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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 $200 back 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% 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
- 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 unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
- Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants 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.
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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