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Credit cards offer a convenient way to make major purchases or cover emergency expenses. Carry a balance, however, and interest can add up: Americans carry an average $5,221 in credit card debt, according to Experian data.
Credit cards with an introductory 0% annual percentage rate (APR) offer a way to pay off debt without accruing additional interest charges for a limited time. Some of these cards offer intro 0% APRs for new purchases, balance transfers or both. If you've got a big purchase in mind and want to pay it off over time without paying interest—or want to reduce the interest on existing high-interest credit card balances—check out our top picks for intro 0% APR credit cards from our partners.
2 Partner Offers
Best Overall: Wells Fargo Reflect® Card
This card offers an introductory 0% APR for 18 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers. After that, the card's variable APR climbs to 17.49% to 29.49%. The intro APR period can be extended three months if you make all your payments on time during the introductory period and the extended period. A late payment may cost you your intro 0% APR, but unlike some cards, won't incur a penalty APR.
Balance transfers made within 120 days of account opening qualify for the introductory APR and an intro balance transfer fee of 3%, with a transfer fee of 5% thereafter. The minimum fee cardholders are charged is $5 in either case.
The Wells Fargo Reflect® Card offers other rewards as well. Use it to pay your monthly cellphone bill and receive up to $600 of cellphone protection against damage or theft (subject to a $25 deductible). An easy way to earn cash back while you shop, dine or enjoy an experience simply by using your Wells Fargo credit card. Through My Wells Fargo Deals, you can get access to personalized deals from a variety of merchants.
Wells Fargo Reflect® Card
on Wells Fargo's website
Recommended FICO® Score*
Wells Fargo Reflect® Card
17.49% - 29.49% variable APR
- 0% intro APR for 18 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers. Intro APR extension for 3 months with on-time minimum payments during the intro period. 17.49% to 29.49% variable APR thereafter; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate and fee of 3% then a BT fee of up to 5%, min $5.
- $0 Annual Fee
- Get up to $600 of cell phone protection against damage or theft when you pay your monthly cell phone bill with your eligible Wells Fargo card (subject to a $25 deductible).
- Through My Wells Fargo Deals, you can get access to personalized deals from a variety of merchants. It's an easy way to earn cash back as an account credit when you shop, dine, or enjoy an experience simply by using an eligible Wells Fargo credit card.
- Select “Apply Now” to learn more about the product features, terms and conditions
- Matched For You are statements made by Experian and may not reflect Wells Fargo’s underwriting standards
Best for Customizable Reward Categories: Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card
Enjoy an intro 0% APR on purchases for 18 billing cycles from the date of account opening with this Bank of America card. After that, the variable APR is 17.49% to 27.49%.
Robust rewards can make this card worth carrying long after the promotional APR ends. Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice, an automatic 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter) and an unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. Although such tiered rewards can add a degree of complexity to getting the most out of the card, being able to choose your rewards category is a nice perk.
Bank of America Preferred Rewards Program members can earn 25% to 75% more cash back on every purchase—or up to 5.25% cash back on purchases in your choice category. You can receive a $200 online cash rewards bonus if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days after account opening.
How Do Intro 0% APR Credit Cards Work?
Normally, you must pay your credit card balance in full each month to avoid accruing interest. One way to avoid that interest, however, is to use a credit card with an introductory 0% APR on purchase. These cards don't charge interest on purchases made during the promotional period, which can add flexibility to your budget by allowing you to carry a balance and pay off purchases gradually. At the end of the introductory period, any remaining balance starts accruing interest at the card's standard APR.
Credit cards with introductory 0% APRs on balance transfers let you transfer balances from one or more existing credit cards to the new card. Inform the new card issuer which balances you want to transfer to the new card. The credit card company either pays off those balances directly or sends you a check to pay them off yourself. You'll typically pay a balance transfer fee of 3% to 5% of the amount transferred. Transferred balances have a 0% APR during the introductory period. Any balances remaining after that time will accrue interest at the card's usual APR.
What Credit Score Is Required for an Intro 0% APR Credit Card?
