One of the most important features of a credit card, that can incidentally be one of the most expensive, is the APR.
For the most part, a lower interest rate on your card means you pay less for your purchases than you would with a card charging a higher interest rate.
When it comes to getting the most out of any rewards or benefits that the card offers, it’s also crucial to make sure you get the lowest interest rate. Otherwise, you risk paying for those card perks in interest.
One way to get the most out of your credit card and what it offers is by taking advantage of 0% introductory APR offers.
These promotions allow you to use your card and pay down the balance without paying interest, for a limited period of time.
If you need to make a large purchase right away, like furniture or electronics, or even you’re planning a vacation, you can save hundreds of dollars in interest, by paying it down at 0% interest within the promotional period.
Best 18-Month 0% APR Credit Cards
There are a number of credit cards with different offers available, but the ones that stand out above the rest are those offering the best deals for 0% introductory APRs.
Here are the best cards for taking advantage of 0% APR offers for both purchases and balance transfers.
At the moment, there aren’t any credit cards with 18-month 0% APR offers, but here are your next best options:
The Citi Simplicity offers new cardholders one of the longest durations for an introductory APR for purchases and balance transfers.
You get plenty of time to avoid interest charges on new purchases or balance transfers. After the introductory period, the regular APR kicks in.
If you’re considering a balance transfer, the fee is $5 or 3%, whichever is greater. There is no annual fee for this card, as well as no late fee and no penalty rate.
Citi Diamond Preferred Credit Card
Another card offering a lengthy duration to pay down your balance without interest is the Citi Diamond Preferred Credit Card.
The balance transfer fee is the greater of $5 or 3% and, like the Citi Simplicity, there is no annual fee for this card.
The difference between the two is that the Citi Diamond Preferred includes VIP treatment which comes with 24/7 access to concierge services, assistance in hotel and flight booking, purchasing concert tickets, and many other benefits.
Although the Chase Slate card may offer a short introductory period, it can actually be the card that saves you the most money on a balance transfer.
That's because there is no balance transfer fee for balance transfers made during the first 60 days of opening the account.
Just as an example, if you need to transfer a $10,000 balance from another card, this offer is going to save you, at least $300 in balance transfer fees, if not more.
There is no annual fee for this card, but balance transfers after the first 60 days have a fee of $5 or 5%, whichever is greater.
Save Money with a 0% APR Balance Transfer
Not only can you save money on major purchases when you take advantage of an introductory APR, but you can also save a great deal of cash by transferring a balance to one of these offers as well.
Many of the same cards offering 0% APRs for purchases offer the same promotion.
This is particularly ideal for those cardholders who are struggling to get out of debt and pay down balances on cards with high APRs.
By transferring that balance to a 0% intro APR card, you get more than a year to pay down that balance without paying interest, which can save you hundreds, even thousands of dollars in the end.
Take a look at the chart below which shows you how much you could save with a 0% APR balance transfer.
Credit Cards: Different APRs on Different Balances
|Credit Card Interest Rates||15.99% APR on Purchases, 0% APR on Balance Transfers||0% APR on Purchases, 15.99% APR on Balance Transfers||15.99% APR on Purchases, 4.99% APR on Balance Transfers||15.99% APR on Purchases, 15.99% APR on Balance Transfers|
|Interest Charged on Purchase Principal||$65.71||$0||$65.71||$65.71|
|Balance Transfer APR||0%||15.99%||4.99%||15.99%|
|Balance Transfer Principal||$5000||$5000||$5000||$5000|
|Interest Charged on Balance Transfer Principal||$0||$65.71||$20.51||$65.71|
|End of Month Principal Owed||$10,000.00||$10,000.00||$10,000.00||$10,000.00|
|Total Interest Charged on End of Month Principal||$65.71||$65.71||$86.22||$131.42|
|End of Month Balance Owed||$10,065.71||$10,065.71||$10,086.22||$10,131.42|
|Total Monthly Payment||$500||$500||$500||$500|
|- Portion of Monthly Payment Toward Lowest-APR Balance||$165.71||$165.71||$186.22||$231.42|
|- Portion of Monthly Payment Toward Highest-APR Balance||$334.29||$334.29||$313.78||$268.58|
|New Purchase Principal||$4,731.42||$4,834.29||$4,751.93||$4,815.71|
|New Balance Transfer Principal||$4,834.29||$4,731.42||$4,834.29||$4,815.71|
|New Total Balance||$9,565.71||$9,565.71||$9,586.22||$9,631.42|
Don’t Forget to Calculate the Balance Transfer Fee
However, it’s important to note, if you are considering a 0% intro APR on balance transfers, that you also calculate additional fees such as a balance transfer fee.
This fee is usually 3% or $5, whichever is greater and can be as much as 5%, depending on the card issuer.
Before you make the decision to transfer your balance, calculate exactly how much the transfer will cost you and if it’s actually going to save you money.
Choosing the Right 0% APR for 18 Months Credit Card Deal
Whether you decide to transfer a balance or save money on a major purchase with your card, you’ll want to look at the total cost and exactly how much you will save with each offer.
Fortunately, there are currently a few different credit cards offering 0% introductory APRs for purchases and balance transfers for close to or, even more than, 18 months.
How Much Savings from 18 Months 0% APR?
So, saving hundreds of dollars with a 0% intro APR offer sounds like a great idea, but you might be wondering exactly how much money you actually save.
The amount you save is dependent on your monthly payments and the actual APR of the credit card.
Depending on your creditworthiness, you could be paying as much as 20% more by the time you pay off the debt, which can result in significant savings if you transfer to a card with a 0% introductory APR.
Also, keep in mind that if you transfer a balance, you’ll need to calculate the cost of the transfer (if any).
Important Tip for Getting the Most Out of 0% Intro APRs
However, it’s important to note that, in order to get the most out of the 0% purchase or balance transfer offer, you have to pay down the balance within the promotional period.
Otherwise, depending on the interest rate you qualify for, in the end, you could end up paying more interest, especially if the new APR is higher than the APR with the card you transferred from.
Whether it’s a large purchase or transfer, make sure you are diligent in paying it off, in full, before the end of the introductory period.