Top Features
  • Rewards Rate: 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. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • Welcome Offer: Intro Offer: Unlimited Cashback Match - only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year! There's no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.
  • Regular APR: 11.99% - 22.99% Variable
  • Recommended Credit Score: Good to Excellent  (670 - 850)
Top Features
  • Rewards Rate: N/A
  • Welcome Offer: N/A
  • Regular APR: 14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)
  • Recommended Credit Score: Good to Excellent  (670 - 850)
Terms and Restrictions Apply
Top Features
  • Rewards Rate: Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase. Earn 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Welcome Offer: Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Regular APR: 14.99 - 23.74% Variable
  • Recommended Credit Score: Good to Excellent  (670 - 850)
Terms and Restrictions Apply
Top Features
  • Rewards Rate: Earn 1.5% unlimited cash back on card purchases every time you make a payment
  • Welcome Offer: N/A
  • Regular APR: 8.99% - 29.99% APR
  • Recommended Credit Score: Fair to Good  (580 - 740)
Top Features
  • Rewards Rate: 3% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). 2% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores. 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • Welcome Offer: Earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases on the Card in the first 6 months of Card membership, up to $150 back. Plus, earn $100 back after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months of card membership. You will receive cash back in the form of statement credits.
  • Regular APR: 13.99%-23.99% Variable
  • Recommended Credit Score: Good to Excellent  (670 - 850)
Top Features
  • Rewards Rate: 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! Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase. Earn 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores. Earn 1% on all other purchases.
  • Welcome Offer: Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Regular APR: 14.99 - 23.74% Variable
  • Recommended Credit Score: Good to Excellent  (670 - 850)
Terms and Restrictions Apply
Top Features
  • Rewards Rate: Earn 2X ThankYou® Points at Supermarkets and Gas Stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1X Points thereafter. Earn 1X ThankYou® Points on All Other Purchases.
  • Welcome Offer: Earn 15,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for $150 in gift cards at thankyou.com
  • Regular APR: 13.49% - 23.49% (Variable)
  • Recommended Credit Score: Good to Excellent  (670 - 850)
Terms and Restrictions Apply
Top Features
  • Rewards Rate: Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • Welcome Offer: N/A
  • Regular APR: 13.99% - 23.99% (Variable)
  • Recommended Credit Score: Good to Excellent  (670 - 850)
Terms and Restrictions Apply
Top Features
  • Rewards Rate: Up to 1.5% cash back after making 12 on-time monthly payments. 1% cash back on eligible purchases right away.
  • Welcome Offer: N/A
  • Regular APR: 12.99% - 26.99% (Variable)
  • Recommended Credit Score: No Credit History 
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by Bankrate.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the bank’s website for the most current information.

The information about the American Express Cash Magnet® Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.


Author: Barry Bridges | bbridges@bankrate.com

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


Everything you need to know about low-interest cards

Low-interest rate credit cards can help you pay less in 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.

You have a lot of 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 4.8 / 5
(Read full card review)
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card 14.74% – 24.74% Balance transfers 4.1 / 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 4.2 / 5
(Read full card review)
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express 13.99%-23.99% Cash back for families 4.5 / 5
(Read full card review)
Chase Freedom Flex℠ 14.99% – 23.74% Cash back in multiple categories 4.5 / 5
(Read full card review)
Citi Rewards+® Card 13.49% – 23.49% Daily spending 4.6 / 5
(Read full card review)
Citi® Double Cash Card 13.99% – 23.99% Low-interest credit options 4.3 / 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 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

The Discover it Cash Back earns 5 percent cash back at different rotating categories each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, and more up to the quarterly maximum ($1,500) each time you activate, then 1 percent. Also, earn an unlimited 1 percent cash back on all other purchases. Redeem your cash back any amount, any time because your rewards never expire as long as the account is in good standing.

