Best $0 Annual Fee Credit Cards with 0% Intro APR [2019]

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Credit cards with 0% intro APR’s on purchases or balance transfers 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.

Use 0% APR cards for big purchases

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.

Balance Transfer & 0% APR Cards

This strategy can even spin a profit if you apply for the right credit card. The Chase Freedom Unlimited®, for example, offers a $150 bonus. As long as you pay your balance down before the promotional interest rate expires, 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.

Cards with $0 Annual Fee,  0% Intro APR & $0 Balance Transfer Fee

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express

Purchase APR: 0% on purchases for 15 months, then a variable rate, currently 14.49% - 25.49%.
Balance Transfer APR: 0% on balance transfers for 15 months, then a variable rate, currently 14.49% - 25.49%.
Balance Transfer Fee: $0 balance transfer fee . Balance transfers must be requested within 60 days from account opening.
Annual Card Fee: $0
Card Highlights:

  • Earn 15,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months. Terms Apply.
  • 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

Amex has another similar option (you'll have to pay a balance transfer fee though) — the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express. (Rates & Fees)

Chase Slate® credit card

Purchase APR: 0% for 15 months then a variable rate of 16.99%–25.74%
Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 15 months then a variable rate of 16.99%–25.74%
Balance Transfer Fee: $0 for transfers made in the first 60 days after account opening
Annual Card Fee: $0
Card Highlights:

  • No penalty APR for late payments
  • $0 annual fee, 0% intro APR for 15 months, $0 balance transfer fee for first 60 days

Credit Cards with No Annual Fee and 0% Intro APR

Some providers offer several cards with no fee and a 0% intro APR; these are some of our top picks.

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card

Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: Enjoy 0% Intro APR on purchases for 15 months from date of account opening and 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months from date of first transfer; after that, the variable APR will be 15.49% - 25.49% based upon your creditworthiness
Balance Transfer Fee: 3% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.
Annual Card Fee: $0
Card Highlights:

  • Earn 2X Points on Dining Out & Entertainment. Earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases
  • Combine with Citi Premier Card or Citi Prestige® Card and transfer points to travel partners for a higher return.

Special mention also goes out to the Citi Simplicity, which has an intro APR period of 0% for 12 months, and 0% for 21 months, then a variable rate of 16.24% - 26.24%. It also charges no late fees and doesn’t have a penalty APR, a great card to have in your wallet for large or unexpected expenses.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Purchase APR: 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months then a variable rate of 16.49% - 25.24%
Balance Transfer APR: 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months then a variable rate of 16.49% - 25.24%
Balance Transfer Fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Annual Card Fee: $0
Card Highlights:

The Chase Freedom® 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.

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card

Purchase APR: 0% for 12 months then a variable rate of 15.49% to 25.49%
Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 12 months on balance transfers made in the first 60 days then a variable rate of 15.49% to 25.49%
Balance Transfer Fee: 3% fee (min $10)
Annual Card Fee:$0
Card Highlights:

  • $100 online cash rewards bonus after you spend at least $500 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • 1% cash back on every purchase, 2% at grocery stores and now at wholesale clubs, and 3% on gas up to the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter
  • 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%.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a 0% intro APR card for a balance transfer, you can’t go past the Chase Slate®. With no annual credit card fee and no fee for balance transfers executed in the first 60 days, it's hands-down the card to beat.

The Citi Simplicity is an excellent pick if you want the longest possible grace period, but you’ll need the ThankYou Preferred to earn ThankYou points.

Balance Transfer & 0% APR Cards

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)

Best $0 Annual Fee Credit Cards with 0% Intro APR [2019]
5 (100%) 7 votes
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Comments

  • When I’m carrying money on a zero-interest card, I always make the “payments” along the way into a savings account. That way I never get caught with a huge balance I’m unable to pay at the end of the free period.

  • I personally avoid bank of america like the plague. I also recommend looking into credit cards from various credit unions. They often have 0% intro APR and a lower interest rate in general. My credit union offers interest as low as 7%.

    • Why do you avoid BoA? I use them and I love it personally. I have my CashBack Rewards card with them and its great. Considering getting their Travel Rewards as well

      • I agree. They definitely have some good products. But, they also are unrelenting when it comes to fees and such. You have to be careful about their policies or they’ll charge you out of your fortune.

