Best low interest credit cards of 2019 from our partners
In an ideal world, you would pay off your credit card balance in full every month and not have to worry about interest that could accrue. But we know this isn't an ideal world and the reality is that sometimes you end up carrying a balance from one month to the next (or longer).
In those situations, it's nice to have a credit card in your wallet that offers a low interest rate or even an introductory 0% rate for a time before going to an ongoing low (relative to many cards) interest rate.
Our real focus in this article is the cards that offer low ongoing interest rates. An introductory 0% period is great, but it's introductory. What if you need a low interest rate three years into your tenure as a card member? That's where these cards really come in handy.
You might think that a low interest rate automatically means minimal perks or no rewards, but you'd be wrong. There are a number of excellent choices that offer the full package: low interest rate, helpful extra perks/features, even the opportunity to earn rewards.
Don't let your need for a low interest rate keep you from looking for a card that will fit into your budget, spending and lifestyle in ways beyond that rate. There are plenty of options out there to consider.
So, let's take a look at the best low interest credit cards in multiple categories.
Why We Like It: The Simmons Visa® doesn't have balance transfer or annual fees. Combine that with a perennially low APR and you get a credit card that allows you to quickly pay down your balance, especially if you're transferring from a high-interest card. It's also why this card routinely makes the CardRatings' "Best credit cards of the year" list.
Annual Fee: None
Intro APR: None
Ongoing Interest Rate: 10.25% variable
More Details: The Simmons Visa® doesn't have a rewards program, but cards that do generally do not have such a low APR. Simmons Visa® isn't completely no-frills though. Cardholders enjoy Visa benefits, including Visa auto insurance for rental cars. You're able to get collision and theft coverage on most rental cars and won't have to pay extra to the car rental company. The card also offers $1 million in travel accident insurance at no additional cost.
Cards with the longest 0% APR periods are generally not the same cards that offer low ongoing interest rates. In the case of the cards below, the ongoing interest rates are relatively low as long as your credit score and history put you on the lower end of the APR range. If you happen to land on the upper end, these are most certainly not the cards for you.
If you anticipate needing a low APR beyond what an intro period can offer you, you're likely better off focusing on cards that offer that low APR as their primary feature.
Why We Like It: This card offers you an introductory six months of 0% APR for purchases and a whopping 18 months of no interest on balance transfers (there is a balance transfer fee to consider). Still, a year-and-a-half without interest charges provides you a nice cushion to pay down that balance you're carrying on a high-interest card. Additionally, this card has a rewards program offering up to 5% cash back on some purchases (details below).
Annual Fee: $0
Intro APR: Intro period of 18 months of no interest on balance transfers, subject to a 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*.
Ongoing Interest Rate: 14.24% - 25.24% Variable
More Details: Cardholders collect 5% back for every $1 spent up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate in different categories including gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants and more. All other purchases, and those over the quarterly spending cap, earn 1% cash back. Plus, Discover matches all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year as a card member. You don't pay foreign transaction fees and your APR won't increase if you miss a payment. There's also no late fee on your first late payment and missing a payment won't hurt your APR. You don't want to get into the habit of missing payments, though, as Discover will still notify the credit bureau of the missed payment.
Why We Like It: The HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card has a generous introductory offer of 0% APR on all balance transfers and purchases for the first 18 months after card activation. This can result in huge cash savings if you transfer a substantial balance from a high-interest card or are planning to make large purchases. There is also no annual fee and no "penalty APR." However, there is a balance transfer fee and an overdraft fee (each is $10 or 4%, whichever is greater) that consumers should be aware of.
Annual Fee: $0. (Terms apply; See Rates and Fees)
Intro APR: Introductory 0% APR for the first 18 months on all purchases and balance transfers. Balance transfers must be posted within the first 60 days after issuance of card.
