Low introductory rate credit cards from our partners

By updated on October 1, 2014

If you are planning a major purchase in the next few months and want an easy way to spread the payments out, you may want to consider applying for a zero introductory APR or low introductory rate credit card.  Financing new purchases with a low intro rate credit card can result in big savings.  The introductory period on these credit cards typically ranges from 6 months to 18 months or more.  You'll need good to excellent credit to be considered for most low introductory rate offers.

What are low introductory rate credit cards?

Credit card companies know that savvy consumers are looking for the best rates on credit cards, so sometimes they offer a low interest rate for a limited time period to attract new cardholders. After the initial period, the interest rate will usually rise to a standard interest rate. Often, there are different interest rates charged for balance transfers versus new purchases, so make sure you truly understand the interest rate structure, fees and minimum finance charge to decide whether one of these credit cards works for you.

How do you qualify for a low APR credit card? Credit card companies assign you an interest rate according to the perceived risk that you will default, or fall behind on repaying your credit card debt. If you have poor credit or a history of problems with credit card debt, you may not qualify for a low intro rate credit card. Find out your credit score before you apply and see if you need to improve your credit before you can qualify for zero APR credit cards. Most cards that come with zero or low intro APR require excellent credit.

What should I look for in a low introductory rate credit card offer?

Before you can choose the best credit card for your needs, you must identify your goals. If you have credit card debt to pay with a balance transfer, you should compare the following features:

  1. Initial interest rate
  2. Length of introductory term
  3. Interest rate after the introductory term ends
  4. Balance transfer fee
  5. Annual fee, and whether it is waived the first year

The best low rate credit cards have the longest introductory period with the lowest interest rate and the lowest (or no) annual fee. After checking these elements, be sure to check the minimum finance charge so you can estimate your monthly payments. There are plenty of credit card offers on this page to choose among.

How can I compare the best low rate cards for a balance transfer?

You can use a credit card payoff calculator to estimate the size of your payments and how long it will take you to reduce your balance to zero at various interest rates and payment plans. While it may seem to make sense to jump at a zero percent interest rate, you may be better off with a slightly higher interest rate for a longer period if you won't be able to pay your balance in full before the introductory period ends.

For instance, if you want to pay off a $1,500 credit card bill and find a card with zero percent interest for six months, you would need to make a payment of $250 per month to pay it off in time. If you are charged a balance transfer fee of 5 percent, that adds another $75 to the balance. You may want to look into a card with a low interest rate of 3 percent or 4 percent for 12 months to give yourself more time to completely pay off your credit card debt.

Are there any drawbacks to a low introductory rate credit card?

There are two main pitfalls with a low introductory rate credit card. The first comes along with the word "introductory". This means that the low interest rate that is enticing you to apply for the card is temporary. Make sure you read the fine print and know when the interest rate will rise and how much it will go up before you sign on for a new card. That's why it is so important to compare credit card offers.

The second pitfall is that these cards are generally only available for consumers with good or excellent credit. Before you apply, check out your credit report and see if you need to improve your credit first.

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Chase Freedom®

Editor's Rating

  • This offer is for people with a good to excellent credit history which means, among other things, that your credit history is clear of bankruptcy and seriously delinquent accounts
  • Earn a $100 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn a $25 Bonus after you add your first authorized user and make a purchase within this same 3-month period
Apply Now Credit Needed Good
X

Purchase Intro

APR: 0% Intro APR on purchases

Period: for 15 months

Purchase APR

13.99% - 22.99% Variable

Balance Transfer Intro APR

0% Intro APR on balance transfers

Balance Transfer Intro Period

for 15 months

Annual Fee

$0 

Capital One® Platinum Prestige Credit Card

Editor's Rating

  • Get 0% intro APR on all purchases until December 2015
  • Balance transfers also have a 0% intro APR until December 2015, a 3% fee applies to each balance transferred
  • Enjoy no annual fee
Apply Now Credit Needed Good
X

Purchase Intro

APR: 0% intro on purchases

Period: until December 2015

Purchase APR

10.9% - 18.9% (V) 

Balance Transfer Intro APR

0% intro on balance transfers

Balance Transfer Intro Period

until December 2015

Annual Fee

$0 

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

Editor's Rating

  • Earn unlimited 1.25 miles on every purchase, every day
  • No annual fee
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months, equal to $200 in travel
Apply Now Credit Needed Good
X

Purchase Intro

APR: 0% intro on purchases

Period: until September 2015

Purchase APR

11.9% - 19.9% (V) 

Balance Transfer Intro APR

N/A

Balance Transfer Intro Period

N/A

Annual Fee

$0 

BuyPower Card from Capital One

Editor's Rating

  • Every purchase earns rewards that can help you save toward a new Chevrolet, Buick, GMC or Cadillac vehicle
  • Get 5% Earnings on your first $5,000 in purchases every year
  • Unlimited 2% Earnings on every purchase after that
Apply Now Credit Needed Excellent
X

Purchase Intro

APR: 0% intro on purchases

Period: 12 months

Purchase APR

11.9% - 19.9% (V) 

