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By Jason Steele
December 22, 2020
Courtesy of US Bank

Credit cards are a popular method of payment, and not just because of their convenience and security. As their name makes clear, credit cards can also be used to finance purchases. The downside is that you’ll pay interest rates on your loan that’s typically much higher than a home mortgage, car loan or student loan. Now the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum card is offering new applicants interest free financing for more than a year and half, which is the longest offer currently available. However, it doesn’t offer rewards like some other cards with promotional financing offers.

Key Terms

  • Promotional financing offer: 20 billing cycles of 0% APR financing on both new purchases and balance transfers
  • Balance transfer fee: Either 3% of the amount of each transfer or $5 minimum, whichever is greater.
  • Annual Fee: $0

How This Card Works

Once you are approved for a new account, you’ll enjoy 0% APR financing for 20 billing cycles on all new purchases. After the promotional financing offer expires, the standard interest rate of 14.49% – 24.49% APR will apply to any remaining balance. Balance transfers are subject to the 0% APR promotional financing offer, but there’s a 3% fee (or $5, whichever is greater) added to the amount transferred.

Otherwise, this is a very simple card that offers no welcome bonus and no rewards for spending, but it also has no annual fee. And while it includes no travel insurance or purchase protection benefits, it does come with a Cell Phone Protection policy that covers you for damage or theft up to $600, with a $25 deductible, for up to two claims ($1,200) per 12-month period. All you need to do to qualify for this coverage is to pay for your cell phone bill every month with your card.

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Advantages

This card currently offers the longest 0% APR financing period available: 0% APR for 20 billing cycles on both new purchases and balance transfers, making it an extremely valuable offer. In contrast, most competing cards have promotional financing offers that last just 12 or 15 months. You can use this promotional financing offer to save a tremendous amount on interest charges while helping you to pay down your balances sooner than if a card that charges interest. It’s also great that this card has no annual fee and includes cell phone insurance to protect your pricey new smartphone.

Disadvantages

This card has no welcome bonus and offers no rewards, but that makes sense as it’s all about saving you money on interest. Also, there are no purchase protection and travel insurance benefits to speak of, which can be a disadvantage to those who are used to amenities like extended warranty coverage or rental car insurance.

But most importantly, this card’s interest free financing offer could be used by some people to avoid paying off their debt, which would be a mistake. The best way to use this offer is to steadily pay down your debt until you’ve paid it off before the promotional financing rate expires. Otherwise, you could be entering into a cycle of debt that could hurt your finances for years.

Alternatives

Citi® Double Cash. This card offers 18 months of 0% APR on balance transfers (13.99% – 23.99% APR after), with a $5 or 3% balance transfer fee (whichever is greater), plus very competitive rewards. You earn 1% cash back at the time of purchase and another 1% when you pay for your purchases, for a total of up to 2% cash back. There’s no annual fee for this card.

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express This card offers you 15 months of 0% APR financing on new purchases, but not on balance transfers. After that the ongoing interest rate is 13.99% – 23.99% APR. It’s a strong rewards card that offers you $100 cash back after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card within the first six months of account opening, plus earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases within the first 6 months of Card membership (up to $150 back). Earn 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%), and 2% cash back on purchases at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores. There’s no annual fee for this card. See Rates & Fees. Terms apply*

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card. This card also features 15 months of 0% APR financing on new purchases (15.49%, 21.49%, or 25.49% APR after) and offers rewards. You earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within three months of account opening, plus unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases, every day. There’s no annual fee for this card.

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Bottom Line

If you’re looking for competitive rewards and benefits, this card isn’t a good choice. But when you’re top priority is to find a card with the longest promotional financing offer for new purchases and balance transfers, then this may be the card for you.

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