Best 0% APR Credit Cards for April 2020

Matt is a Certified Financial Planner® and investment advisor based in Columbia, South Carolina. He writes personal finance and investment advice, and in 2017 he received the SABEW Best in Business Award.

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You could avoid paying credit card interest until 2021! Check out our picks for top 0% APR credit cards if you want to pay off debt faster or defray the cost of a large purchase without paying an annual fee.

Ratings Methodology
High cash back
Discover it® Cash Back

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On Discover's Secure Website.

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On Discover's Secure Website.

Rewards

Earn 5% cash back in rotating quarterly categories you activate ($1,500 quarterly spending cap), 1% back on all else

Annual Fee

$0

Intro APR

Purchases: 0%, 14 months
Balance Transfers: 0%, 14 months

Ongoing APR

11.99% - 22.99% Variable

Bonuses & Perks

Double cash back in the first year -- that's worth up to 10% back, FICO score for free

Highlights
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, select rideshares and online shopping, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.
  • Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • No annual fee.
Wells Fargo Platinum card

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On Well Fargo's Secure Website.

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On Well Fargo's Secure Website.

Rewards

N/A

Annual Fee

$0

Intro APR

Purchases: 0%, 18 months
Balance Transfers: 0%, 18 months on qualifying balance transfers

Ongoing APR

15.49%-24.99% (Variable)

Bonuses & Perks

FICO® score for free, mobile phone protection

Highlights
  • Pay down balances instead of interest with Wells Fargo’s longest intro APR
  • $0 Annual Fee
  • Get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Platinum card
  • Easy access to your FICO® Credit Score with Wells Fargo Online®
  • Zero Liability protection for promptly reported unauthorized transactions
  • Convenient tools to help create a budget and manage your spending with My Money Map
  • Select "Apply Now" to learn more about the product features, terms and conditions
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

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On Citi's Secure Website.

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On Citi's Secure Website.

Rewards

N/A

Annual Fee

$0

Intro APR

Purchases: 0%, 12 months
Balance Transfers: 0%, 21 months

Ongoing APR

13.74% – 23.74% (Variable)

Bonuses & Perks

FICO score for free

Highlights
  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 21 months from date of first transfer. After that, the variable APR will be 13.74% – 23.74%, based on your creditworthiness. All transfers must be completed in first 4 months.
  • 0% Intro APR on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening. After that, the variable APR will be 13.74% – 23.74%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • If you transfer a balance with this offer, after your 0% Intro purchase APR expires, both new purchases and unpaid purchase balances will automatically accrue interest until all balances, including your transferred balance, are paid in full.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • Get free access to your FICO® score online.
  • With Citi EntertainmentSM, get special access to purchase tickets to thousands of events, including concerts, sporting events, dining experiences and more.
  • Shop with confidence knowing that you have dependable protection benefits, including $0 Liability on Unauthorized Purchases and Citi® Identity Theft Solutions.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 13.74% – 23.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

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On American Express' Secure Website.

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On American Express' Secure Website.

Rewards

3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets ($6,000 spending cap per year), 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores, 1% back on all else

Annual Fee

$0

Foreign Transaction Fee

2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.

Intro APR

Purchases: 0%, 15 months
Balance Transfers: 0%, 15 months

Ongoing APR

12.99%-23.99% Variable

Bonuses & Perks

$150 statement credit after spending $1,000 within three months, get free 2-day shipping on eligible items at a growing network of 100+ online stores with ShopRunner.

Highlights
  • Earn a $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • 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 at select U.S. department stores, 1% back on other purchases.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, currently 12.99% to 23.99%.
  • Don't wait for your Card in the mail. Start earning cash back before your card even arrives, if eligible for Instant Card Number.
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for statement credits.
  • No annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever

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On Citi's Secure Website.

Apply Now

On Citi's Secure Website.