      • While I bank with BofA, I’ve never really considered their cards since they didn’t look all that appealing to me however I’ll take a second look at their options.

      • I agree on avoiding BofA.

  • I’ll definitely look into these cards.

  • ADAM PARSONS says:

    Boa have some good card offers out there.

  • Perhaps it’s time to open a Citi TY points card since 0 annual fee and 0% intro APR are a nice bonus since the lowest level TYP card doesn’t offer a points bonus usually.

  • would it be possible to extend this section to european/german cc’s too?

  • I started off w/ the Chase Freedom when I first signed up for a card. It was a great way to rack up rewards with little hassle. I highly recommend the card.

  • Chase slate seems to be the only one with no fee balance transfer.

  • Great list of no fee cards. We have the BOA cash rewards card and we have been happy with it.

  • I never use any aero APR, HSBC always send same zero APR to me every month.

  • citi double cash seems also a choice. 18 months for 0% APR

  • Nice list. Due to European travel we always look to see if a card charges fee for use there.

  • Every year Citi offers me zero interest for several months. So I make minimum payments and pay off at the end before interest is charged.

  • I also like the BOA card and have done well with it. My gas and groceries go on here and then into a savings account.

  • Can’t go wrong with a Discover card when looking for a no annual fee card.

  • thanks for the info

  • This is interesting and good knowledge if I ever have unexpected expenses but under normal circumstances I am not organized enough to take advantage of 0 APR offers. Kudos to those of you who are able to do so.

    Normally I don’t even look at the APR since I pay my full balance every month, it means nothing.

  • You missed the best card out there!!! Amex Business Blue beats all of these cards. 0% APR, no fee, and 2X points on all purchases. Unfortunately they dropped the sign up bonus. Its my go to card for most of my expenses. The other card I use is the CSR.

    • If you’re in the points & miles game the APR on a CC shouldn’t matter, as one should never be paying interest on credit card spend. Bottom line: if one is paying interest, one is seriously compromising the value of any rewards earned.

  • the 3% fee on its makes most of these deals a no-go.

  • 0% cards are great if you have a need for it.

  • Thank you!! I just jumped on one of these to put $10K on for 6 months.. just need some slack room to pay it off.

  • CAMILLA SAUDER says:

    If you are doing this to get rewards to use on airlines or hotels, you should never carry a balance on your cards. Otherwise, it offsets the whole point.

  • Discipline is the key

  • very helpful, thanks as always

  • It’s a good preview of such cards available.
    But I was curious, wouldn’t carrying a balance on the account, though without any interest charge, impacts our credit rating?

  • Another credit card caveat to watch for: Those providers – and thankfully there are only a few – who have “gotcha” rules for paying down 0% APR balances and offers. Bank of America is a notable example. If you are carrying balances with two different APR rates? Your payments go towards the lower rate first – not the other way around. So you have to pay off the entire 0% balance – which negates the interest saving reason you took advantage of the offer in the first place.

    Another tip: Most, if not all providers say that you can’t pay off the same provider’s card with a balance transfer offer. Example: You can’t do a balance transfer from say Chase Freedom to Chase Slate. But many providers offer a direct deposit of funds at the 0% rate to your bank account. So take the cash and then use it to pay off whatever card you want – including the same provider’s higher interest rate card.

  • I can’t for my life figure out whey somebody would use these 0% interest cards if one pays off their balance in full each and every time. I am sure you will all set me straight!

  • I love the Freedom & Freedom Unlimited tandem. Maxing out the quarterly categories on the Freedom & earning 1.5x for non-bonused spend with the Freedom Unlimited is a fantastic combo for $0 in annual fees. Of course the caveat there is that one must hold a premium UR (SP/SR/IP) card to really maximize the value of those points.

  • While I don’t need a low rate or time to pay, I remember when credit cards used to send out 0% or 1% or something for, sometimes, up to a year, offers with no or a low. capped fee, I’d put the money in a bank CD that, at the time, paid around 6%, and make a couple thousand a year.

