Best 0% APR Credit Cards: Zero-Interest Financing for What You Need

Brendan Harkness

Brendan Harkness | Blog

Aug 06, 2019 | Updated Aug 24, 2019

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It’s time to upgrade that tiny TV. Or maybe you’re ready for a new couch, or planning to replace that old washer/dryer setup.

No matter what you’re buying, you can take some extra time to pay by using a credit card with a 0% APR period. Make the purchase(s), and you’ll pay no interest on the balance for the entire length of the 0% period. After that runs out you’ll get a regular APR, usually based on your creditworthiness.

And guess what? None of our top card picks have annual fees, so you can use them to pay off large purchases over time completely for free (as long as you avoid interest and other fees).

Card Intro Purchase APR Period Regular Rate
U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card 0% for 18 billing cycles 14.74%–25.74% Variable
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card (Review) 0% for 18 months 15.24%–25.24% Variable
Wells Fargo Platinum Visa card 0% for 18 months 13.74%-27.24% Variable
Chase Freedom Unlimited® (Review) 0% for 15 months 17.24% - 25.99% Variable
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card (Review) 0% for 15 months 16.24% - 26.24% (Variable)
American Express Cash Magnet® Card (Review) 0% for 15 months 15.24% - 26.24% Variable
Chase Freedom® (Review) 0% for 15 months 17.24% - 25.99% Variable
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express (Review) 0% for 15 months 15.24% - 26.24% Variable
Amex EveryDay Credit Card (Review) 0% for 15 months 15.24%–26.24% Variable
Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card (Review) 0% for for 15 months 16.24% - 26.24% (Variable)

0% Purchase APRs

There are two basic types of 0% purchase interest rates (aka promotional rates), but they work the same way:

  • Introductory: 0% introductory APRs are offered to new cardholders, and last for a certain number of months after account opening (we’ll focus on these offers in this post)
  • Current cardholder incentives: 0% rates may occasionally be offered to cardholders to incentivize more spending

Many 0% APR credit cards even offer cash back or points for purchases — giving you both more time to pay and rewards for your spending.

Just take note that, even for a balance at 0% APR, you’ll need to make at least a minimum payment each month. If you don’t, you’ll face late fees and may lose that intro rate, and instead be given a high penalty rate (usually 29.99%).

To make sure you pay the card off before the low rate runs out, we recommend dividing your balance by the number of months in the 0% period; that will give the monthly payment you should make. Consider dividing by one less than the number of months to pay it off a bit early.

Although many of the card offers below also have 0% balance transfer periods as well, we’re focusing on 0% purchase APRs for this post. Check out our picks for the best balance transfer cards if you want to pay off an existing balance (rather than new purchases) over time.

18 Months: Longest Intro Periods

Use one of these cards if you want the longest intro APR offer possible, and don’t care about rewards or benefits. But you’ll only get a few months longer than the 15-month cards below, which do offer rewards.

The following cards are pretty similar, except for the issuing banks.

 

The U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card could be good for paying down a new cell phone over time, with cell phone insurance included as one of its handy shopping protections.

Key Features

  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 18 billing cycles, then 14.74%–25.74% Variable
  • Perks: Free VantageScore 3.0 credit score from TransUnion, cell phone protection, extended warranty protection, auto rental collision damage waiver, and more.

 

If you’re a fan of Citi, the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card (Review) could be what you’re looking for. There aren’t much in the way of extra benefits from Mastercard, but you will get access to the Citi Concierge (which can help with travel planning and reservations but may sound cooler than it really is).

Key Features

  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 18 months, then 15.24%–25.24% Variable
  • Perks: Free FICO Bankcard Score 8 from TransUnion, Citi Easy Deals, purchase protection, extended warranty, and more.

 

Like the options above, the Wells Fargo Platinum Visa card isn’t too exciting beyond the introductory period. But it does have a fairly comprehensive set of shopping and travel protections.

Key Features

  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 18 months, then 13.74%-27.24% Variable
  • Perks: Free FICO Score 9 from Experian, cell phone protection, auto rental collision damage waiver, roadside dispatch, and more.

15 Months: Long Intro Periods, With Rewards

This is the next step down when it comes to 0% APR length, but the potential rewards for your spending could make these cards more useful. At this point the selection of zero-interest credit cards expands considerably (a lot of credit card issuers seem to feel comfortable with 15-month intro periods).

All of our top picks here offer rewards, like points or cash back.

Choose from:

  • Flat-rate cards, which provide the same reward for every purchase
  • Cards with bonus categories, which provide more points or cash back for specific purchases

The following cards are presented in no particular order — if you’re in the market for a 0% APR card with rewards, look for one that fits your typical or expected spending habits.

Flat-Rate Cards

Unlike the other flat-rate zero APR cards here, which have typical signup bonuses, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® (Review) doubles your cash back in the first year.

So your rate in that first year is about as good as you can get for non-category purchases, at least when it comes to cards without annual fees or airline/hotel co-branding.

