The longest 0% APR credit cards are the Citi Simplicity Card (0% for 21 months on balance transfers), the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card (0% for 20 months on purchases and balance transfers), and the Wells Fargo Visa Platinum Card (0% for 18 months on purchases and transfers). They all have $0 annual fees, but watch out for transfer fees.
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 Card is one example, offering 48 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.
Here are the longest 0% APR credit cards:
Citi Simplicity: 0% for 21 months on balance transfers and 0% for 12 months on purchases. 5% transfer fee. No annual fee and no late fees. Requires good credit.
U.S. Bank Visa Platinum: 0% for 20 months on purchases and 0% for 20 months on balance transfers. 3% balance transfer fee. No annual fee. Requires excellent credit.
Wells Fargo Platinum Visa: 0% for 18 months on purchases and 0% for 18 months on balance transfers. 3% balance transfer fee. No annual fee. Requires good credit.
HSBC Gold Mastercard: 0% for 18 months on purchases and 0% for 18 months on balance transfers. 4% balance transfer fee. No 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 at least good credit (so you should shoot for 700+ before you apply).