Hector Molina, WalletHub Analyst
When a 0% APR period ends, the credit card’s regular APR will kick in. That rate will apply to any unpaid balance remaining on the credit card as well as any new purchases made from that point on. The regular APR that applies when a 0% APR period expires tends to be very high, so it’s best not to leave much of a balance for it to affect.
The only exception to this rule is a 0% interest period with a feature called deferred interest. General-purpose 0% credit cards don’t have it, but some store credit cards do. This isn’t a true 0% APR deal because the interest is still accruing while it’s “deferred,” and it will apply if you don’t pay your balance on schedule. So when the 0% APR ends on a deferred interest financing offer, you’ll be charged interest on the original purchase amount, as accrued from the purchase date, if you have even $1 of your original balance left to pay. Your deferred interest could also return prematurely if you make a late payment, and it’ll likely be a lot more expensive than a late fee. That’s why it’s very important to make on-time payments on deferred interest credit cards, and to pay off the balance before a deferred interest period is over.
Even though a credit card with a true 0% APR period won’t retroactively charge interest on purchases, be smart with these cards. Interest will apply to any balance remaining when the 0% period ends, so plan out your payments to ensure there’s little left at that point. Using a credit card payoff calculator can be a big help.
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