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NerdWallet’s Best Rewards Credit Cards With a 0% APR Promotion

Credit Cards
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Many credit card issuers offer cards with generous 0% APR promotions that let you either finance a large purchase or consolidate and pay high-interest credit card debt interest-free for a certain period. While the interest savings are nice, the downside is that the best 0% APR cards usually don’t offer rewards, giving these cards limited ongoing value after the o% promotion is up.

Paying down your debt is more important than earning rewards in most cases. But if you want long-term value out of your credit card beyond the introductory 0% APR promotion, there are plenty out there that offer great rewards to offset slightly less favorable borrowing terms.

Best for a large purchase: Discover it® - Cashback Match™

5% cash back in quarterly rotating categories that include department stores, Amazon.com and more; 1% cash back on all other purchases. Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically. Intro APR of 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 14 months, and then the ongoing APR of 11.74% - 23.74% Variable APR. Free access to your FICO score. No foreign transaction fees. Balance transfer fee of 3%. $0 annual fee.

Benefits of the Discover it® - Cashback Match™:

  • If your big-ticket item belongs to one of the current 5% bonus categories on the Discover it® - Cashback Match™, you’ll earn big rewards and get extra time to pay it off interest-free. Plus, there’s a bonus for new cardholders: Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • Discover Deals offers another opportunity to maximize your rewards. You’ll get access to exclusive online and in-store offers that can net you an extra 5% to 20% cash back.

Drawbacks of the Discover it® - Cashback Match™:

  • Discover isn’t as widely accepted as Visa and MasterCard, especially internationally.
  • You may be stuck with a low rewards rate if your ongoing spending doesn’t align with the card’s 5% bonus categories.

The bottom line:

While the 0% APR promotion period on this card isn’t the longest of the cards discussed here, it makes up for it by offering plenty of ways to rack up rewards. If you’re looking to make a large purchase and you don’t need longer than what the card offers to pay it off, this is the card for you.

Best for a balance transfer: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Limited Time Offer: Apply by 5/3/17 – Earn 10% cash back on purchases at U.S. Restaurants in the first 6 months, up to $200 back. Earn $150 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Terms Apply. Earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets up to $6,000 spent annually (then 1%), 3% back at gas stations and select department stores and 1% back on all other purchases. 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 12 months, and then the ongoing APR of 13.74% - 23.74% Variable APR. Free access to your FICO score. Balance transfer fee of 3% or $5, whichever is greater. $95 annual fee.

Benefits of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express:

  • The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express offers stellar rewards for everyday purchases; no need to fit your spending to ever-changing bonus categories.
  • You’ll earn a decent sign-up bonus, which can help offset the balance-transfer fee.
  • Access to Amex Offers, where you can receive statement credits when you shop at featured retailers.

Drawbacks of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express:

  • It has a $95 annual fee, although you’ll need to spend only $31 per week at U.S. supermarkets to make up for it.
  • It charges a balance-transfer fee, which can be expensive if you’re moving a large balance.
  • American Express isn’t as widely accepted as Visa and MasterCard, especially internationally.

The bottom line:

If you spend a lot on groceries and gas, this card is hard to beat. But if your monthly grocery and gas bills are low, you may be better off with the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express. While it offers lower rewards, its annual fee is $0 and it has a comparable 0% APR promotion. If you’re looking for a balance-transfer credit card with no balance-transfer fee, check out the Chase Slate®.

Best for ongoing cash back: Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Earn 1% cash back per dollar spent, and another 1% back when you pay your balance. Introductory APR: 0% on Balance Transfers for 18 months, and then the ongoing APR of 14.24% - 24.24% Variable APR. Free access to your FICO score. Balance-transfer fee of 3% or $5, whichever is greater. $0 annual fee.

Benefits of the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer:

  • It’s one of the only credit cards that rewards you for spending and paying off your balance.
  • You’ll get a flat rewards rate, regardless of where you spend your money.
  • It has a $0 annual fee.

Drawbacks of the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer:

  • Bonus categories with higher rewards rates provide an opportunity to earn more cash back.

The bottom line:

There’s not much to complain about with the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer. It offers the highest ongoing rewards rate among cash-back cards and has a solid 0% APR promotion.

Best for travel: Discover it® Miles – Unlimited 1.5x Rewards Card

Get a mile-for-mile match of all the rewards you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically. Unlimited 1.5 miles per dollar spent on all purchases. 0% on Purchases for 14 months and 10.99% on Balance Transfers for 14 months, and then the ongoing APR of 11.74% - 23.74% Variable APR. Free access to your FICO score. No foreign transaction fees. Balance transfer fee of 3%. $0 annual fee.

 

Benefits of the Discover it® Miles – Unlimited 1.5x Rewards Card:

  • The Discover it® Miles – Unlimited 1.5x Rewards Card has a high ongoing rewards rate for a travel card with a $0 annual fee, especially considering its sign-up bonus.
  • You’ll have access to Discover Deals, where you can earn even more miles for your purchases.
  • You’ll get reimbursed for up to $30 in in-flight Wi-Fi fees every membership year.

Drawbacks of the Discover it® Miles – Unlimited 1.5x Rewards Card:

  • Discover isn’t as widely accepted as Visa and MasterCard, especially internationally.
  • If you’re a big spender and you don’t mind an annual fee, other travel cards offer better rewards.

The bottom line:

If you want a travel card with flexibility and need some time to pay off a large purchase or a transferred balance, you can’t go wrong with the Discover it® Miles – Unlimited 1.5x Rewards Card. If you’re planning to travel overseas, however, keep a Visa or MasterCard as a backup.

Best for small businesses: SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express

Earn a $200 statement credit after you spend $5,000 in qualifying purchases on your Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership. Plus, earn an additional $200 statement credit after you spend an additional $10,000 or more in qualifying purchases on your Card within the first year of Card Membership. Terms apply. 5% cash back at office supply stores and on wireless telephone services purchased directly from service providers, 3% back on the category of your choice from a list of select categories and 1% back on other purchases (5% and 3% apply to purchases up to $50,000 annually). 0% on Purchases for 9 months, and then the ongoing APR of 12.99% - 19.99% Variable APR. $0 annual fee.

Benefits of the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express:

  • Unlike other business credit cards that offer bonus categories, the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express lets you choose one of your bonus categories to more easily fit your business expenses.
  • You’ll have access to American Express OPEN, with features including an online bonus mall where you can score discounts on business purchases, free access to ReceiptMatch with QuickBooks and a forum where you can learn from other small-business owners.

Drawbacks of the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express:

  • Its 0% APR promotion doesn’t include balance transfers.
  • It has spending limits on its bonus cash-back categories, which can be a disadvantage if your business has a lot of ongoing expenses.

The bottom line:

The SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express is a solid enough business credit card for the rewards alone, so it’s nice to have the extra perk of a 0% APR promotion. The promotion period is relatively short, however, so make sure you can pay off the balance before it’s over.

Ben Luthi is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: bluthi@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @benluthi.


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