card?
With a 0% interest card, you can make purchases/payments with your credit card
and repay any balance you accumulate interest-free. This offer only lasts for a limited time, known as the “introductory period,” and it gives cardholders the opportunity to save hundreds of dollars in interest payments. Some credit cards also come with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This allows cardholders to transfer unpaid balances from their old credit cards to the new one, enjoying interest-free repayments for 18 months or longer.
The 0% interest credit cards to look out for are those that offer cardholders the longest introductory period for both purchases and balance transfers. Some cards also come with added benefits like no fees for balance transfers
, no annual fees, free monthly credit reports and so on.
Do 0% Interest Cards Offer Rewards?
Yes, a number of 0% credit cards allow customers to earn rewards for making purchases. Rewards may come in the form of cash back for using your card to make purchases at supermarkets, gas stations, restaurants or online vendors.
How to Maximize a 0% Interest Card
A 0% interest credit card is great for making big purchases as it gives you a chance to pay off the balance before interest starts accruing on it. It’s also good for consolidating debt under one account and paying off most (or all) of it without interest. If you’re thinking of getting a 0% APR credit card, here are some tips to help you maximize it:
1. Watch Out for Other Fees and Charges
While the card provider will not charge interest during the intro period, some other fees will be charged. Examples of added fees are balance transfer, late payment fees, annual fees, ATM withdrawal fees, foreign transaction fees, and so on. Look for cards that waive some of these fees.
2. Pay Off Your Balance During the Introductory Period
If you use a 0% card to make a big purchase or to resolve an old balance, make sure you pay off the new balance before the intro period expires. Any balance left unpaid will start accumulating interest immediately afterward. Note that the card provider may not notify you when the introductory period is about to expire. Call them, find out when the exact date is, and keep track of it yourself.
3. Use the Card Wisely
If you fail to pay off the balance on a 0% interest credit card in the intro period, don’t attempt to transfer the balance to a new 0% APR card. This signals to lenders that you’re a credit risk and your credit score takes a beating.
4. Avoid late payments
One late payment and the 0% introductory APR may be canceled. That means you’re saddled with a high APR card that offers little rewards. To avoid this, make your monthly payments on time.
Top Five 0% Interest Cards
The perfect 0% interest credit card is one that offers users a long introductory period for purchases and balance transfers, gives out rewards for purchases, charges no annual fee and has many other added benefits. When these factors are considered, here are the top five 0% APR credit cards:
1. Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
The Blue Cash card
has a 15-months interest-free period for both purchases and balance transfers. Cardholders also earn $150 for spending $1,000 within 3-months of opening an account, and there is 3% cash back reward for purchases at U.S. supermarkets (purchases capped at $6,000 per year). There’s also 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and certain department stores, and 1% for other purchases (with no limits). There are also no annual fees.
2. Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card
The Capital One card
offers 15-months interest-free for purchases and balance transfers along with an intro bonus of $150 when $500 is spent on purchases within 3-months of opening the account. Furthermore, cardholders earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases, and no annual fee or foreign transaction fee is charged.
3. Chase Freedom Unlimited®
An interest-free period of 15-months for purchases and balance transfers, 3% cash back reward on all purchases made in the first year (purchases capped at $20,000), 1.5% cash back on all other purchases after that, and no annual fees - not bad at all. The Chase Freedom Unlimited card
is a great option.
4. U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card
The US Bank Visa Platinum Card
doesn’t offer much in terms of rewards, but customers get to enjoy 20 billing cycles interest-free. During this period, no APR will accrue on both purchases and balance transfers. Additionally, there’s no annual fee and cardholders enjoy up to $600 cellphone protection against damage or theft (subject to a $25 deductible).
5. Wells Fargo Platinum Visa Card
Zero percent introductory APR for 18-months (for both purchases and balance transfers). Cardholders of the Wells Fargo Platinum Visa Card
also get up to $600 for cellphone protection (subject to a $25 deductible), easy access to their FICO scores via Wells Fargo Online, and no annual fees. This card is great for people that want to make a big and unexpected purchase or a balance transfer.
Some credit cards give customers a limited period of time to make their balance transfers and transfers made after this period miss out on the 0% Intro APR. For example, the BankAmericard credit card has an 18-month interest-free period for balance transfers, but only for transfers made within 60-days of opening the account.
This emphasizes the need to pay close attention to the fine print before applying for any credit card. Also, do not overspend in the bid to earn rewards. As far as a 0% APR card is concerned, the real reward is making big purchases interest-free and paying off the balance during the introductory period.