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What Is a Good APR for a Credit Card?

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Your credit card APR depends on several factors, including your credit score and the type of credit card. The average credit card interest rate -- usually expressed as the annual percentage rate or APR -- for cardholders carrying a balance is 16.61%, according to a recent study on waiving credit card interest. But that isn't necessarily a good APR for a credit card, especially considering that the Federal Reserve interest rate is at historic lows.

So, what is an annual percentage rate? It's your card's finance charge expressed annually. This number is typically the biggest deciding factor in how much it will cost you to carry a balance on your credit card, making it important to know and understand.

Even more importantly, though, you should be asking: What is a good interest rate? And am I getting the interest rate I deserve? Read on to find out what your credit card interest rates should look like and how to get them lower.

What a good credit card APR looks like

A good APR for a credit card is anything below 14% -- if you have good credit. If you have excellent credit, you could qualify for an even better rate, like 10%. If you have bad credit, though, the best credit card APR available to you could be above 20%. Even the best secured credit cards for building credit often have a credit card APR starting around 22.99%.

The highest credit card interest rates are usually found on:

Those with the lowest APRs tend to be low-interest credit cards and credit cards from credit unions. Some of the best low interest credit cards have a credit card APR range starting at 12% to 14%. Many popular credit unions offer credit cards with interest rates that start at 5.99% to 8% for their most creditworthy members.

READ MORE: Best Low Interest Credit Cards

For context, the average credit card APR across all credit card types ranges from 15.49% to 22.61% as of June 2020. Credit cards usually offer an APR range, rather than a single across-the-board rate for all transaction types.

A good way to improve your chances of getting approved for a low-interest credit card is to improve your credit score. Only consumers with an excellent credit score qualify for credit cards with the lowest credit card APR.

Even if you get a good APR for a credit card, most credit card interest rates are actually quite high. Credit cards are especially expensive when compared with the average interest rate on a personal loan (which is 9.41%). Still, you should strive for the best credit card APR you can get, particularly if you plan to carry a balance.

To give you a sense of just how much difference a few percentage points can make when it comes to paying off credit card debt, the table below shows you what it looks like to pay off $10,000 of credit card debt in $300 monthly installments with three different interest rates.

Metric 18% APR 14% APR 10% APR
Time to pay off debt 3.9 years 3.6 years 3.3 years
Total interest paid $3,967 $2,738 $1,764
Total amount paid $13,967 $12,738 $11,764
Source: author's calculations

As you can see, having an 18% APR instead of a 10% APR tacks on more than seven extra months to your monthly payments and costs you $2,203 more in interest.

There is no one answer to what a good interest rate for a credit card is -- it depends largely on your credit score and how you want to use the credit card. However, the national average for a low-interest credit card is sitting at 13.99% at the time of this writing.

How to get a credit card with a low interest rate

There are many ways to get a card with a low interest rate. If you're currently paying off debt or plan to carry a balance, lowering your interest rate is one of the most effective ways to save money. Whether it's working with your current issuer or opening a new credit card, you have a number of options.

Here are some steps you can take to get approved for a low-interest credit card:

Negotiate with your bank: Almost everything is negotiable, including your credit card APR. If you've demonstrated that you can pay your bills on time, call your bank and ask if you qualify for a lower interest rate. This is especially effective if your credit score has gone up since you originally joined. Be sure to mention your good credit score and history of on-time payments.

Apply for a low-interest credit card: If calling your bank doesn't work, shop around for a different credit card. There are plenty of great low-interest credit cards out there. These are good to have on hand if you ever have to carry a balance. Just make sure you qualify before you apply.

Here are some of our favorite low-interest credit cards. For the full list, visit our Best Low Interest Credit Cards page.

As of Dec. 02, 2022
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BankAmericard® credit card Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card
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Info Icon Circle with letter I in it. 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. 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.
= Best
= Excellent
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Apply Now for BankAmericard® credit card

On Bank of America's Secure Website.

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On U.S. Bank's Secure Website.

Rates & Fees

Credit Rating Requirement:

Good/Excellent (670-850) Info Icon Circle with letter I in it. Falling within this credit range does not guarantee approval by the issuer. An application must be submitted to the issuer for a potential approval decision. There are different types of credit scores and creditors use a variety of credit scores to make lending decisions.

