Best Low Interest Credit Cards for April 2020

Elizabeth is a writer specializing in credit cards, debt repayment, and small business. Her work has also appeared on MSN Money, Yahoo! Finance, and Business Insider.

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When looking for a new credit card, one of the most important factors to consider is the interest rate. This number determines how much it will cost you to carry a balance, and a difference of even a few percentage points can add up to hundreds of dollars lost to interest charges.

We've reviewed dozens of low rate credit cards, so if you're considering opening a credit card and could benefit from a lower APR, take a moment to check out our favorites.

Ratings Methodology
Long 0% APR
Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever

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On Citi's Secure Website.

Apply Now

On Citi's Secure Website.

Rewards

N/A

Annual Fee

$0

Intro APR

Purchases: 0%, 12 months
Balance Transfers: 0%, 21 months

Ongoing APR

14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)

Bonuses & Perks

No penalty APR

Highlights
  • 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 14.74% - 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • 0% Intro APR on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening. After that, the variable APR will be 14.74% - 24.74%, 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 standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 14.74% - 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
  • Stay protected with Citi® Quick Lock and $0 liability on unauthorized charges
Wells Fargo Platinum card

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On Well Fargo's Secure Website.

Apply Now

On Well Fargo's Secure Website.

Rewards

N/A

Annual Fee

$0

Intro APR

Purchases: 0%, 18 months
Balance Transfers: 0%, 18 months on qualifying balance transfers

Ongoing APR

15.49%-24.99% (Variable)

Bonuses & Perks

FICO® score for free, mobile phone protection

Highlights
  • Pay down balances instead of interest with Wells Fargo’s longest intro APR
  • $0 Annual Fee
  • Get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Platinum card
  • Easy access to your FICO® Credit Score with Wells Fargo Online®
  • Zero Liability protection for promptly reported unauthorized transactions
  • Convenient tools to help create a budget and manage your spending with My Money Map
  • Select "Apply Now" to learn more about the product features, terms and conditions
Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

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On Citi's Secure Website.

Apply Now

On Citi's Secure Website.

Rewards

2% cash back: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay

Annual Fee

$0

Intro APR

Purchases: N/A
Balance Transfers: 0%, 18 months

Ongoing APR

13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)

Bonuses & Perks

FICO score for free

Highlights
  • Earn cash back twice. Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.
  • Balance Transfer Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.99% – 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back.
  • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 13.99% – 23.99% based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

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Apply Now

On Citi's Secure Website.

Apply Now

On Citi's Secure Website.

Rewards

N/A

Annual Fee

$0

Intro APR

Purchases: 0%, 12 months
Balance Transfers: 0%, 21 months

Ongoing APR

13.74% – 23.74% (Variable)

Bonuses & Perks

FICO score for free

Highlights
  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 21 months from date of first transfer. After that, the variable APR will be 13.74% – 23.74%, based on your creditworthiness. All transfers must be completed in first 4 months.
  • 0% Intro APR on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening. After that, the variable APR will be 13.74% – 23.74%, 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 balance, are paid in full.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • Get free access to your FICO® score online.
  • With Citi EntertainmentSM, get special access to purchase tickets to thousands of events, including concerts, sporting events, dining experiences and more.
  • Shop with confidence knowing that you have dependable protection benefits, including $0 Liability on Unauthorized Purchases and Citi® Identity Theft Solutions.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 13.74% – 23.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card

Apply Now

Apply Now

On Well Fargo's Secure Website.

Apply Now

On Well Fargo's Secure Website.

