Experts say you should never let your credit card utilization exceed 10% of your available credit, but let’s be real: Many of us ignore that recommendation. That’s why Americans have a combined total of more than $1.3 trillion in revolving debt as of April 2018.
If you’re a member of the balance-carrying crew, consider applying for 0 APR credit cards. The benefits of 0 APR credit cards don’t last forever, but you often get a break from interest on purchases and/or balance transfers for more than a year.
After your card’s promotional period ends, you can generally expect an APR that falls somewhere between 13% to 30%. The exact amount depends on your creditworthiness, so make sure you pay bills on time and keep your credit utilization rates low.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way...
Are you ready to apply for some of the best 0 APR credit cards? We’ve compiled a list of our favorites to help you find an APR-free card that meets your needs.
Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.
0% on purchases for 12 months and 0% on balance transfers for 21 months.
0% APR on balance transfers for 21 months
0% APR on purchases for 12 months
$0 annual fee
Low credit limits for some cardholders
No rewards program
Hard to get late fees waived
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 14.49% - 24.49%, based on your creditworthiness*
0% Intro APR on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening. After that the variable APR will be 14.49% - 24.49%, 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
$0 liability on unauthorized purchases and Citi® Identity Theft Solutions
No annual fee*
Free access to FICO® Scores*
Application Process: Apply online in minutes for a shot at getting this Citi Diamond Preferred card. You can also apply via the phone by calling 1-800-505-1675 if you prefer.
Having a FICO score above 690 may help your approval odds.
Fees: If you're the type of person who rushes to cancel cards before the annual fee hits, relax. This Citi card has no annual fee, so you can take your time paying off balance transfers and purchases.
This isn’t a fee-free card, though. Balance transfers cost 5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater. A cash advance will set you back $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater. There’s also a foreign transaction fee of 3% for overseas transactions in US dollars. Late payments and returned payments usually cost $35, and cardholders warn that it’s difficult to get these fees waived.
APR: Make the most of your 0% APR during the promotional period because it jumps to somewhere between 14.49% and 24.49% after that. The promotional period lasts 12 months for purchases and 21 months for balance transfers. This is one of the longest promotions we’ve seen for balance transfers.
The cash advance APR is 26.74%. Try not to pay late or have a payment bounce so you can avoid the 29.99% penalty APR.
Rewards: None, unfortunately. But this card is geared more toward people who need to pay off balances from old cards, not people who want to rack up new debt.
However, the card does offer a 24/7 Citi Concierge to help you plan for your next trip or score deals on goods and services.
Enjoy a one-time bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel.
Unlimited cash-back rewards on qualifying purchases
No annual fee
No foreign transaction fees
Better for traveling than everyday spending
Miles have a higher conversion for travel perks than cash-back rewards
Enjoy a one-time bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
Earn unlimited 1.25 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day and pay no annual fee
New! Earn 10 miles per dollar on hotels when you pay with your VentureOne card at hotels.com/venture; learn more at hotels.com/venture
Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
Enjoy a low intro APR on purchases for 12 months; 13.49%-23.49% variable APR after that
Travel when you want with no blackout dates
No foreign transaction fees
Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many miles you can earn
Application Process: Fill out the online app for a yay or a nay within a minute or so. We recommend waiting til your credit score is at least 690 before you apply, but occasionally people land approvals with scores in the mid 600s.
Fees: Like our other favorite 0 APR cards, there’s no annual fee for this one. You can’t completely avoid fees, though.
Cash advances cost a minimum of $10 or 3% per transaction, whichever is greater. Late payments have a $38 fee, but some cardholders report that the company waives your first late fee.
APR: Cardholders pay 13.49%, 19.49% or 23.49% for purchases and balance transfers. This figure is determined by your credit history. All cardholders pay a 24.49% APR for cash advances.
Rewards: Everyday purchases are worth 1.25 miles per dollar. Travel-related purchases made through Hotels.com/venture give you 10 miles per dollar spent.
This card is flexible when it comes to redemption options. You can apply your points toward previous purchases made through Purchase Eraser or new purchases from the Rewards Center.
Be careful when swapping points for cash back or gift cards. If you choose these options over travel rewards, you’ll lose around 50% of your points' value. This is a common gripe among cardholders, which is why we don’t recommend getting this card unless you travel frequently.
Bonus Offers: Spend $1,000 on qualifying purchases during your first 90 days as a cardholder to collect 20,000 miles. This is the equivalent of $200 in travel perks.
This bonus offer does not include balance transfers.
0% on purchases for 12 billing cycles and 0% on balance transfers for 12 billing cycles for balance transfers made in the first 60 days
$150 online cash rewards bonus after you spend at least $500 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.
Easily obtainable $150 bonus offer for new cardholders
No annual fee
Can be combined with perks for Preferred Rewards clients
Other cards offer more perks for everyday purchases
APR nearly doubles if you make a late payment
No annual fee
$150 online cash rewards bonus after you spend at least $500 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
Earn 1% cash back on every purchase, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 3% on gas for the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter
No changing categories and no expiration on rewards 0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases AND for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days, then, 14.49% - 24.49% variable APR, 3% fee (min $10) applies to balance transfers
Get a 10% customer bonus every time you redeem your cash back into a Bank of America® checking or savings account
If you're a Preferred Rewards client, you can increase that bonus to 25% - 75%
Easily add your Mastercard® credit card to any digital wallet for a simple, secure, and convenient way to pay online, in-app, and in-store
Application Process: Apply online with the usual info requested by credit card companies, or visit your local Bank of America branch. You can also apply by calling (877) 754-6706.