Ongoing Interest Rate: 13.24%, 17.24% or 21.24% Variable
More Details: The HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card has no rewards program. However, there are some nice perks for cardholders, including one late fee waiver per year, a savings of $37. The card also features price protection, no foreign transaction fee and purchase protection (always nice, just in case). Read our full HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card review.
Why We Like It: The PenFed Gold Visa® Card is a no-frills card meant for someone who wants to transfer a balance from a high-APR card. The card doesn't charge an APR for 12 months on balance transfers, but make sure to pay off the balance within 12 months, so you don't start paying interest. That said, the low end of the interest rate scale is quite low with this card, so if you land on that end of the range, you'll still end up paying less interest than you would with a higher interest card. Plus, you can earn a $100 bonus after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 90 days. If you take advantage of this balance transfer, you will immediately be charged interest on all purchases made with your credit card unless you pay the entire account balance, including balance transfers, in full each month by the payment due date.
Annual Fee: $0
Intro APR: Introductory period of 12 months no interest on balance transfers, subject to a 3 percent balance transfer fee per transaction.
Ongoing Interest Rate: 9.24% to 17.99% Variable
More Details: You get a $100 bonus after you spend $1,500 within the first 90 days. There are no annual fees or foreign transaction fees. Note that you'll need to be a PenFed Credit Union member in order to apply for this card. There are a number of ways to qualify for membership beyond military or government affiliation. Find out more on the Penfed Credit Union website.
Take note here that rewards credit cards are almost always going to have higher APRs than non-rewards cards, so the cards mentioned below have relatively low APRs, though certainly not the lowest on the market. A number of rewards cards feature wide-ranging APRs, which means that an excellent credit score and credit history could land you on the very low end of that range. In that situation, you could find yourself getting a sweet deal with a relatively low APR and the chance to earn rewards.
The caveat, of course, is you won't know where you'll fall on that APR range until after you apply for and are approved for the card. Consider carefully whether it's more important to your lifestyle and spending habits that you earn rewards or that you secure a low ongoing APR before you apply. If the low APR is more important, forgo the rewards in favor of one of the other cards on this list that features a lower APR and no rewards.
Why We Like It: Enjoy a nice intro 0% APR, relatively low ongoing rates as well as rewards that could help you plan your next trip abroad (or do any number of other things with this super flexible Go Far® Rewards program). Get started on the right foot by earning 30,000 Go Far® Rewards points after you spend $3,000 on your new card within the first three months.
Annual Fee: $0
Intro APR: 12 months no interest on purchases.
Ongoing Interest Rate: 15.99%-27.99% Variable
More Details: Earn three points per $1 on dining out and ordering in; three points per $1 spent at gas stations, on rideshares and on transit; three points per $1 on travel, including flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals; three points per $1 on popular streaming services; and one point per $1 spent on everything else. Read our full Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card review.
Why We Like It: The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card gives cash back just for making regular purchases and offers generous perks for a card that doesn't charge an annual fee. It also gives you 15 months with no APR on purchases and balance transfers. Think of how much you could pay down your debt if you didn't pay interest for 15 months.
Annual Fee: $0
Intro APR: 15 months no interest on purchases and balance transfers.
Ongoing Interest Rate: 16.24% - 26.24% (Variable)
More Details: The card offers 1.5 percent cash back for every $1 spent and an introductory $150 cash bonus when you spend $500 in the first three months. The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card offers travel accident insurance, an auto rental collision damage waiver and no foreign transactions fees.
Why We Like It: The PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card doesn't charge an APR on balance transfers for 12 months for new cardholders. Also, cardholders earn 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases and PenFed Honors Advantage Program members get 2 percent cash back. New cardholders can also earn a $100 statement credit when you spend $1,500 in the first 90 days. If you take advantage of this balance transfer, you will immediately be charged interest on all purchases made with your credit card unless you pay the entire account balance, including balance transfers, in full each month by the payment due date.
Annual Fee: $0
Intro APR: 12 months no interest on balance transfers.
