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0% APR cards Vs. Sign Up Bonus – Which Will Save You More

Smart Balance Transfers provides in-depth information and insights into credit cards. While we do accept Smart Balance Transfers provides in-depth information and insights into credit cards. While we do accept compensation from credit card companies when consumers visit their websites, we have striven to provide unbiased reviews since 2007.

0 financing store reg credit cardCredit cards are not just useful financial instruments for customers, they are highly profitable products for banks. Therefore, card issuers are willing to go to great lengths in order to attract new customers. Typically, new applicants are offered 0% APR promotional financing on balance transfers and new purchases, a lump sum sign up bonus, or even both.

So with all of these tempting offers, which should applicants focus on?

The case for 0% APR

Interest free promotional financing is a key tool for credit card holders to retire their debt. For example, a cardholder that has $5,000 in debt on a card with a 15% interest rate will incur $446 in interest if paid off over the course of 15 months. But that same cardholder will pay no interest if he or she transfers the balance to the Slate® from Chase card, which offers 15 months of interest free financing on balance transfers, with no fee.

  • Chase Slate named "Best Credit Card for Balance Transfers" two years in a row by Money Magazine
  • $0 Introductory balance transfer fee for transfers made during the first 60 days
  • 0% Introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • New Free Monthly FICO® Score and Credit Dashboard
  • No Penalty APR - Paying late won't raise your interest rate (APR). All other account pricing and terms apply
  • $0 Annual Fee
Purchases Intro
Balance Transfers Intro
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed

0% for 15 months*

0% for 15 months*

12.99%, 17.99%, 22.99% Variable*



But more importantly, a cardholder that is in debt should not be looking at reward cards. As wonderful as these products are, they offer rewards for additional spending which can hurt those who have debt.

The advantage of sign up bonuses

Those who do not have credit card debt should always be looking for ways to maximize their rewards. By paying every statement balance in full, cardholders can avoid all interest charges and let banks compete for their business with rewards. For instance, there are several cards that offer rewards worth hundreds of dollars. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® card offers new applicants 40,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $3,000 within three months of opening a new account. These points are worth $400 as cash back, $500 in travel booked directly through Chase or 40,000 points transferred to any of its airline or hotel partners. And since points and miles can be worth several cents each when used for luxury travel or last minute airline tickets, it is possible to earn over $1,000 from a sign up bonus like this.

But what about both?

While it might seem ideal to get both a sign up bonus and a promotional financing offer, it probably isn’t. Cards with the best sign up bonus usually have no promotional financing. Likewise, the cards with the top 0% APR offers usually have no rewards. That leaves just a few cards with modest rewards and sign up bonuses.

By examining the benefits of both types of offers, credit card applicants can choose the one that best meets their own needs.

Editor's Note: This content is not provided by Citi. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed here are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the Citi or any of the other companies whose products are featured in this content.

About the author

Jason Steele

Jason Steele is a freelance journalist specializing in personal finance and travel and is recognized as an expert in credit cards. He is a regular contributor to many of the top personal finance sites such as Wise Bread and Money Talks News. His work has been frequently carried on mainstream news outlets such as MSN Money, Yahoo, Finance, and Business insider.

Jason lives in Denver Colorado with his wife and two daughters.

– has written 431 posts.

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