Unforeseen emergencies such as car problems that require expensive repairs or medical treatments with high out-of-pocket costs can blindside even the most responsible consumers. If you can’t afford to pay for an urgent purchase or expense out of your own pocket, you may have no choice but to use a credit card.
The good news is there’s no shortage of credit cards that make it easy to charge big-ticket purchases or expenses without accumulating interest from day one. Dozens of credit cards come with 0% introductory purchase APR periods, many of which last 12 months or longer.
Although every introductory APR period eventually comes to an end, the opportunity to get a head start on repaying big purchases without worrying about ballooning interest is invaluable.
Best Credit Cards With 0% APR Interest on Purchases
These are the best credit card offers with 0% purchase APR promotions on the market today. Each does at least one thing really well, whether it’s stretching the 0% APR window for an exceptionally long period of time or pairing the zero-interest promotion with a great cash-back sign-up bonus.
Best Overall: Chase Slate EdgeSM Credit Card
The Chase Slate EdgeSM Credit Card is our top overall 0% APR pick thanks to a generous one-two punch: 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 18 months from your account opening date. Thereafter, variable regular APR applies, currently 20.49% to 29.24%.
That’s not all. Slate Edge is also one of the best low APR credit cards on the market.
Moving forward, you can lower your interest rate by 2% each year. If you pay on time and spend at least $1,000 on your card by your next account anniversary, you’ll automatically be considered for this APR reduction.
- Special welcome offer: Get an automatic, one-time review for a higher credit limit when you pay on time and spend $500 in your first 6 months
- No annual fee
- Keep tabs on your credit health with Chase Credit Journey
Longest 0% APR Balance Transfer Promotion: Citi Simplicity® Card
The Citi Simplicity® Card has the longest intro balance transfer APR promotion on the market: 21 months for balances transferred within 120 days of account opening.
It also has a solid intro purchase APR promotion: 12 months from account opening.
- Lock and unlock your card easily right in the app
- No annual fee on either card
- With Citi Simplicity, pay no late fees — ever
- Get exclusive access to thousands of events with Citi Entertainment
- Enjoy customizable payment due dates and 24/7 customer service
Best Flat-Rate Cash-Back Card for Purchases: Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card is a great cash-back credit card in its own right. Thanks to its 15-month 0% APR introductory promotion on purchases and balance transfers and flat, unlimited 1.5% cash back on most eligible purchases, it’s the best 0% APR credit card for people seeking predictable rewards.
- No annual fee
- Earn $200 cash back after you spend $500 in the first 3 months of card membership
- No foreign transaction fee
Best Flat-Rate Cash-Back Card for Balance Transfers: Citi® Double Cash Card
The Citi® Double Cash Card‘s 18-month 0% APR balance transfer promotion is among the best in the cash-back category and makes it one of the best balance transfer credit cards overall. Qualifying balance transfers must be made within 120 days of account opening.
If you’re struggling with high-interest credit card debt and seek a payoff method that earns a nice return on spending and has a modest balance transfer fee, Double Cash is a top contender. Plus, you can earn up to 2% back on all eligible purchases here.
- Limited Time Offer: Through 11/14/22, earn $200 cash back after spending $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening.
- Earn 1% cash back on all eligible purchases when you make them
- Earn another 1% cash back when you pay off your balance
- Pay your statement in full each month to effectively earn 2% cash back on virtually all card transactions, with no bonus categories to worry about
- No annual fee
Best for U.S. Supermarket Spending: Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express is a no-annual-fee cash rewards credit card that has more to offer than a generous introductory APR promotion. Its three-tiered cash-back program rewards users as follows:
- U.S. supermarket purchases and U.S. gas station purchases earn 3% cash back up to a $6,000 annual limit, and 1% cash back after that (terms apply)
- U.S. online retail purchases earn 3% cash back on up to a $6,000 annual limit, then 1% (terms apply)
- All other eligible purchases earn 1% cash back (terms apply).
Clearly, this is a great card to use at the supermarket. And the 15-month 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers (see rates and fees page) is worth writing home about. After the intro period ends, variable regular APR applies (19.24% - 29.99%), depending on creditworthiness and prevailing rates. Terms apply.
- No annual fee (see rates and fees page)
Best for Travelers: Citi Rewards+℠ Card
The Citi Rewards+℠ Card is arguably the best no-annual-fee credit card for frequent travelers, thanks to a 2x point-earning opportunity on gas station purchases (up to $6,000 in combined category spending each year). After that, you’ll still earn 1 point per $1 spent on these purchases.
This card also boasts a generous introductory APR promotion for purchases and balance transfers: 15 months at 0% APR on both types of transactions, with the balance transfer APR kicking in only after the first transfer.
Once the introductory period ends, variable regular APR applies, depending on your creditworthiness and prevailing interest rates.
- Earn 20,000 bonus points after spending $1,500 on purchases within three months of account opening — worth $200 in gift cards at redemption
- Eligible supermarket and gas station spending earns 2 points per $1 spent, up to $6,000 in combined category spending per year
- All other eligible spending earns an unlimited 1 point per $1 spent.
- Citi rounds up rewards earned on every purchase to the nearest 10 points — turning a 5-point purchase into a 10-point purchase — and kicks back 10% of redeemed points up to the first 100,000 points redeemed each year
- No annual fee
Methodology: How We Select the Best 0% APR Credit Cards
We consider several key factors when assessing the top 0% APR credit cards. These include the length of the 0% APR period, the types of transactions it applies to, and the other features and benefits of each card.
