Best for first-year rewards

Apply now
On Discover's secure site
See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply
Rewards rate
  • 5% Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.
  • 1% Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
Intro bonus
Cashback Match™ 
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
11.99% - 22.99% Variable
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

Best for balance transfers

Apply now
On Citi's secure site
Terms Apply
Rewards rate

N/A

Intro bonus
N/A
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
13.74% - 23.74% (Variable)
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

Best for points on everyday purchases

Apply now
On Citi's secure site
Terms Apply
Rewards rate
  • 2X Earn 2X ThankYou® Points at Supermarkets and Gas Stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1X Points thereafter.
  • 1X Earn 1X ThankYou® Points on All Other Purchases.
Intro bonus
20,000 points 
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
13.49% - 23.49% (Variable)
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

Best for low-interest credit options

Apply now
On Citi's secure site
Terms Apply
Rewards rate
  • 2% Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
Intro bonus
N/A
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
13.99% - 23.99% (Variable)
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

Best for credit-building with cash back

Apply now
On WebBank's secure site
Terms Apply
Rewards rate
  • 1.5% Up to 1.5% cash back on eligible purchases after making 12 on-time monthly payments.
  • 1% 1% cash back on eligible purchases right away.
Intro bonus
N/A
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
12.99% - 26.99% (Variable)
Recommended credit
No Credit History 

Best for cash back in multiple categories

Apply now
On Chase's secure site
Terms Apply
Rewards rate
  • 5% Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • 5% Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • 5% Earn 5% on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®.
  • 3% Earn 3% on dining and drugstores.
  • 1% Earn 1% on all other purchases.
Intro bonus
$200 
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
14.99 - 23.74% Variable
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

Best for large cash back potential

Apply now
On Chase's secure site
Terms Apply
Rewards rate
  • 5% Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • 5% Earn 5% on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®.
  • 3% Earn 3% on dining and drugstores.
  • 1.5% Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
Intro bonus
$200 
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
14.99 - 23.74% Variable
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)
Apply now
On Upgrade's secure site
See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply
Rewards rate
  • 1.5% Earn 1.5% unlimited cash back on card purchases every time you make a payment
Intro bonus
N/A
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
8.99% - 29.99% APR
Recommended credit
Fair to Good (580 - 740)

Best cash back card for families

Apply now
On American Express's secure site
See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply
Rewards rate
  • 3% 3% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%).
  • 2% 2% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores.
  • 1% 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
Intro bonus
$200 
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
13.99%-23.99% Variable
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

Everything you need to know about low-interest cards

Low-interest rate credit cards can help you pay less via a lower APR if you ever have to carry a balance. And in some cases, they offer an introductory zero percent APR period that can provide a temporary break from credit card interest on purchases, balance transfers or both.

There are several low-interest credit cards to choose from, but which one is right for you? Bankrate is here to share the top picks from our personal finance experts and give you some tips on the smartest ways to choose and use a credit card with low interest rates.


A quick look at our top low-interest card picks for 2021

Card name Variable APR Best for Bankrate review score
Discover it® Cash Back 11.99% – 22.99% First-year rewards 4.2 / 5
(Read full card review)
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card 13.74% – 23.74% Balance transfers 3.7 / 5
(Read full card review)
Citi Rewards+® Card 13.49% – 23.49% Points on everyday purchases 3.2 / 5
(Read full card review)
Citi® Double Cash Card 13.99% – 23.99% Low-interest credit options 3.6 / 5
(Read full card review)
Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® Credit Card 12.99%-26.99% Best for credit-building with cash back 4.0 / 5
(Read full card review)
Chase Freedom Flex℠ 14.99% – 23.74% Cash back in multiple categories 4.0 / 5
(Read full card review)
Chase Freedom Unlimited® 14.99% – 23.74% Large earning potential 4.6 / 5
(Read full card review)
Upgrade Visa® Card with Cash Rewards 8.99% – 29.99% Fair credit 3.1 / 5
(Read full card review)
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express 13.99%-23.99% Cash back for families 3.9 / 5
(Read full card review)

A closer look at Bankrate’s top low-interest credit cards

Discover it® Cash Back

Best for first-year rewards

  • This card is best for: Anyone who’s looking for a low-interest cash back card and is OK with waiting for the new cardholder bonus.
  • This card is not a great choice for: People who like earning cash back but dislike maintenance, such as activating bonus categories every quarter, tracking spending limits and adjusting their spending habits.
  • What makes this card unique? With the Cashback Match™ feature, Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year.
  • Is this card worth it? The first-year rewards from Cashback Match could be a real windfall, especially if you maximize the bonus categories. The potential value is huge.

