9 Best Low APR Interest Credit Cards – Reviews & Comparison

Generally, it’s wise to avoid carrying balances on your credit cards. Credit card balances quickly rack up interest charges, eating into your monthly personal budget and hampering your ability to save and invest. Over time, unpaid credit card balances could compel you to enroll in credit counseling, or even cause you to declare bankruptcy.

However, it’s sometimes impossible to avoid carrying credit card balances. For instance, if your car breaks down and you have no other way to get to work, charging the repair to your credit card is better than losing your job – even if you know it’ll take some time to pay off the balance.

Low APR credit cards make it easier to carry balances from month to month because they don’t accrue interest as rapidly, and their carried balances grow more slowly as a result. If you habitually carry balances from month to month, or want to do so in the future without paying through the nose, consider these low APR credit card options.

Best Low Interest Credit Cards

1. Barclaycard® Ring MasterCard®

Very Low APR; Minimal Fees

barclaycard ring mastercardThe Barclaycard Ring MasterCard is not your typical credit card – and that’s generally a good thing. Dubbed “the first social credit card,” it’s built around an active user community that shares financial tips and advice among members. All Ring cardholders earn automatic entry into the Giveback program, a profit-sharing arrangement in which all Ring cardholders receive a portion of Barclaycard’s profit based on their level of activity in the Ring community and the number of new cardholders they successfully refer. You can donate your Giveback earnings to the charity of your choice, take them as cash, or apply them as a statement credit.

Additionally, Ring has a low purchase, balance transfer, and cash advance APR. Fees are minimal too. However, the lack of an introductory APR is a significant drawback.

  • Sign-up Bonus. There’s no sign-up bonus.
  • Introductory APR. There’s no introductory APR.
  • APR. Purchase, balance transfer, and cash advance APR is 8.25% for all cardholders, though it may vary over time as prevailing interest rates change.
  • Fees. There’s no annual fee, balance transfer fees, or foreign transaction fees. Cash advances cost a flat $3, regardless of size. Late and returned payments cost $26.
  • Other Perks. You get complementary access to your FICO score in real time.

See our Barclaycard Ring Card Review for more information. Find out how you can apply for this card here.


2. Chase Slate

Long Introductory APR Period; Free Monthly Credit Score; No Penalty APR

credit-card-lockChase Slate has a nice 0% introductory APR period for balance transfers and purchases. While the period isn’t quite as long as Chase’s Citi peers, this is still a great card for transferring high-interest balances. In fact, Slate won CardRatings.com’s “Best Balance Transfer” award three years in a row – from 2012 to 2014, due to the fact that it waives balance transfer fees during the first 60 days of card membership.

Another Chase Slate perk: no penalty APR. On the other hand, purchase, balance transfer, and cash advance APRs are on the high side of the low APR category. Fees are on the high side too.

  • Sign-up Bonus. There’s no sign-up bonus.
  • Introductory APR. 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months.
  • APR. After the introductory period, the variable APR ranges from 13.24% to 23.24%, depending on your creditworthiness and prevailing rates. Cash advance APR is 24.99%, also variable. There’s no penalty APR.
  • Fees. There’s no annual fee. After a 60-day fee-free period, balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 3% of the transferred amount. Cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 3%. Late payment fees range from $15 to $37, depending on the size of the late payment. Returned payments are always $37.
  • Other Perks. Card membership comes with a free monthly FICO score.

See our Chase Slate Card Review for more information. Find out how you can apply for this card here.


3. PenFed Promise Visa® Card

Low Regular APR; No Fees of Any Kind

penfed promise visa cardThe PenFed Promise Card boasts a low regular APR and no fees of any kind – no late fees, annual fees, balance transfer fees, or cash advance fees. Although there’s no introductory purchase APR, there’s a low introductory balance transfer rate. And there’s no penalty APR, so you don’t have to worry about what might happen if you make a late payment. However, the lack of an introductory purchase APR is a significant drawback.

  • Sign-up Bonus. When you spend at least $1,500 in your first 90 days of card membership, you get a $100 statement credit.
  • Introductory APR. There’s no regular introductory APR. The introductory balance transfer APR is 4.99% for 12 months.
  • APR. Purchase, balance transfer, and cash advance APR is a variable 10.24% to 17.99%, depending on your creditworthiness and prevailing interest rates.
  • Fees. There aren’t any fees, period.
  • Other Perks. The PenFed Promise Visa Card is one of the few low APR credit cards with a sign-up bonus.

See our PenFed Promise Card Review for more information. Find out how you can apply for this card here.


4. Discover it®

Solid Intro APR Period and No Penalty APR; Great Cash Back Rewards

discover-it-cardAlthough it doesn’t have the lowest APR around, Discover it does have a nice cash back rewards program. All purchases earn 1% cash back, with no spending caps or restrictions. Purchases in quarterly rotating spending categories (such as department store or gas station purchases) earn 5% cash back, up to a $1,500 quarterly limit across all active categories. Quarters begin January 1st, April 1st, July 1st, and October 1st.

