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9 Best Low APR Interest Credit Cards – Reviews & Comparison

By Christina Majaski

credit cards walletIf you regularly carry credit card balances, it is important that you choose a credit card featuring a low interest rate, rather than a rewards credit card. Rewards cards generally have high APRs, and should only be used by those who can pay off the entire balance each month.

Many low interest options are simple, “plain vanilla” credit cards designed to allow you to make purchases and transfer balances without paying a significant amount of interest. However, some low interest cards buck industry trends and offer small bonuses and rewards programs. Here are a number of the best low APR cards available based both on the rates they charge and the rewards they offer.

Best Low Interest Credit Cards

1. Capital One® Platinum Prestige

Introductory APR of 0% for 15 months; Standard APR of 10.9%, 14.9%, or 18.9%

capital one platinum prestige cardThe Capital One Platinum Prestige is a very simple low interest credit card. It charges minimal fees and offers a 0% introductory APR on balance transfers and purchases for the first 15 months. Because there is no foreign transaction fee, the Capital One Platinum Prestige card is especially attractive if you travel frequently outside the United States.

  • APR. There is a 0% introductory APR on balance transfers and purchases made within the first 15 months of opening the account. After the introductory period, the APR is 10.9%, 14.9%, or 18.9%, depending on your creditworthiness and variations in the prime rate. A penalty APR of 29.4% is applied if you make a late payment.
  • Fees. There is no annual fee. There is a 3% fee on balances transferred within the first 15 months of opening your account. There is no foreign transaction fee or over-limit fee. The late payment fee is as high as $35.
  • Other Perks. The Capital One Platinum Prestige is a very basic credit card and does not offer the extra benefits and perks you might find with other cards. However, there are very few fees and a competitive 15-month 0% APR which rises to one of the lowest interest rates available, if your credit history allows.

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2. Slate® from Chase

No Balance Transfer Fee for 60 Days; Introductory 0% APR for 15 Months on Balance Transfers and Purchases; Standard APR of 12.99%, 17.99%, or 22.99%

chase slate cardThe Chase Slate is a popular “plain vanilla” credit card. Instead of rewarding purchases, it gives you the opportunity to transfer balances from higher APR cards to one with a low interest rate and relatively low fees. No balance transfer fees are applied to transfers made in the first 60 days of opening the account.

  • APR. The APR is 0% for balance transfers and purchases for your first 15 billing cycles. After that, it rises to 12.99%, 17.99%, or 22.99%. A penalty APR of 29.99% is applied if you do not make your minimum payment on-time, exceed your credit limit, or make a payment that is returned - or if any of these occur on another account or loan you have with Chase.
  • Fees. No annual fee. There is no balance transfer fee for the first 60 days of opening the account – after that it is 3% or $5, whichever is greater. The foreign transaction fee is 3% and the late payment fee ranges between $15 and $35, depending upon your balance. There is no over-limit fee.
  • Other Perks. The Chase Slate card includes Chase Blueprint – a free set of tools which help you manage balances and determine which should be paid off first. There is also a “Track It” function which can be used to create budgets and track your spending.

See our Chase Slate Card Review for more information.

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3. Discover it

Introductory APR of 0% for 14 Months; Standard APR of 10.99% to 22.99%

discover itDiscover it is one of the only credit cards which not only provides a rewards program, but a low interest rate as well. Few cards, if any, are as well-rounded with minimal fees, a low introductory APR, a low long-term interest rate, and the opportunity to earn cash back on purchases. In fact, because the Discover it is so well-rounded, it is also named in Money Crashers’ lists of best credit cards for dining out, best cash back credit cards, and best gas credit cards.

  • APR. The introductory APR is 0% on purchases and balance transfers for the first 14 months. After that, the APR ranges from 10.99% to 22.99%, based on your creditworthiness and fluctuations in the prime rate. There is no penalty APR.
  • Fees. There is no annual fee for the Discover it card. The balance transfer fee is 3%. There is no foreign transaction fee and no late payment fee for your first late payment (after that, it is up to $35). There is no over-limit fee.
  • Other Perks. One of the best perks of the Discover it card is the opportunity to earn cash back on purchases. You can earn 5% in rotating categories and 1% on all other purchases – and that 1% is more than you would earn with other low interest credit cards.