Spending Rewards
  • 3% cash back for every purchase in the first year, up to $20,000 spent (up to $600 in cash back)
  • 1.5% cash back for every purchase after that

Key Features

  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 15 months, then 17.24% - 25.99% Variable
  • Perks: Shop through Chase, Chase Offers, purchase protection, extended warranty protection, auto rental collision damage waiver, and more.
How good is this offer, really? Compare it to the regular intro bonuses on the cards below, and you’ll see that they provide a much higher return on your spending, and more quickly too. But if you’ll be making a lot of large purchases over the next year, it could be a good time to apply for the Freedom Unlimited.

 

The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card (Review) is a pretty standard cash back card, although the current intro bonus has a fairly low spending requirement.

Spending Rewards
  • 1.5% cash back for every purchase
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • $150 cash back for spending $500 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Return on spend: 30%

Key Features

  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 15 months, then 16.24% - 26.24% (Variable)
  • Perks: Concierge service, exclusive access to select sporting, culinary, and music events, extended warranty protection, travel accident insurance, and more.
  • No foreign transaction fees

 

The American Express Cash Magnet® Card (Review) is like most other flat-rate cards, but it comes with access to valuable Amex Offers (opportunities to earn more cash back or discounts at select retailers) along with a complimentary ShopRunner membership.

Spending Rewards
  • 1.5% cash back for every purchase
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • $150 bonus cash back for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
    • Return on spend: 15%

Key Features

  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 15 months, then 15.24% - 26.24% Variable APR
  • Perks: Amex Offers, ShopRunner membership, return protection, roadside assistance, car rental insurance, and more.

Cards With Bonus Categories

The Chase Freedom® (Review) delivers 5% cash back in categories that rotate throughout the year, giving you some interest-free time to pay for a variety of different expenses. Consider buying gift cards at eligible retailers to help max out your quarterly spending.

Spending Rewards
  • 5% cash back on the first $1,500 spent per quarter (then 1%), in categories that rotate throughout the year (see calendar below)
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • $150 cash bonus for spending $500 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Return on spend: 30%
Quarter 5% Cash Back Categories
2018: October – December Department Stores, Wholesale Clubs, Chase Pay
2019: January – March  Gas Stations, Tolls, Drugstores
2019: April – June Grocery Stores, Home Improvement Stores
2019: July – September Gas Stations, Streaming Services (includes Netflix, Hulu, Sling, Vudu, FuboTV, Apple Music, SiriusXM, Pandora and Spotify)

Key Features

  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 15 months, then 15.24% - 26.24% Variable APR
  • Perks: Shop through Chase, Chase Offers, purchase protection, extended warranty protection, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, and more.
Interested in the Freedom’s 5% rate, but not crazy about the bonus categories? Check out the Discover it® Cash Back Credit Card (Review), a similar 5% card with different categories and a 0% intro rate for 14 months (then 14.24%–25.24% Variable).

 

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Get your weekly shopping done with the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express (Review), and you’ll also get a long intro period to help you pay down any big purchases on the horizon.

Spending Rewards
  • 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 spent per year, then 1% cash back)
  • 2% cash back at:
    • U.S. gas stations
    • select U.S. department stores
  • 1% cash back for all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • $150 cash bonus for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Return on spend: 15%

Key Features

  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 15 months, then 15.24% - 26.24% Variable
  • Perks: Amex Offers, ShopRunner membership, purchase protection, extended warranty protection, car rental insurance, and more.

 

Amex EveryDay Credit Card

You won’t mind forgetting the milk with the Amex EveryDay Credit Card (Review). It provides a 20% point bonus if you make 20 or more purchases in a given billing period, giving you something to console yourself with on those trips back to the store.

It’s got a nice intro rate for purchases, but it’s also one of the best balance transfer cards because there’s no transfer fee during the first 60 days.

Spending Rewards
  • 2X Membership Rewards points per dollar at:
    • U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 spent per year)
    • American Express Travel
  • 1X Membership Rewards point per dollar spent everywhere else
  • 20% point bonus for making 20 or more purchases per billing period
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 15,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $150–$300 (assuming 1–2 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 15–30%

Key Features

  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 15 months, then 15.24%–26.24% Variable
  • No balance transfer fee for the first 60 days
  • Perks: Point transfer to airline and hotel loyalty programs, Amex Offers, ShopRunner membership, purchase protection, extended warranty protection, car rental insurance, and more.

 

Dinner and a movie? The Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card (Review) has you covered. You’ll earn cash back rewards and have access to a decent variety of benefits, a bit better than you can expect from most no annual fee cards.

Spending Rewards
  • 3% cash back on:
    • Dining
    • Entertainment
  • 2% cash back at Grocery stores
  • 1% cash back everywhere else
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • $150 cash back for spending $500 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Return on spend: 30%

Key Features

  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 15 months, then 16.24% - 26.24% (Variable)
  • Perks: Concierge service, exclusive access to select sporting, culinary, and music events, extended warranty protection, travel accident insurance, and more.
  • No foreign transaction fees
Trying to pay off some debt? Look into balance transfer credit cards, with 0% rates to help you pay it down without paying extra. Or check out the best cards in a variety of categories to find find the right pick for you.
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