Highlights:

  • Thanks to the Cashback Match feature, Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year.
  • Redeem for gift cards (Partner Gift Cards range from $5 to $200 in increments of $5), donations, credit to your account, direct deposit into any account, payment at select retailers.
  • Your first late payment fee is waived. After that, up to $40.

Pro-tip

This card earns a high cash back rate in rotating bonus categories (enrollment required). You can maximize your rewards by spending selectively in the bonus categories, and remembering to enroll each quarter, without overspending.

Read our Discover it® Cash Back review.

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

Best for balance transfers

The Citi Diamond Preferred Card won’t earn you any rewards, but rewards might be beside the point if you’re focused on a temporary break from interest through a balance transfer. Few cards can match its intro offers on balance transfers and purchases: 18 months at 0% APR, 14.74% – 24.74% variable after. This card is well worth considering for anyone interested in using a balance transfer to maintain an excellent credit score.

Highlights:

  • 0% intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers and purchases, then 14.74% – 24.74% variable APR
  • Access to Citi Entertainment
  • Free access to FICO Score
  • No annual fee

Pro-tip

You’ll probably need an excellent credit score (740-850 FICO) to apply. You’ll definitely need an excellent credit score to take full advantage of the low end of variable APR range.

Read our Citi® Diamond Preferred® review.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Best for large cash back potential

The main attribute of this low-interest credit card is right there in the name: unlimited 1.5-percent cash back on eligible purchases, with no quarterly limits tied to spending categories. Through March 2022, the Chase Freedom Unlimited (like others in the Chase portfolio) also earns 5 percent cash back on Lyft rides.

Highlights:

  • Unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on eligible purchases
  • 5 percent cash back on Lyft rides through March 2022
  • 15-month zero-interest APR offer on new purchases (14.99% – 23.74% variable after)
  • $200 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening

Pro-tip

The Chase Freedom Unlimited features access to the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, which adds a great deal of flexibility in how you use your rewards. In addition to cash back or statement credits, you also have the option of redeeming for merchandise, gift cards and travel purchases.

Read our Chase Freedom Unlimited® review.

Upgrade Visa® Card with Cash Rewards

Best for fair credit

Used correctly, the Upgrade Visa® Card with Cash Rewards could provide a way of raising your credit score above “fair” as you save money on interest.

Highlights:

  • Regular APR is 8.99% – 29.99%
  • Pay your balance in installment plans lasting 12-60 months (see terms) to help minimize interest charges
  • No penalty fees and no annual fee
  • Credit lines from $500 to $20,000 (see terms)

Pro-tip

Here’s an important note on APR, according to the Upgrade website: the lowest rates require Autopay. If you don’t sign up for automatic payments, you won’t be able to maximize the card’s low-interest potential.

Read our Upgrade Visa® Card with Cash Rewards review.

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Best cash back card for families

If your daily routine involves a lot of mealtimes and motoring around, this low-interest card can help you earn a lot of cash back in the process. U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores are the high-rate categories, and all other purchases earn 1 percent cash back.

Highlights

  • 3 percent cash back on up to $6,000 a year at U.S. supermarkets (1 percent after)
  • 2 percent cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores
  • 15-month 0% APR intro offer on purchases (13.99%-23.99% variable APR after)
  • No annual fee
  • Terms apply

Pro-tip

If you take advantage of the intro interest offer to make a big purchase, apply your welcome offer: Earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases on the card in the first 6 months of card membership, up to $150 back. Plus, earn $100 back after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card within the first 6 months of card membership. You will receive cash back in the form of statement credits. This strategy will provide some extra cushion to pay off the purchase before the 15-month window expires.

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

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Best for cash back in multiple categories

Not many low-interest cards offer the kind of cash back opportunities you’ll find with the new Chase Freedom Flex. Also, the perks include cellphone protection and deals on Lyft and DoorDash.