You need good to excellent credit to get approved for this cash-back card, so hold off on applying if your FICO needs some TLC.
Fees: The Bank of America Cash Rewards card doesn’t charge an annual fee. However, you’ll still shell out cash for other fees, like if you transfer a balance or forget to pay your bill on time.
Balance transfers cost 10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater. You can get a cash advance via direct deposit or a check, but it costs $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater. ATM cash advances cost $10 or 5% of the transaction amount, whichever is greater.
Wire transfers from nonfinancial institutions cost $10 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.
Returned payment fees run up to $27, and late payment fees cost as much as $38. You may have some luck getting your first fees waived, but try not to make a habit out of making late payments.
APR: There’s a 0% promotional APR during the first 12 billing cycles for purchases and balance transfers. Balance transfers must be made within 60 days to qualify.
When your promotional period ends, expect to pay an APR between 14.49% and 24.49% for purchases. Cash advances have an APR between 17.49% and 26.49%.
There’s a penalty APR of 29.99% if you make a late payment, and it lasts indefinitely.
Rewards: Your rewards rate is always at least 1% cash back for qualifying purchases. Earn 2% at wholesale clubs and grocery stores. Collect 3% cash back on gas for the first $2,500 in combined grocery and gas purchases per quarter.
If you aren’t shopping for gas or groceries, you’ll earn 1% back. Increase your rewards to 10% cash back by redeeming them to your Bank of America checking or savings account. Preferred Rewards clients can increase their rewards by a whopping 25% to 75% per redemption.
Bonus Offers: Cardholders often gripe about unattainable bonuses, but that’s not the case with this Bank of America card. Spend just $500 on purchases during your first 90 days as a cardholder to claim a $150 online cash bonus from Bank of America.
0% on purchases for 6 months and 10.99% on balance transfers for 6 months
Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
No annual fee
Earn up to 5% cash back per purchase
Cash reward for good grades
Shorter promotional period than other 0% APR cards
Rotating reward categories can be difficult to remember
Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically
Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter, including gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants or Amazon.com, up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate - earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases automatically
Good Grades Rewards: $20 cash back each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to 5 years
No annual fee, no late fee on first late payment, and no APR change for paying late
Get 100% U.S. based customer service & get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more
Freeze It® on/off switch for your account that prevents new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers in seconds
Receive FREE Social Security number alerts - Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up
0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 14.49% - 23.49%
Application Process: Apply online and receive an instant approval or rejection in most cases. Some applicants require additional processing time, which can take a week or two.
You can also apply by calling (800) 347-0264.
Don’t panic if you have less-than-perfect credit. Unlike other cards on our list, you can potentially get approved with average credit rather than good or excellent credit.
Fees: Students often live on tight budgets, so it’s a relief that this credit card has no annual fee. You won’t pay foreign transaction fees either, so you can study abroad or enjoy some post-semester relaxation overseas.
Discover waives your first late fee, but you’ll owe $37 for each late payment after that. There is no overlimit fee.
Don’t want to ask the ‘rents for cash? You can use your card for a cash advance, but it’ll cost you $10 or 5% of the amount of each advance, whichever is greater.
Balance transfers have a 3% fee.
APR: Take advantage of the 0% APR on purchases made during the first 6 months. After that, your APR increases to somewhere between 14.49% and 23.49% depending on your credit history.
Balance transfers have a 10.99% APR during the 6-month promotional period. After that, the rate jumps to the same APR as purchases - 14.49% to 23.49%.
There’s no penalty APR, but we still recommend paying your bill on time.
Rewards: The rewards rate is typically 1% for this card, but you can earn up to 5% cash back if you shop from rotating categories. The categories change each quarter.
Cardholders score unlimited cash back rewards at the 1% rate, but there are limits on the rotating categories. The limit is typically $1,500 for purchases from rotating categories.
Rocking your studies? Keep your GPA at a 3.0 or higher to score a $20 reward each school year. You can claim this reward for up to 5 years.
Bonus Offers: Discover matches your cash-back rewards that you earn during the first 12 months as a cardholder. This credit is applied at the end of your first year.
This article was last updated April 22, 2018 but some terms and conditions may have changed or are no longer available. For the most accurate and up to date information please consult the terms and conditions found on the issuer website.
Missy Nolan is a single mom who is too sleep-deprived to come up with a clever bio at the moment. She has been a professional writer for more than 10 years and loves staying home with her 3 kids. Well, most of the time. Missy rocks at parenting, baking, cooking, saving cute outfits she'll never wear on Pinterest, and sipping her beloved secret-menu Starbucks Pink Drink while strolling through Target.
She's your go-to girl for advice or feedback on any of the things listed above, as well as tips on healthy living, bargain hunting, marketing, and finances. Connect with Missy here or at MakeItWithMissy.com, a food blog that features healthy recipes and grocery deals.