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5 Best Low APR Interest Credit Cards – Reviews & Comparison

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Advertiser Disclosure: This post includes references to offers from our partners. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. However, the opinions expressed here are ours alone and at no time has the editorial content been provided, reviewed, or approved by any issuer.

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. Citi Simplicity® Card

0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 21 Months and Purchases for 12 Months; No Late Fees or Penalty 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, ever.

  • Sign-up Bonus: There’s no sign-up bonus.
  • Introductory APR: 0% APR on balance transfers for 21 months from date of first transfer and 0% APR on purchases for 12 months from account opening. Eligible balance transfers must be completed within 4 months of account opening. Following the introductory periods, the regular APR rises to range between 16.99% and 26.99%, depending on your creditworthiness.
  • Key Fees: There’s no annual fee or late fee. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 5% of the transferred amount. Foreign transactions run 3% of the total amount.
  • Other Perks: When you call in for phone support, you can say “representative” at any time to skip the automated menu. Other value-added features include $0 liability for unauthorized charges and the ability to choose your payment due date.

See our Citi Simplicity Review for more information. Find out how you can apply for this card here.


2. PenFed Promise Visa® Card

11.99% to 17.99% APR (variable); 4.99% Intro APR for 12 Months; $100 Sign-up Bonus; No Fees

penfed promise credit 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.
  • Regular APR: Purchase, balance transfer, and cash advance APR is a variable 11.99% to 17.99%, variable depending on your creditworthiness and prevailing interest rates.
  • Key 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 Review for more information. Find out how you can apply for this card here.


3. Lake Michigan Credit Union Prime Platinum Visa Credit Card

Ongoing Rates As Low as 8.50% APR

If you’re looking for a credit card that allows you to carry balances at a low ongoing interest rate, the Lake Michigan Credit Union Prime Platinum Visa Credit Card may be the end of your search. With rates as low as 8.50% APR for well-qualified applicants, this card’s ongoing APR is virtually unmatched. And, though Lake Michigan Credit Union has branches in Michigan and Florida only, anyone can join by making a $5 donation to an ALS charity.

  • Sign-up Bonus: There’s no sign-up bonus.
  • Introductory APR: There’s presently no introductory APR promotion. Check Lake Michigan Credit Union’s website for the latest offers.
  • Regular APR: For well-qualified borrowers, the ongoing finance charge is as low as 8.50% APR variable. Rates may be higher for borrowers with impaired credit. A penalty charge of 18% APR may be assessed on balances past 60 days due.
  • Key Fees: There’s no annual fee. Foreign transactions cost up to 2% of the transaction amount. Other fees may apply; see terms and conditions for details.
  • Other Perks: Value-added perks include complimentary car rental insurance for rentals paid in full with the card, emergency card replacement, and 24/7 member service.

4. Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Credit Card

13.74% to 27.24% APR (variable); 0% Intro APR on Purchases & Balance Transfers for 18 Months

The Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Credit Card has a very long 0% introductory APR on both purchases and balance transfers, making it a great balance transfer candidate and a suitable aid for new cardholders planning large purchases. There’s no penalty APR or annual fee, either. A higher-than-average cash advance APR is a key drawback.

  • Sign-up Bonus: There’s no sign-up bonus.
  • Introductory APR: 0% purchase and balance transfer APR for 18 months.
  • Regular APR: After the introductory period, the variable purchase and balance transfer APR is 13.74% to 27.24% variable, depending on your creditworthiness and prevailing interest rates. The cash advance APR ranges from 26.24% to 28.24%, with no introductory period. There’s no penalty APR.
  • Key Fees: There’s no annual fee. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 3% of the transferred amount for the first 120 days, then the greater of $5 or 5% thereafter. Cash advances always cost the greater of $10 or 5%. Foreign transactions cost 3% of the total transaction amount. Late and returned payments cost up to $37.
  • Other Perks: Value-added perks include on-demand access to your FICO® score through Wells Fargo Online; a cell phone protection plan that provides up to $600 in reimbursement per claim for stolen or damaged phones, less a $25 deductible; and free digital budgeting tools.

See our Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Credit Card Review for more information. Learn more about this card and find out how you can apply for this card here.


5. HSBC Gold Mastercard®

14.24%, 20.24%, or 25.24% APR (variable); 0% Intro APR on Purchases & Balance Transfers for 15 Months

The HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card has a 15-month 0% introductory APR on both purchases and balance transfers, making it nearly as useful as the other cards on this list for financing major purchases and paying down existing credit card debt over time. If you have above-average credit card, you may qualify for a low regular APR as well. Add in no foreign transaction fees, one late fee waiver per year, and a slew of shopping benefits, and you’ve got yourself a quality credit card that won’t break the bank when you carry a balance.

  • Sign-up Bonus: There’s no sign-up bonus.
  • Introductory APR: 0% purchase and balance transfer APR for 15 months. Qualifying balance transfers must be made within 60 days of account opening.
  • Regular APR: After the introductory period, the variable purchase and balance transfer APR is either 14.24%, 20.24%, or 25.24% APR, depending on your creditworthiness and prevailing interest rates. The cash advance APR is 27.24% variable, with no introductory period. There’s no penalty APR.
  • Key Fees: There’s no annual fee or foreign transaction fee. Balance transfers and cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 4% of the transaction amount.
  • Other Perks: Shopping benefits include extended warranties for up to one year after the original manufacturer’s warranty expires, purchase assurance for covered items stolen or damaged for a period after purchase (subject to limits and exclusions), and price protection (a refund of the difference when you find a lower advertised price within 60 days of purchasing a covered item).

Learn more about 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.

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?

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.

Brian Martucci
Brian Martucci writes about frugal living, entrepreneurship, and innovative ideas. When he’s not interviewing small business owners or investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, he’s probably out exploring a new trail or sampling a novel cuisine. Find him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.

Comments Disclosure: The below responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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