The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Tuesday, November 24, 2020

10 Best Purchase APR Credit Cards

Best Purchase Apr Credit Cards

credit card advice

Eric Bank
By: Eric Bank
Posted: November 22, 2019
Advertiser Disclosure

You’d rather pay a low APR instead of a high APR, right? We completely agree! That’s why our experts have chosen to review the best purchase APR credit cards.

There are two aspects to low APRs. The first is the introductory purchase APR, typically 0%, for a set number of months after you open the account. The second is the ongoing APR after the introductory period expires.

The ongoing APR depends on your creditworthiness as indicated by your credit score. If you plan to keep your credit card over the long run (and you should!), your ongoing APR determines how much you’ll pay after the intro period when you don’t repay your full balance each month. If you are a consumer who likes to space out payments over several months, then this review should grab your full attention.

Introductory 0% APR | Low Ongoing APR | FAQs

Best 0% Purchase APR Credit Cards

Credit cards for consumers with good to excellent credit will frequently offer an introductory 0% APR promotion aimed at attracting new cardmembers. It must be working because introductory periods seem to be getting longer.

Naturally, the longer the introductory period, the more valuable the feature. If you have better uses for your money than paying credit card interest on purchases, check out these five cards.

  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
N/A
14.99% - 23.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® card gives new cardmembers a 0% purchase APR after you open the account for a limited time. Once the introductory period expires, you’ll have a variable APR, depending on your credit.

New cardmembers earn a signup bonus after spending a set amount on purchases in the first three months of account opening. They’ll also enjoy a bonus cash back rate on grocery purchases up to a set spending limit in their first year. Tiered cash back rates apply to travel, dining, and drugstore purchases, while all other purchases earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back.

Chase Freedom FlexSM Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

0% INTRO APR RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
N/A
14.99% - 23.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

The Chase Freedom FlexSM differs from the Chase Freedom Unlimited® mainly in how you earn rewards. Both cards share the same 0% purchase APR after you open the account, followed by an ongoing variable APR.

0% INTRO APR RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • One-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 15.49%-25.49% variable APR after that
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
N/A
15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card card provides new cardholders with 15 months of 0% APR on purchases. The rate then becomes a variable APR after the intro period expires.

You get unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases, and the card has no annual or foreign transaction fees.

0% INTRO APR RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 15.49% - 25.49% variable APR after that
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • No annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
N/A
15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card lets you earn unlimited 3% cash back on entertainment and dining, 2% at grocery stores, and 1% on all other purchases. You also get an introductory 0% APR offer on purchases.

The variable APR will kick in after the introductory period expires. This card charges no annual fee and delivers many travel and purchase benefits.

CITI® RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.7/5.0
  • No Late Fees, No Penalty Rate, and No Annual Fee... Ever
  • 0% intro APR offers on both purchases and balance transfers (balance transfer fee applies)
  • Choose a payment due date that works best for you — beginning, middle, or end of the month
  • Stay protected against identity theft with Citi® Identity Theft Solutions
  • $0 liability on unauthorized charges
  • 24/7 access to customer service representatives - save time, just say "representative" when you call, to enjoy fast, personal help
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 18 months
0% for 18 months
14.74% - 24.74% Variable
$0
Excellent/Good

The Citi Simplicity® Card offers a 0% introductory APR to new cardmembers. The introductory period for purchases and balance transfers is 0% for 18 months.

The post-introduction variable APR will be based on your creditworthiness. The card does not charge annual, late, or penalty fees. You also get free access to your FICO score, $0 liability on unauthorized charges, and you can choose your recurring payment date.

Best Low Ongoing Purchase APR Credit Cards

Introductory rates are great, but eventually, they are replaced by the card’s ongoing APR. Over the long run, you’ll do best using cards with low APRs and small or no annual fees.

6. Discover it® Cash Back

This card is currently not available.

Low APR Rating

★★★★★
N/A

OVERALL RATING

N/A
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

The Discover it® Cash Back offers a range of ongoing purchase APRs. Your exact rate depends on your creditworthiness and varies with changes to the Prime Rate. The ongoing APR kicks in after the introductory APR period for new cardmembers.

7. Discover it® chrome

This card is currently not available.

Low APR Rating

★★★★★
N/A

OVERALL RATING

N/A
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

The Discover it® chrome offers an introductory APR after opening the account. The card has impressive cash back rewards and provides a free FICO Credit Score.

LOW APR RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔®
  • Redeem on travel—from vacation rentals to car rentals and more. Plus transfer your miles to over 10+ travel loyalty programs
  • No foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.24% - 24.49% (Variable)
$95
Excellent, Good

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card card is a miles card that charges an ongoing variable APR based on your creditworthiness. There is no introductory APR offer.

You earn unlimited 2X miles on all purchases, every day, and there is an impressive signup bonus if you meet the time frame and purchase requirements. You also get a statement credit of up to $100 to reimburse you for Global Entry or TSA Pre√ fees.

LOW APR RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates and fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Transfer your miles to over 10+ travel loyalty programs
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
N/A
15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card card has an ongoing purchase APR that is based on your creditworthiness. New cardholders get a 0% introductory APR after opening the account.

All purchases with the card earn 1.25X miles. The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card charges no annual fee or foreign transaction fees.

10. Discover it® Miles

This card is currently not available.