Highlights

  • 0% introductory APR on purchases for the first 15 billing cycles (14.99% – 23.74% variable APR after)
  • 5 percent cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 3 percent cash back at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services, and 3 percent on drugstore purchases
  • No annual fee

Pro-tip

If you take advantage of the zero-interest offer (15 billing cycles at 0% APR, 14.99% – 23.74% variable APR after) to make a large purchase, use the card’s sign-up bonus to take a $200 chunk out of that balance. You qualify for the $200 bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months after you open your account. Put it to good use by applying it to your balance.

Read our Chase Freedom Flex℠ review.

Citi Rewards+® Card

Best for daily spending

The Citi Rewards+ Card is a great no annual fee option for those looking to earn points for everyday spending. Get 2x points at supermarkets and gas stations (on up to $6,000 a year, then 1x) and 1x points on everything else. Plus, you’ll get a 15,000 ThankYou Point bonus when you spend $1,000 within the first three months of account opening. Other benefits include rental car insurance, trip cancellation protection and access to elite events through Citi Private Pass.

Highlights:

  • Generous rewards rate for supermarket and gas station purchases
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers from date of first transfer and purchases from date of account opening (APR of 13.49% – 23.49% variable afterward)
  • No annual fee

Pro-tip

The Citi Rewards+ is the only card that automatically rounds your points up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase, with no cap. Earning ThankYou points at that rate, while taking advantage of low intro APR makes this a solid option.

Read our Citi Rewards+® Card review.

Citi® Double Cash Card

Best for low-interest credit options

The Citi Double Cash Card earns 2% cash back on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. As a Citi cardholder, you may be eligible to create a Citi Flex Plan that lets you make fixed monthly payments to pay off purchases or take out a loan against your card’s credit line. The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 13.99% – 23.99% based on your creditworthiness.

Highlights:

  • Simple flat-rate rewards structure
  • 18-month 0% introductory APR on balance transfers. After that, the variable APR will be 13.99% – 23.99% based on your creditworthiness.
  • Rewards can be redeemed in several ways — as a statement credit, a check or a gift card.
  • Citi cardholders may be eligible for a Citi Flex Pay option or a Citi Flex Loan.

Pro-tip

Don’t assume that Citi will offer you Citi Flex Pay or a Citi Flex Loan, because it’s not a given. The website uses specific language that says Citi may offer you the opportunity from time to time. Take the time to read the terms.

Read our Citi® Double Cash Card review.

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

Best for credit-building with cash back

Of the five factors that determine your credit score, making on-time payments has the most influence. Making on-time monthly payments on your Petal 2 card can also increase the cash back rate earned on eligible purposes, giving you even more reason to stay current. The Petal 2 app includes a budget-planning tool and payment calculator, and the card reports to all three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion).

Highlights:

  • Earn an automatic 1 percent cash back on purchases. Make six on-time monthly payments to earn 1.25 percent cash back and 12 on-time monthly payments to earn 1.5 percent cash back.
  • Earn 2% to 10% cash back on offers from select merchants in your area.
  • No annual fee, no late fee, no foreign transaction fee, no returned payment fee.

Pro-tip

This card’s regular APR is 12.99% – 26.99% (variable). If you already have a solid credit score when you apply, you could qualify for a below-average interest rate. You can keep it that way by consistently making your payments on time and in full every month.

Read our Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® Credit Card review.


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 APR, whether fixed or variable, helps determine how much interest you could be charged if you don’t pay your monthly balance in full. 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 15.93% variable as of April 14.

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.

When to consider a balance transfer to a low-interest rate card

If you’re carrying a lot of high-interest debt, a balance transfer credit card with an introductory zero-interest offer could be a true game-changer. By transferring a large balance from a credit card or another type of credit account to a balance transfer card with a 0% interest window, you can temporarily avoid interest charges. Just be sure to pay off the transferred balance before the intro offer ends.

However, it’s important to do the math on fees before making the switch. Many cards that offer an introductory 0 percent APR will also charge a balance transfer fee, typically ranging from 3 percent to 5 percent of the amount being transferred. For example, a 5 percent fee on a $5,000 balance transfer would be $250.