Rewards

Unlimited 1.5% cash back

Annual Fee

$0

Intro APR

Purchases: 0%,15 months
Balance Transfers: 0%,15 months on qualifying balance transfers

Ongoing APR

13.99%-25.99% (Variable)

Bonuses & Perks

Earn a $150 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months, mobile phone protection

Highlights
  • Earn a $150 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on purchases
  • Enjoy 1.8% cash rewards on qualified digital wallet purchases, like Apple Pay® or Google PayTM, during the first 12 months from account opening
  • No category restrictions or sign ups and cash rewards don’t expire as long as your account remains open
  • Get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card
  • $0 Annual Fee
  • Select “Apply Now” to learn more about the product features, terms and conditions

Great for: $0 intro balance transfer fee The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express

Why Apply

This card is unavailable on site and card details may be out of date -- One of the few remaining balance-transfer cards that include an intro $0 balance transfer fee. Add in the premium rewards and welcome bonus, and it's hard to ignore. Read Full Review

Rewards

2x points at US supermarkets ($6,000 spending cap per year), 1x points on all else. Use your Card 20 or more times in a billing period to earn 20% more points

Annual Fee

$0

Intro APR

Purchases: 0%, 15 months
Balance Transfers: 0%, 15 months for transfers made within 60 days

Ongoing APR

12.99%-23.99% Variable

Bonuses & Perks

10,000 points after spending $1,000 within three months

Highlights
  • Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.74% to 25.74%.
  • $0 balance transfer fee. Balance transfers must be requested within 60 days from account opening.
  • 2x points at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1x); 1x points on other purchases.
  • Use your Card 20 or more times on purchases in a billing period and earn 20% more points on those purchases less returns and credits.
  • Over 1.5 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2017.
  • No annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
Rewards

5x rewards on up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter in popular categories such as dining, groceries, travel, and automotive

Annual Fee

$0

Intro APR

Purchases: 0%, 12 months
Balance Transfers: 0%, 18 months

Ongoing APR

14.40% - 24.40%, variable

Bonuses & Perks

$150 credit after spending $1,200 on purchases within the first 90 days

Highlights
  • 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 12 months and Balance Transfers for 18 months; after that the variable APR will be 14.40% – 24.40%, based on your creditworthiness
  • Earn $150 Statement Credit after you spend $1,200 on purchases within the first 90 days from account opening
  • Earn 5x rewards on up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter in popular categories such as dining, groceries, travel, and automotive
  • No upper limit on the points you can accumulate, and since points never expire, you can save up for a big award!
  • Earn Points on Every Purchase! It's simple: $1 = 1 Point
  • No Annual Fee or Foreign Transaction Fee
  • Select Your Rewards Your Way

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What is a low interest credit card?

Low interest credit cards, or low APR credit cards, are cards that charge a below-average annual percentage rate (APR) on purchases, on either a temporary or a permanent basis. The best low interest rate credit cards can save you a tremendous amount of money if you carry a credit card balance, and they can also help you pay down debt faster than you otherwise could.

The interest rate you pay on any given credit card depends on a few factors, such as your credit history and overall debt profile. If you qualify for a low rate credit card, you'll be charged less interest than usual, making it more affordable to carry a balance. Some cards even offer 0% intro APRs for several months on both purchases and balances transferred from other cards. Generally speaking, this is the best way to save money on your credit card balances.

Types of low interest credit cards

There are two main types of low interest rate credit cards:

  • 0% intro APR: Credit cards that charge no interest on purchases or balance transfers. This lasts only for a certain period of time, typically ranging from 12 to 21 months. In addition to the 0% intro APR periods, these cards also vary significantly in terms of the fees charged and other benefits offered.
  • Low permanent APR: Credit cards with a below-average APR that isn't temporary. These still typically fluctuate with benchmark interest rates but tend to stay lower than the average APR offered. It isn't easy to identify these cards, as interest rates depend on several factors.

How does interest work for credit cards?

It's important to understand how credit card APRs work so that you understand how much your credit card balance is costing you.

APR stands for "Annual Percentage Rate." It's the rate of interest applied to your balances. Most credit card companies use an average daily balance method for calculating interest. To arrive at the daily interest rate, they divide the card’s APR by 365.

