Best 0% Intro APR Credit Cards: Top Picks for 2021

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If you’re in the market for a new credit card, you probably have stumbled across several offers for cards with introductory 0% annual percentage rates (APRs).

These offers can serve as a short-term financing option for new purchases or as a rescue raft if you need to transfer a balance from a high-rate card. But understand why these 0% APR offers exist: They’re carefully designed and marketed to lure you into a long-term relationship with a particular credit card company.

While the 0% marketing promotions can be intoxicating, money expert Clark Howard believes that introductory interest rate offers should not be the primary factor when you’re deciding on a new credit card.

“I’m always about the long term when it comes to my credit cards,” Clark says. “For me, it’s less about what the initial bundle is but what the card can offer me over time.”

With that in mind, Team Clark set out to find the best 0% APR offers on the market. We’ll also provide some comparative analysis on the top perks that each card offers. That way, you can pick a card that can support your short-term financial needs and serve as a long-term asset in your wallet.

If you landed here looking for information specifically on 0% APR balance transfers, we have more information on those in our Best Balance Transfer Cards roundup.


Table of Contents


The Best 0% Intro APR Credit Cards to Apply for Right Now

Credit Card0% Purchase Period0% Balance Transfer PeriodTop Perk
U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card20 months20 monthsCell phone protection plan
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card18 months18 monthsCiti Entertainment perks included
Citi Simplicity® Card18 months18 monthsNo late fees or penalty rates
Blue Cash Everyday® Card15 monthsNone3% cash back at U.S. Supermarkets
Chase Freedom Unlimited®15 monthsNoneUnlimited 1.5% cash back
Capital One Quicksilver Rewards15 monthsNoneUnlimited 1.5% cash back
Discover it® Cash Back14 months14 monthsCash back match for first year

Team Clark spent hours reviewing the market for these cards and put them to the test using Clark’s guidelines. We considered factors including annual fees, welcome bonuses, length of introductory APR periods and rewards/bonus categories.

Often consumers seek out 0% APR credit cards to serve as a temporary tool for financial relief, so we decided to eliminate any card with an annual fee from consideration.

You can read more on our methodology for determining the best 0% Intro APR cards here.


U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

0% Intro APR Offer: 0% APR on new purchases and balance transfers for the first 20 billing cycles

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What to Know About This Card

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Cell phone protection plan is included if you pay your wireless bill with the card
  • Free access to your TransUnion credit score
  • Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 3% of the amount transferred, whichever is greatest
  • This card is compatible with Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay

Why We Like It: If you are in search of a long-term 0% Intro APR offer, this is one of the best on the market. The offer’s good for 20 full billing cycles, so you’ll have adequate time to pay off a significant purchase without accruing any interest. You can read Team Clark’s in-depth review of this card here.


Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

Citi Diamond Preferred gives 18 months of no interest.

0% Intro APR Offer: 0% APR for the first 18 months from date of account opening and 0% Intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers from date of first transfer (must be completed in the first four months of membership)

What to Know About This Card

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Citi Entertainment gives cardholders access to presales and discounts on entertainment, dining, sports and more
  • Free access to your FICO score
  • Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 3% of the amount transferred, whichever is greatest
  • $0 liability on unauthorized charges and early fraud detection services

Why We Like It: If you’re looking for a straightforward, no-frills 0% Intro card with a good length of time on the offer, this is a solid candidate.


Citi Simplicity® Card

Citi Simplicity is one of the best 0% APR cards on the market.

0% Intro APR Offer: 0% APR for the first 18 months from date of account opening and 0% Intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers from date of first transfer (must be completed in the first four months of membership).

What to Know About This Card

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • The card advertises no late fees and no penalty rates for tardy payments
  • Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 3% of the amount transferred, whichever is greater
  • $0 fraud liability on unauthorized purchases
  • Citi Identity Theft Solutions are included

Why We Like It: This is another straightforward 0% Intro APR card with an 18-month term on both new purchases and balance transfers. And the late fee policy is nice, though it is worth noting that your credit could still get dinged if you do not pay in a timely manner. You can read Team Clark’s review of this card here.

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Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

0% Intro APR Offer: 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months from the date of account opening, then a variable APR, 13.99% to 23.99%. (see rates and fees)

What to Know About This Card

  • Annual Fee: $0 (see rates and fees)
  • $100 statement credit can be earned after spending $2,000 within the first 6 months of card membership
  • 20% back on Amazon.com purchases in the first 6 months of card membership, up to $150 (cash back in the form of statement credits)
  • 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets, 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and department stores, 1% cash back elsewhere (cash back in the form of statement credits)
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance (Terms and Limitations Apply)

Why We Like It: This card offers two separate welcome bonus opportunities, has standard cash back categories and still offers a 15-month introductory period for 0% APR on new purchases.


Chase Freedom Unlimited®

0% Intro APR Offer: 0% APR on purchases for the first 15 months of card membership.