Rewards

N/A

Annual Fee

$0

Intro APR

Purchases: 0%, 12 months
Balance Transfers: 0%, 21 months

Ongoing APR

14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)

Bonuses & Perks

No penalty APR

Highlights
  • No Late Fees, No Penalty Rate, and No Annual Fee... Ever
  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 21 months from date of first transfer. All transfers must be completed in first 4 months. After that, the variable APR will be 14.74% - 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • 0% Intro APR on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening. After that, the variable APR will be 14.74% - 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • If you transfer a balance with this offer, after your 0% Intro purchase APR expires, both new purchases and unpaid purchase balances will automatically accrue interest until all balances, including your transferred balances, are paid in full
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 14.74% - 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
  • Stay protected with Citi® Quick Lock and $0 liability on unauthorized charges

Great for: Purchases and balance transfers Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card

Why Apply

Includes a market-leading bonus in the no-annual fee category and a flexible cash rewards program that enables you to earn premium cash back in a category of your choice. Plus, the long 0% intro APR offer makes this card a standout among its peers. Read Full Review

Rewards

3% cash back on gas or in your choice category, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases), 1% on all else.

Annual Fee

$0

Intro APR

Purchases: See Terms%, 15 billing cycles
Balance Transfers: See Terms

Ongoing APR

See Terms

Bonuses & Perks

$200 after spending at least $1,000 in the first 90 days of account opening, 25% to 75% more rewards for Preferred Rewards members

Highlights
  • No annual fee
  • $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice, 2% 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
  • No expiration on rewards
  • If you're a Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25% - 75% more cash back on every purchase

Great for: Intro balance transfer fee The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express

Why Apply

This card is unavailable on site and card details may be out of date -- One of the few remaining balance-transfer cards that include an intro $0 balance transfer fee. Add in the premium rewards and welcome bonus, and it's hard to ignore. Read Full Review

Rewards

2x points at US supermarkets ($6,000 spending cap per year), 1x points on all else. Use your Card 20 or more times in a billing period to earn 20% more points

Annual Fee

$0

Intro APR

Purchases: 0%, 15 months
Balance Transfers: 0%, 15 months for transfers made within 60 days

Ongoing APR

12.99%-23.99% Variable

Bonuses & Perks

10,000 points after spending $1,000 within three months

Highlights
  • Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.74% to 25.74%.
  • $0 balance transfer fee. Balance transfers must be requested within 60 days from account opening.
  • 2x points at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1x); 1x points on other purchases.
  • Use your Card 20 or more times on purchases in a billing period and earn 20% more points on those purchases less returns and credits.
  • Over 1.5 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2017.
  • No annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
Rewards

5x rewards on up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter in popular categories such as dining, groceries, travel, and automotive

Annual Fee

$0

Intro APR

Purchases: 0%, 12 months
Balance Transfers: 0%, 18 months

Ongoing APR

14.40% - 24.40%, variable

Bonuses & Perks

$150 credit after spending $1,200 on purchases within the first 90 days

Highlights
  • 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 12 months and Balance Transfers for 18 months; after that the variable APR will be 14.40% – 24.40%, based on your creditworthiness
  • Earn $150 Statement Credit after you spend $1,200 on purchases within the first 90 days from account opening
  • Earn 5x rewards on up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter in popular categories such as dining, groceries, travel, and automotive
  • No upper limit on the points you can accumulate, and since points never expire, you can save up for a big award!
  • Earn Points on Every Purchase! It's simple: $1 = 1 Point
  • No Annual Fee or Foreign Transaction Fee
  • Select Your Rewards Your Way

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One of the best reasons to apply for a new credit card is to get a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers, which can save you hundreds of dollars compared to carrying a balance at a typical APR of 18% or more. Whether you need to finance a large purchase or transfer an existing credit card balance to save on interest, 0% interest credit cards offer more value than most credit cards on the market today.

What is a 0% APR credit card?

A 0% APR credit card comes with an introductory APR of 0% that lasts for a pre-specified period of time, which can be anywhere from 3 months to 21 months. After that introductory period, the interest rate goes up to the regular APR, which is generally quite high.

There are two types of 0% APRs offered by credit cards today:

  • 0% intro APRs on purchases
  • 0% intro APRs on balance transfers

Purchase balances refer to balances you incur by making purchases with the card, making it a good option for breaking up a big purchase into monthly payments.

