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With the coronavirus lockdown in full swing and the economy struggling, many people are looking for 0% interest offers in 2020. Below, you’ll find our top three recommendations for cards that offer an introductory 0% APR. These cards also provide added benefits to those looking to collect rewards or cash back, all with no annual fee.
A quick note on 0% interest cards—it’s tempting to make a large purchase or transfer debt and let it sit for a few months, but take note of how this can affect your credit score. Leaving a large balance on a credit card increases your credit utilization rate. Doing so can have a negative impact on your score. Stay vigilant and remember to keep your credit utilization rate below 10%.
0% Interest Offers in 2020
The following cards all offer 0% interest during coronavirus and through at least the end of 2020. If you need a 0% APR for an extended amount of time and are not interested in rewards, check out some of the cards in our honorable mentions section at the end.
ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard®
The first card on our list is the ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard®. Often the first question we hear about this card is, “what is ABOC?” The Amalgamated Bank of Chicago is a small commercial bank based in (you guessed it) Chicago, Illinois. However, while many small banks have regional requirements, ABOC does not. Anyone living in the United States can (and probably should) apply for this credit card.
The ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard® has no annual fee and has minimal requirements for approval. Most applicants with a FICO credit score in the range of 600-650 can expect a green light for this credit card. But while this card has a low entry barrier, it’s by no means a low-value card. It has an introductory 0% APR on purchases for 12 months and balance transfers for 18 months (with a standard 3% balance transfer fee). This credit card also offers a 5% return on up to $1,500 in rotating categories throughout the year, much like the Discover It or Chase Freedom cards.
How ABOC Rewards Work
That return comes in the form of ABOC Rewards. You can use points to purchase travel at a 1:1 ratio (giving you the full 5% return). You can also receive cash back at a 3:4 ratio (a calculated 3.8% return), or collect gift cards at varying rates. Unfortunately, these points can’t transfer to travel partners, but that’s pretty rare for a credit card with no annual fee.
As a matter of happenstance, the current categories for 5x return include all of the purchases you’re probably making right now. Groceries, restaurants, and transportation (which includes gas, ride sharing, and mass transit) all earn 5x points through June 2020.
A Decent Welcome Offer
New card members also earn a $150 statement credit after spending just $1200 in the first 90 days. While not the most staggering offer, it’s a decent return for a card with no annual fee. The low spending requirement should be easy to hit during coronavirus, even with our reduced spending habits in lockdown.
And when we finally free ourselves from lockdown, this card makes a decent travel companion as well, with no foreign transaction fees. If the travel and entertainment bonus categories for Q3 are any sign of what’s to come, we’ll be planning our next trips very soon!
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa®
The Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® is often overlooked as a contender for 0% interest cards. However, during the coronavirus pandemic of 2020, we’re considering all options. With that in mind, this one is a very strong contender. It offers a healthy return of 1.5% cash back. It also has a generous 0% APR introductory period of 15 months on both purchases and balance transfers (with a standard balance transfer fee of 3%). With these features, you should be able to weather the duration of the lockdown well into next year. The balance transfer must be completed within the first 120 days to maintain the 0% balance transfer interest rate.
Like the ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard®, this credit card also offers a $150 cash back bonus. However, the spending requirement is very attainable at only $500 in three months. One unique feature of this credit card is that, when it says cash back, it literally means cash back. You can take this card to any Wells Fargo ATM and take out rewards in the form of cash, free of charge.
Another great introductory feature of the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® earns you 30% extra when used for digital wallet payments. The bonus covers purchases for the first 12 months made with services like Apple Pay® and Google Pay™. This means you’ll be earning a total of 1.8% cash back for the first 12 months when using your digital wallet.
Finally, one bonus feature that we really appreciate on a no-fee card is the cell phone protection coverage. Just pay your recurring cell phone bill with this card, and you’ll be covered for up to $600 against cell phone damage and theft with a $25 deductible.
Some Factors to Consider
Before you apply for this credit card, keep these factors in mind. First, the minimum recommended credit score for applying is 670, though you’re probably safer with a score of 700. Second, the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® does carry a foreign transaction fee of 3%. This fee more than negates any cash back earnings you would make on those purchases.
Citi Rewards+℠ Card
Our final recommendation for 0% interest in 2020 is the Citi Rewards+℠ Card. We’ve saved it for last, because it’s slightly more difficult to obtain an approval. This is especially true, since credit card issuers have raised their minimum requirements in response to coronavirus. Scores under 700 most likely won’t be approved for this card.
But while this card is a little harder to get, it’s well worth it. First, you’ll get an introductory 0% APR for the first 15 months on balance transfers and purchases. You’ll also earn $150 back when you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days (marketed as 15,000 ThankYou Points).
A Different Way of Earning Points
This card earns a little differently from standard rewards cards. While it earns the normal one ThankYou Point per dollar, every purchase is then rounded up to the nearest 10 points. That means you’ll earn at least 10 points on every purchase, even if it’s only a dollar or two. You’ll also earn 2x ThankYou Points on up to $6,000 in spending at supermarket and gas stations each year. These are two categories we’re still using quite a bit during isolation. And finally, you’ll get 10% of your points back upon redemption for the first 100,000 points you redeem each year.
One important thing to keep in mind is that, with the exception of JetBlue, these points are NOT transferable to travel partners (JetBlue transfers at a 5:4 ratio). In most cases, these points can only be redeemed for cash back or gift cards. However, if you hold the Citi Prestige® or Premier℠ Card, you can combine your ThankYou Points and gain access to more transfer partners.
The Citi Rewards+℠ Card does carry a foreign transaction fee, so you’ll definitely want to avoid using it abroad. Having said that, if you aren’t travel hacking yet, this card can be a great introduction to the points game before jumping into an annual fee card.
Honorable Mentions for 0% Interest During the 2020 Coronavirus Recession
The above credit cards are the best recommendations we have for combined benefits of 0% interest offers in 2020 and points or cash back. However, the following options may be helpful if you’re looking for a longer period of 0% interest during coronavirus and aren’t concerned with rewards.
The Wells Fargo Platinum Card has similar benefits to the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa®, including cell phone protection and no annual fee. It also carries an extended 18 months of 0% interest on purchases and qualifying balance transfers. The downside, however, is that this card does not earn rewards.
If you are strictly looking for a long-term 0% interest card, consider the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card. It is tough to beat with almost two years of 0% interest on balance transfers. However, this card also does not earn rewards, and purchases are limited to 12 months of 0% interest.
The ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard®, the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa®, and the Citi Rewards+℠ Card are three great options for 0% interest offers in 2020. They all carry no annual fee, offer at least 12 months of 0% interest on both purchases and balance transfers, and have unique rewards earning potential in categories that make sense during the pandemic lockdown. None of these cards require perfect credit, and that’s especially true for the offering from ABOC.
If you aren’t concerned with rewards and simply want as much time with 0% interest as possible, then consider either the Wells Fargo Platinum Card or the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card, which offer up to 18 months and 21 months respectively. Not only will you have 0% interest during the coronavirus pandemic, but well into any potential second peaks.