Credit Repair/0% APR Cards
1. Is it okay to carry a balance on a 0% APR card during its intro period as long as you pay the balance before the promotion ends to avoid paying interest (even if you have the means to pay it off in full every month)? It seems like this is a benefit of the low APR otherwise what's the difference between it and another card with a higher APR?
2. Does it appear to lenders that you are not able to manage money if you do this?
Most credit reports do not reflect the interest rates on your accounts. So the interest rate on your credit card is not something the FICO algorithm would account for while scoring your credit file.
Now, lets get to your questions.
1. Yes, it is okay to carry a balance on a 0% APR credit card during its' intro period, especially when doing a balance transfer from a high APR credit card. This makes great financial sense and save you money. But, having said that, there's one very important thing to keep in mind. If the balance on your credit card exceeds 20% of the credit limit, your credit score will decrease.
What you need to consider is timing. During the 0% APR promotional period, what is more important for you, your credit score, or cash on hand? If you are going to be utilizing your credit within the 0% promotional period by applying for a mortgage, auto loan, or other credit cards, it would be in your best interest to pay down your credit card to a utilization rate of 20% or less. But, if you're not going to be using your credit or applying for any loans, you can utilize as much of the credit limit as you would like and make small monthly payments on the credit card. Once you pay down your credit card, your credit score will go back up.
Managing your money and managing your credit are not always one and the same. Keeping a high balance on a low interest rate credit card may make great financial sense, but it will negatively impact your credit scores and make you look like you are living off your credit card.
2. Yes, keeping a high balance on your credit card will make you look like you're not managing your money well, although the reality is quite the opposite. That is why you should pay down your credit cards as low as possible, 45-60 days before applying for a loan.