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Best low interest credit cards of December 2021

Low interest rates don't have to mean you give up on rewards, welcome bonuses and other perks. CardRatings editors reveal the best credit cards with low interest rates to help you save big when it comes to your credit card bills. 
Brooklyn Lowery, CardRatings Senior Manager Last Updated, November 22, 2021

best low interest credit cards of 2021In an ideal world you could 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, which is exactly the case with these credit cards from our partners. 

TOP LOW INTEREST CREDIT CARDS

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, and even the opportunity to earn rewards.

BEST LOW INTEREST CREDIT CARD FOR CASH-BACK REWARDS

5
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: With a $0 annual fee and a low interest rate, this is a "no lose" card. The solid cash-back rewards on everday purchases as well as a category of your choosing from a list of six make this a nice option for many types of card users. Additionally, the 0% introductory rate on purchases and balance transfers (made within 60 days of activation) can save you quite a bit in interest as well (details below).

Ongoing Interest Rate: 13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers

Intro APR: 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers (made within 60 days of account opening) for 15 billing cycles.

Welcome Offer: Earn a $200 online cash bonus when you spend at least $1,000 on purchases within the first 90 days.

Rewards: Cardholders can choose one category to earn 3% cash back from among a list of six (gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishing); earn 2% back on grocery store and wholesale club purchases (3% and 2% earning in on the first $2,500 combined spending per quarter on choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases). Earn 1% on other purchases.

Annual Fee: $0

More Details: Bank of America Preferred Rewards clients can earn an additional 25%-75% back on every purchase, depending on your Preferred Rewards tier. Tiers are based on combined balances across eligible accounts.

PROS:

  • 3% earning on online shopping is potentially lucrative. It's a braod category that many people put to plenty of use these days. It could be mean substantial cash back for you.
  • The quarterly spending cap is higher than many (most are set at $1,500 as compared to the $2,500 this card allows)
  • No annual fee and a nice intro 0% APR period mean this card allows you to keep some money in your pocket.

CONS:

  • This card charges foreign transaction fees so it's not the best for traveling internationally.
  • You can only change your choice category once per calendar month, so it does require some planning to maximize that rewards earning.

Read our full Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card review.

2020 Scores 2019 Scores
Overall Score 88.1 84.1
Rewards Program Satisfaction 8.9 8.5
Customer Service 8.9 8.4
Website/App Usability 8.8 8.4
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 9.2 8.8
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 8.5 8.2

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

BEST LOW INTEREST CREDIT CARD WITH TRAVEL REWARDS

5
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: This card doesn't charge an APR on purchases or balance transfers for the first 15 months (then, 14.99% - 24.99% (Variable)), so you can take advantage of a nice introductory 0% period. Plus, the card offers a rewards program and multiple card perks including the chance to earn a solid welcome offer.

Ongoing Interest Rate: 14.99% - 24.99% (Variable)

Intro APR: Enjoy 15 months no interest on purchases and balance transfers.

Welcome Offer: Earn 20,000 bonus miles when you spend $500 on purchases within the first three months of card membership.

Rewards: Earn 1.25 miles on every $1 you spend.

Annual Fee: $0

More Details: The card doesn't charge foreign transaction fees and provides Visa Signature benefits, such as auto rental collision damage waiver and complimentary concierge service.

PROS:

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Your miles won't expire as long as your account is open and there's no limit on the miles that you can earn.
  • Miles can be redeemed towards almost any travel purchase so you aren't restricted to a certain airline or hotel brand.

CONS:

  • You'll get 1.25 miles per $1 on all purchases, which isn't bad, but it isn't spectacular. You will want to shop around and see if there's anything you like better before applying.
  • The value of your rewards will be diminished if you want cash back instead of miles. Still, you're probably getting this as a travel card, and so maybe that's a minor quibble.

Read our full Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card review.

2020 Scores 2019 Scores
Overall Score 83.7 81.5
Rewards Program Satisfaction 8.2 8.3
Customer Service 8.4 8.2
Website/App Usability 8.6 8.0
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 8.9 8.3
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 8.3 7.9

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

BEST LOW INTEREST CREDIT CARDS FOR A BALANCE TRANSFER OFFER

5
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: In addition to its relatively low APR, this card gives you an easy opportunity to earn up to 2% cash back on every purchase you make - with no caps. Earning cash back is simple. You'll earn 1% when you make a purchase, plus another 1% once you pay for those purchases. Just make at least the minimum payment due on time to earn cash back.