See our Discover it Card Review for more information.

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4. Barclaycard Ring MasterCard

Very Few Fees; APR of 8% on Purchases, Balance Transfers, and Cash Advances 

barclaycard ring cardThe Barclaycard Ring MasterCard is different from many other credit cards. Instead of an introductory APR, for example, the APR is a flat 8%, which is still significantly lower than most. The Ring MasterCard also offers access to a social community and a profit-sharing program which allows you to earn money through referrals, card use, and on-time payments.

  • APR. The APR for purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances is 8% and varies based on the prime rate. There is no penalty APR.
  • Fees. There is no annual fee, balance transfer fee, or over-limit fee. Cash advances are $1 and the foreign transaction fee is only 1%. The late payment fee ranges up to $25.
  • Other Perks. The social community allows you to propose ideas and vote with other cardholders on credit card decisions, rewards programs, and charities to which Giveback shares are donated. You can also earn shares through the Giveback program when you use your card and make payments on time. These shares do not have a predetermined value and the amount you earn is dependent on the overall total that the community earns, in addition to other variables such as program expenses. Shares can be donated, taken as a statement credit, or split among community members. You also earn $20 for the community for each member you refer who opens an approved account. Financial reports for the Giveback program are provided to the community.

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5. Citi® Diamond Preferred®

Introductory APR of 0% for 18 months; Standard APR of 11.99%, 16.99%, or 21.99%

citi diamond preferredThe Citi Diamond Preferred card offers one of the longest 0% introductory APRs provided by any credit card and its interest rate matures to as low as 11.99%. Not only is the Citi Diamond Preferred a low interest credit card, but it provides access to its shopping portal, Citi Easy Deals, through which you can take advantage of special deals and discounts and, although it isn’t a full-blown rewards program, earn points to be used on other Citi Easy Deals purchases.

  • APR. The APR is 0% for purchases and balance transfers made in the first 18 months of opening an account (qualifying balance transfers must be made within the first four months). After that, the APR rises to 11.99%, 16.99%, or 21.99%. A penalty APR of 29.99% is applied in the event of a late or returned payment.
  • Fees. There is no annual fee for the Citi Diamond Preferred card. The balance transfer fee is 3% or $5, whichever is greater, and the foreign transaction fee is 3%. The late payment fee is as much as $35 and there is no over-limit fee.
  • Other Perks. You receive access to Citi Easy Deals, which features popular retailers that provide special deals for earning points that can then be used for other Easy Deals purchases. Also featured is Citi Price Rewind, which allows you to track online purchases for 30 days. If a lower price for your purchase is found within that time, you receive the difference back as a refund.

See our Citi Diamond Preferred Card Review for more information.

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6. U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum

0% Introductory APR for 12 Billing Cycles; Standard APR of 9.99% to 23.99%

us bank visa platinum cardU.S. Bank offers various credit cards which typically work alongside their banking products. The U.S. Bank Visa Platinum card has no bells or whistles except for a low interest rate and a couple of small additional benefits if you happen to have a traditional bank account with U.S. Bank.

  • APR. There is an introductory APR of 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 12 billing cycles. After that, the APR is 9.99% to 23.99%, depending on your creditworthiness and the prime rate. There is no penalty APR.
  • Fees. There is no annual fee. The balance transfer fee is 3% or $5, whichever is greater, if you transfer within 30 days of opening your account. After that, balance transfers are 4% or $5. There is a foreign transaction fee of 3% and a late payment fee of up to $35. There is no over-limit fee.
  • Other Perks. The U.S. Bank Visa Platinum card offers free access to your Experian credit score. If you have a bank account with U.S. Bank, you can connect it to the card and opt for overdraft protection which transfers funds from your card to cover overdrafts or payments made with your bank account.

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7. BankAmericard® Better Balance Rewards™

Introductory APR of 0% for 12 Months; Standard APR of 11.99% to 21.99%

bankamericard better balance rewards cardThe BankAmericard Better Balance Rewards card provides an opportunity to earn bonus cash awards for paying more than the minimum payment due, and paying on time. Unlike programs with other cards, these rewards are earned in return for managing your account responsibly and not for specific purchases.

