No one plans to pay interest.
When someone opens a new credit card account, they often convince themselves that they will pay in full every month and never carry an unpaid balance.
But then unexpected expenses – like car repairs and vet bills – start adding up.
Suddenly, carrying some debt in the form of an unpaid credit card balance is necessary.
If a person never planned to carry a balance, the APR (Annual Percentage Rate, or interest rate) might not have factored highly when they chose the credit card.
But when you can't pay your monthly credit card debt in full, it becomes painfully obvious how important APRs are when choosing a credit card.
Low APR credit cards are out there. If you're looking to get your first credit card, as long as you don't have a poor credit report there are low APR credit card options available.
If you already have a credit card and are looking for a new one, there's a good chance you'd like to transfer an existing balance from a card with a higher APR to a card that charges less interest.
We've looked at all the low interest credit cards out there and listed our recommendations here.
Sooner or later, everyone is going to have to pay interest on an outstanding credit card balance.
With these cards, the amount of interest you'll pay is low, so you can concentrate on paying off the balance instead of paying the interest.
Do the Math
Balance transfers can make sense, but be careful. If you're looking for a low interest credit card there is a good chance you are seeking out a card with a lower APR than what you are paying on an existing credit card balance.
Perhaps you signed up for a higher APR card when you had a lower credit score.
Now that you've raised your credit score to the "Good" or "Excellent" status, you can qualify for a card that charges less interest.
That means you will probably want to transfer your current outstanding balance from your high APR card to a low APR card.
Just make sure you do the math and pick your card carefully, especially when it comes to balance transfer fees.
We can do some math for you. For example, if a low interest credit card has a sign-up bonus offer of $100 and charges 0% APR on balance transfers for the first 12 months, it might seem appealing.
But if you are transferring a balance of $3,000 and there is a 5% balance transfer fee, you'll end up paying $50 – $150 more than the sign-up bonus was worth!
Make sure you do the math so the balance transfer fee isn't negating the other benefits of the low interest credit card you're looking at.
How we picked the best low interest rate credit cards
Saving money is the main priority. Our main goal is to show you the cards that will save you the most on interest.
If you need to carry a balance from month to month, a low interest credit card should save you money on your monthly payments.
Low interest cards are usually good for transferring a balance. Low interest credit cards are also appealing for people who want to transfer a balance from a high APR card.
So, we've also factored in the balance transfer fees and balance transfer APRs when choosing these cards.
Of course, it's also important that the other terms and conditions for these low interest credit cards we recommend are solid.
Annual fees, introductory APR rates, bonus offers, and cash-back rewards were therefore also considered when we were making our picks.
This card has the lowest interest rate we found and a solid balance transfer deal
Lowest of the low for APR. Our top pick for the best low interest credit card is the Discover it card.
The bottom line is the low APR, variable based on creditworthiness, is the lowest interest rate we could find among the cards we reviewed here.
People also love the introductory rate on balance transfers and purchases.
The Discover it card's sign-up bonus matches all the cash-back you earn in year one
Unbeatable bonus offer. The Discover it card is also a rewards credit card with one of the most potentially lucrative bonus offers in the industry.
Quarterly bonus categories. Every quarter, Discover it cardholders can register to earn even more cash-back in specific categories and vendors.
What about the annual fee?
Look for low fees. If you signed up for a low interest credit card, you probably did it to save money.
So, it's important that there aren't a lot of fees that offset the savings you will make in interest.
Never pay an annual fee. The Discover it card charges no annual fee. That's not a first-year intro offer or promotional period, that's permanent.
Not the lowest APR, but still low.
A bit higher than the Discover it card but still quite low compared to industry standards.
Longest no-APR intro period.
That's the longest we found among the cards we reviewed.
Balance transfer fee, but no rewards.
Unlike the Discover it, there are no rewards or bonus points that can help offset that cost.
