[DISCLOSURE: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]
Did you spend a little too much over the holidays? If so, you’re probably nervous about opening up your credit card statements in January. Fortunately, there is a way to postpone repayment without incurring costly interest charges.
There are many credit cards that offer new applicants 0% APR promotional financing on balance transfers. By law, these limited time financing offers must last at least six months, but there are many that extend for a year or longer. By applying for one of these cards and transferring your balance to it, you can breath a bit easier throughout 2016 and potentially incur no interest until 2017.
The Pros and Cons of Balance Transfer Offers
The benefit of having 0% APR interest for over a year is very significant. As unsecured debt with interest that is never tax deductible, credit card interest charges can be quite expensive. And when cardholders steadily pay off their debt before the interest-free promotional financing period expires, they can avoid the standard interest rate.
On the other hand, nearly all of the interest free balance transfer offers require the payment of a 3% balance transfer fee, which is added to the balance. In addition, those who use these balance transfer offers as a way to postpone paying off their balances will often find they are worse off in the long run. Finally, those who consume a large portion of their available credit may find that their credit score suffers due to a large debt-to-credit ratio. (You can see how high balances are affecting your credit by viewing your free credit report summary each month on Credit.com.)
With these factors in mind, here are seven credit cards that offer interest-free financing through January 2017 and beyond.
1. Chase Slate
Not only does the Chase Slate card (reviewed here) offer 15 months of interest free financing on both new purchases and balance transfers, it is one of the only cards that offers 0% APR financing on balance transfers with no fee. New cardholders who transfer their balance within 60 days of opening an account do not incur the charge, which is 3% after that. Cardholders also receive a free monthly FICO score through their Credit Dashboard and have access to Chase’s innovative Blueprint program. Blueprint allows cardholders to avoid interest charges by paying off some purchases in full while carrying a balance on others. Blueprint also offers powerful budgeting and goal-setting tools. There is no annual fee for this card and no penalty interest rate.
2. Citi Simplicity
The Citi Simplicity card (reviewed here) offers an industry-leading 21 months of interest-free financing on both new purchases and balance transfers, with a 3% balance transfer fee. As its name implies, it’s a simple card with no rewards program, but it does offer several benefits such as extended warranty coverage, worldwide rental car insurance and access to the Citi Rewind price protection program. There is no annual fee for this card, no late fees and no penalty interest rates. (Full Disclosure: Citibank, as well as Chase, American Express and Discover advertise on Credit.com, but that results in no preferential editorial treatment.)
3. BankAmericard Credit Card from Bank of America
The BankAmericard credit card is another of the more simple credit cards, offering 18 months of 0% APR financing on both new purchases and balance transfers, with a 3% balance transfer fee. Additional benefits include mobile and text banking, as well as alerts to help you manage your account. There is no annual fee.
4. Discover it Miles
The Discover it Miles card offers 12 months of 0% APR financing on both new purchases and balance transfers, with a 3% balance transfer fee. It is also a rewards card that features 1.5 miles per dollar spent on all purchases, which can be redeemed for statement credits towards any travel-related expenses or as cash back. In addition, cardholders receive a $30 statement credit towards in-flight Wi-Fi charges each year. Discover is also offering new cardholders double the rewards earned in their first year, with the credit applied to their account at the end of the year. There is no annual fee for this card, no foreign transaction fees and no penalty interest rate.
At publishing time, the Chase Slate card, Citi Simplicity card and the Discover it Miles card are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com will be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.
Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.