If you're looking to get your financial house in order by paying off credit card debt, bravo! That's a worthy (and achievable!) goal. The process will be easier if you use a credit card with a 0% APR (annual percentage yield) for the first 12-18 months.
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If you find your card(s) on the following list of the best credit cards with a 0% introductory APR, that's great. If not, you might still add one of the cards to your collection, perhaps zeroing in on one with no balance-transfer fee so that you can move your debt over.
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Here's a look at the best credit cards with a 0% introductory APR. Read onto see which one(s) make the most sense for you, given your needs, preferences, and charging habits.
What to know about 0%-APR credit cards
Credit cards with a 0% introductory APR vary in what they offer. Some offer the 0% rate for a year or less, while others extend it for the first 15 to 18 months. That can be helpful for someone carrying a lot of debt who wants to do a balance transfer and pay off the debt as soon as possible.
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But while some cards with 0% APRs charge no balance-transfer fees, others charge 3%-5% of the sum you transfer, which could amount to hundreds of dollars. That can defeat the purpose of transferring your balance, so if you're looking to transfer a significant sum, favor cards with no fees. Read the fine print, too, because there can be limits on how much you can transfer.
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The best 0%-APR credit cards
Below are some of the best credit cards with a 0% introductory APR that can help you get your finances back in shape. Each offers a suite of other benefits, as well.
- Citi Simplicity Card -- No Late Fees Ever: This card featuresno annual fee, along with "no late fees ever" and "no penalty rate ever." For balance transfers, it charges a fee of 3% of the value of your transfer or $5 -- whichever is greater. That's not great if you're looking to transfer a balance, but note that its initial APR is 0% for 21 months for both purchases and balance transfers. That's one of the longest periods available with a 0% APR and it can be quite helpful. (Read our full review ofCiti Simplicity Cardto learn more.)
- Barclaycard RingMasterCard: This card chargesno balance transfer fee, and its initial APR is 0% for the first 15 months for transfers made within 45 days of opening the account. The card also offers online access to your FICO credit score, which can be handy if you're working hard to pay off debts and beef up your score -- perhaps in preparation for getting a mortgage or taking on other debt. It doesn't charge foreign transaction fees, either, which is nice if you travel outside the U.S. There's no annual fee and it also won't hike your interest rate if you pay a bill late.(Read our full review ofBarclaycard Ring MasterCardto learn more.)
- BankAmericard: BankAmericard also chargesno annual fee, though it does charge a balance transfer fee of 3% of the value of your transfer (or $10, whichever is greater). Its initial APR is 0% for the first 18 billing cycles for transfers made within 60 days of opening the account. After that, the APR is the lowest rate charged by any BankAmericard product. Note, though, that as many cards do, it charges a penalty APR of more than 25% if you're late paying a bill. That can be deadly, so be sure to pay your bills on time. The card also offers online or mobile access to your FICOcredit score.(Read our full review ofBankAmericardto learn more.)
Many great cards require good credit scores. You might want or need to boost yours. Image source: Getty Images.
- Chase Slate: This card offersa 0% initial APR for the first 15 months on balance transfers and purchases. Better still, there's no balance transfer fee on transfers made within the first 60 days. Chase Slate also offers Blueprint financial plans to its cardholders to help them with debt-reduction strategies and it makes your FICO score available, too. Once the 0% teaser rate expires, the APR it charges isn't among the lowest you'll find, so aim to get the balance paid off in those first 15 months. There's no annual fee and no penalty APR, either. (Read our full review of Chase Slateto learn more.)
- Capital One Quicksilver Rewards: This card offers a 0% APR for a shorter initial period than the cards above, but it can serve you well if you don't need the 0% rate for too long -- because it offers unlimited 1.5% cash back on purchases. There's a $100 signup bonus after you spend $100 on purchases in your first three months and there are no foreign transaction fees. There's no annual fee, either. However, as with many cards, your interest rate will likely skyrocket if you pay a bill late. (Read our full review of Capital One Quicksilver Rewardsto learn more.)
If you're picky about which credit card(s) you use, you can reap significant financial benefits, such as paying less in interest and earning cash back or other rewards. Take a close look at any cards of interest and read the fine print. Note that many of the terrific cards above also require a good or great credit score -- so you might want to beef up your score before applying.
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