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There are few things more stressful than chipping away at a mountain of credit card debt. As soon as you make a payment, more interest charges get piled on and it can feel like you haven’t made any progress at all.
That’s when it might be a good time to see if you can find a card with a good 0% intro APR period. Without the weight of accruing interest bearing down on you and limiting your progress, you can make payments that will actually go toward your principal and pay your debt down faster.
How do these cards work? Well, one option is to transfer a balance from an existing card to a card with a 0% intro APR period. You most likely will be charged a fee of 3 – 5 percent of the transfer. But that can be worth the cost, especially if you’re struggling to pay off cards that have really high interest rates. Once you’ve made the transfer, you have the length of the intro period to pay off your debt interest-free.
The other option is to use a 0% intro APR period card when you know you are about to make a hefty purchase and want a low-cost way to finance it. You can apply for a a 0% intro APR card and pay your purchase off over the course of the intro period without worrying about accruing interest. Any balances that aren’t paid by the end of the intro period will begin to incur interest, so it’s a good idea to pick a card that has a long enough intro period for your needs.
Here are our favorite credit cards with 0% intro periods and no annual fee, organized by longest intro period to shortest (21-15 months).
Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever
This card has one of the longest 0% intro periods on the market with 0%* for 18 months on Purchases* and 0%* for 18 months on Balance Transfers*. The amount of time in the intro period is great if you have a large balance to transfer, or simply want to pay new purchases off over a long time period. The balance transfer fee is 3% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum. In addition to intro periods, this is the only card with no late fees, no penalty rate, and a $0* annual fee. There are also no rewards because the main purpose of this card is to pay of debt — though you do get access to Citi® Private Pass®. If your primary purpose is to rid yourself of debt, the Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever is a great way to do that.
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card– 21 Month Balance Transfer Offer
Another card with a lengthy intro period is the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card– 21 Month Balance Transfer Offer. You will have 0%* for 12 months on purchases* and 0%* for 21 months on balance transfers* — which is nearly two years of no interest. The balance transfer fee is 3% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum. There are no rewards with this card, but additional perks include exclusive entertainment access with Citi® Private Pass® and the ability to earn a credit on past purchases with Citi® Price Rewind.
Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer
This card is a standout for its cash back program as well as its balance transfer offer. The intro period is 0%* for 18 months on balance transfers* with a balance transfer fee of 3% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum. There is no intro rate for purchases, however new purchases will earn a great rate of 1% cash back when you buy and 1% cash back as you pay for those purchases. If you want to transfer a balance and earn cash back, the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer is one of our favorite cards.
Discover it® - 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer
With a long intro period, the Discover it® - 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer is a good card for balance transfers with 0% for 18 months. The balance transfer fee is 3%. At 0% for 6 months, the purchase intro period is subpar, making this card primarily for balance transfers. Not only will you benefit from a 0% intro period, but there is 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. 1% unlimited cash back automatically on all other purchases.
BankAmericard® Credit Card
The BankAmericard® Credit Card offers a great intro period, especially for balance transfers. You have 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for balance transfers made in the first 60 days and $0 Intro balance transfer fee for the first 60 days your account is open. After that, the fee for future balance transfers is 3% (min. $10). This is a great way for you to save on the typical 3-5 percent transfer fee most other cards charge. There is also an average intro period of 0% Introductory APR on purchases for 15 billing cycles, allowing you time to pay off debt accrued from new purchases without being charged interest. Keep in mind there are no rewards with this card.
Another option for a card with that offers an intro balance transfer fee is Chase Slate®. There are two intro periods: 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months and 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months. There is 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months This allows you to save money on the 3 – 5 percent transfer fee a majority of other cards charge. This card is predominately used for balance transfers and doesn’t offer a rewards program. Those who want to get out of debt due to an existing balance (or new purchases) have the ability to do so with Chase Slate®.
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express is an average 0% intro APR card offering 0% for 15 months for purchases and 0% for 15 months for balance transfers. The fee for transfers is either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater. On top of the intro periods, you earn 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. If you want to take advantage of a good intro period and earn cash back rewards, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express is a good option — particularly for grocery shoppers.