“Pay your entire balance each month” and “Don’t charge what you can’t afford” are two mottos used (and hopefully practiced!) by nearly every points and miles enthusiast. After all, when you carry a balance and pay interest fees, “free” trips are anything but.
Unfortunately, many of us face uncertain financial futures right now. Some have completely lost income sources — or at least seen paychecks drastically reduced. Meanwhile, everyday expenses still need to be paid.
This is a scary time.
Is it worth floating some cash?
Many credit cards offer new applicants 0% interest on purchases made within a certain amount of time of their being approved for a card. Those periods usually range from 12-15 months. After that promotional period is over, a card’s standard rates kick in. Most are variable and top out around 25%.
But if you’re certain money will again flow into your coffers, is now a smart time to get a card with no APR?
A Word of Caution
Remember: every purchase on a credit card must be paid at some point, even with 0% APR.
Twelve to fifteen months (depending on the credit card) is certainly a nice amount of time to not pay off some expenses.
But it’s also a great opportunity to get yourself in trouble. You may fall into the thought pattern of “No interest for a year! I’ll charge this! And this! And this! And this! And…”
Pretty soon, you rack up a ton of charges you ultimately can’t pay. And that’s before the interest rate kicks in. Then you’re really underwater in a flood getting deeper every day.
You know yourself best. If you know you’ll have money to pay off every charge before the promotional APR ends, then it certainly may be worth getting a 0% introductory APR card.
Some No Annual Fee, 0% Intro APR Cards Worth Considering
Because this post is geared at maximizing savings during this lean period, let’s examine no annual fee cards offering 0% introductory APR.
And there are plenty of good ones!
I really like the Chase Freedom card. It offers a 0% intro APR on purchases within 15 months of being approved.
Plus, the Chase Freedom offers quarterly 5% bonus categories. From April through June, it will be grocery stores. That alone is worth getting the card. Lyft purchases through March 2022 also earn 5%! (All other spend earns 1%.)
It also offers $150 cash back (or 15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after you spend $500 on purchases within three months of being approved.
The Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express offers a 0% intro APR on purchases within 15 months of being approved.
Where this one shines is its category bonuses: 3% cashback at US supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then down to 1%). Maxing out that category puts $180 back in your pocket every year — which is darn good for a no annual fee card.
Plus, you get 2% cashback at US gas stations and select US department stores. Though, hopefully, you’re not driving much right now or frequenting department stores.
The welcome bonus is a little more difficult than those of the Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited cards. The Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express gives you $150 — but only after you spend $1000 within three months of being approved.
The Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card offers a 0% intro APR on purchases within 12 months of being approved.
Here’s what is great about this card, especially right now: it earns 5% cashback (or 5X Ultimate Rewards points) on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases on internet, cable and phone services and office supply stores each account anniversary year.
So the Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card is a fantastic card to pay your communication essentials like cell phone and internet.
You also receive 2% cashback on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year.
Welcome bonus-wise, you’ll receive $500 bonus cashback after spending $3000 on purchases within the first three months you’re approved.
Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card (learn more)
The Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card (learn more) offers a 0% intro APR on purchases within 12 months of being approved.
And it offers a ton of 3X categories. (To be clear: this card earns Wells Fargo Go Far Rewards, which you can convert to cash — even from a Wells Fargo ATM!)
Rideshares, gas stations, flights, hotels, car rentals, restaurants, select streaming services (Apple Music, Netflix, Hulu, Sirius XM are a few) are all included.
Plus, this card allows you to double-dip on Amex Offers if you have another American Express card!
New cardholders earn 20,000 bonus points (equal to $200 cash) when spending $1,000 in purchases within three months of being approved.
Learn how to apply for the Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card!
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card (learn more)
New applicants receive a $150 cashback bonus after spending $500 on purchases within three months of being approved for the card.
And check this out: you receive up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to a $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your cell phone bill with the Cash Wise Visa card!
Plus, digital wallet purchases (i.e. Google Pay and Apple Pay) earn 1.8% cashback during the first 12 months your account is open. All other purchases earn unlimited 1.5% cashback.
Learn how to apply for the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa!
The Chase Freedom Unlimited Visa card offers new applicants 0% intro APR on purchases within 15 months of being approved.
Plus, receive $150 cash back (or 15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after you spend $500 on purchases within three months of being approved.
Like the other Chase cards, Lyft purchases through March 2022 also earn 5%. Aside from that, there are no bonus categories; each purchase receives 1.5% cashback (or 1.5 Ultimate Rewards points) per dollar spent.
Wells Fargo Platinum Visa Card (learn more)
APR duration-wise, this one is a big winner. The Wells Fargo Platinum Visa Card (learn more) offers 0% intro APR for 18 months within being approved.
So if you’re approved today, you’re set until fall 2021.
The only big perk offered is $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to a $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your cell phone bill with the card.
Outside of that, there’s no welcome bonus or cashback. This is strictly for paying down balances over a period of time.
Unless you really need 18 months, you’re better of getting a card offering 15 months of 0% APR — but also rewarding you with welcome bonuses and bonus categories.
Learn how to apply for the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa!
See More Cards
The cards we discussed above are some of the top ones we think would be most advantageous for most people. But there are many more that may be better for your specific needs. Our credit card partner, CardRatings, put together a great selection of a few dozen credit cards offering 0% introductory APR.
What Do You Think About 0% APR Cards?
Will you utilize any 0% APR cards during these rough financial times? Or are you steering clear? Do you have any tips and advice? Please share your thoughts in the below Comments section!
Featured image: ©iStock.com/fizkes
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