Ongoing Interest Rate: 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)

Intro APR: 0% APR on balance transfers for 18 months.

Annual Fee: $0

Welcome Offer: No traditional offer with this card.

Rewards: Earn 1% when you make your purchase and another 1% when you pay for that purchase, effectively meaning all your purchases can earn 2% cash back.

More Details: Simplicity is sometimes the greatest reward of all. This card allows you to earn easy cash back with out a lot of thought. Each swipe will earn you rewards, and then each credit card payment will earn you some more. This system encourages responsible credit card use, which is always a good thing in our book.

PROS:

  • The chance to earn up to 2% cash back on every purchases is an excellent perk for a no-annual-fee card.
  • This card offers a solid intro 0% APR offer on balance transfers so it's a great option if you need some extra time to pay off a large outstanding balance from another card.

CONS:

  • This card charges foreign transaction fees so it's not the best international travel companion.
  • If you spend a lot on certain types of purchases, you could likely stand to earn more with a tiered or rotating-category rewards credit card.

Read our full Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer review.

2020 Scores 2019 Scores
Overall Score 88.2 88.3
Rewards Program Satisfaction 8.7 8.9
Customer Service 8.9 8.6
Website/App Usability 8.7 8.5
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 9.4 9.2
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 8.7 8.9

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

BEST LOW INTEREST CREDIT CARDS FOR GROCERIES

5
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: Thanks to 6% cash back on U.S. supermarket purchases (up to $6,000 annually, then 1%) and 3% cash back at gas stations (among other cash back rewards discussed below), the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express earns you money just for shopping on everyday necessities. American Express is a CardRatings advertiser.

Ongoing APR: 13.99% - 23.99% Variable

Intro APR: 0% APR on purchases for 12 months from account opening.

The Bonus: Earn a $300 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card within the first six months.

Rewards: Earn 6% back at U.S. supermarkets, up to $6,000 spent each year (then 1%) and on select streaming purchases; earn 3% back at U.S. gas stations and on transit, such as taxis, rideshares, tolls and more; earn 1% back on other purchases.

The Annual Fee: $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.

More Details: Your earned cash back can be redeemed for statement credit, so the rewards go toward helping you pay off a balance. Additionally, American Express cards are known for the "fine print benefits" tucked into your cardholder agreement. The specific change often, but could potentially add a lot of value to your card, so make sure to read your agreement carefully and keep an eye on any communication that comes for American Express even after you're a cardholder.

PROS:

  • Maxing out the supermarket rewards alone could earn you $360 back in a year, well more than that annual fee..
  • Don't overlook the extra benefits being an American Express cardholder offers. Read your cardholder agreement and watch for extra features and money-saving benefits AmEx rolls out from time to time.
  • Take advantage of the 0% APR on all purchases for the first 12 months after card activation. After that, the rate is 13.99% - 23.99% Variable, based on your creditworthiness.

CONS:

  • Consider the annual fee carefully; if you aren't going to put the card to good use and rack up substantial cash back, there's likely a better no-annual-fee option for you.
  • There's a foreign transaction fee of 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars. It's lower than some foreign transaction fees, but there are also plenty of options out there that don't charge one at all.

Read our full Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express review.

Current Scores Past Scores
Overall Score 87.0 86.0
Rewards Program Satisfaction 8.6 8.3
Customer Service 8.7 8.9
Website/App Usability 8.8 8.7
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 8.9 9.0
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 8.8 8.6

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

BEST LOW INTEREST CREDIT CARD FOR DINING OUT

5
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: The 0% APR on balance transfers (and purchases for that matter) for 12 billing cycles (then, 14.99% - 23.99%* Variable) is like a "start over" button. It helps you get your credit card debt under control if you have racked up balances on other high-interest cards. And, if we are being totally honest, we love a card that rewards you for indulging your love of food!

Ongoing Interest Rate: 14.99% - 23.99%* Variable

Intro APR: Enjoy 0% intro APR for 12 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers.

Bonus: Earn 20,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.

Rewards: Earn four points per $1 on dining purchases (including takout and delivery); two points per $1 on purchases at grocery stores, on grocery delivery, at gas stations and on streaming services; earn one point per $1 on your other purchases.

Annual Fee: $0*

More Details: Your points don't expire, so feel free to rack up rewards and cash them in for a nice redemption down the road.

