Best Low Interest Credit Cards of July 2020

The top cards for cutting debt costs, and how to choose the best one for you

We publish unbiased reviews; our opinions are our own and are not influenced by payments from advertisers. Learn about our independent review process and partners in our advertiser disclosure.

The best low interest cards can take some pressure off of your wallet if you need to carry a balance for a while. In preparing this list, we compared the average interest rates offered by cards. The lowest rates may only be available to applicants with the best credit. We don’t advise carrying credit card balances long term, regardless of the interest rate, but if you can stick to a repayment plan, these are our top picks: 

Best Low Interest Credit Cards

Simmons Visa®

Best Overall

,

Best With a Low Ongoing APR

Our Rating Among Low Interest Cards
4.8
Simmons Visa®
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Excellent
Regular APR (%) 8.25% variable
Annual Fee $0
Balance Transfer Fee During the promotional period: either $10.00 or 3% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater. After the promotional period: $0.
INTRO BALANCE TRANSFER APR 0% for 12 Months
Intro Balance Transfer Fee $10.00 or 3% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater.
  • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARD

    This card is your best option for saving on interest costs long term. Its APR is a super low 8.25%, which is less than half the average credit card interest rate. While we never recommend carrying a balance, if you have to for a short time, the Simmons Visa makes it less costly. The card also has decent deals on balance transfers that can save you money if you have debt on other credit cards.

  • PROS & CONS

    Pros

    • One of the best ongoing APRs offered by a low APR card
    • Pay no balance transfer fee within the first 60 days after account opening

    Cons

    • You’ll likely need excellent credit to qualify
    • No rewards program or new cardholder bonus
  • HIGHLIGHTS
    • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 12 Months.
    • $0 Annual Fee.
    • 8.25% Variable APR.
    • Created for those with excellent credit.

Simmons Rewards Visa Signature®

Best for Simple Cash-Back Rewards

Our Rating Among Low Interest Cards
4.8
Simmons Rewards Visa Signature®
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Excellent
Regular APR (%) 10.25% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate 1.25 points for every dollar spent.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 2%
  • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARD

    There aren’t many bells and whistles on this card, but it does earn cash-back rewards on everything you buy with the card. You can certainly find cards that earn more, but you’d be hard pressed to find one with an 11.25% interest rate. It even offers a one-year promotion on balance transfers, so you can pay off other credit card debt with no interest for a year.

  • PROS & CONS

    Pros

    • Ongoing APR is less than half the average rate
    • One year to pay off balance transfers interest-free

    Cons

    • Weak rewards earning rate compared to other similar no-annual-fee cards
    • Points can only be redeemed through the rewards portal or by phone
    • You can find longer 0% balance transfer APR offers elsewhere
  • HIGHLIGHTS
    • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 12 Months.
    • $0 Annual Fee.
    • 10.25% Variable APR.
    • 1.25 points for every dollar spent.
    • Created for those with excellent credit.

PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card

Best for Boosting Rewards in Different Categories

Our Rating Among Low Interest Cards
4.8
PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card
Current Offer

$100 statement credit when you spend $1,500 in the first 90 days.

Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Excellent
Regular APR (%) 13.49% - 17.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 5x back at gas stations, 3x back on groceries, and 1x back on all other purchases.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARD

    This card has some serious long-term value. If you have a high-cost card balance to transfer, open this card to get a year to pay off that debt once and for all, interest-free. It can then become your go-to card for everyday expenses because its cash-back earning rates are hard to beat and if you do have to run a balance again, the ongoing interest rate is low. As an added bonus, there’s no annual fee.

  • PROS & CONS

    Pros

    • Great rewards on gas and grocery purchases
    • Minimal transaction and penalty fees

    Cons

    • Use this card for promotional balance transfers and you’ll lose the interest grace period on purchases
    • Reward redemption options are quite limited
    • Applicants must be PenFed Credit Union members
  • HIGHLIGHTS
    • $100 statement credit when you spend $1,500 in first 90 days.
    • 5x points on gas at the pump and 3x points on groceries.
    • 1x points on all other purchases.
    • No annual fee and no foreign transaction fee.

Discover it® Miles

Best for Travelers

Our Rating Among Low Interest Cards
4.8
Discover it® Miles
Current Offer

Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically.

Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 11.99% - 22.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn unlimited 1.5 miles for every dollar spent.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 14 Months
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARD

    You’ll get 1.5 miles for every $1 you spend with this card, and redeeming them is as simple as requesting reimbursement after making a travel purchase. The card’s atypical sign-up bonus can be quite valuable, too. At the end of your first year, Discover will double the miles you’ve earned. However, while the ongoing purchase APR may be quite low, never carry a balance with a travel card if you can help it.

  • PROS & CONS

    Pros

    • No annual fee
    • Miles can be redeemed as travel statement credits or cash back
    • Generous, unconventional bonus doubles your first year earnings
    • Competitive 0% purchase APR offer

    Cons

    • Miles can’t be transferred to airline loyalty programs
    • No travel insurance benefits
    • Card acceptance may vary compared to Visa or Mastercard
  • HIGHLIGHTS
    • Earn unlimited 1.5 Miles for every dollar spent on all purchases.
    • Only Discover automatically matches all the Miles you've earned at the end of your first year.
    • Use your card to pay for airfare, hotels, rideshares, and more with no blackout dates. Then easily redeem miles as a statement credit for travel or get cash.
    • No annual fee.

HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card

Best for Making Large Purchases

Our Rating Among Low Interest Cards
4.5
HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 13.99% - 23.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Balance Transfer Fee Either $10 or 4%, whichever is greater, will apply on each balance transfer and credit card check.
INTRO BALANCE TRANSFER APR 0% for 18 Months
Intro Balance Transfer Fee This card does not offer an introductory balance transfer fee.
  • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARD

    This card boasts one of the best 0% APR introductory deals that we know of for new cardholders right now, offering 18 months to pay off purchases interest-free. If you have a few big-ticket things to buy or a big vacation ahead, having more than a year to pay off such charges without the cost of compounding interest can really give your budget a break.

  • PROS & CONS

    Pros

    • Lengthy 0% APR offers
    • Very few transaction and penalty fees

    Cons

    • No rewards program
    • 0% APR deals are good, but even better ones exist
  • HIGHLIGHTS
    • 0% Introductory APR on Purchases and Balance Transfers for the first 18 months from Account opening.
    • Balance Transfers must be posted within the first 60 days following Account opening.
    • If your payment is late, your late fee will be waived once within a 12 month calender period.
    • No Penalty APR.

Apple Card

Best for Fair Credit

Our Rating Among Low Interest Cards
4.5
Apple Card
Current Offer

Get a new Apple Card and enjoy $50 the first time you use it to pay for an Apple Service for a limited time.

Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Fair - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 10.99% - 21.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 3% cash back at Apple and select Apple pay partners, 2% on other Apple pay purchases, and 1% on everything else.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARD

    If you have mediocre credit, many low-interest cards are out of reach, but you may have better luck with this one. However, having less-than-great credit will likely mean you won’t qualify for the card’s best rate. Apple fans who fawn over new brand products will enjoy the card’s sleek design and nifty financial tools. However, if you’re seeking a low APR because you plan on carrying a balance, it’s not worth focusing on this card’s rewards program. Keep in mind there’s no promotional rate offer, so it’s not a good option for financing big purchases.

  • PROS & CONS

    Pros

    • Good rewards on Apple and partner-retailer purchases
    • Ability to earn more when using this card with Apple Pay
    • Interactive account tools offer visual ways to learn about credit
    • Lowest offered APR is good for a rewards card
    • No annual fee

    Cons

    • Mediocre rewards rate on non-Apple and non-Apple-Pay purchases
    • Non-iPhone users will miss out on highest rewards earning rate
    • Few extra benefits (e.g. bonus or free credit score)
  • HIGHLIGHTS
    • Apply and start using in minutes. Just open the Wallet app and tapthe plus icon.
    • Get 2% Daily Cash back every time you pay with your iPhone or Apple Watch.
    • See each purchase go through right away. No waiting. No wondering.
    • No fees. Period.
Find Your Credit Card Match When choosing a simple, no-frills credit card, we believe it's most important to focus on the APRs and fees, but we know you might have different priorities. See what suits you best.
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What Is a Low Credit Card Interest Rate?

