Are Zero Percent Credit Cards Really Worth It?

Many consumers are lured into getting a 0 percent purchase credit card, especially if they are the types of people who do not pay their bills on time or in full each month and do not want to deal with the high interest rates associated with most credit cards.

If you do not want to be penalized for not meeting your payment deadline each month, 0 percent purchase credit cards may sound like the best thing for you, but you need to know that these cards also come with their own set of drawbacks, so while they may be tempting indeed, you need to be smart about whether or not they are the right kind of credit cards for you.

The Zero Percent Interest is Only Introductory

That tempting 0 percent purchase credit card may make it seem like you will never have to pay interest on late payments, but this is definitely not the case. Be sure to read the fine print with any offer you get, whether it is for a regular credit card or 0 percent purchase credit cards. What you will find is that the great introductory interest rates, whether they are low or actually zero percent, are only temporary. This means that you can enjoy the perks for a few months or the first year, but if you get carried away and have a large balance to pay off when the introductory interest rate expires, you will be paying high interest on that balance. This will certainly be difficult to handle, especially if you typically do not have the money to pay off your expenses each month.

Do You Really Qualify?

You may receive offers from 0 percent purchase credit cards in the mail, but keep in mind that your credit score will ultimately determine if they decide to accept your application and give you the card. If your credit score is not high – and this is unlikely if you are the type to miss payments or not pay in full each month – you most likely will not be approved for the card. Therefore, if you are aware of the benefits of 0 percent purchase credit cards and you want to get one in the future, make sure you are smart with your spending and paying methods from now so that you have a high enough credit score that will make you a great candidate for these cards down the road.

Check for an Annual Fee

In addition to being aware of the interest rate that will take hold once the introductory zero percent interest rate expires, you need to also be aware of any annual fees that 0 percent purchase credit cards may charge. If there is no annual fee, this is great news for the consumer who does not pay his bills on time or in full because it will not add to the debt that he incurs, but if there is an annual fee, he should make sure he can actually pay it on time.

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Laura is a writer who was researching 0 percent purchase credit cards when she came across the website, uSwitch.com, which provides financial advice and detailed comparisons of the best credit cards available to consumers. Those interested in getting the ideal credit card for their purchasing needs should research before they apply.