The 7 Best Low-Interest Credit Cards with Premium Perks [September 2021]

Who said low-interest credit cards were no-frills? These seven credit cards offer attractive benefits that will help you meet your goals.
Last updated Sep 3, 2021 | By Lee Huffman
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If you're carrying balances on your credit cards, it is important to get your debt under control. The best way to do that is with a low-interest rate credit card. The lower rate reduces the amount of interest you pay, leaving you with more money to pay down your balance.

If you're in the market for a new card, choosing a low-interest credit card doesn't mean you have to miss out on valuable perks. Many of these credit cards earn rewards and offer useful benefits without an expensive annual fee. In this article, we'll share seven credit cards that may work for you.

The best low-interest credit cards

In this article
Card name Best for Why it’s special
Citi Diamond Preferred Credit Card Balance transfers 0% APR (annual percentage rate) on balance transfers for 18 months
U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card Intro APR on purchases 0% intro APR for 20 months on new purchases
Citi Double Cash Flat-rate cash back Up to 2% cash back on all purchases: 1% as you buy and 1% as you pay
Wells Fargo Platinum Card Cell phone protection Cell phone coverage up to $600 per claim with a $25 deductible
Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi Cash back on gas 4% cash back on eligible gas purchases (up to $7,000), 3% on restaurant and travel purchases, 2% on all other Costco purchases, and 1% on everything else
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express Cash back on groceries 20% cash back at Amazon.com during the first six months (up to $150), 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets up to $6,000 a year, 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, and 1% cash back on other purchases. Terms apply.
Chase Freedom Unlimited Travel rewards 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% on all other purchases

Citi Diamond Preferred Credit Card: Best for balance transfers

If you have high-interest credit card debt, transferring your balance to one of the best balance transfer credit cards is a great way to pay off what you owe. The Citi Diamond Preferred offers a 0% APR on balance transfers for 18 months. It has one of the longest intro APRs on balance transfers among no annual fee cards. Plus, the balance transfer promo APR doesn't start until the date of first transfer; it doesn’t begin on the date of account opening

After the promo period is over, your balance transfer APR will revert back to the regular APR of 13.74% to 23.74% (variable), based on your creditworthiness. In addition to a generous balance transfer offer, this card also comes with fun perks like access to Citi Entertainment. Cardholders get special access to sporting events, dining experiences, and more.

Read our full Citi Diamond Preferred review.

No annual fee and 0% intro APR

Citi Diamond Preferred

Citi Diamond Preferred

Citi Diamond Preferred

Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

N/A

Benefits and Drawbacks

Benefits

  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 18 months
  • No annual fee
  • Free access to your FICO® Score

Drawbacks

  • Does not earn rewards
Card Details
  • Long 0% APR period on purchases and balance transfers
  • N/A
  • Intro purchase 0% offer: 0% for 18 months then 13.74% to 23.74% (variable)
  • Intro balance transfer 0% offer: 0% for 18 months then 13.74% to 23.74% (variable)

U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card: Best for introductory APR on purchases

Promotional offers on purchases allow you to make purchases today, then pay them off over time without incurring any interest charges. The U.S. Bank Visa Platinum gives cardholders a 0% intro APR for 20 months on new purchases.

When you make purchases, you must pay the minimum due to keep the promotion active and waive the interest. But this offer will give you a long time to pay the money back without being charged interest by the bank. Unlike with balance transfers, there are no fees when you take advantage of this purchase promotion offer. There is a $0 annual fee with this card. After the promo period ends, your purchase APR will increase to 14.49% to 24.49% (variable), based on your creditworthiness.

Read our full U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card review.

0% introductory APR

U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card

U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card

U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card

Annual Fee

$0

Benefits and Drawbacks

Benefits

  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers
  • Cell phone protection
  • No annual fee

Drawbacks

  • No rewards program
  • Balance transfer fee applies
Card Details
  • Long 0% APR period on purchases and balance transfers
  • Intro purchase 0% offer: 0% for 20 months then 14.49% to 24.49% (variable)
  • Intro balance transfer 0% offer: 0% for 20 billing cycles then 14.49% to 24.49% (variable)

Citi Double Cash: Best for flat-rate cash back

The Citi Double Cash card is ideal for someone who wants to maximize their cash back on every purchase. This low-interest cash rewards credit card earns an unlimited up to 2% cash back on all purchases: 1% as you buy and 1% as you pay. There are no categories to track, a $0 annual fee, and you earn cash back automatically.

This credit card offers a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months. However, keep in mind that Citibank will charge interest on your purchases unless you pay off your entire balance by end of the intro APR period, including any balance transfers. Based on that, we don't recommend using this card to make purchases if you take advantage of the balance transfer offer.

