The optimal scenario with any credit card is that you’re paying off the balance each month. But if you need a longer timeline to pay off your debt, that 0% introductory interest period can offer a valuable reprieve. And unless you’re planning to carry a balance of ,500 or more far beyond that period, the bonus should surpass what you’d save in interest with a card featuring a longer introductory period but no bonus.
That noted, if your primary goal is to consolidate existing credit card debt, check out our list of the best balance transfer credit cards and our top picks for personal loans. Once you understand how much you can pay back each month, you can compare your options based on the total interest and welcome bonuses. Below are our current top picks — which we update regularly — as well as answers to frequently asked questions about 0% introductory APR credit cards.
The extra five months of 0% interest (compared with the picks above) is only worth it if you plan on having an average balance over ,400 during those months, and that doesn’t factor in the additional 1.5% of spending rewards.
Our top pick for best 0% introductory APR credit card, the Chase Freedom Unlimited, checks all of the boxes: 15 months of introductory 0% APR on purchases (14.99% to 23.74% variable APR thereafter), a 0 bonus after spending only 0 in the first three months from account opening and competitive rewards.
Longest introductory 0% APR period
Best welcome bonus for a 0% APR credit card
Standard APR: 13.99% to 23.99% variable
Welcome bonus: 25,000 online bonus points
Bonus spending threshold: ,000 on purchases within three months from account opening
Rewards: Unlimited 1.5 points on all purchases
The Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card is similar to the Chase Freedom Unlimited and Capital One Quicksilver — but features a higher welcome bonus (as well as a modestly higher spending threshold) and a shorter introductory 0% APR period. The 25,000 bonus points can be redeemed for a 0 statement credit against travel and dining purchases, and the points never expire. Qualifying travel and dining purchases include taxis, ride shares, buses, trains, bars, fast food, flights, hotels, restaurants and more. For most people, that means redemption shouldn’t be a problem.
Best 0% APR card for travel abroad
The Capital One Quicksilver cash rewards credit card is a close runner-up to the Chase Freedom Unlimited. The highlights are virtually identical but the Quicksilver lacks the Chase card’s higher cash back rates for travel and restaurant dining. That noted, the Capital One distinguishes itself by having no foreign transaction fees — which can be as high as 3% with other cards (including the Chase Freedom Unlimited).
A credit card with an introductory 0% rate can be an effective way to consolidate credit card debt, lower your credit utilization or finance a big-ticket item. At the moment, the best 0% APR credit cards feature a 15-month introductory APR period and a 0 or 0 welcome bonus.
Otherwise, both cards feature 15 months of intro 0% APR purchasing, a 0 welcome bonus (after spending 0 within the first three months) and 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
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When does it make sense to apply for a 0% or low-APR credit card?
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Best 0% APR credit card overall
0% APR credit cards, compared
|Card||Chase Freedom Unlimited||Capital One Quicksilver Cash||Bank of America Travel Rewards||US Bank Visa Platinum|
|Duration of 0% intro APR||15 months on purchases||15 months on purchases||12 months on purchases from date of account opening||20 months on purchases and balance transfer|
|Standard APR||14.99% to 23.74% variable||15.49% to 25.49% variable||13.99% to 23.99% variable||14.49% to 24.49% variable|
|Bonus threshold||$500 in purchases in the first 3 months||$500 in purchases in the first 3 months||$1,000 in purchases in first 3 months||n/a|
Annual fee: Ideally, you’re paying off your credit card balances every month to avoid paying interest. If you’re making a significant purchase that you’ll need to pay for over a period of time, using a 0% APR card could save you serious money.