Using 0% Cards When the Need Arises

Travel on Point(s) has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Travel on Point(s) and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

 

One of the main rules of the points and miles hobby is to pay off your balances every month. Carrying credit card debt negates any rewards you earn and can hurt your credit score. However, life also happens to all of us. I can attest to this as I went through a divorce in late 2017 and into 2018. Maybe you have a large unplanned expense that comes into your life. Having some stress lifted off you during something like this can make a difference. That is where credit cards with 0% interest rate or balance transfer cards can come to help.

Initial Steps

There are some important things to know going into this. First off, read all the rules, terms, and conditions carefully. You want to know what the terms are and everything about the charges, fees, and interest rate. Second, have a plan at some point. If stressing out about something like a life-changing event or large purchase, it does not need to be right away, but hold yourself accountable. I would recommend setting a reminder on your phone every couple months and prior to the 0% introductory term ending.

Card Choices

You will likely have a couple different options. Some cards may only have 0% for new purchases, while some cards may offer balance transfer options as well. Also keep in mind that balance transfers will not earn any rewards or points. Additionally, some balance transfers can come with fees. However, you can always make the large purchase itself on a points earning card and then do a balance transfer. Just keep in mind that rules typically prevent a balance transfer between cards of same bank. Here are some of the best options for cards with 0% introductory rates for purchases or balance transfers:

Cards with 0% Introductory Rate for Balance Transfers

Citi Double Cash

The Double Cash offers a 0% introductory APR on transfer balances for the first 18 months. In addition, you earn 2% on every purchase, with 1% when you make the purchase and another 1% when you pay your credit card. The Double Cash does not have an annual fee. To earn cash back, you must pay at least the minimum due on time. This is a card we would not usually recommend applying for because it does not offer a welcome bonus. Also, Citi has a generous product change policy and you can usually change other Citi cards such as a Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard to the Double Cash.

Wells Fargo Cash Wise Card

This card offers 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers and purchases. The balance transfers must be made within 120 days to qualify for the 0% rate. Also, the Cash Wise card does not have an annual fee. This card does offer some other interesting benefits. First, it offers a welcome bonus of $150 cash rewards after spending $500 in first three months of account opening. Second, the Cash Wise card offers up to $600 in cell phone protection. There is a $25 deductible and you have to pay your cell phone bill with it.  Third, you earn 1.8% in cash rewards on Google Pay or Apple pay during first 12 months. Lastly, the card earns 1.5%  on everyday purchases. Wells Fargo's Go Far Rewards program lets you use these cash rewards for travel or you can simply deposit as cash into your Wells Fargo checking or savings account.

Cards with 0% Introductory Offer

Chase Freedom Unlimited

This card offers a 0% intro APR for 15 months and has no annual fee. In addition to the 0% rate, this card can still help you with your points game. The card offers $200 cash back (or 20,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards) after spending $500 in the first three months of account opening. Also, you can  earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining at restaurants and eligible delivery services and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.

Chase Freedom Flex

This is another great Chase card that allows you to earn points while enjoying the 0% benefit. The Chase Freedom Flex offers 0% intro APR for 15 months and has no annual fee. The card offers $200 cash back (or 20,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards) after spending $500 in the first three months of account opening. Secondly, you can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in rotating quarterly bonus categories. Lastly, you can earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining at restaurants and eligible delivery services and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.

American Express Blue Cash Everyday Card

If you prefer American Express cards, then this is an excellent choice. The Blue Cash Everyday card offers 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases from the date of account opening, and has no annual fee. The card offers $100 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new card within the first six months of card membership. Additionally, this card includes a long list of cash back options. You can earn 20% back on purchases at Amazon.com in the first six months of card membership, up to $200 back. You can also earn 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%), and 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores. For all other purchases, this card earns 1% cash back.

Final Thoughts

There is no shortage of great cards with 0% introductory APR offers on purchases or balance transfers. Some of these cards might even become permanent fixtures in your wallet to help you earn valuable points and miles. As a reminder, you should avoid carrying any kind of balance on your cards, but life also happens. If you need to use these options, pick the card that has terms you can meet and is beneficial to your situation. Do you make good use of 0% intro rates? Come join the discussion in our Facebook group!

Travel on Point(s) has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Travel on Point(s) and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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