Length of 0% APR Period
A longer promotional period means more time to pay off charges before interest begins to accrue. This doesn’t mean you should make unnecessary purchases just because it won’t cost as much to carry the balance, but it does allow you to control your total credit card costs if you’re careful about it.
Transactions Qualifying for 0% APR
Most 0% APR credit cards offer zero-interest financing on purchases, balance transfers, or both.
Credit cards with 0% intro purchase APR promotions are great for financing big-ticket purchases — such as supplies for home improvement projects or wedding expenses — that you’d normally struggle to pay for out of pocket.
Credit cards with 0% intro balance transfer APR promotions are great for paying down high-interest debt without incurring additional interest charges.
Naturally, cards that allow both are tops in our book. Most of the entrants on this list fit that bill.
Pay attention to each card’s regular (post-promotion) purchase APR too. Some of these cards stake their reputations on low ongoing APRs (low interest), while others are less generous, especially to cardholders without excellent credit.
All else being equal, we prefer cards with low ongoing APRs.
The annual fee is the best-known credit card fee and one that can quickly add up over time. If your 0% APR credit card charges an annual fee, it’ll eat into your interest savings.
Fortunately, most 0% APR credit cards don’t charge annual fees. We’ve noted the ones on this list that do and feel they’re worth the expense.
Other Card Fees
Although most of these cards charge no annual fee, some carry miscellaneous fees and charges that can raise the cost of card ownership prior to the end of the intro APR period and beyond. Read the statement of fees carefully and avoid cards with excessive levies.
Don’t sleep on these cards’ rewards programs either. Though rewards aren’t the top selling point for many, some do count among the best cash-back cards on the market.
We’re attentive to the details of these perks (or lack thereof) and work to find the most generous rewards cards that also happen to have the best 0% APR promotions.
Other New Cardholder Offers
Many credit cards entice new cardholders with sign-up bonuses — points or cash in exchange for clearing a predefined spending threshold. Some of the entry-level cards on this lift have very attainable sign-up bonuses that require just $500 or $1,000 in spending over a 3-month period.
Other Card Perks and Benefits
We’re big fans of credit cards with other value-added perks and benefits, like complimentary car rental coverage and discounts at partner hotels. Every card is a little different, so be sure to read the fine print of your cardholder agreement and rewards program terms.
0% APR Credit Card FAQs
You have questions about 0% APR credit cards. We have answers.
How Long Does the 0% Interest Period Last on a New Credit Card?
The best 0% APR credit cards’ zero-interest periods last 18 months or longer. It’s not uncommon to find cards with promotional windows stretching 20 or 21 months.
It all depends on the card though. If your credit isn’t great, you might not qualify for those with the very best terms.
How Much Can You Spend on a 0% Credit Card?
Technically, you can spend all the way up to your credit limit. That might not be the wisest course of action, however.
You don’t want to be left with a balance after the 0% APR period ends and your rate rises. To ensure that you aren’t, create a plan to pay off your charges or transfers ahead of schedule.
And if you expect to make many large purchases over time — perhaps to finish off that home improvement project or turn your wedding dreams into reality — look into low-APR credit cards (low-interest credit cards) with affordable regular interest rates that reduce the cost of carrying a monthly balance. Or look for another 0% APR credit card to transfer your remaining balance.
What Happens If You Don’t Pay Off Your Balance Before the 0% APR Period Ends?
It’s essential to pay off your purchases or balance transfers before the promotional APR expires. If you don’t, you may owe interest on the entire balance. Even if not, you’ll begin accruing interest on whatever’s left, raising your payments over time.
Which means you could find yourself struggling to keep pace — and facing a pile of interest-accumulating credit card debt that could stay with you for a much longer period of time than the initial promotion window.
Is a 0% APR Credit Card Right for You?
You shouldn’t apply for a 0% APR credit card just to apply for a 0% APR credit card. Yes, increasing your total credit limit and decreasing credit utilization is good for your credit score, but not at the cost of digging yourself deeper into debt.
So, first make sure you have a legitimate reason to get a new 0% APR credit card — like a major home improvement project or a sticky balance you’ve struggled to pay down.
Next, if the card will create a new payment or add to your existing monthly credit card payments, make sure you can afford it. If not, you should defer the purchase until you’re in a better financial position or find another way to pay down the existing debt. That could mean making some unpleasant cuts to your household budget.
Finally, have a plan to zero out your balance before the promotional period expires. It bears repeating that you’ll be in for a world of financial hurt if you’re not able to do so.
How to Choose the Best 0% APR Card
Clearly, you have no shortage of 0% APR credit card options. Assuming a 0% credit card is the right choice for you right now, how do you choose the best one?
First, figure out your objectives. If you’re gearing up for a major purchase or series of purchases, you’ll want a card with a long 0% APR period on purchases. If you have high-interest credit card debt already and want to pay it down without spending an arm and a leg, you need a balance transfer credit card.
Often, these are one and the same. But you’ll want to make sure.
Next, compare the length of each card’s 0% APR period. The longer, the better, unless you’re applying for other reasons too — like a generous sign-up bonus or ongoing rewards program.
Finally, look at other features and costs of each card. Avoid annual fees if possible — it’s easy to do with this type of card — and look for value-adds like great cash-back rewards or travel benefits.
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, please visit this rates and fees page.