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Why the Coronavirus Era is the Time to Consider 0% Intro APR Credit Cards

For the last several weeks, the coronavirus outbreak has dominated the news – and the U.S. economy. Within that time, more and more issuers have announced financial assistance to help cardholders facing credit card debt as the pandemic stretches on. Currently, however, much of this credit card relief only applies to the next couple of months as the situation continues to evolve. Not to mention, some of this assistance only waives fees, not interest. Consumers in need of a more long-term solution to growing debt from emergency credit card use should consider 0% intro APR credit cards. 

How 0% Intro APR Credit Cards Can Provide Coronavirus Relief 

Record-breaking unemployment rates and general financial uncertainty have left many consumers wondering how they’ll make ends meet. Using a credit card in an emergency isn’t always recommended, but during a national crisis it may be the only option.  

Related article: COVID-19 and Personal Finance: When Is It Okay to Break Credit Card Rules? 

With that in mind, cards that offer an intro APR on purchases and balance transfers can become a vital resourceThey can help you cover your monthly essentials interest-free if you’re unable to pay off your full balance due to a loss of income. In additional, they allow you to stave off interest on old balances while you get your finances in order 

Of course, you’ll still need to make a minimum monthly payment on these cards. This is also only a temporary solution, so as you compare cards, you’ll want to note the regular interest rate that applies once the introductory APR ends. 

Grab the Best Intro APR Before It’s Too Late 

With a full-blown recession on the horizon, there’s no guarantee that the credit card offers you see today will be available next month – or even next week. Long intro periods and waived balance transfer fees may disappear for a while, as the COVID-19 pandemic runs its courseThat’s why it’s important to consider your options now if you plan to apply. We’ve gathered just a few of the best 0% intro APR credit cards here to help you get started. 

Get the Longest Intro APR Period 

If you’re looking for the longest intro APR on a credit card, thCiti Simplicity® Card is a good bet. As the name implies, this is a pretty simple card on its surface – but it’s a powerhouse for balance transfers. From the day your account opens, you’ll have 21 months of 0 interest on balance transfers, and 12 months on purchases.  

Not to mention, you can apply this intro rate to any balance transfers made within you first four months as a cardholder. That’s double the typical time limit. Plus, you’ll never have to worry about late, annual, or penalty fees. Even so, missed payments still negatively impact your credit, and balance transfer fees apply.  

Citi Simplicity® Card

0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 21 Months

Citi Simplicity® Card
  • Regular Purchase APR 14.74% to 24.74% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR 14.74% to 24.74% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR 25.24% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee None
  • Credit Needed Excellent , Good
  • Intro Purchase APR 0% for 12 months from account opening date
  • Processing Network Mastercard
Best Benefits
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 21 months from date of first transfer
  • 0% Intro APR on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening
  • No annual fee
  • No late fee
Rates & Fees
  • Intro Purchase APR: 0% for 12 months from account opening date
  • Regular Purchase APR: 14.74% to 24.74% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Intro Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 21 months on transfers made within 4 months from account opening date
  • Balance Transfer APR: 14.74% to 24.74% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer Transaction Fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.24% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% of the transaction amount in US dollars
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40

Skip the Balance Transfer Fees 

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card is an alternative with a shorter introductory APR period, but no balance transfer fees. You’ll get 0 interest on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, as long as you make your transfers in the first 60 days.  

The card also comes with 2X rewards on groceries, which many of us spend the most on these days. (Make 20 purchases or more in a billing period for a 20% rewards boost.) The signup bonus offers even more potential savings – plus, it’s easier to earn than ever since American Express is offering more time for new cardholders to reach the spending requirement.  

Amex EveryDay® Credit Card

10,000 Membership Rewards® Points + No Balance Transfer Fee

Amex EveryDay® Credit Card
  • Regular Purchase APR 12.99% to 23.99% variable based on creditworthiness and Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR 12.99% to 23.99% variable based on creditworthiness and Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR 25.24% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee None
  • Credit Needed Excellent , Good
  • Intro Purchase APR 0% for 15 months from account opening date
  • Processing Network American Express
Best Benefits
  • Earn 20% extra points when you make 20+ purchases in a billing period
  • 2X points per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000)
  • 1X points on every other eligible dollar spent
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months
Rates & Fees
  • Intro Purchase APR: 0% for 15 months from account opening date
  • Regular Purchase APR: 12.99% to 23.99% variable based on creditworthiness and Prime Rate
  • Intro Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 15 months on transfers requested within 60 days from account opening date
  • Balance Transfer APR: 12.99% to 23.99% variable based on creditworthiness and Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.24% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
  • Penalty APR: 29.24% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 2.7% of the transaction amount in U.S. dollars
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40

Save on Interest – and Future Travel 

If you’re dreaming of your first post-quarantine trip, you might want to consider 0% intro APR cards that offer travel rewards. One of the more underrated travel rewards cards right now is the Avianca Vida Visa® CardIt’s one of the few offering a 12-month 0% intro APR on balance transfers while earning rewards toward flights 

Related article: Is It a Good Time to Apply for a Travel Credit Card? 

You can apply this to any balance transfers made in the first 90 days – still much longer than the average time limit with other cards. Plus, there’s no cap on the miles you earn so you can save up all your earnings to put toward a much-needed vacation. Just for using the card once, you’ll collect a huge rewards bonus, which is nearly enough for a business class seat on its own when you fly with a Star Alliance member like Avianca. 

Avianca Vida Visa® Card

Avianca Vida Visa® Card
  • Regular Purchase APR 13.24% - 26.24%, based on your creditworthiness
  • Balance Transfer APR 13.24% - 26.24%, based on your creditworthiness
  • Cash Advance APR 24.24%-28.24%. This APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.
  • Annual Fee $59
  • Credit Needed Excellent , Good
  • Processing Network Visa
Best Benefits
  • 20,000 Bonus LifeMiles after first card use
  • Earn 2 LifeMiles per $1 spent on Avianca purchases
  • Earn 1 LifeMile per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • 15% discount on purchases of miles with Multiply Your Miles
  • No cap on the number of LifeMiles you can earn
  • 0% Introductory offer for 12 months on Balance Transfers
  • Chip-enabled card provides added security
  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver
  • Travel Accident Insurance
  • Protection against unauthorized charges
  • Emergency Card Replacement
  • Online Account Management
  • Electronic Statements
  • Auto-pay option
Rates & Fees
  • Regular Purchase APR: 13.24% - 26.24%, based on your creditworthiness
  • Intro Balance Transfer APR: 0% introductory APR for the first 12 months. Applies to transfers made within the first 90 days from account opening. After that, your APR will be from 13.24% - 26.24%, based on your creditworthiness
  • Balance Transfer APR: 13.24% - 26.24%, based on your creditworthiness
  • Cash Advance APR: 24.24%-28.24%. This APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: 2% of the amount of each transaction (minimum $2; maximum $10)
  • Penalty APR: 29.99%. This APR may be applied to your account if you miss a required Minimum Payment for a period of sixty (60) consecutive days from its Payment Due Date.
  • Annual Fee: $59
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 1% of each transaction in U.S. dollars
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $38
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $10
About: Leesa

Leesa is a credit card explorer for BestCards.com. While not spelunking for APRs and hidden fees, she's most likely listening to a podcast or working on a superfluous DIY project.