You can redeem your cash in any amount as a statement credit, bank account deposit, check, or Amazon.com purchase credit. Plus, Discover doubles all cash back earned in the first year of card membership.

In addition to the cash back rewards program, the main perks of the Discover it card include a solid 0% introductory APR period, no penalty APR, no annual fee, and a free FICO credit score with card membership. Drawbacks include costly cash advances.

  • Sign-up Bonus. Aside from the double cash back offer in your first year, there’s no sign-up bonus.
  • Introductory APR. 0% purchase and balance transfer APR for 12 months.
  • APR. After the introductory APR period ends, purchase and balance transfer APR is 11.24% to 23.24%, depending on your creditworthiness and prevailing interest rates. There’s no penalty APR.
  • Key Fees. There’s no annual fee or foreign transaction fees. Balance transfers cost a flat 3% of the total amount transferred. The cash advance fee is the greater of $10 or 5% of the advanced amount, plus a 24.99% APR.
  • Other Perks. Discover’s Freeze It feature lets you turn off many account features, including the ability to make new purchases and cash advances, at the click of a button. The Discover it card also comes with a free FICO credit score. Also, at the end of your first year as a cardholder, Discover automatically doubles all the cash back you earned over the previous 12 months.

See our Discover it Card Review for more information. Find out how you can apply for this card here.


5. Discover it® Chrome

Solid Introductory Rate; Low Fees; Cash Back Rewards

discover-it-chromeDiscover it Chrome has an even lower purchase and balance transfer APR than the regular Discover it  card, plus minimal fees and a nice 0% introductory APR period. One drawback is the penalty APR, which can range to nearly 30%.

Like the regular Discover it card, Discover it Chrome has a nice cash back rewards program that benefits cardholders who pay their balances in full each cycle. Dining and gas purchases earn 2% cash back, up to $1,000 per quarter, and an unlimited 1% after reaching the spending cap. All other purchases also earn an unlimited 1%. You can redeem your cash back in any amount, and Discover automatically doubles all cash back earned in the first year.

  • Sign-up Bonus. There’s no sign-up bonus, aside from the first-year double cash back deal.
  • Introductory APR. 0% purchase and balance transfer APR for 12 months.
  • APR. After the introductory period, purchase and balance transfer APR ranges between 11.24% and 23.24%, depending on creditworthiness and prevailing interest rates. Penalty APR ranges up to 29.99%.
  • Key Fees. There’s no annual fee or foreign transaction fees. Balance transfers cost 3% of the transferred amount.
  • Other Perks. There’s no late fee on your first late payment. This card also comes with the Freeze It feature and free FICO credit score. As with the flagship Discover it, Discover it Chrome automatically doubles all the cash back you earn during your first year.

See our Discover it Chrome Card Review for more information. Find out how you can apply for this card here.


6. Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

Very Long Introductory APR; No Late Fees; VIP Perks

citi diamond preferred credit cardThe Citi Diamond Preferred Card has the same great introductory APR period as the Citi Simplicity Card, plus a slightly better regular APR for purchases and balance transfers. However, there is a penalty APR, and fees are a bit higher. One of the biggest benefits of the Citi Diamond Preferred Card is its slew of VIP perks, including exclusive deals at major retailers and personalized concierge service for travel and event booking.

  • Sign-up Bonus. There’s no sign-up bonus.
  • Introductory APR. 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 21 months.
  • APR. After the introductory period, the variable purchase and balance transfer APR ranges from 12.49% to 22.49%, depending on your creditworthiness and prevailing rates. Cash advance APR is 25.49%, also variable. Penalty APR ranges up to 29.99%.
  • Fees. There’s no annual fee. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 3% of the transferred amount. Cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 5%. Foreign transactions run 3% of the total amount. Returned and late payments cost $35.
  • Other Perks. You get free, 24/7 access to personal concierges authorized to book hotel rooms, flights, concert tickets, and other engagements on your behalf. Through Citi Easy Deals, you’re privy to exclusive discounts and deals at well-known retailers, such as CVS and Gap.

See our Citi Diamond Preferred Card Review for more information.


7. Citi Simplicity® Card

No Late Fees or Penalty APR; Very Long Introductory APR

citi simplicity credit cardWith a super-long 0% introductory APR for purchases and balance transfers, Citi Simplicity Card is great for transferring high-interest balances from other credit cards. Fees are reasonable here as well – there’s no annual fee or late payment fee. And there’s no penalty APR. On the other hand, the regular purchase and balance transfer APR is on the high side, and cash advances are a bit pricey.

