Maybe you're the kind of person who doesn't mind traveling a few miles off the beaten path for a great deal. Drive out of town to hit the outlets? Sure. Load up on bath tissue at the warehouse club like it's Y2K all over again? Yes, absolutely. If that's how your friends describe you, it's time for a trip to Lafayette, Louisiana. There, a little bank you've never heard of has spent over a century refining one of America's best low interest credit cards.
Once known as Iberia Savings Bank, this regional bank has served communities along the Gulf Coast for more than 125 years. Iberia's roots as a building and loan association instilled a pragmatic approach to lending into the company. As competitors struggled to endure the Gulf's economic and ecological crises, IberiaBank grew its base by acquiring banks in Florida, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Oklahoma. Thanks to phone and Internet banking, the company opened its credit card accounts to customers nationwide.
Low interest, basic credit card perks, and that's all
The IberiaBank Visa Classic may remind experienced balance surfers of their very first credit card. It's a simple, no-frills Visa. No secret technology and no gimmicks. The account offers a grand total of five cardholder perks:
- Fraud reporting
- Emergency cash
- Emergency card replacement
- Auto rental collision damage waiver
- Roadside assistance
By the way, you still have to pay a fee for the roadside dispatch. That's how no-frills this card can be. There's no annual fee for the account, but you'll have to pay a $5 shipping fee when you request additional cards.
Excellent credit only
IberiaBank takes a contrarian approach to new customer recruitment. Unlike most banks, who pepper each other's customers with instant approval credit card offers, IberiaBank takes a meticulous approach to on-boarding new cardholders. Although 2009 rule changes now require banks to set credit card limits based on an applicant's ability to repay their debt, IberiaBank requires prospective members to supply proof of at least six months' employment income. A single ding on your credit report will likely disqualify you from contention for a card, especially if you live far from an IberiaBank branch.
Best low interest card for occasional expenses, emergency spending
To qualify for this card, you've got to have an income and a track record of paying your bills on time. That means you probably don't need to float a balance very often. When you do, IberiaBank Visa Classic backs you up with a variable APR that uses one of the smallest "spread" amounts from the prime rate. There are two higher tiers, still competitive with most low interest cards from national banks. This card will work best for consumers who may need to float the cost of a purchase every so often.
How IberiaBank Visa Classic compares to other low rate cards
With such low interest rates, only a handful of credit cards can compete on price alone. Simmons First Visa Platinum typically matches IberiaBank's finance charge structure, offering rates into the low 7 percent range for qualified applicants. Of the major card issuers, only Barclaycard US comes close. Its highly publicized Barclaycard Ring credit card still bottoms out at only an 8 percent variable APR. Low interest rates are great if you intend to carry a balance, but the type of consumer who will qualify for this card may find more value in a rewards credit card instead.
Highlights: Iberiabank Visa® Classic
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- No annual membership fee
- Low variable rate of 7.25%, 10.25%, or 13.25% based on the creditworthiness. This APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.
- Low Introductory APR on balance transfers of 1.99% for your first 6 billing cycles, this rate will not change during the introductory period. Applies to balance transfers processed within three months of your account open date. After that, your APR will be the same as your assigned purchase rate, based on your creditworthiness. This APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.
6 billing cycles
7.25%, 10.25% or 13.25% Variable