  • APR. The introductory APR is 0% on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 statement closing dates. In order to qualify for the 0% APR on balance transfers, however, your transfer must be made within the first 60 days of opening the account. The APR after the introductory period is between 11.99% and 21.99% and is based on your creditworthiness and variations in the prime rate. A penalty APR of 29.99% is applied if you make a late payment.
  • Fees. There is no annual fee for the BankAmericard Better Balance Rewards card. The balance transfer fee is 3% or $10, whichever is greater. The foreign transaction fee is 3%. The late payment fee is up to $35. There is no over-limit fee.
  • Other Perks. Although it is considered a low interest credit card, the BankAmericard Better Balance Rewards is also a rewards card. When you pay more than the minimum payment due and pay on time, you earn a quarterly award of $25. In addition to this bonus, if you or your joint applicant has an account at Bank of America, Merrill Edge, or Merrill Lynch, you receive an extra bonus of $5 per quarter. These bonuses together allow you to earn $120 per year.

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8. Chase Freedom

Introductory APR of 0% for 15 months; Standard APR of 13.99% to 22.99%

chase freedomLike the Discover it card, the Chase Freedom is featured on many “best-of” credit card lists, and because of its similar rewards program it is one of Discover’s strongest competitors. Although its beginning APR of 13.99% is the highest of the cards on this list, the Chase Freedom card’s sign-up bonus, introductory APR, and rewards program make it a highly competitive card, especially if you are looking for a low interest card that rewards purchases with cash.

  • APR. The introductory APR is 0% on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months. After that, the APR rises to between 13.99% and 22.99%, based on creditworthiness and variations in the prime rate. A penalty APR of 29.99% is applied if you do not make your minimum payment on time, if a payment is returned, if you exceed your credit limit, or if any of these occur on another of your Chase accounts or loans.
  • Fees. The Chase Freedom card has no annual fee. The balance transfer fee is 3% with a minimum of $5. There is a foreign transaction fee of 3%. The late payment fee is between $15 and $35, depending on the balance. There is no over-limit fee.
  • Other Perks. The Chase Freedom card provides a sign-up bonus of $100 when you spend $500 within three months. Additionally, each purchase earns cash back – 5% on purchases made in rotating categories and 1% on all other purchases. If you shop through Ultimate Rewards you can earn bonus points which may be redeemed for cash. If you have a Chase checking account, any points you earn get you a bonus of 10% at the end of a given year.

See our Chase Freedom Card Review for more information.

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9. PenFed Promise Visa

No Fees; Introductory APR of 7.49% on Purchases for 36 Months; APR of 4.99% on Balance Transfers

penfed promise cardThe PenFed Promise Visa card is issued by Pentagon Federal Credit Union and offers one of the lowest APRs currently available. The introductory interest rate is not the commonly offered 0%, but is instead 7.49%. The card compensates for this by offering it for a lengthy 36 months and charging absolutely no fees.

  • APR. The introductory APR on purchases is 7.49% for 36 months. After that the APR is 9.99% and varies with the prime rate. Balances transferred during a designated period have a promotional APR of 4.99% for the life of the balance. For any balances transferred after the designated period, the APR is 9.99%, but also varies with the prime rate. There is no penalty APR.
  • Fees. There are no fees for the PenFed Promise Visa credit card. No annual fee, foreign transaction fee, balance transfer fee, cash advance fee, late fee, over-limit fee, or penalty APR.
  • Other Perks. There are no extra perks with the PenFed Promise Visa card. It offers a low interest rate and imposes no fees – a combination not offered by any other card.

See our PenFed Promise Card Review for more information.

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Background on Credit Card Interest Rates

As you go through the above list of credit cards, consider two key points as background on interest rates:

  1. More and more cards are based around variable rates instead of fixed rates. Specifically, most of the lowest available APRs are variable rates that fluctuate based on the prime rate, generally as a percentage above or below this rate. The prime rate represents the best rate major banks are willing to offer their best customers, which is roughly 3% above the rate that the United States government is willing to use in loaning them money. While variable rates give you a chance to see your rate come down depending on national economic policy, they also make it tough for you to rely on a card to stay at a particularly low rate.
  2. Credit card companies used to offer a particular rate and then either accept or decline people who apply for a card. While some companies and cards still work that way, most banks have switched to a model in which they list multiple rates, and if you apply for a card they’ll assign you a rate based on your credit score. For most of the cards on this list, you’ll need a very high credit score to get the lowest available rates, so keep your own score in mind.