Best card for the chronically late. The other thing people love about the Citi Simplicity card is that it doesn't charge late fees.
And when you do make late payments, there is no penalty APR increase.
No consequences for behaving badly. However, some critics of the no-late-fee or penalty policy point out that it encourages bad behavior.
Eventually, getting used to late payments could negatively impact a person's credit history.
"Simplicity" means no sign-up bonus
Not the right card if you're looking for a big intro bonus. When it comes to sign-up bonuses, the Citi Simplicity card can't compete with most other cards.
That's because there are none.
"Simplicity" also means no rewards
You don't earn, and you don't redeem. We can't offer any tips for earning or redeeming rewards with the Citi Simplicity card because there are none.
Are there any other benefits to the Citi Simplicity card?
Control over payment schedule. You do get the chance to set up your monthly payment on the monthly due date of your choosing.
Although there are no late fees or penalties, that seems like a somewhat useless perk.
Apply and transfer an existing balance to save big.
Among the longest Intro APR periods available.
You can apply on the Citi Simplicity card's application page. The interest-free period begins the day that you transfer your balance.
You'll need a credit score that is "Good" to qualify for the Citi Simplicity card.
But if you're hoping to get the lowest interest rate you'll need a score that is "Excellent."
Chase Freedom Unlimited
With a low interest rate and the long-term cash-back opportunities, this card is a win
Not the lowest interest rate but still pretty low.Our third pick for the low interest credit card is the Chase Freedom Unlimited.
Appealing cash-back rewards.
No APR on balance transfers, but watch out for the high fee.
Unfortunately, this is one of those cards that charges the super-high balance transfer fee we warned you about earlier.
So, we would not recommend this over the other options for transferring a balance.
And that's not just an intro offer, that's forever.
But there is a foreign transaction fee.
Like the balance transfer fee, cash advances are also charged quite high fees.
Late payment fees depend on the amount of the unpaid balance.
Time your application around a big purchase
Spend big up front.
Therefore, the best way to take advantage of the interest-free introductory period is to sign-up right before you're about to make a big purchase.
And you can take more than a year to pay the major expense off without paying interest on your purchase.
Bank of America Cash Rewards
With a low APR and bonus cash-back, this card is one of our top picks.
Second place for lowest APR.The Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card
It ranks ahead of the Citi Simplicity card and the Chase Unlimited Freedom card for the lowest regular APR.
But it still doesn't beat the Discover it card as the lowest APR card among the ones we've reviewed here.
Solid cash-back rewards program, with room to improve. In addition to the relatively low APR, the Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card also has one of the best cash rewards programs.
Exclusive rewards program.
The sign-up bonus for the Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card is hefty and it's fairly painless to qualify
You can earn and redeem some serious cash-back per quarter (and get it increased even more if you have a Bank of America account!)
Bonus categories let you earn more.
After that, and for everything else, you can earn unlimited 1% cash-back.
Let's calculate what that all means.Bank of America has a handy cash-back rewards calculator on its Cash Rewards credit card webpage that helps you figure out how much you can earn.
How do you become a member of the Preferred Rewards program?
You have to have money to earn money. That's the catch.
Open a Bank of America bank account before you apply
Open an account and get more cash-back. If you're willing to go all-in with Bank of America to earn the most cash-back rewards possible, you should start by opening a checking or savings account.
Whether you're getting a new card or switching from an existing one, choose a low interest credit card
Interest is inevitable. You're just going to have to admit it – sooner or later you're probably going to have to pay interest on an unpaid credit card balance.
When you do, you'll be glad you picked a credit card company with one of these low interest credit cards.
Why pay more interest? If you're currently paying a lot of interest at a high rate with an existing credit card, consider transferring a balance to one of the these low interest credit cards.
Especially the ones with lower balance transfer fees and nice, long 0% intro APR periods.
With most of these low APR credit cards, you'll not only just save monthly on interest, you'll also earn cash-back and avoid fees.