Read our full Citi Double Cash card review.

Earn Cash Back Twice

Citi Double Cash Card

Citi Double Cash Card

Citi Double Cash Card

Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

up to 2% cash back

Benefits and Drawbacks

Benefits

  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months
  • 2% cash back on all purchases - 1% when you buy and 1% when you pay
  • No annual fee

Drawbacks

  • Foreign transaction fee
  • No sign-up bonus
Card Details
  • Earn cash back twice: 1% when you buy + 1% when you pay
  • up to 2% cash back on all purchases: 1% as you buy and 1% as you pay
  • Intro balance transfer 0% offer: 0% for 18 months then 13.99% to 23.99% (variable)

Wells Fargo Platinum Card: Best for cell phone protection

Although the Wells Fargo Platinum does not earn rewards, it is packed with benefits that readers may find valuable. These benefits include an introductory APR offer, auto rental collision damage waiver, roadside dispatch, travel accident insurance, and cell phone protection.

This intro APR card offers a 0% APR on purchases for 18 months, and a 0% APR on balance transfers for 18 months. After the introductory period is over, your rate will increase to the standard variable APR, based on your creditworthiness.

When you pay your cell phone bill with the Wells Fargo Platinum Card, you're covered up to $600 per claim. Plus, the deductible is only $25. This is much lower than many other credit cards that offer this benefit.

Read our full Wells Fargo Platinum Card review.

Fast-track Your Way Out of Debt

Wells Fargo Platinum Visa Card

Wells Fargo Platinum Visa Card

Wells Fargo Platinum Visa Card

Annual Fee

$0

Benefits and Drawbacks

Benefits

  • Intro APR: 0% for 18 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • Cell phone protection policy up to $600
  • No annual fee

Drawbacks

  • No rewards for spending
Card Details
  • Long introductory APR period for purchases and balance transfers
  • Intro purchase 0% offer: 0% for 18 months then 16.49% to 24.49% (variable)
  • Intro balance transfer 0% offer: 0% for 18 months then 16.49% to 24.49% (variable)

Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi: Best for cash back on gas

The Costco Anywhere Visa Card is one of the best cashback credit cards for gasoline purchases. With this card, you get 4% cash back on eligible gas purchases (up to $7,000), 3% on restaurant and travel purchases, 2% on all other Costco purchases, and 1% on everything else. It also has a $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees to worry about, but you must be a current Costco member to apply.

We chose this card because all cardholders receive the same interest rate of 15.24% (variable), regardless of creditworthiness. The APR you receive is based on the prime rate. Although some competing credit cards offer lower rates to select cardholders, rates can go much higher if your credit criteria falls outside of the bank’s ideal range.

Read our full Costco Anywhere Visa Card review.

Earn up to 4% cash back

Costco Anywhere Visa Card

Costco Anywhere Visa Card

Costco Anywhere Visa Card

Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

up to 4% cash back

Benefits and Drawbacks

Benefits

  • Up to 4% cash back
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees

Drawbacks

  • Must be a Costco member
  • Cash back is only redeemed once a year
Card Details
  • Get special access to purchase tickets to thousands of events with Citi Entertainment
  • 4% cash back on eligible gas purchases (up to $7,000), 3% on restaurant and travel purchases, 2% on all other Costco purchases, and 1% on everything else

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express: Best for cash back on groceries

The Amex Blue Cash Everyday rewards cardholders with valuable cash back on their everyday purchases. With this card, you get 20% cash back at Amazon.com during the first six months (up to $150), 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets up to $6,000 a year, 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, and 1% cash back on other purchases. New cardholders can also earn $100 cash back (in the form of a statement credit) after spending $2,000 in the first 6 months; plus, earn 20% back on amazon.com purchases in the first 6 months, for up to $150 back.

Amex Blue Cash Everyday cardholders also get a 0% introductory APR on purchases for 15 months after opening your account. This gives you extra time to pay off your purchases if you need it. After that, your purchase APR will jump to 13.99% to 23.99% (variable) (See rates and fees), based on your creditworthiness. This card also has a $0 (See rates and fees) annual fee.

Read our full Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express review.

A Simple Cashback Card for Day-to-Day

Intro Offer

$100 statement credit

Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

Up to 20% cash back

Benefits and Drawbacks

Benefits

  • Earn $100 cash back after spending $2,000 in the first 6 months
  • Earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases in the first 6 months, for up to $150 back
  • 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets
  • No annual fee. Terms apply.

