Low APR Credit Cards or 0 APR Introductory ? Which is Better?

Posted by Nick Niesen on October 29th, 2010

Comparing low APR credit cards to all the 0 APR Credit Cards can be a long and troublesome chore and you may still have problems deciding which one to choose from. When you see all of the various incentive programs, rewards, and, of course, the 0 APR feature you may think you should jump in and get that card before the offer expires. But are the benefits really worth the price you will have to pay after the introductory offer expires or are low APR credit cards instead a better choice?

First, look at the incentive programs offered by the various companies. If you do not travel all the time, then one with rewards of air miles is one you can ignore, and so on and so forth. If you are just trying to decide on a regular credit card without all the free incentives that you can earn and you just desire to learn if low APR credit cards or 0 APR Credit Cards are better, then you can now compare these two types of offers.

So ask yourself these questions:
-Do you wish to have a credit card to purchase something expensive that you cannot afford without putting it on credit?
-How long will the 0 APR last?
-After the introductory period ends, how will the APR change?
-Are there membership fees, annual fees, etc??

If you really need to buy something expensive then the 0% APR can look very appetizing, however if you will not be able to pay off your purchase by the end of the introductory special, you may learn that you will be paying more in the long run with higher interest rates. If you buy something expensive with a low APR credit card, of course you will have to pay interest, but the APR will not rise drastically after the introductory special. This can make a big difference if you do not pay off the debt within the timeframe of the introductory offer only to be left with a much, much higher APR to pay off. The low APR credit cards have the advantage of a sustainable APR and may even save you more money over time.

Remember, the introductory special will not last forever, most credit cards companies have introductory APR offers that last from 3 months to as long as 15 months. Then you will go to a higher APR. Therefore, low APR credit cards might, in fact, be a better solution for some consumers.

The best way to decide is to calculate the big purchase that you wish to make, see how much balance you will have left on your card when the special APR is gone and then see if it is still lower than what you will pay with low ongoing low APR credit cards.

Most importantly, regarding any credit card offer, you need to learn to ask questions and read the fine print. Are there any other fees that apply with low APR credit cards? It is always best to choose a credit with lower fees, lower interest rates and of course one that will fit your needs. Low APR credit cards do not change once the introductory time period is over which is a very big plus.

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Nick Niesen

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Nick Niesen
Joined: April 29th, 2015
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