Read our Discover it® Cash Back review.
Jump back to offer details.

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

Best for balance transfers

  • This card is best for: Anyone in the market for an introductory APR offer on balance transfers (or purchases) that can help them avoid interest charges for well over a year.
  • This card is not a great choice for: Seekers of cash back, points or miles. The Citi Diamond Preferred doesn’t offer a rewards program.
  • What makes this card unique? Few cards can match its intro offer on balance transfers: 21 months at 0% intro APR, 13.74% to 23.74% variable APR after. There is also a shorter intro APR on purchases: 0% for 12 months, then 13.74% to 23.74% variable APR.
  • Is this card worth it? The Citi Diamond Preferred won’t earn you any rewards, but rewards might be beside the point for anyone focused on a temporary (but still lengthy) break from interest. If that’s your goal, using this card’s promotional interest offers effectively can help you get there.

Read our Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card review.
Jump back to offer details.

Citi Rewards+® Card

Best for points on everyday purchases

  • This card is best for: People who want a low-interest card that also earns rewards on everyday spending. In this case, you earn 2 ThankYou Points per $1 at supermarkets and gas stations (on up to $6,000 a year, then 1 Point per $1) and 1 Point per $1 on everything else.
  • This card is not a great choice for: Those interested in a card with a higher rewards rate for grocery store purchases. The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, for instance, earns 3 percent at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases), followed by 1 percent.
  • What makes this card unique? The Citi Rewards+ is the only card that automatically rounds your points up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase, with no cap.
  • Is this card worth it? The combination of the intro APR offers on purchases and balance transfers and the rewards program makes this a card a solid option for people who are more Frugal Shopper than Big Spender.

Read our Citi Rewards+® Card review.
Jump back to offer details.

Citi® Double Cash Card

Best for low-interest credit options

  • This card is best for: People in the market for a card with a promotional interest offer on balance transfers that also offers the potential opportunity for a flexible monthly payment plan or a loan taken out against their credit line.
  • This card is not a great choice for: Those who dislike uncertainty when it comes to credit card offers. Citi cardholders might receive a Citi Flex Plan offer from time to time, but it’s not explicitly guaranteed.
  • What makes this card unique? The incentive-driven rewards program lets you earn up to 2 percent cash back on every purchase — 1 percent cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1 percent as you pay for those purchases on your credit card bill.
  • Is this card worth it? If you’re looking to pay back a balance transfer in the short term and earn rewards in the long term, consider the Double Cash a top option.

Read our Citi® Double Cash Card review.
Jump back to offer details.

Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® Credit Card

Best for credit-building with cash back

  • This card is best for: People looking to build their credit profile with a cash back program that rewards them for responsibly making on-time credit card payments.
  • This card is not a great choice for: Established credit users who already have solid credit scores. The Petal 2 card is a work-in-progress type of card.
  • What makes this card unique? Making on-time monthly payments can increase the cash back rate earned on eligible purposes, giving you even more reason to stay current. Also, you can occasionally earn 2 percent to 10 percent cash back on offers at select merchants in your area.
  • Is this card worth it? The Petal 2 is a strong choice for people who want to set goals with their credit and put in the effort to achieve them. It can also be an effective way to earn cash back as you shore up your credit foundations.

Read our Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® Credit Card review.
Jump back to offer details.

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Best for cash back in multiple categories

  • This card is best for: Those who want a high-earning cash back card with an intro APR offer on purchases and an easily attainable sign-up bonus: $200 after spending $500 in the first 3 months after you open your account.
  • This card is not a great choice for: People whose spending habits don’t match up with the fixed cash back categories (travel purchased through Chase, dining at restaurants and at drugstores) or the rotating bonus categories.
  • What makes this card unique? If you take advantage of the zero-interest offer (15 months at 0% intro APR, 14.99% – 23.74% variable APR after) to make a large purchase, you can use the card’s sign-up bonus to take a $200 chunk out of that balance.
  • Is this card worth it? Not many low-interest cards offer the kind of cash back opportunities you’ll find with the Chase Freedom Flex. If you can put in the work to track your spending and maximize the bonus categories each quarter, the returns could be impressive.

