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If you’ve lost your job or been out of work for a while, and you’re having trouble finding enough money to pay your vital expenses, one temporary low-cost solution is to get a credit card with a 0% introductory interest rate on purchases. You can also use a zero interest credit card to make a major purchase — such as a refrigerator or engagement ring — and pay it off over time without paying interest.
Some 0% interest credit cards come with long introductory periods, while others offer cash back or travel rewards on the items you buy. But with so many options, which card should you choose? Our list of the best credit cards with zero interest on purchases can help you decide which one best fits your needs.
U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card: 0% APR for 20 billing cycles (then 14.74%-24.74% variable)
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express: 0% APR for 15 months (then 14.24%-24.24% variable, see rates and fees)
Chase Freedom Unlimited®: 0% APR for 15 months (then 14.99%-23.74% variable)
Citi Rewards+℠ Card: 0% APR for 15 months (then 13.74%-23.74% variable)
Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card: 0% APR for 15 months (then 15.24%-25.24% variable)
CNN Underscored’s comprehensive credit card methodology compares every aspect of credit cards that offer introductory APRs on purchases against our “benchmark credit card” — the Citi® Double Cash Card — to determine which cards can potentially bring you maximum value in addition to lowering your interest rate. So dive into the details of each card with us, and see how they stack up.
20 billing cycles at the introductory rate for both purchases and balance transfers
Why it’s great in one sentence: If your top priority is to pay no interest on purchases for as long as possible, the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card offers a 0% APR on all purchases for the first 20 billing cycles you have the card. (The APR rises to a variable 14.74% to 24.74% after the introductory period ends.)
This card is right for: People who need a lengthy period of paying no interest on their purchases and would like a card that covers their cell phone in case of damage.
0% introductory APR on all purchases for the first 20 billing cycles (14.74% to 24.74% variable afterward). 0% introductory APR for 20 billing cycles on balance transfers made in the first 60 days after you open the card (14.74% to 24.74% variable afterward). Cell phone protection. No annual fee. Sign-up bonus: None.
What we like most about the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum: If you need extra time to pay your current bills, 20 billing cycles without interest is exceptional compared to other credit cards, and that long runway enables a peace of mind that you can weather a storm without a looming interest rate hike.
This card also pairs that great introductory interest rate on purchases with an identical offer on balance transfers, so long as they’re made within the first 60 days after you open the card. That means with a high enough credit limit, you can use the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum to consolidate all your credit card debt if you need to.
Ongoing cell phone protection is also an added perk on this card. When you pay your cell phone bill with the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum, you’ll be covered for damage or theft to your cell phone up to $600, with a $25 deductible, for up to two claims per 12-month period.
One thing that could be better: The U.S. Bank Visa Platinum isn’t a long-term credit card. It doesn’t earn any rewards at all, doesn’t come with a sign-up bonus and doesn’t have any other significant perks. It has no annual fee but charges a 3% foreign transaction fee, so you definitely won’t want to use it overseas.
In other words, its utility is limited beyond the introductory rate period, although you might consider using it on an ongoing basis to pay your cell phone bill to get the included cell phone protection.
Where it beats our benchmark card: An introductory interest rate on purchases, a longer period of 20 billing cycles for no interest on introductory balance transfers and cell phone protection.
Where our benchmark card is better: The Citi Double Cash earns easy-to-redeem cash back on all purchases and has a longer four-month period to complete any introductory balance transfers.
Learn more and apply for the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum.
15-month introductory rate, plus rewards at U.S. supermarkets
Why it’s great in one sentence: The Blue Cash Everyday card offers a generous introductory interest rate on purchases for 15 months while also earning 3% cash back as a statement credit at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 annually, then 1%) and 2% back at U.S. gas stations, all with no annual fee.
This card is right for: People who want to temporarily avoid high interest rates on their purchases, but who also spend a significant amount of their budget at U.S. supermarkets and gas stations.
0% introductory APR on all purchases for the first 15 months (14.24% to 24.24% variable afterward, see rates and fees). Earn 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%). Earn 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores. Earn 1% cash back on everything else. Cash back is earned in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for a statement credit. Car rental loss and damage insurance included. No annual fee (see rates and fees). Terms apply. Welcome bonus: Earn $200 cash back as a statement credit after you spend $2,000 on purchases in your first six months after opening the account.
What we like most about the Blue Cash Everyday: For many Americans, a significant portion of the monthly family budget goes to supermarket and gas station expenses. The Blue Cash Everyday card dials up the bonus cash back on those two categories, creating a go-to in your wallet for two routine purchases.
