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I’m currently learning about personal finance and I just found out that there are some credit cards that will give zero interest rate for a certain period of time (10-20 months).

I know that to get a credit card you have to apply for one and get approved but what happens if you cancel the card later (with no remaining balance) and reapply for the same card? Would you be able to get the same promotional offer again?

Also would applying and cancelling repeatedly be a bad thing for credit score even if there is no balance in the cards and ignoring credit history length because I could just have a credit card that I hold onto long term?

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    Realize that 0 APR offers have strict rules, and they are counting on a significant percentage of people violating the rules. Violate the rules and the APR goes to a ridiculously high amount. Try to outsmart them and they may outsmart you.
    – Mattman944
    Dec 13, 2023 at 4:03
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    Even if you can't get the same card again there's usually others - moneysavingexpert.com/credit-cards/stooze-cash-credit-cards Dec 13, 2023 at 21:20

4 Answers 4

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Would you be able to get the same promotional offer again?

You can't get the promotional offers on the same card immediately, and some are once in a lifetime. You might be able to string together multiple 0% APR promotions across different cards long enough that you could qualify for the first card again. This isn't a very good idea though. 0% is only beneficial if you're carrying a balance which isn't a great idea. They're hoping you have a late payment or break some other rule that kicks you out of the promotion and into a fat interest rate.

You're also likely not getting the best rewards on a 0% APR card, since the cost of credit card rewards are baked into prices it makes sense to get a card that has competitive rewards.

Also would applying and cancelling repeatedly be a bad thing for credit score...

It's not great for your credit score, but short-term cards don't hurt much once you have a decent credit history. You'd want to open some other card and keep it as your oldest line of credit.

If you want to know how often you can get the rewards for various cards, you can search for credit card churning. You'll find good info on how much impact churning has on credit score too. It's a way that some people make extra money, but it takes a fair bit of work and discipline.

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    The sentiment of this answer is of course correct and I would never try this approach but a 0% APR loan is a lot like free money (just invest in bonds if you want to play it safe). So if a reliable 0% APR free loan is available it is definitely a good idea to carry a (negative) "balance" (as opposed to the usual high credit card APR's where you definitely should not). The problem here is that it will not be reliable.
    – Kvothe
    Dec 13, 2023 at 15:39
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    Decades ago, I used an approach of revolving debt on 0% offers to get out of debt. I would keep a stack of 0% offers and when I was getting close to the end of the one where my debt was sitting, I would apply for a new one and transfer the remaining debt (I was paying it down as well) and close the account. This actually was a 'pro' for my credit score because I had an extensive history of paying off debts on time. Things change but it's not always intuitive what will hurt or help your score. Closing CC accounts can hurt, for example.
    – JimmyJames
    Dec 13, 2023 at 18:59
  • In addition to churning, the current interest rate climate is quite favourable to stoozing, which is a profitable reason to maintain a 0% card balance for those who have access to them and the discipline to keep them correctly serviced.
    – Will
    Dec 15, 2023 at 9:57
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There is already a great answer here, but I'd like to add something that is slightly more than a comment. You wrote:

what happens if you cancel the card later (with no remaining balance)

and

would applying and cancelling repeatedly be a bad thing for credit score even if there is no balance in the cards

If you are able to pay off your balance every month, then the interest rate is irrelevant, and if you aren't able to pay off your balance every month, then 0 APR teaser rates are a great way to find yourself in a lot of debt.

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  • If you can pay off the balance every month, then instead you could pay off the minimum and leave the rest of the money in a savings account. Then when the 0% offer is about to expire, you cash in the savings and pay off the card.
    – Simon B
    Dec 13, 2023 at 20:39
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    @SimonB Yes, but 10 months of savings account interest is probably approximately zero, and 10 months of investment results in short term capital gains as well as risk. I suppose there is the liquidity advantage, but if they need to use that liquidity, that still exposes the person to whatever the interest rate of the card is after the teaser rate expires.
    – Tashus
    Dec 13, 2023 at 20:58
  • @Tashus Agreed, even at 5.25% on a 12-month CD at the moment, 4.35% on my savings account. It could be worthwhile to some, but I wouldn't recommend it.
    – Hart CO
    Dec 13, 2023 at 23:28
  • If you already have a debt it seems obvious that 0% on that debt is better than higher percentage. It also can help you get out of debt faster. It's not likely that a person who is paying off the balance every month would be attracted to the 0% for obvious reasons, but saying that " 0 APR teaser rates are a great way to find yourself in a lot of debt" is very subjective and misleading. It can be exactly the other way around (providing you did the math). Dec 16, 2023 at 1:55
  • All too many people do forget that the 0% rate is not forever, borrow too much on that card, don't pay it back in time, and find themselves suddenly paying high interest rates on a large balance. If you have the self-discipline to avoid that trap, you probably also have the self-discipline to pay the full balance every month and make interest a non-issue. The fact that this can be leveraged safely does not, alas, mean that most people will do so, or that there's enough potential leverage there to be worth the effort.
    – keshlam
    Dec 16, 2023 at 6:03
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I previously managed several credit cards, often getting one with a 0 APR ahead of big expenses. Some banks offered cash rewards for meeting spending targets in the initial 3 months, allowing me to benefit from the 0 APR and earn extra money. This method was useful in handling my larger financial obligations. An excess of credit cards might contribute to headaches. It's important to note that maintaining a consistent balance clearance each month renders the interest rate inconsequential, but failure to do so can lead to substantial debt, making 0 APR teaser rates a potentially risky choice.

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0% APR is a trash reward unless you need to responsibly use the CC as a personal short-term loan.

Realistically, it doesn't matter which CC you have as long as the yearly fee is zero and you pay the balance in full when the bill comes.

As for the idea of re-applying for a CC, I've found the wait time is usually 12-36 months.

I typically sign up for CC's which tout things like:

$200 credit if you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months

Essentially, 20% cashback on money was gonna spend anyways?? Sign me the funk up! I've signed up for 4 CCs in a single week before because I was planning on a large purchase anyways. Why use cash or settle for my main CC's paltry 1-3% cashback when the new CC will reward me handsomely for using them?

The same CC sent me the same offer a few months later and upon applying it let me know that not enough time has passed since my previous acquisition of their card.

Aside from these lucrative promotions, I stick to my main long-term CC which gives me good rewards.

The enticing CCs just end up collecting dust in a box somewhere until they get auto-cancelled for inactivity which typically raises my credit score and makes other banks send me more offers =)

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