  • Sign-up Bonus. There’s no sign-up bonus.
  • Introductory APR. 0% purchase and balance transfer APR for 21 months.
  • APR. After the introductory period, the variable purchase and balance transfer APR is 13.24% to 23.24%, depending on your creditworthiness and prevailing interest rates. The cash advance APR is also 13.24% to 23.24%, with no introductory period. Notably, there’s no penalty APR.
  • Fees. There’s no annual fee or late fee. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 3% of the transferred amount. Cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 5%. Foreign transactions run 3% of the total amount. Returned payments cost $35.
  • Other Perks. Customer service is well above average. When you call in for phone support, you can say “representative” at any time to skip the annoying automated menu. Also, the Citi Price Rewind feature can reduce the cost of certain purchases. After you make a purchase, Citi automatically searches for lower prices at competing retailers. If it finds a lower price within 60 days, you receive a refund for the difference, up to $300 per item and $1,200 per year.

See our Citi Simplicity Card Review for more information.


8. BankAmericard® Better Balance Rewards™ Credit Card

bankamericard better balance rewardsThe BankAmericard Better Balance Rewards Card has a solid 0% intro APR period that makes it a great candidate for balance transfers from higher-interest credit cards. The $25 statement credit bonus for timely, above-the-minimum payments is also a nice perk. However, fees and cash advance APRs are on the high side, so this isn’t the best card to use at the ATM or make late payments on.

  • Sign-up Bonus. There’s no sign-up bonus.
  • Introductory APR. 0% purchase and balance transfer APR for 12 months.
  • APR. After the introductory APR period ends, purchase and balance transfer APR is 12.24% to 22.24%, depending on your creditworthiness and prevailing interest rates. The variable cash advance APR ranges from 15.24% to 25.24%. Penalty APR ranges up to 29.9%.
  • Key Fees. There’s no annual fee. Balance transfers and cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 3% of the transferred amount. The foreign transaction fee is 3% of the total transaction amount. Returned payments cost $27, and late payments run $37.
  • Other Perks. If your payments are timely and greater than the minimum amount for all 3 billing cycles in a given quarter, you earn a $25 statement credit for that quarter. This benefit is worth up to $100 annually.

See our BankAmericard Better Balance Rewards Card Review for more information.


9. BBVA Compass Visa® Signature

No Annual Fee; Flexible Rewards

bbva compass visa signature cardThe BBVA Compass Visa Signature card is a low APR/rewards hybrid. It has an attractive introductory balance transfer period and a shorter, but still nice, introductory purchase APR period. The regular APR can be as low as 9.49% for folks with excellent credit, lower than many competing cards. The lack of a penalty APR is a nice perk for cardholders who occasionally miss payments. The account opening bonus is a good deal too. However, fees are often on the high side.

The BBVA Compass Visa Signature card comes with a solid rewards program that pays one CompassPoint per $1 spend, with no spending caps or rotating categories. CompassPoints are redeemable for airfare, hotel purchases, gift cards, charitable donations, and more. Their value ranges on either side of $0.01/point, depending on how they’re redeemed.

  • Sign-up Bonus. There is currently no sign-up bonus for this card.
  • Introductory APR. 0% on purchases for 6 months and 0% to 3.99% on balance transfers for 12 months, depending on your creditworthiness.
  • APR. After the introductory periods, the variable purchase and balance transfer APR ranges from 9.49% to 23.49%, depending on creditworthiness and prevailing rates. The cash advance APR is 22.49%. There’s no penalty APR.
  • Key Fees. There’s no annual fee. Cash advances and balance transfers cost the greater of $10 or 4%. Foreign transactions run 3%. Late payments cost $38, while returned payments run $27.
  • Other Perks. Cardholders get personalized concierge service when booking entertainment and travel, similar to Citi’s VIP program.

Find out how you can apply for this card here.


Final Word

Most of the cards on this list have variable APRs that fall within a fairly wide range. When you open a new card account, the issuer assigns your APR at a point within that range, based on your creditworthiness and prevailing interest rates at the time. If you have an excellent credit score and unblemished credit history, your rate is likely to be at the lower end of the range. If your credit isn’t stellar, expect a higher rate. As time goes on, your variable APR rises or falls in response to fluctuations in prevailing interest rates and changes in your creditworthiness.

That said, the low-APR credit card scene demonstrates that life really is full of compromises and trade-offs. In exchange for low interest rates and, in many cases, minimal fees, these credit cards dial back the rewards. Most don’t have any credit card rewards at all, though a few – notably Discover it and Discover it Chrome – break the mold.

If you prefer credit cards that actually pay you to spend money, check out our cash back and travel rewards credit card lists. Just remember, rewards credit cards are most effective when you pay off your balance in full each month. Carrying a balance for more than a month or two can completely offset the value of your rewards, and could actually end up costing you money.

What’s your favorite low APR credit card?

  • 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?

    • Yoli

      USAA is a bank that offers insurance, banking, investments and retirement. USAA membership is open to U.S. military service members, veterans with an honorable discharge, and their eligible family members. They also offer some products to individuals with no military affiliation.

      • TimBrunellivo

        just as Ernest said I can’t believe that you can get paid $5872 in one month on the computer . check my source

  • mkel

    How can anyone recommend any card that has a potential 23% interest rate? That’s robbery.

  • Guest

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