To illustrate the impact a lower-interest credit card can have, compare how making a payment of $100 per month on a $3,000 initial credit card balance would reduce your debt over six months in three different APR scenarios:

Month Balance with 18% APR Balance with 12% APR Balance with 0% APR
0 $3,000 $3,000 $3,000
1 $2,945 $2,930 $2,900
2 $2,889 $2,859 $2,800
3 $2,833 $2,788 $2,700
4 $2,775 $2,716 $2,600
5 $2,657 $2,569 $2,500
6 $2,597 $2,495 $2,400

Note: Figures rounded to the nearest dollar.

Here's the takeaway: After six months, the cardholder with a 0% APR would have reduced their debt by nearly $200 more than the cardholder with an 18% APR, even though they both made the same payments.

Tips for using a low interest credit card

Low interest cards can come in handy if you know how to use them correctly. Here are a few tips on how to best put them to use:

Do a balance transfer and pay off debt

One of the best ways to pay off debt for good is to use a 0% intro APR balance transfer offer. By moving your balance from a card with a high APR to another card with a 0% intro APR, you’ll be able to pay down your balances faster because you won't accrue any interest during the promo period.

For example, say you have $5,000 of credit card debt at 18% APR and can afford to make monthly payments of $250 toward paying down your balance. If you were to move your balance to a card with a 0% intro APR for 15 months, you would save a total of $929.75 in interest and pay the balance off three months faster.

This is not an unrealistic achievement. While fees for balance transfers typically range from 3%-5%, there are several credit cards that offer a 0% intro APR and do not charge any balance transfer fees. For people who carry balances, 0% intro APR cards offer value in excess of the best sign-up bonus cards!

The math isn’t as favorable for people who use low interest rate credit cards in lieu of 0% intro APR cards, which is why we have a preference for cards with a zero-interest offer. However, if you can't pay off your balance in full before the introductory period ends and the APR skyrockets, it might make more sense to get a low interest credit card, because the ongoing APR will be more favorable. You could also consider a low interest personal loan, which is often more affordable than a low interest credit card.

Have it on hand for emergencies

Low interest rate credit cards can serve as a back-up to your emergency fund. If you find yourself short on funds one month or facing unexpected expenses, you can pay for them with your low APR credit card without getting buried in interest fees. That said, even the best low interest credit cards are an expensive way to borrow money and shouldn't be relied on regularly to make purchases you can't afford. You should pay off your bill in full each month whenever possible.

Use it to finance a purchase

If you need to make a purchase and don't have enough money on hand, low interest credit cards can be a viable option. If you can pay your balance off within a few months, you might want to consider a credit card with a 0% promotional APR on purchases. These cards allow you to borrow money interest-free during the promotional period, which can last as long as 18 months for new purchases. However, after that period ends, the ongoing APR is usually quite high, so you'll want to be sure you can pay off your purchase within that time frame.

Is a low interest card right for you?

Here are some examples of when a low-interest credit card can be useful:

  • Your income fluctuates. People who have irregular income may benefit from having a low-interest credit card to help cover expenses in periods when cash flow is particularly tight. Salespeople who work on commission and self-employed individuals fit here.
  • You need emergency financing. Nothing beats having a few months of living expenses in your bank account, but having a low-interest credit card as a backup source of financing can help you digest unforeseen large expenses (such as a car repair or a midnight call to a plumber) while minimizing the amount of interest you pay.
  • You want to pay off debt. Whether you get a low interest credit card or a 0% APR credit card, consolidating debt with a balance transfer can be an effective method for paying down debt quickly while saving money on interest.

While we’d never advise carrying a balance for long periods of time, a low interest credit card can be better than the alternatives. You would pay about $10 in interest every month on a $1,000 balance at a 12% APR. That’s far better than paying a $35 overdraft fee or getting a loan shark rate from a payday loan store.

FAQs

  • We think about credit cards and their APRs in two different ways. Some cards offer exceptionally low APRs for a certain period of time (0% intro APRs on purchases or balance transfers), while others offer persistently low APRs, generally for people who have excellent credit. These cards fit into two distinct categories because they are designed for very different purposes.

