Nothing Lasts Forever

What to consider before signing up for a zero percent interest card

A zero percent interest credit card can be tempting. What’s not to like about avoiding interest piling up on your purchases? However, before applying for one of these cards, make sure you think it through. Here are some things to consider before signing on the dotted line.

The Fine Print

Not all zero percent interest offers are created the same. Make sure you read the fine print so that you know exactly what that “0% APR” applies to. Here are two of the most common variates:

  • Purchases. This is the most common offer — the card offers you zero percent interest on purchases for a specific amount of time.
  • Balance transfers. This applies to the amount of interest you’d be charged for transferring debt from another card. Again, this offer is for a limited time.
  • Payment Matters

    As USA Today reports, while a zero percent interest offer sounds great, remember that you still have to make monthly payments. And the catch here is that if you’re late — even by a day — on a payment, your issuer could cancel that zero percent offer and reset your card to a typical APR.

    Timing is Everything

    That no-interest offer doesn’t last forever. Once the introductory offer ends — usually between six and 18 months — interest will be charged to any balance left on the card. And guess what? It’s up to you to remember when that deal ends. Your card issuer will not be reminding you. Make sure you have a calendar reminder set for when your deal ends so you don’t end up getting hit with interest.

    Chris O'Shea

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