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The minute my husband and I decided to replace our above-ground pool that exploded the day we moved into our new home, I knew I wanted to open a new credit card. Despite having $7,000 on hand to pay for a nicer pool, I thought this would be a good opportunity to rack up some rewards points.

Plus, many of these credit cards have introductory 0% APR offers — a certain period of time to pay off purchases without and interest, freeing up our cash flow. With this in mind, here’s how I’m planning on taking advantage of 0% APR offers.

Make Sure You Can Pay Off the Balance

Before looking at credit cards, I wanted to be certain that I could pay off the balance within the introductory period. Most 0% APR offers are anywhere between 12-18 months. As I mentioned earlier, my husband and I had the cash to pay the pool off now, so that wasn’t a major concern.

Nonetheless, we wanted to create a line item in our budget so we knew the minimum we needed to pay off each month to avoid interest once the introductory period was over. To be safe, we broke down the estimated cost of our pool by 12 months — about $583 per month. That way, we wouldn’t negate any bonuses or rewards earned during that time if we wound up paying interest.

We also checked our credit score to make sure it was still good. To be frank, most 0% APR offers require excellent credit — check yours to see whether there’s a chance you could qualify. Both my husband and I had excellent credit, so we moved onto our other financial goals. Were we interested in saving money on our pool (therefore getting a cash back rewards card) or did we want to try our hand at earning points toward free travel?

If you’re looking at opening a 0% APR credit card, I suggest that you look at the criteria my husband and I used. That way, you can get extra perks besides the ability to pay off a large purchase interest-free.

0% APR Credit Cards To Consider

Once we worked out what some of our criteria were, it was easier for me to compare cards, including how long the introductory periods were and other benefits that were included.

You can visit the Balance Transfer section of Slickdeals’ Credit Card marketplace to compare current 0% APR offers:

Pay No Interest for a Limited Time

Here Are the Best Balance Transfer Cards

Visit the Marketplace
dollar sign made out of money

Right now, I’m still debating whether a cash-back card is worth it or it’s better for my family to steer toward travel rewards cards. Sure, I’d love to save money on our purchases, but I have a cash-back rewards card that I love, so I am not sure if I really want to add another one to my collection.

Besides, I have dreams of being able to take my family on a trip to Europe in a year or so, which means I should probably start hoarding up rewards points so I don’t have to pay for flights and hotels.

Whichever card I end up choosing, I’m happy to know that there are no shortage of 0% APR introductory offers out there.

SL

Sarah Li Cain

Sarah Li Cain is a finance and lifestyle writer whose work has appeared in places like Bankrate, Business Insider, Redbook, Endless Vacation, LendingTree and Financial Planning Association. She's also the host of Beyond The Dollar, where her and her guests have deep and honest conversations on how money affects your well being. As a lifelong traveler who has lived in five countries so far, she's obsessed with finding the best deals all over the world. In her spare time she likes to garden, practice yoga and hang out with her family.