Low APR Rating

★★★★★
N/A

OVERALL RATING

N/A
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

The Discover it® Miles has a standard variable APR that kicks in following the introductory APR time period.

You can use your miles to pay for travel purchases (with no blackout dates) or redeem them for cash. The card provides free Social Security number alerts and FICO credit scores.

What is the Best APR for a Credit Card?

Well, you can’t beat 0%, and that’s what you get if your card offers a 0% introductory rate. During the introductory period, any purchases you pay for over more than one month will not incur any interest charges.

This is great for when you make a big-ticket purchase. The cards with the longest 0% introductory period, 15 months, are the Chase Freedom Flex℠, Chase Freedom Unlimited®, and Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card cards. One card, the Citi Simplicity® Card, offers a generous introductory period of 0% APR on balance transfers.

In terms of ongoing APRs, the cards in this review with the lowest rates are the Discover it® Miles card and the Discover it® Cash Back. Only customers with excellent credit will get this rate.

Generally, credit unions offer low-interest credit cards with APRs below those offered by banks. The reason is that credit unions are nonprofit institutions run by and for their members.

You must qualify in some way for membership at most credit unions. The basis for membership can be where you live, work, or worship, among others. Members enjoy lower rates on credit and higher ones on savings.

What is a High APR for a Credit Card?

There are no hard and fast rules, but generally, you can consider APRs above 24% as high. A survey by U.S. News & World Report found that the average U.S. APR for credit cards is in the range of 16.68% to 23.7%. Most credit cards have variable APRs that can change over time as benchmark interest rates, such as the Federal Funds Rate, fluctuate.

Typically, folks with bad credit will have trouble qualifying for low-APR credit cards. Many credit cards for bad credit charge an APR of 29.99% or higher. If you have bad credit but want to lower your APR, you can try a couple of strategies:

  1. Become an authorized user: As an authorized user of someone else’s credit card, you can purchase items on the card at a relatively low APR if the primary user has good credit.
  2. Get a secured card: A secured card is backed by cash in a locked bank account. Since this reduces the risks of non-payment, secured credit cards offer lower rates than do comparable unsecured ones.

You can also take steps to improve your credit score, such as on-time bill payment and debt reduction, which may give you access to low-APR credit cards.

How Can I Avoid Interest on My Credit Card?

You need to know how credit cards calculate interest. Credit cards have billing cycles that last from 28 to 31 days. When you receive your credit card bill, it shows a balance as of the end of the billing cycle’s last day.

Most credit cards offer a grace period in which you can pay off your balance and avoid interest charges. The grace period extends about 21 to 24 days beyond the billing cycle’s end date.

By paying your balance in full before the end of the grace period, which is known as the due date, you avoid interest charges on your balance. Voilà, a 0% APR!

Charge cards usually require you to pay your balance each month or they will extract a late fee from you. However, some charge cards offer extended billing for balances above a set figure.

Many credit cards offer 0% APR on balance transfers during the first months after opening an account. You can transfer all your high-APR card balances to a new card with a 0% APR for the promotional period and thereby save on your interest costs.

Note that you will usually have to pay a fee for each balance transfer. A typical fee is the greater of $5 or 3% to 5% of the transferred amount.

Chart of Potential Balance Transfer Savings

Ideally, you will pay off your balance before the introductory period ends. Introductory periods for 0% balance transfers can run as long as 21 months.

Can I Ask My Card Company for a Lower Interest Rate?

You may indeed, and your chances are good that you’ll be approved. We’ve seen surveys in which the odds approach 70% that you’ll receive a lower interest rate.

The odds increase if you have exhibited creditworthy behavior, such as paying your bills on time and keeping your credit utilization in check. It also helps to make your request reasonable — don’t be asking for a 0% rate because that’s not in the cards, so to speak.

You have a couple of options if you are turned down. The first is to raise your credit score.

FICO Credit Score Factors

You can do this by checking your credit reports for errors and having those errors removed. This can have an immediate and positive impact on your score.

Also, you should understand the five components of your credit score and how the score is calculated:

  1. Your payment history (35% of your score)
  2. The amounts owed (30%)
  3. Length of your credit history (15%)
  4. New credit (10%)
  5. Credit mix (10%)

By successfully addressing each of these components, you stand a good chance of raising your credit score to the point where your request for a lower interest rate won’t be denied.

Alternatively, you can seek out a credit card with a lower ongoing APR and a 0% introductory APR. Some folks even jump from one card to another when the introductory period is over, but that may not be a good long-term strategy.

In fact, Chase has a 5/24 rule that denies you a new Chase card if you’ve opened five credit accounts in the past two years. Other issuers may be wary about issuing you a new card if they see you constantly jumping around. Nonetheless, if you can find a low APR and stick with it, you’ll enjoy the long-term benefits of less interest paid without mucking up your credit history.

Don’t Overpay for the Convenience of Credit

Our review of the best purchase APR credit cards showcases 10 cards that offer you convenient credit without overcharging for it. Five have the best deals for new cardmembers who want a 0% introductory purchase APR, and five offer low ongoing APRs.

They all charge no annual fee in the first year and provide various additional benefits that may include introductory bonuses, cash, or mile matching after the first year, and generous rewards for purchases. If you like to stretch out payments over multiple billing periods, then one of these cards may be perfect for you.

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