Credit Rating Requirement:

Good/Excellent (670-850) Info Icon Circle with letter I in it. Falling within this credit range does not guarantee approval by the issuer. An application must be submitted to the issuer for a potential approval decision. There are different types of credit scores and creditors use a variety of credit scores to make lending decisions.

Credit Rating Requirement:

Good/Excellent (670-850) Info Icon Circle with letter I in it. Falling within this credit range does not guarantee approval by the issuer. An application must be submitted to the issuer for a potential approval decision. There are different types of credit scores and creditors use a variety of credit scores to make lending decisions.

Welcome Offer:

Welcome Offer: Info Icon Circle with letter I in it. For a limited time, earn a $150 Statement Credit after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.

$150 statement credit

Welcome Offer:

N/A

Rewards Program:

N/A

Rewards Program:

N/A

Rewards Program:

N/A

Intro APR: Info Icon Circle with letter I in it. 0% intro APR for 21 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made within the first 60 days. After the intro APR offer ends, 15.74% - 25.74% variable APR will apply. A 3% fee (min $10) applies to all balance transfers.

Purchases: 0%, 21 billing cycles

Balance Transfers: 0%, 21 billing cycles

Intro APR:

Purchases: 0%, 12 months

Balance Transfers: 0%, 21 months

Intro APR: Info Icon Circle with letter I in it. 0% Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 18 billing cycles. After that, a variable APR currently 18.24% - 28.24% (Variable).

Purchases: 0%, 18 billing cycles on purchases

Balance Transfers: 0%, 18 billing cycles

Regular APR:

15.74% - 25.74% (Variable)

Regular APR:

16.74% - 27.49% (Variable)

Regular APR:

18.24% - 28.24% (Variable)

Annual Fee:

$0

Annual Fee:

$0

Annual Fee:

$0

Highlights:

  • New longer intro period! 0% Introductory APR for 21 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the intro APR offer ends, 15.74% - 25.74% Variable APR will apply. A 3% fee (min $10) applies to all balance transfers.
  • No annual fee.
  • No penalty APR. Paying late won't automatically raise your interest rate (APR). Other account pricing and terms apply.
  • Access your FICO® Score for free within Online Banking or your Mobile Banking app.
  • Contactless Cards - The security of a chip card, with the convenience of a tap.
  • This online only offer may not be available if you leave this page or if you visit a Bank of America financial center. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.

Highlights:

  • 0% Intro APR for 21 months on balance transfers from date of first transfer and 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases from date of account opening. After that the variable APR will be 16.74% - 27.49%, based on your creditworthiness. Balance transfers must be completed within 4 months of account opening.
  • For a limited time, earn a $150 Statement Credit after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.
  • 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 Entertainment®, get special access to purchase tickets to thousands of events, including concerts, sporting events, dining experiences and more.

Highlights:

  • 0% Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 18 billing cycles. After that, a variable APR currently 18.24% - 28.24%.
  • 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 U.S.Bank Visa® Platinum Credit Card. Certain terms, conditions, and exclusions apply.
  • Choose a payment due date that fits your schedule
  • No Annual Fee
  • Terms and conditions apply.
Apply Now for BankAmericard® credit card

On Bank of America's Secure Website.

Apply Now for U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

On U.S. Bank's Secure Website.

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Get a 0% intro APR credit card: If you already have credit card debt and are paying a high interest rate on it (think 14% or more), consider a balance transfer credit card. These credit cards offer a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for a limited period of time, allowing you to pay off your debt interest free. Keep in mind that most of these cards do charge a balance transfer fee. Also, if you don't pay off your balance before the intro period ends, you might end up with a higher credit card APR than you had before.

These are a few of our favorite balance transfer cards. You can get the full list here: Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards

As of Dec. 02, 2022
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Wells Fargo Reflect® Card Discover it® Balance Transfer Citi Simplicity® Card
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Info Icon Circle with letter I in it. 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. 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.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Rating image, 5.00 out of 5 stars.
5.00 stars
Info Icon Circle with letter I in it. 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. 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.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Rating image, 4.50 out of 5 stars.
4.50 stars
Info Icon Circle with letter I in it. 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. 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.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Apply Now for Wells Fargo Reflect® Card

On Wells Fargo's Secure Website.

