Best 0% APR Credit Cards for November 2020

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A 0% interest introductory offer on purchases works like a pause button for interest accrual. 

This type of 0% offer is often used to help extend payment of a large purchase over several months rather than paying in full upfront or revolving the balance on another high-interest credit card. This can be helpful for buying new appliances, for example, or financing a car repair.

But a 0% interest period isn’t a free pass to avoid paying your credit card bill. In fact, it’s even more important to pay down your credit card balances within the intro period, so you aren’t carrying any balance over once your regular APR kicks in.

These are NextAdvisor’s top picks for introductory 0% interest offers on new purchases. While many do offer 0% interest on both purchases and balance transfers, if you’re looking for the best card to help with consolidated debt payoff, see our picks for the best balance transfer credit cards.

Before charging a purchase under a 0% interest offer, always make sure you have a solid plan to pay it off before the introductory period ends. A 0% interest offer can buy you time to pay off large balances, but it doesn’t mean you can avoid paying altogether. No matter how long the intro period, you’ll accrue interest on any current balance at your assigned ongoing APR once it expires.

Our Picks for the Best 0% Interest Credit Cards

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card
NextAdvisor’s Pick
Good for Long Intro Period
U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card
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Citi Simplicity® Card
Good for Long Intro Period and Low Fees
Citi Simplicity® Card
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Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
Good for Welcome Bonus
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
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Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Good for Ongoing Rewards
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
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PNC Core® Visa® Credit Card
Good for Lower Ongoing APR
PNC Core® Visa® Credit Card
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U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card
NextAdvisor’s Pick
Good for Long Intro Period

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

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  • Intro APR: 0%* for 20 billing cycles on purchases*
  • Annual fee: $0*
  • Regular APR: 13.99% – 23.99%* (Variable)
  • Recommended credit score: 670-850 (Good to Excellent)

Overview

Clocking in with an unbeatable 20-billing-cycle introductory period, the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card* is not only our top pick for 0% interest on new purchases, but it also tops our balance transfer list (variable APR 13.99 – 23.99% after introductory period). Its appeal is simple, but effective. While you won’t enjoy many bells and whistles in the form of ongoing rewards or benefits, it’s the best card on the market for the introductory period alone.

The Visa Platinum charges no annual fee, no penalty APR (though you may incur a late payment fee up to $40), and has an ongoing variable APR between 13.99 and 23.99%. This card has no rewards offerings, but provides cellphone protection insurance if you use it to pay your monthly phone bill.

Read our full review of the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card

Why we chose this card

This card is best for anyone whose card search prioritizes the singular best 0% interest introductory offer. Whether you’re planning a large purchase you’d like to pay off in interest-free installments or you’ve already accumulated a balance on another card and want plenty of flexibility to pay it off over time, this is the card to have in your wallet.

In general, you should avoid charging new purchases to a card you’re using to pay down debt via balance transfer, but this card’s extended intro period means you could potentially take advantage of both intro offers. For example, say you have $2,000 in debt to transfer to the Visa Platinum, and you’re able to make $400 monthly payments, paying it down in 5 months interest free. That leaves 15 months over which you can still use the 0% interest offer on purchases before accruing interest.

Citi Simplicity® Card
Good for Long Intro Period and Low Fees

Citi Simplicity® Card

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  • Intro APR: 0% for 18 months on Purchases
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 14.74% – 24.74% (Variable)
  • Recommended credit score: 740-850 (Excellent)

Overview

The Citi Simplicity Card*, with an 18-month 0% introductory period on purchases and balance transfers (14.74 – 24.74% variable APR thereafter), just barely falls short of our top pick in length of the 0% APR. But it’s still a valuable (and comparable) choice for anyone looking to either take advantage of 0% interest on upcoming purchases or get a head start on debt payoff.

There’s no annual fee, but a balance transfer will cost 3% of your balance (minimum $5). After the intro period you’ll take on an ongoing variable APR between 14.74 and 24.74%. Citi Simplicity offers no ongoing rewards, but there are other protections for cardholders: no late fees or penalty APR charges — ever.

Why we chose this card

Like our top pick, Citi Simplicity is best for someone looking for a straightforward, lengthy 0% introductory interest offer. Because its intro offer extends to balance transfers as well as new purchases, it makes a great choice whether you have an upcoming large purchase or you’ve taken on debt you want to pay off. But what really sets Citi Simplicity apart is its promise of no late fees and no penalty APR.

Especially during a time of economic uncertainty, these protections can make a difference for anyone taking advantage of an intro period to pay down a costly purchase over time. Forgotten payments and unexpected financial hardship can befall anyone even in the best of times, but protections against them are even more valuable now.

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
Good for Welcome Bonus

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

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Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day.

  • Intro APR: 0% intro on purchases for 15 months
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 15.49% – 25.49% (Variable)
  • Recommended credit score: 670-850 (Good to Excellent)

Overview

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card* offers a 15-month introductory 0% interest period on new purchases (15.49 – 25.49% variable APR thereafter) in addition to its ongoing unlimited 1.5% cash back rewards on every purchase, for no annual fee. Plus, you can earn a $200 cash bonus after spending just $500 within the first three months of account opening, a great added perk when financing a large purchase. 

