You could save hundreds or even thousands of dollars with a credit card’s 0% intro APR offer. This is true for 0% APR offers on both balance transfers and new purchases, though the exact amount you’ll save depends on the amount you’re paying off and how much you can afford to pay each month.
The tables below use average credit card interest rates, fees, and intro periods to show how much you could save when repaying a debt over the course of three years.
Potential Savings with a 0% APR Offer for New Purchases
Interest Paid - 18% APR Card
Interest Paid - 0% APR Card
0% APR Savings
Potential Savings with a 0% APR Offer for Balance Transfers
Interest Paid - 18% APR Card
Finance Charges - 0% APR
0% APR Savings
Note: Finance charges assume a 3% balance transfer fee.
A 0% APR means that you pay no interest on new purchases and/or balance transfers for a certain period of time. The best 0% APR credit cards give 15-18 months without interest. But the average 0% APR intro period is about 10.5 months for cards offering 0% purchases. And it’s around 12 months for the average card with 0% on transfers.… read full answer
A 0% APR does not keep you away from monthly payments, nor does it completely remove interest out of the equation. You still have to make monthly minimum payments to keep your 0% APR. And if you don’t pay off your balance by the end of the 0% intro period, you’ll have to pay interest on whatever balance remains. The penalty is even worse with many retailers’ 0% financing offers. If you don’t pay off your full balance in time, interest will retroactively apply to your entire original balance – as if the 0% APR was never there.
There are a few other things you should keep in mind when thinking about 0% APRs, too.
0% APR Key Takeaways:
You pay no interest on your purchases and/or balance transfers for 2 to 21 months, depending on the card.
0% APRs make debt cheaper to pay off, which helps you get out of debt faster.
A 0% APR does not free you from the responsibility of making monthly payments. You must pay at least your monthly minimum to avoid being classified as late. Late payments damage your credit score.
Zero percent credit cards tend to have fairly high regular APRs. So you should strive to bring your balance to zero by the end of the 0% APR period, when regular rates take effect.
It’s also important to note that you won’t only find 0% APRs on credit cards. You may see auto loans with them, for example. Just be sure to always read the terms in detail before signing. You don’t want to end up with deferred interest instead of a true 0% APR.
Zero-interest credit cards charge a 0% interest rate on purchases and/or balance transfers for the duration of the introductory period – typically from 6 to 21 months, depending on the card. When the intro APR period ends, the regular interest rate kicks in for any remaining balance and any future purchases or balance transfers charged to the card. The average 0% APR period lasts for about 11 months.… read full answer
Due to the fact that 0% APR credit cards provide a potentially long window for interest-free repayment, they’re especially useful in financing big purchases or paying off large debts. The card’s best use, however, will depend on the terms of the introductory APR period. Some 0% interest credit cards only offer zero interest on purchases, while others only offer it for balance transfers. Some offer the intro period for both purchases and balance transfers.
When you’re shopping for a 0% APR credit card, it’s a good idea to know what you want to use the intro period for, so you can get the card that benefits you most. Keep in mind that credit cards with 0% interest periods usually do not give way to a low regular APR. The average regular interest rate for a 0% APR credit card is about 19%, so it’s best to have a plan to pay off any balance on the card before the intro period ends. A credit card payoff calculator can help.
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