Apply Now for Citi Simplicity® Card

On Citi's Secure Website.

Rates & Fees Rates & Fees

Credit Rating Requirement:

Good/Excellent (670-850) Info Icon Circle with letter I in it. Falling within this credit range does not guarantee approval by the issuer. An application must be submitted to the issuer for a potential approval decision. There are different types of credit scores and creditors use a variety of credit scores to make lending decisions.

Credit Rating Requirement:

Good/Excellent (670-850) Info Icon Circle with letter I in it. Falling within this credit range does not guarantee approval by the issuer. An application must be submitted to the issuer for a potential approval decision. There are different types of credit scores and creditors use a variety of credit scores to make lending decisions.

Credit Rating Requirement:

Good/Excellent (670-850) Info Icon Circle with letter I in it. Falling within this credit range does not guarantee approval by the issuer. An application must be submitted to the issuer for a potential approval decision. There are different types of credit scores and creditors use a variety of credit scores to make lending decisions.

Welcome Offer:

N/A

Welcome Offer: Info Icon Circle with letter I in it. Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year.

Cashback Match

Welcome Offer: Info Icon Circle with letter I in it. There is an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer (minimum $5) completed within the first 4 months of account opening.

Lower intro balance transfer fee

Rewards Program:

N/A

Rewards Program: Info Icon Circle with letter I in it. 5% cash back at different places each quarter up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically

1% - 5% Cashback

Rewards Program:

N/A

Intro APR: Info Icon Circle with letter I in it. 0% intro APR, up to 21 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers

Purchases: 0% intro APR, up to 21 months from account opening

Balance Transfers: 0% intro APR, up to 21 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers

Intro APR:

Purchases: 0%, 6 months

Balance Transfers: 0%, 18 months

Intro APR:

Purchases: 0%, 12 months

Balance Transfers: 0%, 21 months

Regular APR:

16.74% - 28.74% variable APR

Regular APR:

15.74% - 26.74% Variable APR

Regular APR:

17.74% - 28.49%

Annual Fee:

$0

Annual Fee:

$0

Annual Fee:

$0

Highlights:

  • 0% intro APR for 18 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers. Intro APR extension for 3 months with on-time minimum payments during the intro period. 16.74% to 28.74% Variable APR thereafter; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate and fee of 3% then a BT fee of up to 5%, min $5.
  • $0 Annual Fee
  • Get up to $600 of cell phone protection against damage or theft when you pay your monthly cell phone bill with your eligible Wells Fargo card (subject to a $25 deductible).
  • Through My Wells Fargo Deals, you can get access to personalized deals from a variety of merchants. It's an easy way to earn cash back as an account credit when you shop, dine, or enjoy an experience simply by using an eligible Wells Fargo credit card.
  • Select "Apply Now" to learn more about the product features, terms and conditions

Highlights:

  • 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! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, and gas stations, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • Discover helps remove your personal information from select people-search websites. Activate by mobile app for free.
  • Every $1 you earn in cash back is $1 you can redeem.
  • No annual fee.
  • Click "Apply Now" to see terms and conditions.

Highlights:

  • No Late Fees, No Penalty Rate, and No Annual Fee... Ever
  • 0% Intro APR for 21 months on balance transfers from date of first transfer and 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases from date of account opening. After that the variable APR will be 17.74% - 28.49%, based on your creditworthiness. Balance transfers must be completed within 4 months of account opening.
  • There is an introductory balance transfer fee of $5 or 3% of the amount of the transfer, whichever is greater, for balance transfers completed within 4 months of account opening.
  • Stay protected with Citi® Quick Lock and $0 liability on unauthorized charges
Apply Now for Wells Fargo Reflect® Card

On Wells Fargo's Secure Website.

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On Citi's Secure Website.

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Join a credit union: Sometimes credit unions offer interest rates even lower than those that come with low-interest credit cards from major banks. That's because credit unions are not-for-profit organizations that pass off their profits to members in the form of low fees and better interest rates on savings accounts and credit cards. You do have to qualify to be a member, but often, joining a credit union is as simple as paying a small annual fee or living in a certain area.

Don't carry a balance: The best solution to avoid paying high interest fees is to avoid carrying a balance at all. Paying off your credit card bill in full every month will ensure that you don't waste a cent on interest fees.

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