Final Word

While low interest credit cards are generally recommended for those who consistently carry balances, they also serve as simple alternatives for making purchases if you just don’t want to deal with rewards. However, if you regularly pay your balances in full, you may want to consider and focus on a rewards credit card with a slightly higher APR that allows you to take advantage of valuable benefits in exchange for your purchases.

Which low interest credit card do you carry?

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Christina Majaski
Christina Majaski has written for online and print publications since 2003 on topics related to personal finance, legal matters, parenting, and careers. She lives in the Minnesota tundra, where in her free time she enjoys reading, writing, interacting via social media, and hanging out with her daughter.

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  • http://www.virtualidstudios.com David

    Capital one gets a lot of complaints, myself included. I’d suggest avoiding them. Chase, in my experience, has provided superb customer service. Haven’t read widespread reviews though.

    • Zen

      I had chase and was on time monthly for over 10 years, the post office delivered a payment 2 days late once and not only did I get a late charge, but, they raised my once low rate earned by being a great customer up 4%, no appeal, no second chance.

      I responded by paying off my $21,000 credit in 2 years and never charging on the card until it was zeroed out. Then I called them a cancelled.

      Good credit don’t mean nothing to these guys, I paid thru the nose on my balance that was only carried because I had a good APR rate, 4% on $21 k taught me to use a debit card. Today I don’t even carry a credit card. Mortgage rates are 3% why are credit cards over 11% ?

  • http://twitter.com/Ebankharmony E Bank Harmony

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  • coldfish2

    Capital One will NEVER get my business. They treated me like garbage when I was in college. Several small mistakes led to awful credit for years. Now I have fantastic credit, own a small business, carry an ongoing balance between 10 & 20k (which is dropped right onto my clients, not my call there!). When Capital one people call, I tell them they should treat younger people better and be a bit more forgiving, because some later become the customers that they fight for…. and those customers will never give them their business and make it a point to tell everyone just how much they dislike them.

    On the other hand, Chase has actually been pretty good to me – but that’s probably because I shifted a lot of business to them. USAA has a great interest rate and is pretty nice, however if your credit isn’t so hot, you won’t get a card.

    Oh yeah… CitiBank. There’s a BAD company. I HAD my business all running through them, then one day, I went to get an iPod for my wife because she had been in the hospital for a few days (uber-pregnant). She’s the CFO of my business and in her state, totally forgot to make any payments. Yep. Missed ONE payment. ONE. The first time EVER.

    So, I got shut down at the apple store on a corporate card with a 50k limit. I called them to see WTF was going on and they told me my account was frozen for “non-payment”. Yep…. FOUR DAYS LATE.

    After talking to her manager, I explained that I’ve got 5 people on this account. I’ve held it for 8 years, there’s currently 9k on it, and I’m closing the account when I get back to my office. She told me, “whatever”. Seriously….. “whatever”.

    So…. USAA for about 20 years now. Very nice. (even when I was an idiot college student and working through crappy credit, and had horrible payment habits… they dealt with me fairly. Not nice to me, but fair and upfront :) Chase for the past 5 years or so has been good.

  • HEIDI

    Well I had Chase and in the recession they totally cut me off. No late payments no problems,,,,,shut me down. I currently have Capital One, so far so good, but 22.9% no no no….now Citi back is offering me 0APR for 18 months. What do you think? And Who is USAA?

The content on MoneyCrashers.com is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as professional financial advice. Should you need such advice, consult a licensed financial or tax advisor. References to products, offers, and rates from third party sites often change. While we do our best to keep these updated, numbers stated on this site may differ from actual numbers. We may have financial relationships with some of the companies mentioned on this website. Among other things, we may receive free products, services, and/or monetary compensation in exchange for featured placement of sponsored products or services. We strive to write accurate and genuine reviews and articles, and all views and opinions expressed are solely those of the authors.

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