The interest rate on a credit card affects how much you pay when you carry a balance beyond the grace period. A low interest rate allows you to reduce the amount of interest you pay whenever you carry a balance. A low interest rate would fall below the current average of 22.08%, based on The Balance’s analysis of about 200 credit cards’ rates.

What’s the Difference Between Low Interest and a Promotional Rate?

When you’re comparing credit cards, note the difference between a low ongoing interest rate and a promotional rate. The ongoing interest is applied to your credit card balance almost indefinitely, unless it’s a variable rate that changes based on an underlying interest rate or you lose it because you default on the credit card terms. A promotional interest rate is a temporary low interest rate applied to your credit card for a certain number of months.

Who Is a Low-Interest Card Right For?

A promotional interest rate is great for transferring a high interest rate balance from another credit card or for financing a large purchase. If you’re planning to carry a balance ongoing, a low ongoing interest rate will help you minimize the interest you pay over time.

What We Like
  • Your total interest cost will be lower than with a high interest rate credit card

  • No limit on the low interest rate period

  • The low rate may apply to balance transfers

What We Don't Like
  • You need excellent credit to qualify

  • Your rate could go up after multiple late payments

How Do You Choose a Low-Interest Credit Card?

The interest rate is arguably the most important factor to consider when you’re choosing a low interest credit card. When the credit card offers a range of interest rates, your credit history largely determines which rate you qualify for. Look for a low interest credit card with no annual fee to minimize the cost of holding the credit card. Rewards and other perks can be used to narrow down your options between otherwise similar credit cards.

If you’re planning to carry a balance, it’s not a good idea to try to maximize rewards. Rewards aren’t worth much (if anything) if you’re also accruing interest charges on your debt.

Rewards credit cards tend to carry higher interest rates, so you may have to look for a credit card with fewer frills to get the best interest rate. Here's another overview of our top picks for low-interest credit cards:

Best Low Interest Credit Cards
Credit Card Category  Annual Fee
Simmons Visa Best Overall $0
Simmons Rewards Visa Signature Best for Simple Cash-Back Rewards

 

$0
PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature Card Best for Boosting Rewards in Different Categories $0
Discover it Miles Best for Travelers $0
HSBC Gold Mastercard credit card Best for Making Large Purchases

 

$0
Apple Card Best for Fair Credit $0
Simmons Visa Best With a Low Ongoing APR $0

How Do You Make the Most Out of a Low-Interest Card?

The benefit of a low interest card is to reduce the amount of interest you pay. Here are some tips for getting the most from the card you choose.

  • Pay more than the minimum to reduce your interest charges
  • Pay on time to avoid late fees and the penalty rate, when the credit card issuer charges one.

What Should You Watch Out For?

Depending on your credit history, you may not qualify for the lowest interest rate, but your exact credit card terms aren’t assigned until your application is approved.

Be careful not to confuse low interest with deferred interest. With the latter, you must pay off the full balance before the promotional period ends to avoid being hit with finance charges retroactively dating back to when you first opened your account.

Methodology

We collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances. We do this because it's our mission to give you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews.

Note

Our reviews are always impartial: No one can influence which cards we review, the way we present them to you, or the ratings they receive.

The scores and reviews come directly from the data we collect and our editorial expertise, and we focus on three areas:

  1. How much does it cost? With credit card debt at an all-time high, we believe you should know the cost of carrying a balance. Because of that, we give regular purchase APRs significant weight in overall scores, and cards receive low marks if they have an array of pricey fees. 
  2. What are the rewards worth? Cards accumulate rewards in different currencies—points, miles, cash back—and their values vary widely. To simplify the problem, we built a system that fairly compares rewards and gives them a dollar value. We do this by looking at the ways you can earn and use rewards, which includes evaluating Americans’ typical spending habits and analyzing common travel patterns. 
  3. Does it make your life easier? Our scoring system favors cards that accept a wide range of credit profiles and offer simple solutions for things like checking your credit score or contacting customer service. Finally, we give preference to credit cards that have several tools for dealing with fraudulent charges. 

For every review on The Balance, we hold the credit cards to these standards, and we set the bar high. While we recognize the appeal of splashy features like six-digit sign-up bonuses, our approach ensures that credit cards with the best combination of value, affordability, and accessibility receive the highest scores. See our full methodology for more details.