The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Thursday, December 8, 2022

10 Best Purchase APR Credit Cards

Best Purchase Apr Credit Cards

credit card advice

Eric Bank

Written by: Eric Bank

Eric Bank

Eric Bank has been covering business and financial topics since 1985, specializing in taking complex subject matters and explaining them in simple terms for consumer audiences. In addition to his work on CardRates.com, Eric has appeared regularly on Credible.com, eHow, WiseBread, The Nest, Get.com, Zacks, Chron and dozens of other outlets. A former software engineer, Eric holds an M.B.A. from New York University and an M.S. in finance from DePaul University.

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Edited by: Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian brings more than 30 years of editing and journalism experience. She has written and edited for major news organizations, including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the New York Times, and she previously served as an adjunct instructor at the University of Florida. Today, she edits all CardRates content for clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement.

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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.

  • INTRO OFFER: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!
  • Enjoy 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 3% on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year).
  • After your first year or $20,000 spent, enjoy 5% cash back on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!
  • Enjoy 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 18.74% - 27.49%.
  • No annual fee - You won't have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Freedom Unlimited® card
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 15 months
18.74% - 27.49% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® card gives new cardmembers an intro 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.

Chase Freedom Flex℠ Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

0% INTRO APR RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more
  • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 18.74% - 27.49%.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 15 months
18.74% - 27.49% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ differs from the Chase Freedom Unlimited® mainly in how you earn rewards. Both cards have introductory 0% APR offers, have no annual fee, and can earn cardholders top dollar in cash back rewards.

0% INTRO APR RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn a 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
  • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Enjoy up to 6 months of complimentary Uber One membership statement credits through 11/14/2024
  • Earn unlimited 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options. Terms apply
  • 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
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
17.99% - 27.99% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

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

You earn cash back on all eligible purchases, and the card has no annual or foreign transaction fees.

0% INTRO APR RATING

★★★★★
4.7

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, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®), plus 1% on all other purchases
  • Earn 10% cash back on purchases made through Uber & Uber Eats, plus complimentary Uber One membership statement credits through 11/14/2024
  • Earn 8% cash back on Capital One Entertainment purchases
  • Earn unlimited 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options. Terms apply
  • 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
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
17.99% - 27.99% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card lets you earn unlimited 3% cash back on entertainment, dining, and grocery stores, as well as 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

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

  • No Late Fees, No Penalty Rate, and No Annual Fee... Ever
  • 0% Intro APR for 21 months on balance transfers from date of first transfer and 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases from date of account opening. After that the variable APR will be 17.74% - 28.49%, based on your creditworthiness. Balance transfers must be completed within 4 months of account opening.
  • There is an introductory balance transfer fee of $5 or 3% of the amount of the transfer, whichever is greater for balances transfers completed within 4 months of account opening.
  • Stay protected with Citi® Quick Lock and $0 liability on unauthorized charges
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR Period 12 months on Purchases
0% Intro APR Period 21 months on Balance Transfers
17.74% - 28.49% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good Credit

Additional Disclosure: Citi is a CardRates advertiser.

The Citi Simplicity® Card offers a 0% introductory APR to new cardmembers. 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.

Discover it® Cash Back Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

LOW APR RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

  • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, and gas stations, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Discover helps remove your personal information from select people-search websites. Activate by mobile app for free.
  • Every $1 you earn in cash back is $1 you can redeem.
  • Get a 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases. Then 15.74% to 26.74% Standard Variable Purchase APR applies, based on credit worthiness.
  • No annual fee.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 15 months
0% Intro APR for 15 months
15.74% - 26.74% Variable APR
$0
Excellent/Good

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.

Discover it® chrome Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

LOW APR RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

  • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.
  • Earn cash back on your next road trip with 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • Discover helps remove your personal information from select people-search websites. Activate by mobile app for free.
  • Every $1 you earn in cash back is $1 you can redeem.
  • Get a 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases. Then 15.74% to 26.74% Standard Variable Purchase APR applies, based on credit worthiness.
  • No annual fee.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 15 months
0% Intro APR for 15 months
15.74% - 26.74% Variable APR
$0
Excellent/Good

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

4.8/5.0
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • 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 a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Enjoy two complimentary visits per year to Capital One Lounges or to 100+ Plaza Premium Lounges through our Partner Lounge Network
  • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
18.99% - 26.99% (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
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Use your miles to get reimbursed for any travel purchase—or redeem by booking a trip through Capital One Travel
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
17.99% - 27.99% (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.

The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card charges no annual fee or foreign transaction fees.

Discover it® Miles Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

LOW APR RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

  • UNLIMITED BONUS: Only Discover gives you an unlimited match of all the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles.  There’s no signing up, no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a Miles-for-Miles match.
  • Automatically earn unlimited 1.5x Miles on every dollar of every purchase - with no annual fee.
  • Redeem Miles to pay any part of your monthly bill, including your minimum payment.
  • Turn Miles into cash in any amount, any time. Or redeem as a statement credit for travel purchases like airfare, hotels, rideshares, gas stations, restaurants and more with no blackout dates. However you redeem, Miles keep the same value. And Miles never expire.
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases. Then 15.74% to 26.74% Standard Variable Purchase APR will apply.
  • Discover helps remove your personal information from select people-search websites. Activate by mobile app for free.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 15 months
0% Intro APR for 15 months
15.74% - 26.74% Variable APR
$0
Excellent/Good

The Discover it® Miles has a standard variable APR that kicks in following the introductory APR 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 industry-leading 0% introductory periods are the Chase Freedom Flex℠, Chase Freedom Unlimited®, and Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card cards.

One card, the Citi Simplicity® Card, offers the longest introductory period 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 FactorsYou 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.

Advertiser Disclosure

CardRates.com is a free online resource that offers valuable content and comparison services to users. To keep this resource 100% free, we receive compensation for referrals for many of the offers listed on the site. Along with key review factors, this compensation may impact how and where products appear across CardRates.com (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CardRates.com does not include the entire universe of available offers. Editorial opinions expressed on the site are strictly our own and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by advertisers.