If you are one of many who has received offers for zero-interest credit cards, you may be asking yourself if opening one would help or harm you in the long run. Typically, these cards allow you to make credit card purchases without paying interest for a predetermined amount of time, after which you must start paying interest.

As you might imagine, credit card companies are unlikely to have a product that is not going to make them money in the long run, and this holds true when it comes to these zero-interest credit cards. If you think they sound too good to be true, you may be right. Unless you have complete trust in your ability to pay off the card in its entirety before the end of the promotional period, you may be remiss to open one at all, and here is why.

They often carry high-interest rates

Sure, that nonexistent interest rate probably sounds great initially, but what happens when your promotional period is over? Often, these zero-interest credit cards carry higher annual percentage rates than cards without no-interest promotional periods, which means you may end up having to pay quite a bit all at once if you carry a remaining balance at the end of the promotional period. This also means you will be paying that high-interest rate on any purchases you make moving forward.

That no-interest period can end if you do not stay current

Unfortunately, having a zero-interest credit card does not mean you do not need to make minimum monthly payments. Just as you would with a typical credit card, you must make minimum monthly payments for your account to stay current and to avoid unwanted attention from debt collectors. If you fail to make those minimum payments, your credit card company may terminate your no-interest period, meaning you must pay considerable interest on purchases you have already made – and those you make in the future.

For many people, zero-interest credit cards do more harm than good. If you find yourself drowning in credit card debt, you may want to avoid opening more credit cards in favor of exploring debt relief options.