Best low interest credit cards of 2019 from our partners
Consider using the best low interest credit cards for balance transfers from a high-APR card or simply to pay lower interest. There are credit cards out there that offer low ongoing APRs.
Some are no-frills cards without annual fees, while others feature rewards programs and card perks. 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. Our real focus here, though, is the cards that offer low ongoing interest rates. An introductory 0 percent 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.
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.
Now, let's take a look at the best low-interest credit cards in multiple categories.
Best low interest credit cards
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.
Annual Fee: None
Intro APR: None
Ongoing Interest Rate: 10.50% 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.
Best with low ongoing interest and a 0 percent introductory period
Cards with the longest 0 percent 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.
Discover it® Balance Transfer
Why We Like It: This card offers you an introductory six months of 0 percent 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% balance transfer fee) and six months of no interest on purchases.
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).
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.
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% when you open your account, based on your credit worthiness.* Your APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.
More Details: You get a $100 statement credit 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.
Best low interest and rewards credit cards
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: 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 0 percent 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.
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.
Annual Fee: $0
Intro APR: 12 months no interest on balance transfers.
Ongoing Interest Rate: 11.99% to 17.99% Subject to credit approval.* Your APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.
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.
Best for bad/limited credit
Green Dot primor® Visa® Gold Secured Credit Card
(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)
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.
Best for traveling abroad
Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard®
Why We Like It: The Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard® gives you low ongoing interest, no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees. It also offers you no balance transfer fees on transfers made AFTER the first 45 days (in the first 45 days, the fee is 2 percent of each transfer or $5, whichever is greater). This combination makes the card an excellent option for people looking to transfer a balance from a high-APR card or use the card during that vacation abroad.
Annual Fee: $0. See Rates and Fees
Intro APR: Enjoy 15 months no interest on balance transfers made within the first 45 days.
Ongoing Interest Rate: 14.24% Variable
More Details: Most credit cards charge a higher interest rate for cash advances, but not this one. You'll receive the same low interest rate whether you're making everyday purchases, transferring a balance or taking out a cash advance (there is a $3 fee for each cash advance, but that's pretty standard). Yet another reason this is a nice card to have in your pocket when you travel abroad.