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Credit cards with 0% intro APR on purchases are a low-cost option for financing major purchases and offer an alternative to personal loans. But it’s essential to repay the balance on the card before the promotional interest rate expires, or you may wipe out any gains you’ve made.
When the unexpected hampers your typically faultless financial planning, and you find yourself carrying a balance on one of your credit cards, taking advantage of a 0% balance transfer can stem the losses when high credit card interest starts biting into the thin margins of collecting points and miles.
A 0% intro APR credit card can also help when you want to make a significant purchase that would otherwise require a personal loan. You can take on a home improvement project or a vacation and not have to pay interest on the balance as you pay it down.
This strategy can even spin a profit if you apply for the right credit card. The Chase Freedom Unlimited®, for example, offers a $200 bonus. As long as you pay your balance down, you won’t pay a cent in interest and you’ll be earning valuable rewards on every purchase.
Are There Downsides to Using a 0% Intro APR Card?
Reaping the benefits of a 0% APR card comes down to discipline. The first rule of collecting points and miles is never to carry a balance on your cards. When you are dealing with returns of 1-2%, getting slapped with interest on a $3,000 balance quickly wipes out any gains you may have made.
When you take on a 0% intro APR card with the intention of carrying a balance, you need to reinforce your habits and ensure you are aware of the rules. If you’re late on a payment, the bank may nullify the 0% rate, again, eliminating any gains you have made.
Credit Cards with No Annual Fee and 0% Intro APR
Some providers offer several cards with no annual fee and a 0% intro APR; these are some of our top picks.
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
- Earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases on the Card in the first 6 months of Card membership, up to $150 back.
- Plus, earn $100 back after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months of card membership. You will receive cash back in the form of statement credits.
- 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% Cash Back on other purchases.
- Low intro APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, 13.99% to 23.99%.
- Plan It® gives the option to select purchases of $100 or more to split up into monthly payments with a fixed fee.
- Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits.
- No annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- Rates & Fees
- 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
- Cash back is issued as a statement credit.
- High-value welcome offer for a card with no annual fee
- Fantastic cashback return on everyday spending categories
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
- Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
- Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
- Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
- Earn 5% on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
- No annual fee.
- 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
- No minimum to redeem for cash back. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open.
- Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase
- Earn 3% on dining at restaurants
- Earn 3% on drugstore purchases
- Earn 1.5% on all purchases
Purchase APR: 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months then a variable rate of 14.99% - 23.74%
Annual Card Fee: $0
- Earn a $200 bonus.
- Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases; when combined with the points earned from the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve® or Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, these Ultimate Rewards can be redeemed in the Chase Travel Portal or transferred to travel partners for a higher return.
The Chase Freedom Flex℠ is also an option if you can maximize the rotating 5% bonus categories each quarter. However, we recommend the Freedom Unlimited if you want a simple earning structure and maximizing return on non-bonus spending.
Citi Custom Cash℠ Card
- Sign-up bonus of $200 in cash back after you spend $750 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening, issued as 20,000 ThankYou® Points
- 5% cash back in your top eligible spend category on up to $500 of purchses each billing cycle
- No rotating bonus categories to sign up for--the top earning category adjusts automatically each month to the eligible category in which you spend the most.
- Excellent intro APR offer on purchases and balance transfers
- No annual fee
- Earn 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent
- 1% cash back thereafter, plus, you'll earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases
- No rotating bonus categories to sign up for – as your spending changes each billing cycle, your earn adjusts automatically when you spend in any of the eligible categories.
- Eligible spending categories are: Restaurants, Gas Stations, Grocery Stores, Select Travel, Select Transit, Select Streaming Services, Drugstores, Home Improvement Stores, Fitness Clubs and Live Entertainment.
Purchase APR: 0% for 15 months, then a variable rate of 13.99% – 23.99%
Annual Card Fee: $0
- Earn up to 5% cashback on ten different bonus categories including restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, select travel, select transit, select streaming services, drugstores, home improvement stores, fitness clubs, and live entertainment.
- Rewards are issued as ThankYou Points—if you also hold a Citi Prestige or Premier card, you can transfer points to more than a dozen airline partners.
U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card
- 4X points on takeout, food delivery and dining
- 2X points at grocery stores, grocery delivery, gas stations and on streaming services
- 1 point on all other eligible purchases
Purchase APR: 0% for 12 billing cycles on purchases, then a variable rate of 14.99% - 23.99%
Annual Card Fee: $0
- Earn 4X points on takeout, food delivery, and dining.
- $15 credit for annual streaming service purchases such as Netflix and Spotify
- 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.
Purchase APR: 0% on purchases for 15 months, then a variable rate, currently 12.99% - 23.99%.
Annual Card Fee: $0
- Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
- 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
- 2x points at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases
If you’re looking for a 0% intro APR card, you can’t go past the Blue Cash Everyday. With no annual fee (Rates & Fees) and top rewards, it's a great card to keep even after your intro APR period expires.
The main thing to remember is to avoid carrying a balance past the promotional 0% APR, or you risk losing any gains made by having a 0% card.
For rates and fees of the cards mentioned in this post, please visit the following links: Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express (Rates & Fees)
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