PROS:

  • Save money with an intro 0% APR for 12 billing cycles on purchases as well as on balance transfers made within the first 60 days of account opening. After the intro, the APR becomes 14.99% - 23.99%* Variable.
  • Enjoy $15 statement credit annually for streaming service purchases.
  • Take this card along on your next adventure abroad – it doesn't charge foreign transaction fees.

CONS:

  • If you choose redeem your rewards for cash back, be aware your options are limited to statement credit or a deposit into a qualifying U.S. Bank account.
  • There is a balance transfer fee to consider: Either 3% of the amount of each transfer or $5 minimum, whichever is greater.

Read our full U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card review.

2020 Scores 2019 Scores
Overall Score 84.7 n/a
Rewards Program Satisfaction 8.4 n/a
Customer Service 8.6 n/a
Website/App Usability 8.5 n/a
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 8.9 n/a
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 8.3 n/a

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

BEST LOW INTEREST CREDIT CARD FOR MILITARY MEMBERS

About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: It's is all about simplicity. The card has no rewards program, but it also doesn't charge an annual fee, foreign transaction fees or balance transfer fees. While the card has no introductory interest rate on (it does on balance transfers, details below), it offers a very low everyday interest rate.

Ongoing Interest Rate: 5.99% - 18.00% Variable

Intro APR: 0% APR on balance transfers for 12 months.

Bonus: N/A

Rewards: N/A

Annual Fee: $0

More Details: Note that you'll need to be a Navy Federal Credit Union member in order to apply for this card. There are a number of ways to qualify for membership beyond direct military membership. Find out more on the Navy Ferderal Credit Union website.

PROS:

  • This is one of few cards out there that doesn't charge a balance transfer fee – most charge between 3% and 5% per transfer.
  • Pay your cellular bill with your card and enjoy included cell phone protection.
  • The ongoing interest rate with this card could be incredibly low, depending on your ccredit worthiness.

CONS:

  • You must be a Nav Federal Credit Union member in order to apply for this card. There are numerous ways to qualify for membership, but still, this is something to keep in mind.
  • There isn't a rewards program associated with this card – think of it primarily as a card to help you get your credit under control with that intro 0% offer for balance transfers.

Read our full Navy Federal Credit Union Platinum Card review.

We have not polled this card yet, but would love to hear your thoughts on it if you are a cardholder. Comment below or email us at editor@cardratings.com to share more about your experience.

BEST LOW INTEREST CREDIT CARD FOR STUDENTS

4
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: Ideally, students with credit cards are using them to build a credit score and learn how to responsibly use one – that means paying off the balance in full every billing cycle. But, people make mistakes, especially when they're learning. That's why a card with an interest rate on the lower side (in this case, that's 12.99% - 21.99% Variable APR) could be useful. If you do overspend one month, or miss a payment, you want the interest charges to be as low as possible.

  • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match - only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year! So you could turn $50 cash back into $100. Or turn $100 into $200. There's no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Earn rewards while building your credit history that can help you after graduation. And, get your free Credit Scorecard that includes your FICO® Credit Score and important details that help make up your score.
  • No annual fee. No late fee on first late payment. No APR change for paying late.
  • Refer-a-Friend: Once you become a Discover it® Student cardmember, you can earn a statement credit each time you refer a friend and they're approved. Over half a million students got Discover Cards from their friends' recommendations.
  • Freeze It® on/off switch for your account that prevents new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers in seconds.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • Discover is accepted nationwide by 99% of the places that take credit cards.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 12.99% - 21.99% applies.
  • Click "APPLY NOW" to see rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms, Cashback Match™ details & other information.
See More

PROS:

  • The rewards program is strong for a regular card, let alone a student card. Besides learning how to responsibly use a credit card, it's a great opportunity to dip a toe into the credit card rewards waters.
  • Discover cards don't charge foreign transaction fees, so feel free to take this card along for your semester abroad.
  • Discover cards have an unusual feature: The ability to get cash back when you buy something at specific retailers without it being considered a cash advance.

CONS:

  • You won't be charged foreign transaction fees, but you might have trouble finding a place to use your Discover card overseas. It isn't as widely accepted as Visa or Mastercard, especially overseas.
  • The rewards program could be lucrative, but it isn't simple. To fully maximize your rewards, you'll have to remember to activate the bonus categories each quarter and then use the card for those specific purchases.

Read our full Discover it® Student Cash Back review.