After the intro period, you’ll take on a variable interest rate of 15.49 to 25.49%, depending on your credit.

Why we chose this card

There are several valuable rewards cards that offer similar 0% interest introductory offers on new purchases combined with welcome bonuses. But many of these bonuses among the cards we evaluated topped out at $150 or less and required a minimum spend of $1,000. Capital One Quicksilver’s $200 cash bonus, which requires just $500 spent in the first three months, makes it not only a valuable benefit, but more attainable, too. 

We also love the simplicity of flat cash back rewards. This card’s unlimited 1.5% cash back will continue adding value to your wallet long after your intro period expires. In fact, using average consumer spending data and our best cash back credit cards framework, we’ve calculated this card’s ongoing annual rewards value at $198.87.

If you have an upcoming purchase you’d like to extend payment on with a long intro offer plus save some money with a great welcome bonus, this is the card for you.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Good for Ongoing Rewards

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

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Rewards rate:

Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year. Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.

  • Intro APR: 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 14.99% – 23.74% Variable
  • Recommended credit score: 670-850 (Good to Excellent)

Overview

When it comes to maximizing value, Chase Freedom Unlimited is tough to beat. Everything that made this our top pick for the best cash back credit card, combined with a 15-month introductory 0% interest period on new purchases, makes it easy to include on this list.

After the intro period, you’ll take on a variable interest rate between 14.99 and 23.74%. But for no annual fee, you’ll also get a host of cash back rewards: 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining, 3% at drugstores, and 1.5% back on every other purchase. First-year cardholders can also earn 5% back on grocery store purchases (on up to $12,000 spent in the first year) and get $200 after spending $500 within the first three months of account opening.

Read our full review of the Chase Freedom Unlimited card

Why we chose this card

Chase Freedom Unlimited should be at the top of your list if you’re not only interested in using a new credit card’s 0% interest intro period alone, but also looking for the greatest ongoing rewards value.

Using average consumer spending data, we calculated this card’s first-year value to total $606.99, and subsequent-year value to be $250.75. When combined with a competitive 0% intro offer and welcome bonus, you stand to gain thousands of dollars in value over this card’s lifetime.

Say you’re planning an upcoming trip, for which your flights and hotel cost a total $2,000. You can automatically earn 5% back by booking through Chase Ultimate Rewards, and qualify for the welcome bonus in the process. Already, that’s $300 back in your pocket. But with the CFU’s 0% interest intro period on purchases (14.99 – 23.74% variable APR thereafter), you can also spread out your travel costs over time. Instead of paying the full $2,000 upfront, you can make manageable payments of as little as $133 (depending on your minimum monthly payment) across the 15 months before your intro period ends.

PNC Core® Visa® Credit Card
Good for Lower Ongoing APR

PNC Core® Visa® Credit Card

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  • Intro APR: 0% for the first 15 billing cycles following account opening.*
  • Annual fee: $0*
  • Regular APR: 9.99% – 19.99% (Variable)
  • Recommended credit score: 740-850 (Excellent)

Overview

The PNC Core Visa Credit Card* 0% interest introductory period on purchases also lasts for 15 billing cycles (9.99 – 19.99% variable APR thereafter), a competitive offer for both purchases and balance transfers given today’s market.

There’s no annual fee or ongoing rewards, but you can earn a $100 bonus after spending $1,000 within the first three billing cycles of account opening and enjoy travel and emergency protection benefits. After the introductory period, you’ll take on an ongoing variable APR of 9.99 to 19.99%, based on creditworthiness (the variable penalty APR is 28.99%). That’s a much lower range than standard APR offers available from the majority of credit cards today.

Why we chose this card

It’s on the lower end of our picks for intro period length and doesn’t offer the same rewards as others in the 15-month tier, but PNC’s Core Visa Credit Card stands alone when it comes to ongoing APR.

While the 16% national average is within the variable range given by PNC, many of the cards on our list offer ongoing APRs that top out at 24% or higher. You should avoid carrying a balance from month to month and accruing interest on any card whenever possible. But if you’re unable to pay off your purchase balance within the intro period or you find yourself in a future bind and need to revolve a balance for a few months, doing so on a relatively low interest card can at least slow down your debt’s growth.

Best 0% Interest Credit Cards Summary

CardWhat It’s Good For0% Interest Intro PeriodRegular APR
U.S. Bank Visa Platinum CardGood for Long Intro Period20 Billing Cycles13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)
Citi Simplicity CardGood for Good for Long Intro Period and Low Fees18 Months14.74% – 24.74% (Variable)
Capital One Quicksilver Rewards CardGood for Welcome Bonus15 Months15.49% – 25.49% (Variable)
Chase Freedom UnlimitedGood for Ongoing Rewards15 Months14.99% – 23.74% Variable
PNC Core Visa Credit CardGood for Lower Ongoing APR15 Billing Cycles9.99% – 19.99% (Variable)

How Do 0% APR Credit Cards Work?