You may need good or excellent credit to qualify for top intro 0% APR credit card offers. The better your credit score, the more likely you'll be approved for cards with higher credit limits, more perks and lower interest rates after the promotional period ends.
Knowing your credit score makes it easier to choose credit card offers for which you're most likely to be approved. Before applying for a new card, review your credit report and credit score to see where you stand. If necessary, consider improving your score prior to applying for intro 0% APR credit cards.
When to Use an Intro 0% APR Credit Card
A intro 0% APR credit card can be used to:
- Finance a big purchase. Preparing to do your holiday shopping, plan for a big vacation or buy new furniture? Use a card offering an intro 0% APR on purchases and you can pay off the purchase over the promotional period without any interest.
- Pay down credit card debt. Move high-interest credit card balances to a card with an intro 0% APR balance transfer offer. Pay off the transferred balance before the end of the introductory period to avoid additional interest charges.
- Consolidate credit card balances. When you've got balances on several credit cards, it's easy to miss a payment date, which can lower your credit score. Streamline your finances by transferring all the balances onto an intro 0% APR balance transfer card, and you'll only have one payment to remember.
How to Benefit the Most From an Intro 0% APR Credit Card
To get the most from your introductory 0% APR credit card:
- Automate monthly payments. Some card issuers prematurely end your introductory 0% APR period if you miss a payment. Automating payments can ensure you're never late.
- Pay more than the minimum due. This helps you pay down your balance faster.
- Keep credit card spending within your budget. An introductory 0% APR card can tempt you to overspend, especially if it has other perks like an introductory cash back bonus. To avoid building up a balance, set a budget for your card spending.
- Pay off your balance before the intro period ends. Whether it's a big purchase or a balance transfer, paying off the balance before the promotional period expires is key to getting the most from your new card. Budget for this by dividing your balance by the number of months in the introductory period. Then commit to paying that amount each month, just like your rent or car payment.
- After transferring a balance, keep old credit card accounts open. Even if you don't plan to use the older card, having a card with a zero balance can reduce your overall credit utilization, potentially boosting your credit score. Closing the original card also shortens the average age of your credit accounts, which may hurt your credit score. Just be sure to resist the urge to take on additional debt.
How to Choose an Intro 0% APR Credit Card
To select the intro 0% APR credit card that delivers the most value, read the card agreement carefully. Ask yourself:
- What do I plan to use the card for? Do you want an introductory APR on purchases, balance transfers or both?
- How long is the introductory 0% period? The longer the promotional period lasts, the more time you'll have to pay off purchases or balance transfers.
- Are there any fees? Most cards charge a balance transfer fee—typically 3% to 5% of the amount transferred. Cards may also impose annual fees, late payment fees or fees for foreign transactions. Make sure the potential savings on interest outweighs any fees.
- What is the balance transfer window? Check the card's terms for the deadline to start or complete a balance transfer to qualify for the intro 0% APR. Completing a balance transfer can take time, so start the process as soon as you're able.
- What is the ongoing APR? Find out what your APR will be at the end of the promotional period. A lower ongoing APR will give you the best long-term value.
- Does the card offer rewards or other perks? Benefits such as cash back or travel rewards add value to a card after the promotional APR period ends.
- How does a late payment affect your APR? Pay late, and some intro 0% APR cards raise your APR to the ongoing rate or an even higher penalty APR.
- How is interest charged? Some transactions may not qualify for the intro 0% APR. For example, cards may charge interest on cash advances even during the introductory period.
- Where do you want to transfer a balance from? You usually can't transfer a balance from one card to another card from the same issuer. For example, you could transfer a balance from a Chase card to a Wells Fargo card, but not from one Chase card to another.
Will an Intro 0% APR Credit Card Help Your Credit?
Paying down debt, making on-time payments and not applying for new credit can all improve your credit. An introductory 0% APR credit card could help too. Having more available credit can lower your credit utilization; using a balance transfer card can help you pay down debt—both of which can improve your score. Just avoid carrying a balance on your intro 0% APR credit card past the promotional period, or your credit score could suffer.
In the market for an intro 0% APR credit card? Experian CreditMatch™ can pair you with cards matching your credit profile.