Drawbacks

  • No travel rewards
  • Grocery rewards are capped
  • Rewards dollars can’t be used toward the minimum payment due
Card Details
  • Earn $100 cash back (in the form of a statement credit) after spending $2,000 in the first 6 months; plus, earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases in the first 6 months, for up to $150 back
  • 20% cash back at Amazon.com during the first six months (up to $150), 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets up to $6,000 a year, 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, and 1% cash back on other purchases
  • Intro purchase 0% offer: 0% for 15 months then 13.99% to 23.99% (variable)
  • Terms apply

Chase Freedom Unlimited: Best for travel rewards

The Chase Freedom Unlimited is a solid low-interest credit card for people who want to earn travel rewards. While this card is classified as a cashback rewards card, you technically earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points from your spending. Points can be redeemed for cash back, gift cards, or travel. 

To get even more value, you can also transfer them to a Chase travel card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Ink Business Preferred if you have one. When you transfer your points to these cards, they are worth 25% more when used to book trips in the Chase travel portal. This card also offers valuable benefits like extended warranty coverage on eligible purchases.

With the Chase Freedom Unlimited, you earn a $200 cash back bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months, plus earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including target or walmart; up to $12,000 in the first year). You also get 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% on all other purchases. 

Read our full Chase Freedom Unlimited review.

Unlimited Cash Back

Intro Offer

$200 cash back

Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

up to 5% cash back

Benefits and Drawbacks

Benefits

  • $200 sign-up bonus
  • Bonus rewards on travel, dining, and drugstores
  • 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (up to $12k in your first year)
  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR on purchases

Drawbacks

  • Has foreign transaction fee
Card Details
  • Earn a $200 cash back bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months, plus earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target or Walmart; up to $12,000 in the first year)
  • 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% on all other purchases
  • Intro purchase 0% offer: 0% for 15 months then 14.99% to 23.74% (variable)

How we chose these cards

We chose these top low-interest cards based primarily on their introductory APR offers for balance transfers and purchases, and standard APRs. In this case, low interest rate is defined as having a relatively low APR when compared with the average credit card interest rate of 14.52% (as of May 2020), or a lengthy intro APR offer that helps cardholders keep interest costs down.

When compiling our list, we also considered other factors like balance transfer fees, annual fees, and cardholder benefits. Our ideal low-interest rate credit cards offer low fees, a relatively low interest rate, and perks that add value for cardholders.

How do low-interest credit cards work?

Low-interest credit cards feature below-average interest rates to attract customers who carry balances. These credit cards typically earn fewer rewards and have reduced benefits compared to a standard rewards credit card. These adjustments help keep costs low.

These credit cards are best suited for people who carry a balance from month to month. The lower interest rate reduces the amount of interest the cardholder pays and helps them pay down their balance faster.

Here are two examples of people who could benefit from a low-interest rate credit card:

  • Person A carries a $10,000 balance on a credit card with a 19.9% interest rate. By transferring this balance to one of the best balance transfer cards with a 0% intro APR, they'll eliminate the interest portion of their payment. This means that 100% of their payment will go toward reducing their credit card debt. Even if they pay a 3% balance transfer fee, they'll still come out ahead in the long run.
  • Person B needs to replace their air conditioning unit and the estimated cost is $9,000. They don't have the money to cover the full cost right now but are expecting a big tax refund later this year. By using a credit card with a 0% APR purchase promotion, they can replace the air conditioner now, then pay off the balance once the tax refund arrives and before the intro APR period ends.

What is a good interest rate on a credit card?

Interest rates vary from card to card and may be lower or higher based on your credit history. If you have good credit or excellent credit, credit card issuers may be more likely to offer you a lower interest rate than if you have poor credit or no credit. That said, most credit cards have a variable interest rate that changes based on the bank's prime rate. Currently, interest rates are near historic lows, so your credit card interest rate could also be much lower than normal.

When choosing a low-interest credit card, look for one that is below the average credit card interest rate of 14.52% (as of May 2020). This will help you pay less interest if you ever need to carry a balance.

The different types of credit card APRs and what they mean

When reviewing your credit card options, you may encounter some unfamiliar financial terms. Here's a quick review of these terms and what they mean:

  • Intro balance transfer APR: This is a limited-time interest rate offered for balance transfers made on a new account. Cardholders typically have a limited window to request the balance transfer to be eligible for this introductory offer. Once the promotional period ends, any unpaid balance will revert to the standard balance transfer APR.
  • Intro purchase APR: Cardholders receive a lower interest rate on all purchases made during the promotional period. Any unpaid purchases, once the promotion is over, will revert to the standard purchase APR. These offers are great if you need to make a big purchase and pay it off over time.
  • Purchase APR: This is the standard interest rate charged on purchases if the statement balance is not paid in full. The purchase APR is typically determined based on the cardholder's creditworthiness and payment history.
  • Balance transfer APR: Some credit cards allow cardholders to request balance transfers at any time. The balance transfer APR is what the bank charges the cardholder for balances that have been transferred into the customer's account.
  • Cash advance APR: This is the interest rate charged when you withdraw cash from an ATM or retailer using your credit card.

