5 Credit Cards to Help You Navigate Your Finances Post-Divorce

Tragedy and identity theft is never a good thing, but in this case, it positively impacted a woman's credit.

[Disclosure: Cards from our partners are reviewed below.]

Separation and divorce can be a time of great upheaval—both emotionally and financially. You may be simultaneously paying off debt and lawyers’ fees, making purchases for a new home, and closing joint accounts you held with your spouse.

These issues can cause financial headaches, but a responsibly managed credit card could be just the lifeline you’re looking for. Credit cards with 0% introductory annual percentage rate (APR) offers can be a way to help you pay off more principal and pay less interest if used efficiently—which, in turn, can help you reduce debt and start out on the right path to building your new life.

Here are five credit cards that can help the recently divorced avoid interest.

1. Citi Simplicity

Rewards: None

Sign-Up Bonus: None

Annual Fee: $0

Balance Transfer Fee: The greater of either $5 or 3% of the transfer amount.

APR: 0% APR for 21 months on purchases and balance transfers, then variable 14.49% to 24.49% APR.

Why We Picked It: The sheer length of this card’s intro 0% APR offer is impressive.

For the Newly Divorced: With this card, you’ll see 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 21 months—a period that outshines most competitors. That’s nearly two years to pay off your debt and make purchases interest-free.

Drawbacks: There are no rewards with this card.

2. Chase Freedom Unlimited

Rewards: 1.5% cash back on purchases.

Sign-Up Bonus: $150 bonus cash back when you spend $500 in the first three months.

Annual Fee: $0

Balance Transfer Fee: The greater of either $5 or 5% of the transfer amount.

APR: 0% APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then variable 15.99% to 24.74% APR.
Why We Picked It:
You’ll get 15 months of 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers, plus a nice cash-back incentive for purchases.

For the Newly Divorced: All purchases earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back reward, which takes some of the sting out of your post-divorce expenses. Purchases and balance transfers see 0% APR for 15 months, and the sign-up bonus has a low spending threshold.

Drawbacks: Some competing cards offer better cash-back rates.

3. Discover it – 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer

Rewards: 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter for rotating bonus categories, 1% cash back on other purchases.

Sign-Up Bonus: Though not a traditional sign-up bonus, Discover will match all cash back earned with this card in the first year.

Annual Fee: $0

Balance Transfer Fee: 3% of the transfer amount.

APR: 0% APR for six months on purchases and 18 months on balance transfers, then variable 11.99% to 23.99% APR.

Why We Picked It: Balance transfers receive a long interest-free payback period. Plus, there are many ways to earn great cash-back rates.

For the Newly Divorced: This card earns 5% cash back on spending categories that rotate every quarter; categories this year have included gas stations, home improvement stores, and wholesale clubs. You’ll get just six months of 0% APR on purchases, but balance transfers get an impressive 18 months of 0% APR. Plus, Discover’s first-year cash-back match offer on this card only strengthens the initial value.

Drawbacks: You’ll have to wait over a year to get your first-year cash-back matching bonus.

4. Citi Double Cash Card

Rewards: Unlimited 1% cash back on every purchase, with an additional 1% upon payment.

Sign-Up Bonus: None

Annual Fee: $0

Balance Transfer Fee: The greater of either $5 or 3% of the transfer amount.

APR: 0% APR for 18 months on balance transfers, then variable 14.49% to 24.49% APR; variable 14.49% to 24.49% APR on purchases.

Why We Picked It: The card offers 18 months with no interest on balance transfers and a strong cash incentive to pay off purchases quickly.

For the Newly Divorced: 18 months of 0% APR on balance transfers is a great amount of time to pay down the principal. Plus, you’ll earn cash back a second time on every purchase when it’s paid off.

Drawbacks: You must pay off a purchase in full to earn the full cash back rate. Balance transfers must be completed within the first four months of the account opening.

5. BankAmericard Credit Card

Rewards: None

Sign-Up Bonus: None

Annual Fee: $0

Balance Transfer Fee: $0 for 60 days, then the greater of either $10 or 3% of the transfer amount.

APR: 0% APR for 15 months on balance transfers made within 60 days of the account opening, as well as on purchases, then variable 12.99% to 22.99% APR.

Why We Picked It: For those with balance transfers to make, this card offers a decent intro 0% APR period and waives balance transfer fees for a limited time.

For the Newly Divorced: You’ll get a 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and select balance transfers. Balance transfers made in the first 60 days won’t incur a fee, which could offer substantial savings.

Drawbacks: There are no rewards or sign-up bonuses with this card. Balance transfers must be made within 60 days from the date you open your account to qualify for 0% APR for 15 months.

How to Pick a Credit Card to Avoid Interest Post-Divorce

When choosing a card with a 0% APR offer, make sure to check the APR that kicks in once the introductory period expires. Ideally, it should be lower than the APR of cards you currently hold or recently held, although if your credit took a hit during your divorce, you may not be able to secure the best APR available.

If you have balance transfers to make, check the associated fees. Some cards waive balance transfer fees for a limited time, while others will automatically charge you for the privilege of moving your balance over. This can get pricy if you have large balances or multiple transfers to make.

Finally, if your finances are in a rocky state post-divorce, you’ll want to use your card responsibly and pay down purchases and balance transfers before the 0% intro APR period expires. Try to estimate the monthly payment required to do that. And while you’re paying off a balance transfer, you may want to avoid putting additional purchases on your new credit card until it’s paid down.

What Credit Is Required to Get a Card with a 0% Intro APR Period?

Cards with strong 0% intro APR offers usually require good to excellent credit. To increase your chances of approval, you should know your credit score before you apply.

During a divorce, accounts are opened and closed, and debts are shifted around. It’s important to monitor your credit after a divorce to track how you’ve been affected. You can check two of your credit scores for free at Credit.com.

Image: martin-dm

At publishing time, the Citi Simplicity Card, Chase Freedom Unlimited, Discover it, and Citi Double Cash Card cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees, and terms for credit cards, loans, and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees, and terms for credit cards, loans, and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees, and terms with credit card issuers, banks, or other financial institutions directly.

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