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This article was last updated Sep 01, 2019. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.
If you’re someone who carries a balance month-to-month on your credit card, chances are you’re being hit with high interest charges. Unless you’re taking advantage of an intro 0% APR offer, you’ll be incurring interest charges on balances that aren’t paid in full by their due date.
Those interest charges aren’t cheap either — the average APR for all accounts that accrue interest is 16.91%, according to a CompareCards study. But, with the average APRs on new cards and store cards at 16.91% and 24.97%, respectively, interest charges can make paying off a balance more difficult. To avoid high interest charges, consider using a low interest credit card. These cards can come in handy when you’re unable to pay off your balance in full. Our staff member, Aline, chose to make a big furniture purchase on a zero interest credit card so that she could finance the purchase over six months.
We’ll review the best low interest cards with no or low annual fees, so you can find the best card for your needs.
Best low interest credit cards
|Best overall||American Express Cash Magnet® Card – $150 Welcome Offer|
|Best for ongoing low APR||USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card|
|Best for balance transfers||Discover it® Balance Transfer|
|Best for large purchases||Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever|
|Best for rewards||Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer|
|Best for travel||Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card|
How we chose the best low interest cards
We chose cards from our partners that have low starting interest rates that you may qualify for if you have good or excellent credit. The majority of the cards on this list have no annual fee and provide additional value beyond the low starting rate. Benefits provided by some of the cards on this list include rewards, 0% intro periods, no foreign transaction fees and more.
Best overall low interest card: American Express Cash Magnet® Card – $150 Welcome Offer
Best for: If you’re looking for a comprehensive low interest card, the American Express Cash Magnet® Card – $150 Welcome Offer offers numerous benefits including rewards at the places you like to shop, dine, travel, and more.
Why we like it: Interest rates aside, this card has some great features. There is a $0 annual fee and you earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on your purchases. In addition, there are 0% intro periods that allow you to make a large purchase or transfer debt without accruing interest. Utilize the intro 0% on purchases for 15 months and intro 0% on balance transfers for 15 months if needed. After the intro periods end, a 14.99%-25.99% Variable APR applies. Note, there is a balance transfer fee, either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater. However, this fee is often outweighed by the amount you save on interest. Just remember to transfer balances within the first 60 days of account opening so you don’t miss out on the intro period.
Other benefits: Cardholders can take advantage of other perks such as free two-day shipping at more than 100 online retailers with ShopRunner, exclusive access to entertainment events like concerts and plays, purchase protection, and more. Terms apply.
The information related to the American Express Cash Magnet® Card – $150 Welcome Offer has been collected by CompareCards and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. This offer and/or promotion may have since changed, expired, or is no longer available.
Best for ongoing low APR: USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card
8.90% - 25.90% Variable
Rental Car Insurance, Price Protection, Extended Warranty & more
$0 annual fee, no penalty APR & no foreign transaction fee
Best for: If you qualify for USAA membership (active military, former military, an eligible family member, or a cadet or midshipman), you can apply for the USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card and have a chance at getting an excellent ongoing APR rate. It ranges from 8.90% - 25.90% Variable — and if you’re approved for the lower end of that range, it could save you a significant amount when compared to a card with higher interest if you carry a balance. There’s a $0 annual fee.
Other benefits: Worried about foreign transaction fees? This card charges none.
Best for balance transfers: Discover it® Balance Transfer
0% for 18 months on balance transfers & 0% for 6 months on purchases*
Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter up to the quarterly maximum, when you activate*
13.99% - 24.99% Variable*
- INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
- Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
- Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
- 100% U.S. based customer service.
- Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
- Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
- No annual fee.
- See Rates & Fees
See additional details for Discover it® Balance Transfer
Best for: If you’re looking to transfer a balance from an existing non-Discover card, the Discover it® Balance Transfer provides the chance to get out of debt while earning cash back.
Why we like it: This card has a lengthy intro period for balance transfers at intro 0% for 18 months and a regular APR of 13.99% - 24.99% variable on balance transfers. This is a great length of time for you to pay off balances transferred from a non-Discover card without racking up interest. And, the regular APR is reasonable if you qualify for the lowest rate. Keep in mind there is a 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*, but this could easily be outweighed by the amount you save on interest. This card also has a $0 annual fee and comes with a cashback program where you can earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
Other benefits: Discover offers 100% U.S.-based customer service available any time you call, no foreign transaction fees, fraud monitoring services and more. Also, for new cardmembers Discover will automatically match all the cash back you earn at the end of your first year.*
Best for large purchases: Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever
0%* for 12 months on Purchases*
0%* for 21 months on Balance Transfers*
16.74% - 26.74%* (Variable)
- No Late Fees, No Penalty Rate, and No Annual Fee... Ever
- 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 21 months from date of first transfer. All transfers must be completed in first 4 months. After that, the variable APR will be 16.74% - 26.74%, based on your creditworthiness
- 0% Intro APR on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening. After that, the variable APR will be 16.74% - 26.74%, based on your creditworthiness
- If you transfer a balance with this offer, after your 0% Intro purchase APR expires, both new purchases and unpaid purchase balances will automatically accrue interest until all balances, including your transferred balances, are paid in full
- There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
- The same great rate for all balances, after the introductory period
- Save time when you call with fast, personal help, 24 hours a day – just say "representative"
- Enjoy the convenience of setting up your own bill payment schedule on any available due date throughout the month
See additional details for Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever
Best for: If you plan on making a large purchase like a TV or laptop soon, the Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever can provide you with the ability to pay off new purchases over time during its intro 0%* for 12 months on purchases* (after, 16.74% - 26.74%* (variable) APR).