Most of these APRs are based on the prime rate and will vary based on market conditions. Some banks have a minimum interest charge and fees for balance transfers and cash advances.

How to choose the best low-interest credit card

There are many choices when it comes to low-interest credit cards, so it can be hard to choose just one. Think about your immediate goals and how this card helps you achieve those goals. For example, if you have a large purchase coming up and need extra time to pay off the balance, one of these cards could help.

Beyond the interest rate, the fees it charges, the rewards it earns, and the benefits it offers are also important. Is a credit card rewards program important to you? If so, do you want a flat-rate rewards card that earns the same rewards everywhere or one that offers bonus rewards at certain retailers where you spend the most, like a gas station or grocery store?

It pays to know your credit score before applying to increase your chances of getting approved. You can view your credit reports and score for free at AnnualCreditReport.com. Typically, you can view your reports for free once a year; however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you can now view them for free each week through the end of 2020.

FAQs

What is considered a low interest rate on a credit card?

Any interest rate below the average credit card interest rate in the U.S. could be considered a low interest rate. According to the Federal Reserve, the average credit card interest rate in the U.S. is 14.65% (as of Jan. 19, 2021). Many low-interest credit cards may also offer introductory rates that last for a specified amount of time. These rates can help you save money on purchases or a transferred balance by reducing the typical interest rate.

What is the best way to avoid a high interest rate on a credit card?

The best way to avoid a high interest rate on a credit card is to make sure you always make your monthly payments on time and in full. If you keep track of your billing cycle on each credit card, you’ll know the due date for your credit card bill each month. Making your payments on time can help you avoid late fees. You may also have the option to set up automatic payments so you don’t forget to make a payment. And while it may be tempting to make minimum payments instead of paying your full balance, doing so can result in costly interest charges.

Keep in mind, certain credit card companies offer a grace period between the end of a billing cycle and when your payment is due. This allows you to avoid interest charges as long as you pay off your balance by the due date. Check with your credit card company to see whether it offers a grace period on your credit card.

Why is my APR so high with good credit?

Good or excellent credit can often equate to a lower APR on a credit card, but that’s not always the case. The decision to decrease or raise your credit card’s APR is up to your financial institution, and your credit score may only be one factor in determining a change. 

For example, the best travel credit cards may have above-average interest rates because of the premium benefits they offer. It costs a financial institution money to offer these benefits, so high interest rates can help balance the costs.

Can I request that my credit card company lower my APR?

Yes, you can request that your credit card company decrease your APR. This is best done when you have a good relationship with your credit card company, including a long history of on-time payments and consistent credit card use. However, it’s likely still worth calling your card issuer even if you don’t think you have the best relationship. Any support you receive toward lowering your interest rate can help you pay off bills and stay out of debt.


Bottom line

Low APR credit cards serve a valuable purpose if you typically carry a credit card balance. A lower interest rate helps you pay off your balance faster while enjoying the additional perks your card provides. There are many options available for credit cards with low interest rates and no annual fees, so you can find one that offers rewards and other benefits that match your personal finance needs.

One last piece of advice if you're interested in a low interest card. Whichever option you choose, be sure to avoid late payments, as even one late payment can trigger a penalty APR. The goal is to avoid a higher interest rate and keep your costs low. 

Earn Cash Back Twice

Citi Double Cash Card

Citi Double Cash Card

Citi Double Cash Card

Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

up to 2% cash back

Benefits and Drawbacks

Benefits

  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months
  • 2% cash back on all purchases - 1% when you buy and 1% when you pay
  • No annual fee

Drawbacks

  • Foreign transaction fee
  • No sign-up bonus
Card Details
  • Earn cash back twice: 1% when you buy + 1% when you pay
  • up to 2% cash back on all purchases: 1% as you buy and 1% as you pay
  • Intro balance transfer 0% offer: 0% for 18 months then 13.99% to 23.99% (variable)

Author Details

Lee Huffman Lee Huffman is a former financial planner and corporate finance manager who now writes about early retirement, credit cards, travel, insurance, and other personal finance topics. He enjoys showing people how to travel more, spend less, and live better. When Lee is not getting his passport stamped around the world, he's researching methods to earn more miles and points toward his next vacation.