What to Know About This Card

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • $200 welcome bonus after spending $500 or more in the first three months of card membership
  • 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% dining, 3% drugstores and 1.5% cash back on all other purchases
  • No expiration or redemption minimums on cash back rewards

Why We Like It: While this card does not have a 0% intro period for balance transfers, it does include a rewards program with 15 months of 0% APR on new purchases. You can easily achieve the $200 welcome bonus. You can read more about the Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited cards here.


Capital One Quicksilver Rewards

Quicksilver offers 15 months of interest free new purchases.

0% Intro APR Offer: 0% APR on new purchases for the first 15 billing cycles

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What to Know About This Card

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • $200 Cash Back welcome bonus for spending $500 or more in the first three months of card membership
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Cash back rewards are redeemable at any time, without minimums or restrictions.

Why We Like It: Much like the Chase Freedom Unlimited card above, this is another opportunity to get unlimited 1.5% cash back, a welcome bonus and a 15-month 0% APR period on new purchases. At one time, this card carried a 15-month introductory APR for balance transfers, but it does not as of this writing. You can read Team Clark’s review of this card here.


Discover it® Cash Back

Discover it Cash Back offers 14 months of 0% APR.

0% Intro APR Offer: 14 months of 0% APR on both new purchases and balance transfer fees

What to Know About This Card

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Unlimited dollar-for-dollar cash back match on your earnings during the first year of card membership
  • Rotating 5% cash back categories, otherwise 1% cash back on all purchases
  • Cash back rewards do not expire and can be redeemed immediately
  • You can use cash back rewards as a payment method with Amazon and PayPal

Why We Like It: This card is rated as one of our favorite cash back credit cards as well thanks to its generous cash back match and the ability to capitalize on 5% cash back categories. With 14 months for 0% APR on new purchases and balance transfers, it also is a worthy candidate in the 0% intro APR category. You can read Team Clark’s review of this card here.


Clark Howard’s Strategy for Credit Cards

Money expert Clark Howard believes it is important to have a credit card for the purpose of building and maintaining a solid credit history. That’s to prepare you for big life events like a home purchase or job application: things that require credit checks.

He also believes that focusing on credit card rewards — like those offered on some 0% APR credit cards — should be a consideration only for people who pay off their balances each month. After all, that promotional 0% period doesn’t last forever.

If you don’t plan to pay your bill in full each month, Clark says you should get a card with the lowest possible fixed interest rate — or not use credit cards at all.

Assuming you’re here because you are in search of the maximum benefits from your credit cards, Clark wants you to think about how you spend your money and how that might best be complemented by the rewards programs from the various cards.

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“Really think through your charge patterns and whether or not those rewards really give you a bang for your buck.”

Clark, for example, carries the Costco Anywhere Visa card in his wallet because he’s a frequent Costco shopper. He also likes the Citi Double Cash card because of the simplicity of the unlimited 2% cash back program.


Methodology for 0% APR Credit Cards

For the purposes of determining which cards are “best” in this category, we got input from Clark and sought for cards that best fit his credit card strategy.

Team Clark spent many hours reviewing the available 0% APR credit cards on the market, assessing them for several factors including:

  • Annual fees (Clark recommends avoiding them)
  • Welcome bonuses
  • Length of Introductory APR periods
  • Balance transfer introductory periods
  • Additional fees (transaction or otherwise)
  • Perks offered to cardholders

We did not factor in non-introductory APR as a part of the evaluation, because interest rates will vary based on your financial circumstances. Clark recommends never carrying a balance on credit cards, so the non-introductory interest rate shouldn’t matter for you anyway.

We also did not include offerings from local or regional banks and credit unions, because they’re not available to everyone. Often, local institutions will have some really good cards, so we recommend that you compare your local bank or credit union’s 0% APR introductory offer credit cards to the ones that made this list.


Frequently Asked Questions: 0% APR Credit Cards

Does a 0% APR offer mean that I won’t ever owe any interest on purchases made during that period?

Though 0% APR does lead you to assume “interest-free,” that’s not necessarily the case. If you purchase an item during your 0% APR period but fail to pay the balance in full before the introductory offer term ends, you’ll likely be charged interest on the balance you carry forward.

If you want to enjoy a true “interest-free” purchase with a 0% APR credit card, you should plan to pay the full balance while still in your 0% promotional period.

Will I owe retroactive interest on a purchase I made with a 0% card if I don’t pay it off before my promotional period ends?

In most cases, you will not owe retroactive interest on the balance of purchases you make with a credit card during a 0% APR period. However, it is possible. For example, this is a practice often carried out by store credit cards like The Home Depot Consumer Credit Card or the Lowe’s Advantage Card. It is best to check with your card provider to make sure you understand its policies.

Is it possible to extend the 0% APR period on my credit card?

Typically a 0% APR promotional rate has a set expiration date such as 6, 12 or 18 months. Those terms are usually pretty rigid. So in most cases, you’ll find that credit card providers are not willing to extend or change qualifying dates for your 0% APR period.

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To see the rates and fees for the American Express cards featured, please visit the following links: Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express: See Rates and Fees


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