The card also pairs its bonus categories with an introductory 0% APR on purchases for the first 15 months, making it a solid choice if you’re trying to make ends meet right now. But you’ll want to make sure your debt is paid off by the end of the intro period, as the rate jumps to a regular variable APR of 14.24% to 24.24% afterward.
You’ll also find a nice welcome bonus of $200 in the form of a statement credit on the Blue Cash Everyday after spending $2,000 on the card in the first six months after opening the account. And the card even has car rental loss and damage insurance, to top off a fairly complete package.
One thing that could be better: Bonus cash back isn’t earned on purchases outside of the US with the Blue Cash Everyday, and there’s a 2.7% foreign transaction fee on top of that (see rates and fees). However, you can earn twice as much cash back at U.S. supermarkets if you’re willing to forgo a few months of the introductory offer on purchases by getting the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express instead of the Blue Cash Everyday.
The Blue Cash Preferred normally has a $95 annual fee, but for a limited time it’s offering a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year (see rates and fees). The card also earns 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year (then 1%). The downside is that its introductory offer on purchases runs for only 12 months instead of 15 months.
Where it beats our benchmark card: Welcome bonus, an introductory interest rate on purchases and car rental damage coverage.
Where our benchmark card is better: The Citi Double Cash has an introductory interest rate on balance transfers, and its cash back can be converted to Citi ThankYou travel points when combined with the Citi Prestige® Card or Citi Premier℠ Card.
Learn more about the Blue Cash Everyday card.
15-month introductory rate, plus earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases
Why it’s great in one sentence: Beyond the generous introductory interest rate on purchases, the Chase Freedom Unlimited comes with three bonus categories and also earns 1.5% cash back on everything else you buy, plus your cash back can be converted to Ultimate Rewards travel points when combined with certain premium Chase credit cards.
This card is right for: People who want a card that earns bonus cash back along with having an introductory interest rate on purchases, but who also want the option to convert their cash back to travel rewards down the line.
0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months (14.99% to 23.74% variable afterward). Earn 5% cash back on travel purchases made through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining and 3% at drugstores. Earn 1.5% cash back on all other purchases. Cash back can be transferred to airline and hotel travel programs when combined with select Chase Ultimate Rewards cards, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. No annual fee. Sign-up bonus: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy on up to $20,000 spent in the first year after opening the account.
What we like most about the Chase Freedom Unlimited: This is a card that’s beneficial for the long haul. While you may sign up because of the Chase Freedom Unlimited’s introductory interest rate on purchases, it’ll likely become a staple in your purse or wallet thanks to its 1.5% cash back on everything you buy.
Even better, the Chase Freedom Unlimited comes with three permanent bonus categories. Both new and existing card holders earn 5% cash back on travel purchases made via Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% cash back on dining — including takeout and delivery — and 3% cash back at drugstores.
Plus, the Chase Freedom Unlimited grows with you. If you apply for a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve® card down the road, you can convert the cash back you earn with the Chase Freedom into Ultimate Rewards points, which can be redeemed for travel at the Chase travel portal, or transferred to Chase’s airline and hotel partners to extract potentially even more value from them.
One thing that could be better: It’s hard to gripe about the Chase Freedom Unlimited, but you should be mindful of its pesky 3% foreign transaction fee. Also, the card’s 1.5% flat earning rate falls short of some other no-annual-fee cards, which top out at 2%.
However, the ability to potentially transfer cash back to points might be worth the tradeoff, especially since Chase Ultimate Rewards is one of the better flexible rewards programs, and the newly added bonus categories further increase the card’s value.
Where it beats our benchmark card: Sign-up bonus, purchase protections and introductory rate on purchases for 15 months.
Where our benchmark card is better: The Citi Double Cash offers a higher overall cash back rate and a longer 18-month introductory interest rate on balance transfers.
Learn more and apply for the Chase Freedom Unlimited.
15-month introductory rate, plus rewards round up to the nearest 10 points on each purchase
Why it’s great in one sentence: If you use your credit card for a lot of small purchases — meaning under $10 — then the “round up” feature of the Citi Rewards+ will earn you extra rewards, and its introductory offer on new purchases can lower your costs if you have to carry debt.
This card is right for: People looking to earn more points for small purchases while also needing to pay for some expenses over time.
0% introductory APR on all purchases for the first 15 months (13.74% to 23.74% variable afterward). 0% introductory APR for 15 months on balance transfers (13.74% to 23.74% variable afterward). Earn 2 ThankYou points for every dollar you spend at supermarkets and gas stations for the first $6,000 per year (1x ThankYou point thereafter). Earn 1 ThankYou point for every dollar on all other purchases. All purchases automatically round up to the nearest 10 points. 10% points back for the first 100,000 points you redeem per year. Points can be transfer
The best zero interest credit cards that still have great introductory offers and rewards
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