Balance transfer balances occur when you move a balance from one credit card to another, making it a good way to pay off debt interest-free. Regardless of purchases or balance transfers, it's crucial to pay off your balance before the introductory period ends if you want to avoid interest charges.

Features of a top rated 0% APR credit card

We think the best 0% interest cards share some common traits including:

  • Long 0% offer promos of at least 12 months for people with good credit and better
  • Minimal (3% to 5% is common) or no balance transfer fees
  • No annual fee
  • Access to a credit score to help monitor your credit.

All four of these factors are essentials and we don’t think there’s a place for cards on this list that don’t rank well in all four.

How to use a 0% APR card offer

A few best practices can help ensure that you get the most value from a 0% intro APR and avoid costly mistakes (such as carrying a balance after the promo period expires).

Here’s how to use a 0% intro APR card for best results:

Ask when the 0% intro APR expires

Call or send a secure message to your card company to find out the exact date when the 0% intro APR on your credit card will end and make a note of it. Seek to pay off your balance in full by this date. Don’t make the mistake of carrying a balance after the 0% period expires simply because you weren’t aware of the cutoff date.

Be smart about payments

Remember, only payments in excess of your minimum payment will be applied to the highest APR balance. Therefore, if a card only offers a 0% intro APR on one type of balance (purchases or balance transfers), then make sure to pay an amount equal to your minimum payment plus the high APR balance each month. You’ll avoid a situation where you pay down a 0% intro APR balance while letting another type of balance build up at a double-digit APR.

Keep your card open and active

After the 0% intro APR period ends, it’s smart to use your card for a purchase every few months so it continues to report your good payment history to the credit bureaus. Having a card with a long history of 100% on-time payments can help boost your score over 800, a level where you’ll qualify for the best rates and terms on virtually any kind of financing.

Weigh the value of rewards

While rewards cards may give you cash back or travel value for using the card to make purchases, the longest 0% intro APRs are typically offered by cards that do not have rewards programs. Forgoing a rewards card may be smart if you need the extra time to pay down a balance before interest accrues.

When is a 0% APR credit card a good idea?

A 0% intro APR on purchases can potentially save you hundreds or thousands of dollars in interest compared to carrying the same balance at an ordinary APR of 18%. The table below shows you how much you would save in interest by paying off a balance during a 0% intro APR period rather than paying off the same balance over the same time at an 18% APR.

Time to pay off a $5,000 balance Savings from 0% APR vs. 18% APR
6 months $265.76
9 months $382.44
12 months $500.80
15 months $620.83
18 months $742.52
21 months $865.88

Data source: Author's calculations.

The amount you save varies based on the length of the 0% APR offer. Credit cards with no interest for 18 months offer more value than cards that offer 0% APRs for just six months, as the table above illustrates. But as long as you pay off the balance before the 0% intro APR period expires, you shouldn’t pay a dime in interest or fees.

FAQs

  • The longest interest free period on purchases is typically 15 months, and several credit cards come with this offer. The longest interest free period on balance transfers is 21 months. Most of the best balance transfer credit cards offer interest free periods of 15 months or 18 months.

  • A 0% purchase APR means that you won't be charged interest on purchases you make until the card's intro period ends. After the intro period, any balances will accrue interest at the card's standard rate.

    0% APR credit cards are a popular way to finance large charges, as they allow you to pay the purchase off in smaller monthly payments. For example, you could use a 0% APR card to pay for car repairs, medical bills, new furniture for your home, or any other major expenses that you can't afford up front. Just make sure you pay down your balances as quickly as possible, because after the intro period ends, the card's APR will increase quite a bit.

    Keep in mind that you still need to make your minimum payment every month, even during the 0% APR intro period. If you miss a payment, you may incur a late fee. It's even possible for the credit card company to cancel your 0% APR offer for a missed payment.

  • Many retailers offer 0% intro APRs on store credit cards, but they rarely hold up to offers on ordinary general purpose credit cards (the technical name for credit cards that can be used anywhere). While 0% intro APRs on store cards may appear to match the offers you see on ordinary credit cards, there are a handful of reasons why it’s often a good idea to pass on store cards.

