The need to buy big-ticket items is simply a fact of life. Cars, furniture, home repairs... all these things are necessary evils from time to time. Unfortunately, not everyone has the cash saved up to pay for big ticket items up front.
If you don't have the cash on hand to pay for these things up front, you should be keeping an eye out for the best cards to help you pay off your debt interest-free. Check out these three zero intro APR cards and take a deeper dive into and possibly sign up for if you're in the market.
The Chase Freedom card features 0% intro APR on purchases and balances transfers for the first 15 months. You can also earn a $150 bonus if you spend $500 in purchases using the card within three months of opening the account. You get an unlimited 1% cashback on all purchases except purchases from pharmacies, gas stations or restaurants In those cases, you earn 5% cash back. After the 15 months of 0)% APR, the APR is variable and can range from 15.99-24.74%. The fee for balance transfers is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum. There's no annual fee for the Chase Freedom credit card - which is a huge positive.
Discover It CashBack Match
Discover It CashBack Match offers you 0% APR for 14 months. With this card, you're also entitled to a free credit score report so you can check your number of recent inquiries - which is a great way to stay on top of your financial health. One of the best things about this card is that Discover will automatically match your cashback amount at the end of your first year which, if you stay on top of your payments and keep your balance fairly low, essentially means this is free money. Your cash back rewards never expire and you are able to redeem them at any time for any amount. As a new feature, you're also eligible to receive social security alerts with this card in order to better protect your identity. There's no annual fee.
Citi Diamond Preferred Card
With the Citi Diamond Preferred Card, you have a 21-month 0% intro APR. The length of time you have 0% interest makes this card a good choice if your goal is to consolidate your debt from one card to another, or if you're looking to finance an expensive item that you'll need a bit of extra time to pay off. There's no annual fee and you have free access to your FICO scores. It's a good habit to check your credit scores as often as possible without incurring hard inquiries. Once the 21 months of 0% APR are over, however, you should keep in mind that that annual APR ranges from 13.99% to 23.99% based on your creditworthiness.
What You Should Know
When you're deciding whether or not to pursue a 0% purchase APR it's important to know the facts about how these cards work and what your payment obligations actually are. Here are some facts you need to know about these cards:
Missing Payments Can Cancel Your 0% APR Rate
Your minimum payment is typically just a small percentage of your balance, but if you are unable to make that payment for any reason you might lose the 0% APR perk. The best way to avoid this is to make that payment, but if you anticipate not being able to do so then you might want to reconsider these cards. Beyond losing this perk, not making minimum payments can also hurt your credit score. It also doesn't help to lower your debt - which is definitely something you should keep in mind.
Interest If Balance Isn't Paid Off After The Introductory Period
Your APR goes from 0% to whatever the typical rate is once the grace period is over, so it's important to check that range rate prior to signing up for a card if you have any reason to believe you won't pay off your balance after the intro period. Accruing interest only serves to increase your debt, so try not to carry a large balance on your card - especially because most credit cards end up charging double-digit interest rates once the intro period is over. It's good practice to set up a calendar to remind yourself of when the promotional period ends and to make it your goal to pay off your balance prior to then. In this way, you can avoid finance charges entirely.
When 0% Intro APR May Not Be Beneficial
If you're the type of person who pays off their credit card balances no matter what at the end of each month, going out of your way to sign up for a 0% APR card may not make a ton of sense. You really should only feel the need to pursue these cards if you're going to buy a large item that you know for sure you'll need the extended no-interest period.