Ongoing Interest Rate: 11.99% to 17.99% Variable
More Details: You can use your cash rewards as a statement credit, put it into a PenFed account or transfer to another financial institution. Also note that you'll need to be a PenFed Credit Union member in order to apply for this card. There are a number of ways to qualify for membership beyond military or government affiliation. Find out more on the Penfed Credit Union website.
Why We Like It: The Green Dot primor® Visa® Gold Secured Credit Card has no minimum credit score requirements, which can help you if you've had credit issues. Even more importantly, the card offers a fixed, low APR.
Annual Fee: $49
Intro APR: None
Ongoing Interest Rate: 9.99% (F)
More Details: As a secured card, the Green Dot primor® Visa® Gold Secured Credit Card is meant to help you reestablish credit, so there aren't many perks. Instead, use the card conservatively and make regular payments to help build your credit. Note that this is a secured card, so you'll need to provide a security deposit of at least $200 in order to establish your line of credit.
Why We Like It: The Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card doesn't charge an APR on purchases for the first 12 months, so you can take advantage of a nice introductory 0% period with this card. Plus, the card offers a rewards program and multiple card perks including the chance to earn 20,000 bonus miles when you spend $1,000 within the first three months of card membership.
Annual Fee: $0
Intro APR: 12 months no interest on purchases.
Ongoing Interest Rate: 14.24% - 24.24% (Variable)
More Details: In addition to the 1.25 miles you earn on all your purchases, the rewards program also gives you 10 miles for every $1 spent when you book stays through Hotels.com/Venture, which can help you rack up the miles quickly. The card doesn't charge foreign transaction fees and provides Visa Signature benefits, such as auto rental collision damage waiver and complimentary concierge service. Read our full Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card review.
Why We Like It: Business cards aren't known for their low interest rates nor do they typically have introductory 0% APR periods. This card checks both those boxes and throws in no annual fee plus solid rewards earning for good measure.
Annual Fee: $0
Intro APR: Take advantage of an intro 0% APR on purchases for 12 months.
Ongoing Interest Rate: 15.49% - 21.49% Variable
More Details: New cardholders can earn $500 cash back after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months. On an ongoing basis, earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 you spend each account anniversary year on combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services. Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in an anniversary year on combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants. You earn 1% cash back on all your other purchases. Read our full Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card review.
Why We Like It: With a generous introductory 0% period as well as a super low ongoing APR, this card could be a big help for a business just getting started or looking to take a big step.
Annual Fee: $0.00
Intro APR: There's a nice introductory 0% APR on purchases for the first seven billing cycles.
Ongoing Interest Rate: 11.49% - 22.49% Variable APR on purchases
More Details: While it isn't a rewards card per se, new cardholders can earn a $300 statement credit after making at least $3,000 in purchases on the new card within your first 90 days.
Consider using one of these top low interest credit cards for balance transfers from a high-APR card or simply to pay lower interest on an ongoing basis. Which one is right for you will depend upon a number of factors including your own credit score/history, your financial needs/goals and more.
Some cards are no-frills without annual fees, while others feature rewards programs and card perks, but might charge an annual fee There are cards that offer no interest charges for a period on all purchases and balance transfers, while others limit it to just one or the other. Keep in mind that the ongoing interest rates on these 0% intro cards are often considerably higher than among the cards listed above.
Weigh all the benefits and drawbacks when deciding on a low-interest credit card. Sure, one card may give you 12 months with no interest on a balance transfer, but the card may still charge a balance transfer fee and may have a higher ongoing APR than another card. So, make sure to compare cards to see which one would work best for your situation and in the long run.
Also, keep in mind that when a credit card has an APR range, you may get able to enjoy a low APR, but it depends on your credit history. Potential customers with excellent credit are more likely to get a rate on the lower end of the range.
One last note – If your card has a variable APR, that means it will go up or down depending on the Federal Reserve. Keep that in mind when you're comparing cards.