    • Lower credit limits -- Store cards typically have lower credit limits since they’re meant to be used only at one store. Using store cards with low limits can harm your credit score, since carrying a balance greater than 30% of your credit limit is known to have a negative impact on your credit score.
    • Shorter 0% intro APR periods -- While the best general purpose credit cards offer more than a year of 0% purchase APRs, store cards commonly offer intro periods that span only a few short months.
    • No 0% balance transfers -- We’ve never seen a true store card offer a 0% APR on balance transfers, or balance transfers at all, for that matter.
    • Higher ordinary interest rates -- When the 0% intro APR expires, a store card will typically revert to a higher interest rate than a general purpose credit card. Surveys show that more than half of store cards charge an APR in excess of 25%, well above the rate charged on general purpose credit cards.
    • Retroactive interest -- Also known as “deferred interest,” store cards can charge you interest on the entirety of your balance (even the portion you paid off!) if you fail to pay off all of the balance during the 0% intro APR period. General purpose credit cards (the cards on this list) don’t charge retroactive interest on balances. Instead, no interest credit cards that can be used at more than one store only charge interest on balances that remain after the 0% APR period expires.
    • Less utility -- A store card can generally only be used for purchases at one retailer, making it an unworkable solution for borrowing money to make multiple purchases from multiple vendors. It’s much easier to manage one card than several, making general purpose credit cards a “one-size-fits-all” solution to financing several major purchases.
  • You have to be careful if you decide to use a card for balance transfers and purchases. That’s because some cards only offer 0% intro APRs on balance transfers, which means if you use the card for purchases, too, you could end up with a scenario where you build up high-interest purchase debt while your monthly payments go toward paying down the 0% APR balance.

    You can avoid this problem by picking a card that offers 0% intro APRs on purchases and balance transfers for the same amount of time. This is by far the easiest solution since many cards offer exactly that.

    If your ideal card only offers a 0% intro APR on one type of balance, then there are two ways to avoid racking up a purchase balance and paying interest on it:

    1. Don’t use the card for another type of balance until the 0% APR balance is paid off, or until the 0% interest period expires.
    2. When your statement arrives, pay an amount equal to the minimum payment plus the high interest balance outstanding. To illustrate this point, suppose you have a $4,000 balance transfer at a 0% APR and a $500 purchase balance at an 18% APR. If your minimum payment that month is $150, you’ll want to pay $650 (minimum payment plus the $500 purchase balance) to avoid letting the purchase balance compound at a high interest rate.

    Under the CARD Act of 2009, credit card companies are required by law to apply payments in excess of the minimum payment towards your highest APR balance. Knowing this rule can help you avoid building up high-interest balances while paying down a balance at a 0% intro APR.

The Ascent's picks for the best 0% interest credit cards:
Card Rating Great For
Discover it® Cash Back Graphic of Discover it® Cash Back
Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5 stars
ToolTip Icon for Star Rating. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor.
Great For:

Bonus cash back

Wells Fargo Platinum card Graphic of Wells Fargo Platinum card
Rating image, 4.0 out of 5 stars.
4.0 stars
ToolTip Icon for Star Rating. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor.
Great For:

Balance transfers and purchases

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card Graphic of Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
Rating image, 4.0 out of 5 stars.
4.0 stars
ToolTip Icon for Star Rating. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor.
Great For:

Purchases and balance transfers

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express Graphic of Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
Rating image, 4.0 out of 5 stars.
4.0 stars
ToolTip Icon for Star Rating. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor.
Great For:

0% intro APR and welcome bonus

Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever Graphic of Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever
Rating image, 4.0 out of 5 stars.
4.0 stars
ToolTip Icon for Star Rating. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor.
Great For:

Longest balance transfer offer

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card Graphic of Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card
Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5 stars
ToolTip Icon for Star Rating. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor.
Great For:

Purchases and balance transfers

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express Graphic of The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express
Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5 stars
ToolTip Icon for Star Rating. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor.
Great For:

Intro balance transfer fee

ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard® Credit Card Graphic of ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard® Credit Card
Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5 stars
ToolTip Icon for Star Rating. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor.
Great For:

Fair/average credit

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