Read our Chase Freedom Flex℠ review.
Jump back to offer details.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Best for large cash back potential

  • This card is best for: People interested in earning generous cash back on general purchases and in special higher-rate categories with no limits or spending caps.
  • This card is not a great choice for: People who don’t spend much on travel, dining at restaurants or drugstores. Those categories are essential to maximizing the card’s cash back potential.
  • What makes this card unique? It’s one of the cards eligible for Chase’s Pay Yourself Back feature, which gives you the option of redeeming rewards for statement credits applied to eligible transactions.
  • Is this card worth it? If you can maximize the higher-rate categories while spending responsibly, this low-interest card could pay huge cash back dividends.

Read our Chase Freedom Unlimited® review.
Jump back to offer details.

Upgrade Visa® Card with Cash Rewards

Best for fair credit

  • This card is best for: People with fair credit scores interested in a cash back card that offers extra incentive for responsibly managing your balance. You earn 1.5% cash back on your purchases every time you make a payment.
  • This card is not a great choice for: Those who already have credit scores in the good or excellent range. Their options for cash back cards generally include higher-level cards with more perks.
  • What makes this card unique? The low end of the regular APR range (8.99% – 29.99%) is about 7 points lower than the average variable APR. You also get to pay your balance in installment plans lasting 12-60 months (see terms) to help minimize interest charges.
  • Is this card worth it? For the right person at the right stage of their credit journey, this card could provide a useful way to develop good credit habits while also earning cash back.

Read our Upgrade Visa® Card with Cash Rewards review.
Jump back to offer details.

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Best cash back card for families

  • This card is best for: People whose daily routines involve a lot of mealtimes and motoring around. This no-annual-fee card can help you earn considerable cash back at U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations, as well as select U.S. department stores.
  • This card is not a great choice for: Owners of FICO scores below 670. Like most American Express cards, the recommended credit score for the Blue Cash Everyday is good to excellent.
  • What makes this card unique? Most welcome offers provide 3 months to meet the spending requirement, but not this one. You’ll earn $200 back in statement credits after spending $2,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of card membership.
  • Is this card worth it? On-the-go families will find a lot to like about the cash back categories, and the lack of an annual fee is sure to appeal to the more frugal heads of household.

Read our Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express review.
Jump back to offer details.


What are low-interest credit cards?

A low-interest credit card is defined by its APR (annual percentage rate), which can be either variable or fixed. If the low end of the variable percentage range is in the low to mid-teens and the high end is in the low to mid-20s, it generally qualifies as a low-interest card. A card with a fixed APR below 14 percent also qualifies. A low interest rate credit card might also have an introductory 0% APR offer that gives you a chance to temporarily avoid interest on purchases, balance transfers or both.

Credit card APRs, whether fixed or variable, help determine how much interest you could be charged if you don’t pay your monthly balance in full. Most credit cards are variable-rate credit cards, meaning their APRs fluctuate alongside the prime rate. The prime rate is essentially the interest rate that banks charge their most creditworthy customers. It is dictated by the target federal funds rate, which is set by the Federal Reserve. If the prime rate increases, so, too, could a card’s variable APR. Fixed-rate credit cards, which are increasingly rare, are not tied to the prime rate, though your APR could still be affected by changes to your credit score or a poor account payment history.

Given the cost of credit card interest, it’s important to minimize your exposure to interest charges or avoid them altogether. Bankrate estimates the average credit card interest rate at 16.17% variable as of Oct. 6, 2021. Paying your balance on time and in full every month is the surest way to avoid interest, and the method that we recommend. On the other hand, a low-interest card could help you pay less in interest if you do carry a balance.

Bankrate insight
If you carry a credit card balance, you’re not alone: According to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling’s 2020 Financial Literacy Survey, 62 percent of adults have had credit card debt in the past 12 months.

Who should get a low-interest credit card?

Credit cards with low interest rates can come in handy for certain types of people in certain situations. Consider a low interest credit card if you find yourself in these scenarios:

Low-interest rate credit card vs. 0% interest credit card

When it comes to choosing a credit card that offers better terms than what you may currently have, it’s important to make the distinction between low interest cards and cards with introductory zero APR offers.

Many cards have zero-interest introductory offers on balance transfers, purchases or both, but these offers last a limited amount of time, generally around 12 to 21 months. (There are no credit cards that offer 0% interest forever.) After the offer expires, you’ll pay the standard APR on any outstanding balances.

