How Can an Introductory 0% Interest Credit Card Offer Help Me Get Out of Debt?

Whether or not you’re looking for a new credit card, an introductory 0% interest offer can be tempting when it finds its way into your mailbox. But how do you know if it’s right for you? Here are five ways a credit card with a 0% intro APR can come in handy — and what to look for in an offer before you apply.

What Does an Introductory 0% APR Mean?

These days, there are several low-interest credit cards on the market offering introductory 0% interest rates. An introductory 0% APR offer means that you won’t have to pay interest on your purchases for a specific time period. Depending on the credit card offer, the introductory 0% APR can last anywhere from six months to over a year.

What Should I Look for in an Introductory 0% APR Credit Card Offer?

When you’re comparing introductory 0% APR credit card balance transfer offers, it’s important to look at the length of the introductory period and the ongoing APR just in case you aren’t able to pay off your transferred debt before the promotional rate expires.

Make sure you understand what the APR is as well as any other features like a rewards program. Also, make sure to take into account any balance transfer fees, which can range from 2% to 5% of the transfer amount. By taking the time to research your options, you’ll find the introductory 0% APR offer that’s right for you to get out of debt and get one step closer to financial freedom.

5 Reasons to Apply for an Introductory 0% Interest Credit Card

1. To pay down high interest credit card debt

When you’re in debt, interest payments and late fees can make paying off your credit card balance seem impossible. However, making a balance transfer to a credit card with an introductory 0% APR can be a great way to quickly reduce your debt. By consolidating your debt with a new credit card that has an introductory 0% APR period, you can simplify your payments and focus your efforts on paying off your card as soon as possible. Not only will you have more time to pay down your debt interest-free, but making regular payments on time will also help build your credit history.

2. To buy a big ticket item or several one-time purchases

Whether you’re planning a vacation, buying a major appliance or facing several one-time purchases following a recent move, a credit card with an introductory 0% APR can make your life easier. Instead of using a regular credit card and paying for those items plus interest, an introductory 0% interest credit card can help you stretch out your payments over time – without paying extra for your purchases during the specified introductory period.

3. During the holidays

Using an introductory 0% interest credit card during the holidays is a great way to lessen the financial strain from gift shopping, travel and entertaining. Plus, several credit cards offering an introductory 0% APR also offer generous cash rewards, with added perks during the holiday season, such as bonus rewards at major online retailers and the ability to pay with rewards you may have accumulated at Amazon.com.

4. To pay down other types of loans

Unknown to most cardholders, you can use introductory 0% APR balance transfer offers for many reasons, including to get ahead on larger loans like college student loans, car loans and even home equity lines of credit. The best time to use an introductory 0% APR balance transfer for this purpose is when you are close to paying off a particular debt. However, if you are not certain that you can completely erase the balance during the introductory period, you might face a high APR at the end of the introductory period.

5. As an emergency fund backup

Accidents and emergencies happen. When you’re facing substantial medical bills or car repairs, an introductory 0% interest credit card offer can be a lifesaver. Having a credit card that is reserved for unexpected expenses beyond your day-to-day budget is a good way to be prepared for financial emergencies. Since you won’t be using it on a regular basis, you want to find a credit card with a high enough limit to cover the average sudden expense (car trouble, home repairs, airplane tickets, a hotel stay), but with a low enough standard interest rate so you can pay the card off quickly once life returns to normal.

Originally published February 10, 2015

Updated June 14, 2019

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