2020 Scores 2019 Scores
Overall Score 82.4 83.0
Rewards Program Satisfaction 8.2 8.3
Customer Service 8.2 8.1
Website/App Usability 8.3 8.2
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 8.8 8.8
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 8.1 8.3

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

BEST LOW INTEREST CREDIT CARD FOR FAIR CREDIT

4
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: The rewards program for this card incentivizes you to pay off your balance, and we always appreciate a card that encourages responsible use. We also like that this card doesn't charge many of the fees you've come to expect with credit cards.

Ongoing Interest Rate: 8.99%-29.99% Fixed

Intro APR: N/A

Bonus: N/A

Rewards: Earn 1.5% back on your payments. Unlike most traditional rewards cards with which you earn rewards at the time you make your purchase, this card rewards you when you pay for those purchases.

Annual Fee: $0

More Details: This card operates differently than a traditional credit card. Cardholders are issued a line of credit and they use their card to make purchases against that line of credit. It allows for more predictable payments since your monthly purchases are combined into the euqivalent of a personal loan with a fixed interest rate and term. Still, your usage is reported to the credit bureaus so responsible use can help your credit score.

PROS:

  • Since this is a line of credit, you can transfer funds directly to a bank account for withdrawal without incurring cash advance charges.
  • The 1.5% cash back earned on every payment is great incentive to stay on top of your payments and use your card responsibly.
  • A fixed interest rate means you won't suddenly incur higher interest payments if/when the Federal Reserve rate changes.

CONS:

  • While the card is officially available to people with fair credit, if you lack a credit history all together, you might not be approved.
  • Since this card is officially a line of credit, it doesn't show up on your credit history as a credit card, but rather as a personal loan. That's not a big deal unless you're really trying to build a credit history that shows responsible use with revolving credit.

Read our full review of the Upgrade Visa® Card with Cash Rewards.

2020 Scores 2019 Scores
Overall Score 80.1 Did not survey
Features Satisfaction 8.0 n/a
Customer Service 8.0 n/a
Website/App Usability 8.2 n/a
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 8.4 n/a
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 7.7 n/a

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

BEST LOW INTEREST CREDIT CARD FOR POOR/LIMITED CREDIT

5
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: There are times when things can go sideways with our personal finances and credit score. What was once a strength is now a weakness. When that happens, a secured credit card can be the perfect way to help you rebuild your credit and restore your financial health. The fixed APR shouldn't be overlooked. A steady interest rate makes budgeting much easier.

Ongoing Interest Rate: 9.99% (Fixed)

Intro APR: N/A

Bonus: N/A

Rewards: N/A

Annual Fee: $48

Security Deposit Activate your card with a minimum $200 deposit (up to $1,000) to establish your line of credit

More Details: As a secured card, the Applied Bank Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® 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.

PROS:

  • No minimum credit score requirements.
  • The fixed interest rate is low and could prove quite helpful should you need to carry a balance.
  • Build your credit score with responsible use.

CONS:

  • It's a secured credit card, so you'll need to come up with at least $200 to secure your line of credit. There are secured cards with lower minimum deposits required if that $200 bar is too high.
  • Not a great choice for using abroad as it charges a foreign transaction fee.

Read our full Applied Bank Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Card review.

We have not polled this card yet, but would love to hear your thoughts on it if you are a cardholder. Comment below or email us at editor@cardratings.com to share more about your experience.

BEST LOW INTEREST CREDIT CARD FOR BUSINESSES

5
About Our Ratings

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: 13.24% - 19.24% Variable

More Details: New cardholders can earn $750 cash back after spending $7,500 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.

PROS:

  • No annual fee.
  • The welcome bonus is really generous, especially for a no-annual-fee card.
  • A lot of nice perks such as purchase protection, extended warranty protection and an auto rental collision damage waiver.

CONS:

  • There are some spending caps in bonus categories, so if you spend a lot in these areas, this could be prohibitive.
  • This card charges foreign transaction fees, so it's not the best option to take along on international trips.

Read our full Ink Business Cash® Credit Card review.

2020 Scores 2019 Scores
Overall Score 77.1 83.2
Rewards Program Satisfaction 7.7 8.1
Customer Service 7.7 8.5
Website/App Usability 7.7 8.5
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 7.9 8.7
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 7.8 8.3

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

HOW TO AVOID PAYING INTEREST ON CREDIT CARDS

Your credit card is convenient, but it can become costly if you are paying monthly interest charges.

