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Best low-interest credit cards

By Robin Saks Frankel · Bankrate.com
Thursday, February 16, 2017
Posted: 5 am ET

Martin Dimitrov/Getty Images

If you pay your credit card in full every month, you probably don't care about the interest rate your card charges. But if you do carry a balance, a low rate can mean paying off your debt in as little as a few months rather than a few years.

Some cards may even sweeten the pot by offering rewards and zero percent introductory rates on balance transfers.

Here are the three best low-interest credit cards as chosen by the experts at CreditCards.com.

CARD SEARCH: Apply for a low-interest card now.

Best low-interest credit cards
Card Intro offer Standard APR
PNC Core Visa 15 months interest free on purchases, balance transfers 10.49% to 20.49%
Citi Diamond Preferred 21 months interest free on purchases, balance transfers 12.99% to 22.99%
SunTrust Cash Rewards 15 months interest free on purchases, balance transfers; 5% cash-back on groceries, gas for 12 months 10.74% to 21.74%

1. PNC Core Visa

It doesn’t have much in the way of rewards bells and whistles, but the PNC Core Visa does have one of the lowest interest rates available. Plus, it comes with an extended interest-free period on purchases and balance transfers.

Highlights:

  • The variable APR is between 10.49 and 20.49 percent based on creditworthiness. For those who qualify, the lowest available interest rate is below the industry average, significantly lower, in fact, than the typical variable interest rate credit card, which has an APR above 16 percent.
  • Interest charges are waived for the first 15 months on all purchases and balance transfers. All balance transfers made during the first 90 days are subject to a transfer fee of $5 or 3 percent, whichever is greater.
  • There is no annual fee.

Who should get this card
The PNC Core Visa -- and its accompanying zero-percent interest intro offer -- is a fit for someone with a lot of existing credit card debt or who plans on doing some heavy-duty spending. Use this card to significantly pay down a big purchase or tackle that home-improvement project without it costing you more in interest charges over the long-term.

But only those with stellar credit are likely to get approved for the card’s lowest APR. And remember, there are no sign-up bonuses or rewards, something competing cards offer.

CARD SEARCH: Finance your home-improvement project with a low-interest credit card.

2. Citi Diamond Preferred

Although there are other cards with lower standard rates, Citi Diamond Preferred stands out for its lengthy interest-free introductory period for purchases and balance transfers -- and its attached perks.

Highlights:

  • The introductory no-interest introductory period on both purchases and balance transfers is a whopping 21 months.
  • Among the perks is Citi’s concierge service, which includes extras like pre-sale access to concerts and other events, and Citi Price Rewind, which will automatically refund the difference if you find a lower price elsewhere on an item you already bought.
  • This card charges no annual fee and a variable rate APR of 12.99 to 22.99 percent.

Who should get this card
This card is good for those who are looking to shed debt or anyone considering an expensive purchase that they want to pay off over a nearly two-year period.

You'll have to mind the balance transfer fee, which is $5 or 3 percent of the balance you plan to transfer. And if you plan to carry a balance after the promotional period expires, no that you might be able to find a better interest rate elsewhere.

3. SunTrust Cash Rewards

If you’re looking to cut interest charges and earn cash back on everything, the SunTrust Cash Rewards credit card offers a good blend of the two. You'll earn decent rewards on gas and grocery purchases, and you'll pay no interest on purchases or balance transfers for 15 months.

Highlights:

  • For 12 months, you'll earn 5 percent back on the first $6,000 in combined grocery and gas charges, netting you as much as $300 in rewards. If you already have a SunTrust bank account, you can earn even more rewards based on your deposit relationship with them.
  • After the first year, earn an unlimited 2 percent back on grocery and gas expenditures and 1 percent on everything else.
  • This card charges annual fee and no foreign transaction fees. Standard APR is a variable 10.74 to 21.74 percent.

Who should get this card
SunTrust account holders benefit the most from this card. Depending on your deposit relationship, you can earn an additional bonus of 10 to 75 percent. For example, SunTrust Signature Advantage account holders with at $100,000 on deposit will earn a 50 percent cash-back bonus. That means for every $100 in rewards you earn, SunTrust will add another $50 on top.

Low interest credit cards are typically sought out by those looking to transfer a good-sized balance or those who want to make a big purchase and minimize the additional interest accrued over time. These cards are not usually the best choice for big spenders looking for big rewards.

CARD SEARCH: Pay off debt cheaply with a low-interest credit card.

This editorial content is not provided or commissioned by any of the referenced financial institutions or companies. Opinions, analysis, reviews or recommendations expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any financial institutions or companies, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any such entity. All products or services are presented without warranty. Bankrate.com is an independent, advertising-supported publisher and comparison service. This post contains references to our partners, and Bankrate may be compensated in exchange for featured placement of certain sponsored products and services, or your clicking on certain links posted on this website.

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