If you have credit card debt or plan to make a big purchase, a low-interest credit card can be a lifesaver. Many offer more than a year of 0% APR to pay down your debts, or a low ongoing interest rate for a longer-term debt reduction strategy. These cards are the best in the business, from waived fees to rewards and more. Transfer your balance, and you’ll get some room to breathe — and a chance to get out of debt.
Our pick for

Longest 0% intro APR period

Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever

Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever

Apply Now on Citibank's secure site

Intro APR Promotions

0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 21 months

APR

  • APR: 14.99% - 24.99% Variable APR

Annual Fee

$0

Bonus Offer

None

  • The ONLY card with No Late Fees, No Penalty Rate, and No Annual Fee…EVER
  • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 21 months. After that, the variable APR will be 14.99% - 24.99% based on your creditworthiness*
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • The same great rate for all balances, after the introductory period
  • Save time when you call with fast, personal help, 24 hours a day – just say “representative”
  • Enjoy the convenience of setting up your own bill payment schedule on any available due date throughout the month
Intro Purchase APR
0%
Ongoing APR
14.99% - 24.99%
APR, Variable
Recommended credit score
690
850
Good - Excellent
We like it for
0% APR period No late fees or penalty APR No annual fee

Benefits

The interest-free period on the Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever is among the longest we’ve seen: 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 21 months, and then the ongoing APR of 14.99% - 24.99% Variable APR. Citi’s pledge to never charge fees or a penalty annual percentage rate on late payments is unusual and a nice break for the chronically forgetful.

Drawbacks

Bottom line

Our pick for

Sign-up bonus

Chase Freedom®

Chase Freedom®

Apply Now on Chase's secure site

Intro APR Promotions

0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months

APR

  • APR: 15.99% - 24.74% Variable APR
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.99%, Variable

Annual Fee

$0

Bonus Offer

Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening

  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter like gas stations, restaurants and drugstores
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 15.99-24.74%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • No annual fee
Intro Purchase APR
0%
Ongoing APR
15.99% - 24.74%
APR, Variable
Recommended credit score
690
850
Good - Excellent
We like it for
Cash-back rewards Cash bonus 0% APR period No annual fee

Benefits

The Chase Freedom® gives you a little of everything. In addition to a $0 annual fee and a long 0% APR period on purchases and balance transfers, it offers a nifty sign-up bonus. You get 5% cash back on up to $1,500 per quarter in spending on rotating bonus categories that include such things as gas stations, supermarkets and restaurants. All other spending earns 1% back.

Drawbacks

Bottom line

Our pick for

Rewards

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Apply Now on Citibank's secure site

Intro APR Promotions

0% on Balance Transfers for 18 months

APR

  • APR: 14.49% - 24.49% Variable APR
  • Penalty APR: Up to 29.99%, Variable
  • Cash Advance APR: 26.24%, Variable

Annual Fee

$0

Bonus Offer

None

  • Earn cash back twice on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back
  • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 14.49% - 24.49% based on your creditworthiness
  • Click 'Apply Now' to see the applicable balance transfer fee and how making a balance transfer impacts interest on purchases.
  • No categories to track, no caps on cash back, no annual fee*
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Ongoing APR
14.49% - 24.49%
APR, Variable
Recommended credit score
690
850
Good - Excellent
We like it for
Simple generous rewards 0% APR period No annual fee

Benefits

Offering 1% cash back on every purchase and an additional 1% when you pay them off, the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer provides easy rewards to go with its lengthy interest-free period on balance transfers and $0 annual fee. This is an excellent card that doesn’t require excellent credit: You can qualify with good credit.

Drawbacks

Bottom line

Our pick for

Low fees

Discover it® - 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer

Discover it® - 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer

Apply Now on Discover's secure site

Intro APR Promotions

0% on Purchases for 6 months and 0% on Balance Transfers for 18 months

APR

  • APR: 11.99% - 23.99% Variable APR
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.99%, Variable

Annual Fee

$0

Bonus Offer

You could turn $150 into $300 with Cashback Match™. Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically.

  • New! Free Social Security Number alerts, we’ll monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.*
  • You could turn $150 into $300 with Cashback Match™. Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • Earn 5% cash back in rotating categories each quarter like gas stations, Amazon.com, restaurants, wholesale clubs and more, up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Plus, 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Redeem your cash back for any amount, any time. Cash rewards never expire.
  • 100% U.S. based customer service.
  • Get your FICO® Credit Score for free on monthly statements, on mobile and online.
  • No annual fee.
  • Click "APPLY NOW" to see rates, rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms, Cashback Match™ details & other information.
Intro Purchase APR
0%
Ongoing APR
11.99% - 23.99%
APR, Variable
Recommended credit score
690
850
Good - Excellent
We like it for
0% APR period Cash-back rewards No first-time late fee No foreign transaction fees No annual fee

Benefits

This card combines a lengthy 0% period on balance transfers with 5% cash-back rewards on rotating bonus categories (on up to $1,500 in spending per quarter) and 1% back on all other spending. There’s also an unusual bonus, which Discover describes as: “You could turn $150 into $300 with Cashback Match™. Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically.” No foreign transaction fee is unusual for this category. Discover won’t charge a fee for your first late payment or raise your APR for paying late.

Drawbacks

Bottom line

Methodology

NerdWallet’s credit cards team selects the best cards in each category based on overall consumer value. Factors in our evaluation include fees, promotional and ongoing APRs, and sign-up bonuses; for rewards cards, we consider earning and redemption rates, redemption options and redemption difficulty. A single card is eligible to be chosen in multiple categories.

Updated Aug. 2, 2017.

NerdWallet staff writer Gregory Karp contributed to this article. Virginia C. McGuire is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: virginia@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @vcmcguire.