There are two ways to avoid paying interest on your purchases and balances transfers:

  1. Pay off balances before the grace period expires: When you make a purchase with your card, there is a grace period before interest charges start accruing. The length of the grace period can vary by issuer, but they are typically 21 to 25 days. As long as you pay off a purchase within this time frame, you won't have to worry about paying interest. Note that grace periods do NOT typically apply for cash advances.
  2. Take advantage of a 0% intro APR credit card: If you can't pay off your balance by the end of the month or need to finance a large purchase, look for a 0% APR card. These cards don't charge interest for a specified introductory period, which can be as long as 18 months. You'll usually need to be a new cardholder to take advantage of the no-interest offer and be aware that balance transfers could still be subject to balance transfer fees.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN INTEREST RATE AND APR?

When it comes to credit cards, there is no difference between the interest rate and the APR, which stands for Annual Percentage Rate.

Lenders have to show an APR which represents the total annual cost of a loan. With mortgages, for instance, the APR can include the interest rate, points and other fees. However, with credit cards, the APR only includes the interest rate. Items such as annual fees and balance transfer fees don't have to be included in the APR because not all cardholders may pay those costs each year.

HOW DO CREDIT CARD ISSUERS SET INTEREST RATES?

Most credit card issuers use the prime rate, which is based on the federal funds rate set by the Federal Reserve rate, as a starting point for their interest rates. The prime rate is generally what commercial banks charge their best customers.

For credit card customers, issuers take the prime rate and add an additional interest charge on top of it. The percentage used for that second layer can depend on the customer and may be related to factors such as:

  • Credit score
  • Income
  • Economic conditions

Those with higher credit scores typically have access to the lowest interest rates since the card issuer feels more confident that they will be paid any balance owed. Meanwhile, companies may see those with poor credit scores as being more likely to default on their accounts; therefore, they charge a higher interest rate to offset that risk.

Credit card interest rates that are based on the prime rate are variable and change whenever the prime rate changes. Banks can also adjust that amount they charge on top of the prime rate, so you could see a rate change even if the Fed doesn't make a rate adjustment. Although less common, a few cards offer fixed rates.

WHO SHOULD GET A LOW-INTERST CREDIT CARD?

Every credit card applicant should pay attention to the interest rate of a given card, but applicants who expect to carry a balance from time to time should pay particularly close attention.

That's because people who routinely pay their credit card balance off in full each month won't be affected by a high interest rate. Interest, remember, only kicks in if you carry a balance beyond your due date.

If you do know that you'll carry a balance occasionally, you should strive to find a card with the lowest possible rate. On the other hand, people who pay it off every month can focus on finding a card with other features they want or need since the interest rate is unlikely to affect them anyway.

HOW DO I SAVE MONEY WITH A LOW INTEREST CREDIT CARD?

Among credit cards assessing interest in 2020, the Federal Reserve reports the average rate was 16.28%. However, interest rates for cards currently available on the market can be as high as 36%. Some low interest credit cards, on the other hand, have regular rates lower than 10%.

Using these rates and CardRatings' credit card interest calculator, you can quickly see how much you save with a lower interest rate. You'd pay roughly the following in interest charges when paying off a $10,000 debt, assuming you pay $300 per month (note, that banks have a few different ways they can calculate your interest, so these examples may not be exact, but they are very close):

  • 10% – $1,669
  • 16.28% – $3,067
  • 36% – $13,458

A low interest credit card can cut your interest charges nearly in half as compared to the average APR.

What's more, many – if not most – low interest cards also have 0% APR introductory offers for new customers. That means you could avoid paying interest on purchases or balance transfers altogether for many months.

HOW TO CHOOSE A LOW-INTEREST CREDIT CARD

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 be 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 (versus a fixed APR), that means it will go up or down depending on the Federal Reserve. Keep that in mind when you're comparing cards.

HOW TO GET A LOW-INTEREST CREDIT CARD

As a general rule, the higher your credit score, the better chance you stand to qualify for lower interest on your credit card.

If you want a low-interest credit card, and you don't have a high credit score, you'll want to work on improving how you look to lenders. To start, make sure to closely monitor your credit report. The three major credit bureaus, Equifax, TransUnion and Experian offer a free report once a year. It's important to pay close attention to your history to make sure there aren't any serious errors, as this can sometimes happen. Creditors could mix up a Bill Jones from Alabama with Bill Jones from Oregon, and if Bill Jones from Oregon has a lot of missed and late payments, and those appear on Bill Jones from Alabama's credit history, you can see how Bill Jones from Alabama might not look like a trustworthy person to lend money to.

