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everything you need to know about 0% credit cards

Credit card debt can feel sooo overwhelming. 

But there is one type of plastic that can help you get out of that slippery slope: 0% credit cards. 

If you’ve been wondering whether you should get one, or itching to know whether it could actually help you pay off credit card debt, keep reading. 

We give you the full DL on everything you need to know to make the best decision for you and your wallet.

👀 6min read

credit card debt

📸: Death to Stock

What are 0% credit cards?

Basically, 0% credit cards function just like a regular credit card, but they (temporarily) do not charge any interest on your balance. 

Normal credit cards charge between 15-30% APR (annual percentage rate: AKA interest) on your unpaid balance. 

This. is. A. LOT. 

If you have to pay this amount of interest every month, it becomes almost impossible to pay off your credit cards. 

0% credit cards can help you chip away at your credit card debt. 

Which is ah-mazing. 

Keep in mind... These puppies aren't 0% forever. But they can act as a solid bridge to get you into a debt-free situation.

Why use 0% credit cards?

In sum: because it’s worth itEspecially if you’re in the red

If you pay off your credit cards in full every month -- no need to use a 0% credit card. You can if you want to, but you might get more from a rewards card instead.

If you do not pay off your credit cards in full every month -- this might be for you. 

If you have credit card debt, and you’ve been making the “minimum payment” thinking you’re in the clear, know this: you are NOT paying the full balance. 

This is very tricky and misleading on credit card sites. They’ll say "paid" or "you owe $0" and that is not true!!!  

Watch this video to see what a paid credit card *actually* looks like.

What to look out for with 0% credit cards?

Can 0% credit cards help you pay off your credit card debt? Yes!

But keep these things in mind before you get one:

  1. You have to apply for a new card -- this will temporarily reduce your credit score. That’s OK though. It's way worse to have the outstanding debt, and all that extra interest on your current card. Just make sure you're not about to take out any other new loans, like a mortgage on a house.
  2. You will have to pay a one-time fee to transfer your balance -- this is typically 3% of your total credit card balance. If you owe $4,000 on a credit card, you'll likely pay around $120 to transfer it. Still worth it, because your interest is WAY WAY WAY more than this.
  3. Mark your calendar: when does your 0% credit card convert back to 15-30% interest? -- The 0% offer is usually 6-18 months. The date is hidden in fine print. Write it down! Don’t forget it. We don’t want you piling up interest accidentally. 
  4. You may not get approved for the amount of credit you want to transfer -- If you have $20k in credit card debt, you might get approved for $10k. That means you can only transfer $10k. That is OK. Cash in on that 0% interest for the amount you get approved for! 
  5. You still need to make the minimum payment on a 0% card!!! -- We can’t stress this enough! Best way is to set up auto-pay for the minimum payment (likely $50-$200 a month) so you never miss it.
  6. You should keep the original credit card open -- Don't cancel it. There’s no need. That will reduce your credit score even more. Alllll the wonderful spending history and credit limit available on your OG card boosts your credit score. Keep it, and lock it in a drawer so you’re not tempted to over-spend. ;) 

How do you transfer to a 0% credit card?

Technology is amazing. When you apply for a 0% credit card, they ask you to enter the credit card number of the card you'd like to transfer the balance from. 

The balance transfer happens automatically within a couple weeks. Srsly. Just like that! Magic.

Does it actually work?

YES! But of course, the MOST important piece of all is your debt payoff plan. 

Lower interest rates can only get you so far. Without a solid plan, you might not be able to cash in on all of the benefits of using a 0% credit card to lower your debt. 

That’s where Penny comes in. We can help you figure out the $$$ you should be paying every month to pay off all your credit cards, and any other debt you’ve racked up.

Truth is, debt doesn’t have to be this scary, invisible monster. That’s what the finance world wants you to think. 

Because those interest fees? That’s cash in their pocket.

And our goal? To keep your cash in your pocket. 

If you want help managing (and clearing) your debt, sign up for Penny today. Our goal is to provide easy and digestible financial education for women-first – so you can increase cash flow today, and retire with wealth tomorrow.

Ready to make smart money moves and crush your #goals? Start with the free money maker quiz

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