Balance Transfer Intro APR

n/a

Balance Transfer Intro Period

n/a

Annual Fee

$0 

The Amex EveryDaySM Preferred Credit Card from American Express

Editor's Rating

  • Earn 15,000 points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, then a variable rate, currently 12.99% to 21.99%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors.
  • Earn 50% more points: Make 30 or more purchases with your Card in a billing period and earn 50% more points on those purchases less returns and credits. Terms and limitations apply.
Apply Now Credit Needed Excellent
X

Purchase Intro

APR: 0% on Purchases

Period: for 15 months

Purchase APR

12.99% - 21.99% Variable

Balance Transfer Intro APR

0% on Balance Transfers

Balance Transfer Intro Period

for 15 months

Annual Fee

$95 

Discover it® card

Editor's Rating

  • 0% intro APR on purchases & balance transfers for 14 months--then a variable purchase APR applies, currently 10.99% - 22.99%. A 3% fee applies to each transferred balance.
  • Over 5,000 cardmembers rated 4.8 out of 5 stars* and now Discover "Ranked Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Credit Card Companies in a Tie" by J.D. Power*.
  • Free FICO® Credit Score online and on monthly statements*.
Apply Now Credit Needed Excellent
X

Purchase Intro

APR: 0% Intro APR on purchases

Period: 14 months

Purchase APR

10.99% - 22.99% Variable*

Balance Transfer Intro APR

0% Intro APR on balance transfers

Balance Transfer Intro Period

14 months

Annual Fee

$0 

The Amex EveryDaySM Credit Card from American Express

Editor's Rating

  • Earn 10,000 points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • No annual fee. Plus, 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, then a variable rate, currently 12.99% to 21.99%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors.
  • Earn 20% more points: Make 20 or more purchases with your Card in a billing period and earn 20% more points on those purchases less returns and credits. Terms and limitations apply.
Apply Now Credit Needed Excellent
X

Purchase Intro

APR: 0% on Purchases

Period: for 15 months

Purchase APR

12.99% - 21.99% Variable

Balance Transfer Intro APR

0% on Balance Transfers

Balance Transfer Intro Period

for 15 months

Annual Fee

$0 

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Editor's Rating

  • One-time $100 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories and no sign ups needed to earn cash rewards
Apply Now Credit Needed Good
X

Purchase Intro

APR: 0% intro on purchases

Period: until June 2015

Purchase APR

12.9% - 22.9% (V) 

Balance Transfer Intro APR

0% intro on balance transfers

Balance Transfer Intro Period

until June 2015

Annual Fee

$0 

Chase Slate®

Editor's Rating

  • Pay less interest. Save on balances and new purchases
  • $0 introductory balance transfer fee for transfers made during the first 60 days. After that, the fee for future balance transfers is 3% of the amount transferred with a minimum of $5.
  • 0% Introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After the introductory period ends, a variable APR of 12.99%, 17.99%, or 22.99%.
Apply Now Credit Needed Good
X

Purchase Intro

APR: 0% Intro APR on purchases

Period: 15 months on purchases

Purchase APR

12.99%, 17.99%, or 22.99% Variable

Balance Transfer Intro APR

0% Intro APR on balance transfers

Balance Transfer Intro Period

15 months on balance transfers

Annual Fee

$0 

Citi® Double Cash Card

Editor's Rating

  • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will be 12.99%-22.99%, based on your creditworthiness
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • The only card that earns you cash back TWICE on every purchase with:
Apply Now Credit Needed Excellent
X

Purchase Intro

APR: 0%

Period: 15 months on Purchases*

Purchase APR

12.99% - 22.99%* Variable

Balance Transfer Intro APR

0%

Balance Transfer Intro Period

15 months on Balance Transfers*

Annual Fee

$0* 

US Bank Visa® Platinum Card

Editor's Rating

  • 0% Intro APR* on purchases and balance transfers for 15 billing cycles. After that, a variable APR currently 9.99%-23.99%;
  • No annual fee*;
  • Online bill pay for a fast and convenient way to pay bills online with your U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum;
Apply Now Credit Needed Excellent
X

Purchase Intro

APR: 0%*

Period: 15 billing cycles on purchases*

Purchase APR

9.99% -23.99%* Variable

Balance Transfer Intro APR

0%*

Balance Transfer Intro Period

15 billing cycles on balance transfers*

Annual Fee

$0* 

Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard®

Editor's Rating

  • Earn 20,000 bonus miles when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days - that's enough to redeem for a $200 travel statement credit
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for the first 12 months after account opening. After that, variable APR, currently 14.99% or 18.99%, based upon your creditworthiness.
  • Earn 2X miles on travel and dining and 1X miles on all other purchases
Apply Now Credit Needed Excellent
X

Purchase Intro

APR: 0% Intro APR on Purchases

Period: 12 months

Purchase APR

14.99% or 18.99% Variable

Balance Transfer Intro APR

0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers

Balance Transfer Intro Period

12 Months

Annual Fee

$0