Beyond this, you'll want to make sure you're using any current credit cards you might have responsibly. Make sure you're paying your bills on time, not utilizing too much of your available credit, paying beyond the minimum payment each billing cycle, etc. Responsible credit card use is a great way to build your credit and get to that coveted "excellent" credit score position.

WHAT IS A GOOD INTEREST RATE ON A CREDIT CARD?

Not to sound too obvious, but the lower, the better. Many credit cards offer introductory APR offers, where you pay 0% intro APR on purchases and/or balance transfers, for a set period of time (most often, these offers last at least one year), which is a great way to start membership out, but what about the long run? After the intro period, APR can shoot up significantly, so be careful if choosing a card for this perk.

The lowest ongoing APR offers we've seen sit around 10%. This certainly isn't the norm though, and these offers are usually reserved for people with excellent credit. If you can qualify for an APR in the low teens though, you're doing quite well.

All of that said, keep in mind that your goal should be to pay off your credit card every month, so you aren't carrying a revolving balance. If you carry a revolving balance, that can hurt your credit, and if you take awhile to pay off the card, that just costs you more money.

You're smart to look for a credit card with a low interest rate, just in case you do end up carrying revolving debt, but that's the irony about a low-interest credit card. You want a credit card with a low interest rate - but other than maybe making a big purchase with a 0% APR introductory offer and taking a few months to pay it off, ideally, you're getting a low-interest credit card and not actually taking advantage of it.

HOW DO I LOWER MY APR?

Interest rates are just a fact of credit cards (and loans in general, for that matter), but there are ways to lower yours:

  • Shop around. If you're needing to carry a balance, but the rate on your existing card is particularly high, take a look at other cards. It's possible you could qualify for a card with an intro 0% offer or, at least, a lower rate than what you currently have. Compare rates and find the one that is better for you. REMEMBER! don't apply for lots of different credit cards all at once as that will ding your credit. Instead, find one that makes sense and for which you believe you qualify and apply for that one.
  • Raise your credit score. The higher your score, the lower a risk you appear to be to potential lenders. Work on handling your credit responsibly and making payments on time and you'll see that score rise. While a score rising won't directly change your rate on one of your existing cards, it sets you up for lower rates on any new cards you apply for and puts you in a better position to try our next suggestion for getting a lower rate...
  • Just ask. It can't hurt to call your issuer and ask for a lower rate. The issuer doesn't have to say yes, but it could happen – particularly if you have a long history with that card as well as a history of on-time payments and responsible use. Even if the bank won't permanently reduce your rate, you could ask for a temporary reduction of a few percentage points. Even one or two percent could make a big difference if you're working to pay down a debt. Make sure you mention things like your lengthy history of responsible payment and, if applicable, point out your new, higher credit score.

Survey Methodology: CardRatings commissioned Op4G in September and October 2020 to conduct surveys among 1,746 cardholders nationwide. CardRatings website analytics from Jan. 1, 2020-Aug. 31, 2020 were used to determine a selection of the most popular cards and additional cards were added to add survey breadth. Responses to each of nine questions were given on a scale of 1-10 and respondents' scores were then averaged under broad topics. To determine the overall score, responses from questions 1-8 were summed and the answer to "How likely are you to recommend this card to a friend, coworker or family member?" was double weighted.

Ranking Methodology: CardRatings experts review the fine print, details, perks, rewards and features of hundreds of cards and compare them side-by-side with similar cards. A card that makes an excellent balance transfer card may not make a great cash-back rewards card even though it offers those rewards. While the Best of the Year list is announced annually, that list – and all other "best of" lists on CardRatings – are regularly reviewed and updated as issuers change the terms and features of each card often.

For rates and fees of the American Express cards mentioned in this article, please see the following links: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express: See Rates and Fees; terms apply

Disclaimer: The information in this article is believed to be accurate as of the date it was written. Please keep in mind that credit card offers change frequently. Therefore, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information in this article. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. See the online credit card application for full terms and conditions on offers and rewards. Please verify all terms and conditions of any credit card prior to applying.

This content is not provided by any company mentioned in this article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed here are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any such company. CardRatings.com does not review every company or every offer available on the market.

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