Credit cards with 0% APR for 21 months used to be common, but there’s none right now. The longest interest-free period is offered by the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card: 0% for 20 months APR for purchases and 0% for 20 months APR for balances transferred within 60 days of account opening. But this card comes with a 3% (min $5) balance transfer fee.
Another credit card with a long 0% introductory APR is the Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever. It offers an intro APR of 0% for 18 months for balance transfers and 0% for 18 months APR for purchases. But there is a transfer fee of 3% (min $5). And you have to transfer your balance within four months of being approved for an account to get the 0% rate. Plus, there are no late fees or penalty APRs.
A long period of 0% interest can be really helpful if you need to make a big purchase but can’t pay it all off right away. You can avoid interest entirely if you pay in full by the time the intro rate ends. And if you can’t manage that, you’ll at least have a smaller balance when interest kicks in.
It’s important to note that some store cards may offer 0% interest for longer than 21 months, but they use deferred interest. That is, you earn interest on your balance during the 0% period but don’t have to pay that interest if and only if you bring your balance to $0 before the 0% period ends. The JCPenney Credit Card is one example, offering up to 60 months of deferred interest. But those cards are best avoided because there’s a chance you’ll get blindsided by interest charges. So, they’re not really eligible to be in the running for longest 0% APR.
U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card: 0% for 20 months on purchases and 0% for 20 months on balance transfers. 3% (min $5) balance transfer fee. $0 annual fee. Requires excellent credit.
Wells Fargo Platinum card: 0% for 18 months on purchases and 0% for 18 months on qualifying balance transfers. 3% intro for 120 days, then 5% balance transfer fee. $0 annual fee. Requires good credit.
HSBC Gold Credit Card: 0% for 18 months on purchases and 0% for 18 months on balance transfers. 4% (min $10) balance transfer fee. $0 annual fee. Requires good credit.
None of these cards offer rewards, but they’re meant for financing rather than regular spending. And you can use a different card for purchases you’ll pay in full each month. All of these cards also require good or excellent credit.
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