Considering applying for an interest-free credit card? Credit cards with an introductory 0% APR can help you finance large purchases, pay off old debts and save on monthly interest charges. What many people don’t realize, however, is that they need good to excellent credit to be accepted by one of the best interest-free credit cards available today.
What credit score do I need for a 0% APR card? In most cases, you’ll need a FICO score of at least 670 or a VantageScore of at least 661. If you’re still struggling to build good credit, don’t worry. You can always improve your credit score before applying, or you can consider other low-interest borrowing options, such as personal loans.
0% APR card requires good to excellent credit
In most cases, 0% APR credit cards require good or excellent credit. This means you must have a FICO credit score of at least 670 or a VantageScore credit score of at least 661. You are more likely to be accepted if you have very good or excellent credit, meaning a FICO score of at least 799 or a VantageScore of at least 781.
Why do credit card issuers require high credit for these types of cards? Lenders want to make sure you don’t default on credit card debt, especially since they’re offering you interest-free loans for purchases for a few months. Credit card companies can lose money if you shop and don’t pay (variable APR of 19.24% to 29.24%), and Capital One’s website says the credit rating required for this card is “Excellent.” .
If you want a longer introductory APR period, the Wells Fargo Reflect® Card offers 0% introductory APR (17.24% to 29.24% variable APR thereafter) for up to 21 months on purchases and eligible balance transfers ( 18 months from account open at 0%, up to 21 months with minimum payment on time during introductory period.) While Wells Fargo does not state which credit score it recommends, our research shows that people with good or excellent credit are more likely to May be approved.
How to lower interest rates
In addition to opening a card with an introductory promotion of 0%, there are a few things you can do to lower your interest rate. While the best way to avoid interest is to pay off your balance in full each month, sometimes financial hardship makes it necessary for you to keep a balance, which can get expensive. These options can reduce the cost of taking on credit card debt.
Build your credit
Bad credit can be a major hurdle when it comes to qualifying for a lower APR. The higher your credit rating, the lower the interest rate may be. Improving your credit score by paying your credit card bills on time, keeping your credit usage low, and reviewing and correcting errors on your credit reports can qualify you for a lower interest rate.
Ask for a lower price
Depending on the issuer, you may be able to negotiate a lower APR, especially if your credit rating has improved since opening the account. In some cases, your card issuer may be willing to lower the rate by a few percentage points, but this is not guaranteed. You could try calling the issuer and see if that works.
Choose an Alternative Credit Card
If your credit isn’t enough to get approved for a 0% APR card, there are other card options that offer low ongoing interest rates — which can make it cheaper to keep a balance — and may make it easier for you to settle for eligibility:
- Secured credit cards require a refundable security deposit up front that acts as your line of credit. The deposit serves as security and limits the issuer’s risk, making such cards more accessible than traditional credit cards.
- Secured cards sometimes offer lower interest rates, but usually have an annual fee.
Cards offered by credit unions often have lower interest rates than those offered by big banks. However, such cards require membership in a credit union and often have other eligibility requirements.
0% APR Card Alternative
Apply for a low interest credit card
If you have good credit and plan to make a large purchase, consider applying for a low-interest card. Many of today’s best low-interest credit cards are available to people with fair or excellent credit scores, giving you the opportunity to maintain your balance without incurring high interest rates. Remember that interest rates on your credit cards increase over time—meaning that even if you have a low-interest card, you still want to pay off your balance as quickly as possible.
Lower current interest rates
If you have poor credit and low credit card debt, consider asking your credit card issuer to lower your current interest rate. Many lenders will lower your interest rate if you ask, especially if you face an unexpected financial emergency. Your application has a better chance of being approved if you have a track record of paying on time.
Seek debt relief
If you have bad credit and a lot of credit card debt, you may want to consider debt relief. While debt relief services have pros and cons, many people use them successfully to consolidate credit card debt and lower their monthly payments. You may also want to get a personal loan — especially if you can get one at a lower interest rate than you pay on a credit card.
Wait and build your credit score
If you’re looking to use a 0% introductory APR card to finance large purchases with no interest, you should wait and build your credit before applying. This way you get the benefits of zero interest and the benefits of good credit.