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From racking up the rewards to having built-in purchase protections in case something breaks or goes on sale, there are lots of really good reasons to pay for everyday things like groceries, gas, doctor’s appointments, new shoes, and more with credit cards. I usually recommend only switching from a cash/debit card budgeting system to one that relies heavily on rewards earning credit cards if you are sure it won’t cause you to spend more than you otherwise would, and you pay off your balances each month so as not to rack up interest charges or other fees. Spending more than you normally would and/or paying interest in the name of earning miles means you will ultimately fall behind, not get ahead.
However, there is a perfectly scripted life where balances are paid in full monthly, and then there is the reality of life which can bring emergency expenses, unexpected income drops, and other scenarios where credit cards are needed not only because of the rewards and purchase protections they offer, but because of the actual credit line they provide.
If you have never and will never find yourself in a situation where you need a credit card for its actual credit line, then this isn’t the post for you. However, for the rest of us, I want to offer some reminders about how you can lean on credit cards for a bit if you need to without getting nailed with monthly interest charges, provided you at least make your minimum monthly payments. Believe it or not, there are many different credit cards out there that offer introductory 0% APRs for the first year or so. These same cards also often do not charge annual fees, and some even waive the balance transfer fees for a period of time.
As an added cherry, some of these credit cards with introductory 0% APRs even offer sign-up bonuses and earn rewards on your purchases…though if you are after a card because of its low fees, those sort of bonuses should be secondary considerations. Not surprisingly, the cards that award the best rewards and bonuses often carry higher annual fees and/or interest rates.
Credit Cards With an Introductory 0% APR
In case you are in need of a lower fee card, here are three credit cards with no annual fees and 0% introductory APRs for at least the first 12 months…
This card is really, really cool in my view as it has no annual fee, offers a 0% introductory APR in the first 12 months for purchases and balance transfers (that are requested in the first 60 days), and it even comes with a sign-up bonus for those who have never had the card.
The new customer sign-up bonus is $100 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases within the first three months. On an ongoing basis you also get the regular built-in cash back bonuses of 3% at US supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1% ), 2% at US gas stations, and 1% on other eligible purchases. Terms apply.
Since this is an Amex card, you also will get access to money saving Amex Offers as well as the host of Amex purchase protection benefits.
Those in the points world have probably heard of this card, or at least they have heard of its similarly named cousin that does carry an annual fee. However, the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card is pretty cool all by itself as it has no annual fee and offers a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers in the first 12 months. Just like with the Blue Cash Everyday card you do have to make the balance transfers in the first 60 days of opening the account in order to get the 12 months of 0% intro APR.
This card also has a sign-up bonus to those who have never had the card of 10,000 fully transferable Membership Reward points if you make $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. On an ongoing basis it awards 2x points at US supermarkets on the first $6,000 in those purchases a year, and 1x on other purchases. There is also a 20% points bonus on all points earned if you have at least 20 transactions in a billing cycle. Terms apply.
While rewards are secondary when you are hunting for cards with lower fees, it is worth a mention that this is the only no annual fee card out there that earns fully transferable points to travel partners such as Delta, British Airways, Hilton. etc. all on its own. This means it can also help keep your other Membership Reward points safe and useable if you are looking to cut costs by canceling some other Amex cards that do carry annual fees.
As this is an Amex card, you also will get access to money saving Amex Offers, as well as the host of Amex purchase protection benefits.
If you are used to rewards credit cards, you may not have heard of this one since it doesn’t really earn rewards, but if you or someone you know is looking for a low fee card then you will want to remember its name. Not only does the Barclaycard Ring™ Mastercard® have a 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases, but it also has a 0% intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening. To take that a step further, this card also doesn’t charge a balance transfer fee which is often around 3% on other cards. This is a very unique offering that makes this card a very, very strong contender if you have a balance sitting on a higher interest card that you need to move somewhere to save on fees.
If you travel or make purchases outside the US it is also notable that this card has no foreign transaction fees, which is still not really the standard on low fee cards.
There are a variety of situations that can lead to needing to carry a balance on a credit card for a period of time, and if you find yourself in one of those situations then remember that there are cards with a 0% introductory APR out there. Some of these cards even make it pretty easy to move your balances over from other higher interest cards so you can hopefully get a break from mounting interest charges and start making some headway on knocking down the balance.
If none of these cards sounds like the perfect match then you can also click on this link to find out about some more 0% APR Credit Cards.
What credit card do you prefer for avoiding or minimizing interest charges?
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.