Why we like it: The Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever offers a long intro 0%* for 12 months on Purchases*. This can provide plenty of time to pay off lingering debt from new purchases, and is better than racking up debt on a card without a 0% intro period. After the intro period ends, an APR of 16.74% - 26.74%* (variable) applies. This card also has a $0* annual fee and no late fees or penalty rates. While these features are helpful, we recommend paying your balance in full before the intro period ends. But if you don’t, the low starting interest rate is decent — as long as you qualify for it.
Other benefits: Register eligible purchases you make with your card on Citi® Price Rewind, and a 60-day search will be conducted to look for a lower price. If a lower price is found, you may be reimbursed for the difference between what you paid and the price found. (Note: This benefit will be ending on September 22, 2019.)
Best for rewards: Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer
Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay.
0% for 18 months on Balance Transfers
15.99%– 25.99% (Variable)
- 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 15.99% - 25.99% based on your creditworthiness.
- The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 15.99% - 25.99% based on your creditworthiness.
- Balance Transfers do not earn cash back
- Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy and 1% as you make payments for those purchases.
- To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time
- No categories to track, no caps on cash back, no annual fee
See additional details for Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer
Best for: If you tend to carry a balance but want to earn rewards on new purchases, the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer can be a good option that also encourages you to make timely payments.
Why we like it: This card has a $0 annual fee and offers a unique cashback program — earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay. Instead of typical cards that give you the full amount of cash back when you make a purchase, the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer requires you to both make a purchase and pay for it to earn the full cash back. This is a great incentive to pay your bills as soon as possible. But if you still carry a balance, the regular purchase APR is reasonable at 15.99%– 25.99% (variable) — especially if you qualify for the lowest rate. Take note that you can still earn the 1% cash back from purchases if you pay over time, just be sure to make at least the minimum payment each month.
Other benefits: Eligible purchases may benefit from Citi® Price Rewind, which conducts a 60-day search for a lower price and if a lower price is found, Citi may reimburse you for the difference between what you paid and the price found. (Note: This benefit will be ending on September 22, 2019.) Citi® Private Pass® provides special access to various entertainment, sports and dining events in select cities.
Best for travel: Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
One-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
Earn unlimited 10x miles on hotels when you pay with your Venture card at hotels.com/venture
- Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
- Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels, through January 2020; learn more at hotels.com/venture
- Named 'The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
- Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
- Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates. Plus transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
- Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
- No foreign transaction fees
- $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
See additional details for Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
Best for: If you travel frequently — either in the U.S. or abroad — you can benefit from the rewards and travel benefits the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card provides.
Why we like it: This card has a foreign transaction fee of none and a flat-rate rewards program suited for all types of travelers. Earn 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day. Also, you can earn 10 miles per dollar at hotels.com/venture when you use your card. Offer valid through Jan. 31, 2020. The rewards you earn can conveniently be redeemed as a statement credit for travel purchases, as long as you make the redemption within 90 days from when the purchase posted. While there is an annual fee — $0 intro for first year; $95 after that — you can recoup it by spending $4,750 a year (after year one).
The card offers 0% intro on purchases for 12 months, then a reasonable 14.24% - 24.24% (variable) rate after the intro period ends.
Other benefits: Access over 900 hotels with the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection, and benefit from lost luggage reimbursement, travel accident insurance and more when you use your card. Also, there’s a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel.
Learn more: How to use a low interest card
Low interest cards can be a good asset for people who tend to carry a balance month to month and don’t want to rack up huge interest charges. Follow the tips below so you get the most value out of your low interest card.
- Don’t overspend. A good rule of thumb is don’t spend more than you can afford to pay by your statement due date. But since you’re looking for a low interest card, odds are this may not be feasible. So, try to limit spending to things you need to charge and if your card offers rewards, avoid excess spending just to earn rewards.
- Set up autopay for a set amount. If you know you can consistently make a set payment each month, like $200, set up autopay for that amount. This does three things: 1. Ensures you pay on time; 2. Makes at least your minimum due payment; and 3. Decreases your debt more than only paying the minimum due.
- Pay on time. If you decide not to set up autopay — which we strongly encourage — make sure you pay on time. Paying late can result in a cancellation of any 0% intro offers your card may offer.
- Transfer balances soon. If you’re utilizing a card with a 0% intro period for balance transfers, make sure you transfer your balance soon after opening the card. Most intro offers are only available for a short period of time, typically 60 days. Refer to your cardmember agreement for the exact time you have to qualify for the 0% intro period.
- Continue to make payments on any transferred balances until the transfer posts to your account. This tip applies if you requested a balance transfer. Typical balance transfers take 14 days to process and in that time you may have a payment due on your old card. So, continue making payments until your transfer officially posts to your new card.