In select cases, the cost of a balance transfer fee could outweigh the interest savings of shifting to a balance transfer card. To make the decision easier, you can use Bankrate’s Credit Card Balance Transfer Calculator. After submitting the necessary information about your card (or cards), APR, fees and outstanding debt, you’ll get a much clearer idea.

Low-interest vs. zero-interest for big purchases

Let’s say you wanted to pay off the cost of a $3,000 vacation using your current credit card, which charges a typical APR of 16 percent. Your budget can’t absorb paying the entire cost in one payment, so you plan to chip away at it over a period of 15 months.

During those 15 months, a low-interest card with 10 percent APR would cost you $126 less in interest. However, a zero-interest card with a 15-month 0% APR introductory offer on purchases could help you avoid the interest altogether.

We used Bankrate’s Credit Card Payoff Calculator to illustrate payment scenarios for different cards, isolating that $3,000 vacation.

APR Monthly payment (times 15) Interest Total cost
Your card 16% $221 $329 $3,329
Low-interest card 10% $213 $203 $3,203
Zero-interest intro card 0% $200 $0 $3,000

In cases where you know you have a large purchase coming up, a zero-interest card with a solid introductory offer on purchases may be a great deal. The only catch is that the intro offer has an expiration date, after which the card’s regular APR (sometimes called go-to APR) applies. A low-interest card could save you more money on future purchases if the zero-interest card’s go-to APR is higher.

Other options to consider:

Charge cards

Charge cards are a good choice when you make large purchases that you can pay back at month’s end, because you will be approved (or rejected) at the counter, based on your spending, payment patterns and income, because there’s no prearranged credit limit.

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.

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.

There are no credit cards that offer 0% interest forever. Many cards have zero-interest introductory offers on balance transfers or purchases, but these offers last a limited amount of time. 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.

How to choose the right low-interest credit card for you

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
  • 33 percent of adults have done nothing to obtain a lower interest rate for their credit card debt in the past 12 months
  • Only 16 percent of adults have never had any kind of debt

The good news is that the right low-interest card could provide a unique opportunity to pay down debt while getting a temporary reprieve from interest, the key word being “temporary.” It’s crucial to concentrate on paying off whatever debt you’ve put on the card before the window closes, that way you don’t have to worry about whether you owe interest.

Managing existing debt with a balance transfer

Let’s say you have a large balance on a high-interest credit card or another type of credit account. You can choose a balance transfer credit card with an introductory 0% APR offer, transfer the balance and temporarily avoid interest as you pay it off.

Some balance transfer offers even let you transfer multiple debts to the new card, a process called debt consolidation.

Getting a short-term break from interest on a purchase

Maybe you want to make a purchase that’s too big to pay off in one billing cycle on your current credit card. It could be anything from a household appliance to a minor medical procedure not covered by insurance.

You can get a card with a 0% introductory APR offer on purchases and use that card to make the big buy, then pay it off gradually during the temporary window of zero-interest. That way, the cost of the purchase doesn’t linger in an account subject to interest charges.

How to get a credit card with a low interest rate

Have a good or excellent credit score

People with better 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.

Do some shopping around

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.

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.

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 APR, introductory APR offers, annual fees and balance transfer offers.

APR

Standard APR can range from below 10% to above 20%. 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 offer

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

Annual fee

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

Balance transfer offer

For consumers looking to transfer debt from one credit account to another or consolidate multiple debts, a favorable balance transfer offer could hold the key.


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.


Senior Editor Barry Bridges has been writing about credit cards, loans, mortgages and other personal finance products for Bankrate since 2018. His work has also appeared on websites including Nasdaq.com, Zillow.com and The Simple Dollar. He was previously an award-winning newspaper journalist in his native North Carolina. Send your questions about credit cards (and fantasy baseball) to bbridges@bankrate.com.

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

* 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.