When you open a new card account with a 0% APR introductory offer on purchases, you won’t accrue any interest on balances you carry month-to-month within the intro period as long as you pay at least your monthly minimum. Intro periods for 0% APR cards generally range from 12-18 months. These cards can be valuable tools for paying off large, one-time purchases over time without high-interest fees. 

Outside of the intro offer, 0% interest cards work like any other credit card in your wallet. They often come with rewards or other benefits that can help you maximize spending. Once the 0% APR period ends, you’ll also begin accruing interest (at the rate assigned by your issuer) on any balances left or new charges you don’t pay down.

Pro Tip

Differentiate between 0% interest on new purchases versus on balance transfers to make sure the card offer aligns with your goals. A 0% APR offer on balance transfers is useful for paying down debt, but you’ll still accrue interest on new purchases, and an intro offer on new purchases won’t help you pay down existing debt. Some cards offer a combination of both, but always read the fine print to be sure.

How to Compare 0% APR and Low Interest Credit Cards

Credit cards with a 0% APR generally only offer that rate for the first year or so — known as the introductory period. Low interest credit cards, on the other hand, offer more competitive variable APR over the long-term. 

Like 0% APR cards, low interest cards can be a more cost-effective alternative to revolving balances on a high-interest credit card. Unlike 0% APR cards, though, you will begin accruing interest on any balance left after your statement is due, even if it’s at a lower rate. Some low interest cards may also be easier to qualify for than 0% APR cards, which typically require excellent credit. If you’re unable to qualify for a 0% interest offer or you’re looking for a longer-term low interest solution, consider a low interest credit card.

However, despite ongoing low federal interest rates, low interest credit cards are relatively uncommon. Look for low interest offers from your local community banks and credit unions. After reviewing options on the market today, we believe any interest rate under 10% is a competitive low interest card offer. Still, the better your credit score, the more likely an issuer is to assign you a lower ongoing APR on any given card.

What’s the Best Way to Use a 0% APR Credit Card?

A common use for a credit card with 0% introductory interest is to help extend payments for a large, one-time purchase. 

Planning a large upcoming purchase around your 0% interest offer is a great strategy for making payments more manageable while avoiding interest. This might be helpful if you’re completing a home renovation and need new appliances, or you have some other large purchase to finance.

If the card offers a welcome bonus, you can gain even more value. That large purchase can help you meet the minimum spend required for the bonus, but you can use the full intro period to pay it off over time. 

A 0% APR offer is essentially a way to use a credit card as a short-term, no-interest loan. Just make sure you develop a plan to pay off the balance within the 0% APR period so you’re not left with high-interest debt after it expires. Set a reminder for yourself when the end of your intro period is approaching to ensure you’re on top of your balances before the ongoing APR kicks in.

What is the Impact of Credit Card Interest Fees?

Credit cards are notorious for their sky-high interest rates, which can lead to a cycle of debt. A 0% interest card won’t eliminate interest forever, but taking advantage of this offer can save you money compared to revolving a balance on your current card.

Consider, for example, you purchase a new washer and dryer set that costs $3,000. You might prefer to pay off the purchase over time than dip into your savings to pay upfront. Here’s how covering the cost with a 0% interest credit card compares to charging it to a current card in your wallet carrying 16% interest, paid off over the same period.

Purchase BalancePayoff PeriodInterest PaidMonthly Payment
Current 16% Interest Card$3,00018 months$394$188
0% Interest Credit Card$3,00018 months$0$166

Strategies to Avoid Paying Credit Card Interest

After your introductory 0% interest period ends, any remaining or new balances you carry begin accruing interest at the ongoing APR assigned upon account opening. This rate varies, but the current average credit card interest rate is around 16%, and some credit cards carry rates upwards of 24%. 

The best way to avoid high interest is to pay off your balance in full and on time every month. Use your card like a debit card; never charge more than you can afford to pay off by the time your statement closes. 

While revolving balances over the introductory period won’t result in interest fees, it’s important to pay down your statement balance in full each month after that period ends to avoid taking on long-term debts.

Pro Tip

Avoid interest altogether by paying balances in full at the end of each statement period. Whenever possible, avoid charging anything to a credit card that you might be unable to pay off at the end of the month.

Our Methodology

To determine our picks for the best 0% interest credit cards, NextAdvisor’s editorial team took a qualitative approach to find the cards that offer maximum value throughout their introductory 0% interest periods and beyond. We evaluated each of the cards currently on market offering introductory periods of 0% interest on new purchases from major card networks. Our final picks were chosen based on factors including intro offer, ongoing APR, fees and penalties, sign-up bonus, and additional benefits.

*All information about the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card, Citi Simplicity Card, PNC Core Visa Credit Card, and Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by NextAdvisor and has not been reviewed by the issuer.