A drawback with some balance transfer cards that offer lengthier zero-interest periods is that they may not have rewards programs. In many cases, these cards are designed to help you manage debt rather than earn travel miles or points or cash back

Some cards offer standard APRs that are decidedly lower than the current industry average, which hovers around 16%. These types of low interest credit cards might offer standard APRs below 10% and are more commonly available through small banks or credit unions as opposed to large financial institutions or issuers. They are also often short on rewards as their main feature is the favorable interest rate. You generally need good-to-excellent credit to qualify for standard APRs at the lowest end of the spectrum.

Bankrate insight
Some balance transfer offers give you the option of transferring multiple debts to the new card, a process called debt consolidation. The thing to remember is that the total amount of debt you transfer generally can’t exceed your credit limit.

Alternatives to low-interest credit cards

If you have no credit history or a bad credit score, you might have trouble qualifying for a low-interest credit card. Here are some other options to consider:

Charge cards

Charge cards require you to pay balances in full each month. They don’t give you the option of carrying some purchases over to the next billing cycle and, thus, don’t charge interest, though you will incur late payment fees and other penalties if you don’t pay your monthly bills back as agreed. They’re a good alternative if you’re worried that the option of carrying a balance from month to month will entice you to overspend and ultimately incur interest.

Debit cards

These cards are connected directly to your bank or financial institution and require an account for you to make purchases. Debit and credit cards differ in that debit cards don’t have credit limits and aren’t used to build credit.

Prepaid cards

These cards are not linked to a financial institution like debit cards, but they are similar in that they allow you to spend money you already have. Prepaid cards can help in several ways, such as establishing some healthy spending habits, but they don’t have credit limits and can’t help you build your credit score.

How to get a credit card with a low interest rate

It’s best to always pay your credit card balance in full each month, but if you’re unable to and you still want to save, a low interest card is the way to go. To take full advantage of all of the benefits of a low interest card and to find the best card for you, follow the steps below.

Step 1: Build your credit to a good/excellent level

People with higher credit scores tend to qualify for lower interest rates on any kind of loan, including credit cards. If your credit is fair or bad, you may not qualify for the most advantageous rates. The first step is to find out what your current score is and check for any issues or errors on your credit report. If your credit needs work, stick to a long-term strategy for improving your credit score.

Step 2: Explore all of your options

One of the keys to finding a low-interest card is how you compare and evaluate these offers. Go online to sort through your viable options and contact your bank or credit union to see what’s available to you. Find cards in your range, weigh the perks, and pay attention not only to the low ends of the variable APRs but also the high end.

Step 3: Look for pre-qualified offers

A pre-qualified offer involves an initial evaluation before beginning the actual process of applying. With pre-qualification, you won’t be subject to a hard inquiry that can temporarily lower your credit score. You can also check out Bankrate’s CardMatch™ tool to see which offers fit you best without impacting your credit score.

How we chose our top low-interest credit cards

Bankrate scores individual cards using a 5-star system that measures their overall quality and value. For low-interest cards, we highlighted essential criteria including APRs, introductory APR offers, annual fees and balance transfer offers.

APRs

Standard APRs can range from below 10% to above 20%. A penalty APR is the rate you would incur if you were late in making a payment, and it could approach 30%. With low-interest at the top of mind, we pay particular attention to APR in all its forms.

0% introductory APR offers

This temporary interest-free period can significantly help cardholders who are looking to use the card as a tool to pay down debt or pay off a forthcoming large purchase.

Annual fee

Is the card’s annual fee worth it? Do the rewards and benefits justify the expense? We take annual fees into account when judging a card’s overall value.


More information on credit cards, interest rates and APR

Still need to do more research? Bankrate has a wealth of resources on low interest credit cards and related topics.


Have more questions for our credit cards editors? Feel free to send us an email, find us on Facebook, or Tweet us @Bankrate.

Frequently asked questions

about the author
Former Senior Editor Barry Bridges has been writing about credit cards, personal loans, mortgages and other personal finance products since 2017. Before joining Bankrate, he was an award-winning newspaper journalist in his native North Carolina.
about the editor
Mariah Ackary is a personal finance writer who specializes in credit card rewards and small business credit. Mariah is a lifelong writer, but she began writing about finance in 2018. She joined the Bankrate team in 2019, excited by the opportunity to directly help people make good financial decisions. Send your questions to mackary@bankrate.com ...

* See the online application for details about terms and conditions for these offers. Every reasonable effort has been made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. After you click on the offer you desire you will be directed to the credit card issuer's web site where you can review the terms and conditions for your selected offer.