  • Which credit cards offer the best and most repeat BT offers? PenFed always offers 0% for 12 month and 3% fee. Discover is generous too.

  • Does Chase Slate have any rewards?

  • thank you, that’s very helpful

  • Thanks for this write up, I always thought 0 APR meant a trade off of rewards but I didn’t realize some offer both.

  • Awesome, thanks for the information!

  • The BoA Cash Rewards was one of my favorite beginner cards. Of course it doesn’t get love anymore once you’re into premium card territory, but it’s a good one to start with, along with the Chase Freedom.

    This list reminds me of how I kick myself for not taking that 0% APR 0% fee on balance transfers/cash advance offer I got on my Chase Freedom right when the recession happened.

  • The best advice of course is never carry a balance, then it doesn’t matter the interest rate. Just get the rewards 🙂

  • Great list ! Love 0% APR !!!

  • Nice rundown of these options. Sure this can help someone make a decision.

  • Good reminder that 0% cards need a high level of discipline and attention to detail…

  • Lee Ann Bixler says:

    Very good in depth analysis, however I never carry a balance on any card.

  • Since I don’t see a”signup” bonus for the Discover It card, I assume you are referring to the 100% bonus match on all cash back earned the first year, which means 10% back on bonus categories. And, if it’s a retailer or service you use, you can buy gift cards or prepay depending on what the bonus categories are, and extend the savings. That sounds good to me.

  • Using a 0 percent APR to invest the money is definitely something that a Points and Miles collector could manage. But when discussing this hobby with a Newbie, the minute they ask about the APR, I know the hobby is not for them. I have no idea about the APR on my cards. It doesn’t matter.

    • That indeed is an excellent test. If it comes to matter, you’ve done something very wrong.

    • Same with me. Now, rates are sow low, unless they offer 0% with no fee, it’s not worth it. And, the cap on the fee was lifted from $50 to $75 to unlimited, except on rare cases, years ago. Since I always pay off the bills when they come, I don’t have the slightest idea what the rate they charge is.

  • I applied for the EveryDay card last week and got instant approval so I’m looking forward to receiving it soon so as to work on gaining the 10K bonus points.

  • What getting into the points/miles hobby has done for me is ramp up my awareness regarding just where my money goes. And, since I now put everything, and I mean everything, on one of my cc it’s very easy to track the big picture, and in those rare instances where carrying a balance might occur, getting a 0% APR with no transfer fees is very appealing.

  • Until interest rates increase into an area where one can arbitrage the balance from the 0% card I will be holding off on these.

  • While not exciting from a points & miles perspective, 0% APR cards do have their uses.

  • It’s kind of like free money.. until the clock runs out.. I’ve done these in the past.. for short term leverage when I needed it. Not terrible if you are disciplined about it.

    • It was great when bank accounts paid 6% and the cards often offered no fees for the “balance transfer”, or even when they had a fee but capped it at $50, then $75. , After calling customer service and combining my Chase card (including the formally First USA and Bank One cards) credit lines into the 0% card’s limit, I wrote their “balance transfer” check to my self, as permitted, and put it in the bank.m Once I borrowed up to my credit limit at 0% for a year from a Chase card, and opened a 6% one year CD at Chase (the highest rate around at the moment. Then, got a check for the money when the CD matured, walked to the teller and paid off my credit card a day or two before the year was up (the time it took for the check I used to open the CD to clear and be reflected as the starting date of my one year interest free loan. MBNA (now part of Bank of America) would do an ACH transfer right into your bank account for “balance transfers”, if you wanted. Discover once offered my a 0% “balance transfer” up to my credit limit for a $29 fee for as long as I took to pay it off as long as I made 2 charges every monthy. The $29 fee and any other purchases were at the regular interest rate. For about 5 years, once a month when I was at the post office anyway, I would buy 2 10c stamps, each in a separate transactions. Eventually, the interest I paid went up, and the rate on bank accounts went down to a point where it was time to pay it off. It was good while it lasted.

  • Good timing. Just looking for a card to roll over an existing balance from barclays after their 15 months of 0 interest expires soon.

  • Free money but affects your credit score.

  • Wow – somehow I missed this Tip of the Day ! I look forward to using that in the near future. Thanks for the TIP!!

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