    • Promotional APRs: If you need a low APR to help finance a purchase or pay down existing credit card debt with a balance transfer, a 0% intro APR is ideal. There are many credit cards that offer a 0% intro APR for as long as 21 months. The advantage to these cards is that they offer a super-low APR, although only for a short period of time.
    • Low-interest cards: Some cards offer consistently low APRs, usually to people who have excellent credit scores. (The credit card with the lowest interest rate will usually have an APR around 10% or so, which is in line with rates on two-year personal loans.)

    A zero interest credit card is generally the better way to go, especially if you can pay off your entire balance before the introductory period expires. Cards with permanently low interest rates are still an expensive way to borrow money, especially with the emergence of the personal loan industry over the past few years.

    It can be difficult to find a credit card with a permanently low interest rate, and it's typically a better idea to obtain a personal loan if you need to finance a large purchase over an extended period of time. These have fixed rates that are often superior to even the lowest permanent credit card APRs and allow you to repay your debt over a few years.

  • It is sometimes possible to lower your credit card interest rate. If you've never missed a payment, or if you've diligently been paying off a balance for a while, your credit card issuer might be willing to reward you by decreasing your APR slightly. Give customer service a call and request a lower interest rate -- the worst that can happen is they'll say no. If that's the case, you can look into opening a low interest credit card instead.

  • Credit card interest can be a little tricky, but once you understand how it works, it’s actually pretty simple.

    The first thing you should understand is that credit cards show interest rates on an annual basis, but most credit cards charge interest on a daily basis. So if a credit card has an 18% APR, that means it actually carries an interest rate of about 0.049315% per day (18% ÷ 365 days = 0.049315%).

    If you have a $5,000 balance, the next day the balance would grow to $5,002.70 at an 18% APR, assuming that no other purchases or payments are made. This calculation is made every day during a billing cycle. After 30 days, the $5,000 starting balance would grow to about $5,074.50 at an 18% APR.

  • Given that most 0% APR credit cards don't come with annual fees, it's not necessary to close the card when the introductory period ends. In fact, closing it could lower your credit score. Your credit utilization ratio -- that is, your overall debt divided by your overall credit limit -- plays a large part in calculating your credit score. The lower it is, the better. By keeping your credit card open after the 0% intro APR ends, and also not running up a balance, you'll be keeping your debt-to-credit ratio low. However, the key is not to run up a balance. If you can't trust yourself to keep the card open without falling into debt, it's best to close the card and remove the temptation.

  • It makes sense to get a low interest credit card when you want a credit card on hand to use for everyday purchases or emergency expenses. The lower interest rate will help you save money if you ever need to carry a balance. Low interest credit cards can also make sense if you want to do a balance transfer to pay off debt. However, it's worth considering a balance transfer credit card with a 0% intro APR if you'll be able to pay off your balance within 15 or 18 months.

The Ascent's picks for the best low interest credit cards:
Card Rating Great For
Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever Graphic of Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever
Rating image, 4.0 out of 5 stars.
4.0 stars
ToolTip Icon for Star Rating. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor.
Great For:

Longest balance transfer offer

Wells Fargo Platinum card Graphic of Wells Fargo Platinum card
Rating image, 4.0 out of 5 stars.
4.0 stars
ToolTip Icon for Star Rating. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor.
Great For:

No annual fee

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer Graphic of Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer
Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5 stars
ToolTip Icon for Star Rating. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor.
Great For:

Balance transfers and cash back

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card Graphic of Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
Rating image, 4.0 out of 5 stars.
4.0 stars
ToolTip Icon for Star Rating. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor.
Great For:

Long intro 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers

Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card Graphic of Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card
Rating image, 4.0 out of 5 stars.
4.0 stars
ToolTip Icon for Star Rating. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor.
Great For:

Unlimited cash back

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express Graphic of The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express
Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5 stars
ToolTip Icon for Star Rating. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor.
Great For:

$0 intro balance transfer fee

ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard® Credit Card Graphic of ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard® Credit Card
Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5 stars
ToolTip Icon for Star Rating. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor.
Great For:

Fair/average credit

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