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By Jason Steele
July 24, 2020
Money, Getty Images

2020 has been a very tough year. Millions of Americans are unemployed. Those who haven’t lost their jobs may have had their hours cut, or seen a downturn in their business or side hustle income. Meanwhile, some coronavirus relief programs are scheduled to end, and the bills keep coming.

That’s why, perhaps now more than ever in recent history, many Americans could use a credit card with a 0% APR so they can eliminate credit card interest payments while they pay off their balances.

Unfortunately, many of the top card issuers removed their promotional financing offers as the coronavirus crisis spread. But don’t give up hope. There are still several credit cards remaining with valuable 0% APR offers for new purchases, balance transfers, or both.

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How to Use a Balance Transfer Card Best

Before applying for a new balance transfer card, a word of caution: First and foremost, you should only a use a credit card with a 0% APR balance transfer offer to help you to pay off your credit card debt. Don’t sign up for one of these cards if all you want to do is postpone paying off your debt. The best way to use a 0% APR offer is to set a goal of retiring all of your debt before the offer expires and the standard interest rate applies, and stick to your plan.

As valuable as these offers are, there’s almost always a 3% balance transfer fee imposed on the amount of the transfer, and added to your balance. Some cards even charge a larger 5% fee, and the rare no-transfer-fee offers once found are no longer available at this time.

Also, if you have outstanding credit card debt, you should focus on paying it off, rather than earning rewards with a card. When you think about rewards, you can be tempted to overspend.

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Credit Card

Key Terms

Promotional Financing offer: 0% APR for 18 months on both new purchases and balance transfers, with a 3% balance transfer fee.

Standard APR: 14.74% – 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness.

Annual Fee: $0

The Citi Diamond Preferred now has the leading promotional financing offer. You’ll receive 18 months of interest free financing on both new purchases and balance transfers, with a 3% balance transfer fee. This means that you won’t incur any interest charges until the year 2022. Otherwise, this is a pretty simple card that doesn’t offer any rewards, but doesn’t have an annual fee either.

Cons: Like most Citi cards, this one offers few cardholder benefits like extended warranty coverage or rental car insurance.

Citi® Double Cash Credit Card

Key Terms

Promotional Financing offer: 0% APR for 18 months on both new purchases and balance transfers, with a 3% balance transfer fee.

Standard APR: 14.74% – 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness.

Annual Fee: $0

The Citi Double Cash combines competitive rewards with a strong promotional financing offer. This card features 18 months of 0% APR financing on balance transfers, with a 3% balance transfer fee.

This card also features 1% cash back at the time of purchase, plus an additional 1% cash back when you pay for your purchases, for a total of up to 2% cash back on all purchases, with no limits. You can even transfer your rewards to Citi ThankYou points, which can be transferred to miles with 16 different frequent flyer programs.

Cons: Again, the downside of this card is that Citi no longer offers as many cardholder benefits as other card issuers.

American Express Blue Cash Preferred

Key Terms

Promotional Financing offer: 0% APR financing on new purchases for 12 months.

Standard APR: 13.99% to 23.99% APR, based on your creditworthiness.

Annual Fee: $95

American Express Blue Cash Preferred includes 12 months of 0% APR financing on new purchases that can be extremely valuable. In the current environment of reduced travel, the Blue Cash Preferred is one of the leading rewards cards due to its superior cash back offer. It offers 6% cash back on your first $6,000 spent each year at U.S. supermarkets, plus unlimited 6% cash back on purchases from select streaming services, including Apple Music, Audible, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, Netflix, Spotify, and YouTube TV.

You also receive 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit purchases such as ride-shares, parking, tolls and public transportation. There’s a good signup bonus offer too: New cardholders can earn $250 in cash back after spending $1,000 on their card within three months of account opening.

Cons: This card has a $95 annual fee, which isn’t too bad considering the initial bonus and all the cash back you can earn. But if you have modest spending needs, it might not be worth paying annual fee.

PenFed Gold Visa® Credit Card

Key Terms

Promotional Financing offer: 0% APR financing on balance transfers for 12 months, with a 3% balance transfer fee.

Standard APR: 7.49% to 17.99%

Annual Fee: $0

The PenFed Gold Visa® Credit Card offers you both an interest free promotional financing offer and a stunningly low standard interest rate. You’ll receive 12 months of 0% APR financing on balance transfers, but once that expires the standard rate is 17.99% APR. The most qualified applicants with excellent credit will receive one of the lowest standard interest rates available from any credit card in the U.S. Other applicants will likely still receive a lower standard interest rate than they would have from competing credit cards.

New applicants can still receive a $100 statement credit after using your card to spend at least $1,500 with 90 days of opening an account.

Cons: Although this card offers a $100 welcome bonus, it’s not a rewards card. That shouldn’t be surprising because the cards with the lowest possible standard interest rate typically wouldn’t be able to offer cash back or other rewards.

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