Deciding on a credit card to apply for can be confusing. Even for those with little understanding of how credit cards work, however, the appeal of a zero interest credit card is obvious. But is it the best card for you?
Like many questions in life, the answer is that it depends. Everyone has a unique credit history and financial situation, and with hundreds of different credit cards available, no one card is best for everybody. Here are some cases in which a 0 interest credit card may be best for you.
You already have a lot of credit card debt
If you have a lot of credit card debt, paying it down while interest mounts can feel like treading water. Getting a card with no interest can be a great option to consolidate existing credit card debt and pay it down. If you’re thinking of this option, check into cards that also offer 0% balance transfers at the same time. Saving money on interest that you’ll just pay in the form of balance transfer fees isn’t really saving any money at all.
This debt consolidation option is most attractive if you can pay down the existing debt before the introductory period is over. That’s the time frame for which you’ll be able to use the card without paying interest, and it varies by card offer. Make sure that if you decide on this option, you have a plan to pay down as much of your debt as you can during the 0 APR introductory period.
You have one big purchase to make
If you’re facing a large purchase you can’t quite afford in one payment, a 0 interest credit card offer may be just what you need. This option can give you the time you need to pay for something expensive without worrying about interest. Unlike the debt consolidation option, finding a credit card with a 0% balance transfer option may not be necessary.
Even though you may not have to worry about balance transfers in the case of a large purchase, you should pay attention to the length of the offer. If you’re going to buy your item interest free, it’s your responsibility to plan accordingly. Make sure you can pay off the balance on the card before the introductory period runs out, or else it might not be worth it.
What to know before you apply
In general, the best interest free credit card offers are available only to those with good or excellent credit. If that doesn’t sound like you, and you’re checking out 0 interest credit card offers, be sure to read the fine print, and make note of any extra fees. When deciding whether it’s worth it to get a no interest credit card, ensure those fees don’t cancel out what you’re saving on interest.
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