Best Low Interest Credit Cards for 2020

Do you need a break from high interest charges? Low-interest credit cards can help you pay less in APR, reducing the impact of credit card interest. Rates are lower with the right card, so check out our recommendations for the best low-interest credit cards from our partners.

Best for daily purchases

Citi Image

Recommended Credit Score

Excellent (740 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On Citi's secure website

Citi Rewards+℠ Card

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 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
Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
0% intro for 15 months on Purchases
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
0% intro for 15 months on Balance Transfers
Regular APR:
13.49% - 23.49% (Variable)

Card Details

  • The Citi Rewards+℠ Card - the only credit card that automatically rounds up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase - with no cap.
  • 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
  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.49% - 23.49%, based on your creditworthiness. Balance transfer fee — either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Earn 2X ThankYou® Points at Supermarkets and Gas Stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1X Points thereafter. Plus, earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 13.49% - 23.49%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for low-interest credit options

Citi Image

Recommended Credit Score

Excellent (740 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On Citi's secure website

Citi® Double Cash Card

Rewards Rate:
Earn cash back twice. 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
Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
0% intro for 18 months on Balance Transfers
Regular APR:
13.99% - 23.99% (Variable)

Card Details

  • Earn cash back twice. Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.
  • Balance Transfer Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.99% - 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back.
  • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 13.99% - 23.99% based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
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.


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.


This page includes information about Discover products that are not currently available on bankrate.com and may be out of date.

Everything you need to know about low-interest cards

Low-interest credit cards are tools that can help you pay down debt while not digging yourself into a deeper financial hole. And in some cases, they offer a zero percent APR period that can provide a temporary break from credit card interest.

Consumers 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 2020

Card name Bankrate score Variable APR Best for
Citi Rewards+ Card   4.6 / 5 13.49% – 23.49% Daily spending
Citi® Double Cash Card 4.3 / 5 13.99% – 23.99% Low-interest credit options
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card (not currently available) 4.5 / 5 13.99% – 25.99% Digital wallet users
Discover it® Cash Back (not currently available) 4.8 / 5 13.49% – 24.49% First year rewards
Chase Freedom Unlimited® (not currently available) 4.6 / 5 16.49% – 25.24% Large earning potential
Citi Simplicity® Card – No Late Fees Ever (not currently available) 4.4 / 5 14.74% – 24.74% Intro APR offer for balance transfers
Wells Fargo Platinum card (not currently available) 4.6 / 5 15.49% – 24.99% Personal finance management

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

Citi Rewards+SM 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 and purchases (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 full review and find out how to apply.

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 full review and find out how to apply.

Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card (not currently available)

Best for digital wallet users

Wells Fargo’s Cash Wise Visa might not have the lowest variable APR on the market, but it does have a couple of ways to help you avoid credit card interest: zero-interest introductory offers for purchases and qualifying balance transfers (15 months at 0% APR, 13.99%-25.99% variable APR after). Also, people who use digital wallet payment services should take note of the first-year cash rewards bonus on qualifying digital wallet transactions.

Highlights:

  • 15-month 0% intro APR on purchases and qualifying balance transfers (then 13.99%-25.99% variable APR)
  • Earn unlimited 1.5 percent cash rewards on purchases
  • Earn 1.8% cash rewards on qualifying digital wallet purchases, including Google Pay™ and Apple Pay®, during the first 12 months from account opening
  • Earn a $150 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months
  • No annual fee

Pro-tip

You have several options for redeeming the Go Far® Rewards you’ve earned, but the best low-interest strategy is to redeem them as statement credits. Apply these credits to your Cash Wise Visa card account to help you pay down your purchases or balance transfer — on time, month by month — and avoid interest charges.

The information about the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

Read our full review and find out how to apply.

Discover it® Cash Back (not currently available)

Best for first-year rewards

The Discover it® Cash Back earns 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, and more up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Also, earn an unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. Redeem your cash back any amount, any time because your rewards never expire.

Highlights:

  • Redeem for gift cards, donations, credit to your account, direct deposit into any account, payment at select retailers.
  • Your first late payment fee is waived.

Pro-tip

In addition to earning a high cash back rate in certain areas, the Discover it® Cash Back allows you to maximize your rewards by matching your earnings at the end of the first year of membership.

Read our full review and find out how to apply.

Chase Freedom Unlimited® (not currently available)

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 offers on purchases and balance transfers (16.49% – 25.24% variable after)
  • $150 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 full review and find out how to apply.

The information about the Chase Freedom Unlimited® credit card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

Citi Simplicity® Card (not currently available)

Best intro APR offer for balance transfers

If you want a temporary break from interest charges through a balance transfer, the Citi Simplicity Card has one of the most generous offers available. You can pay off a balance transfer at 0% APR for 21 months before the regular variable APR (14.74% – 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness) takes effect. You won’t get a rewards program with this card, but you will get nearly two years to pay off your transferred balance interest-free.

Highlights:

  • 21-month 0% APR offer on balance transfers, 14.74% – 24.74% variable APR after
  • 12-month 0% APR offer on purchases, 14.74% – 24.74% variable APR after
  • No late fees, no penalty APR, no annual fee
  • Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi’s discretion

Pro-tip

The Citi Simplicity Card requires that you complete all transfers in the first 4 months of owning the card, so don’t procrastinate. Make your balance transfer as soon as you can and take advantage of the lengthy 21-month 0% APR offer (14.74% – 24.74% afterward, based on your creditworthiness).

The information about the Citi Simplicity® Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

Read our full review and find out how to apply.

Wells Fargo Platinum card (not currently available)

Best for personal finance management

The Platinum card has Wells Fargo’s longest zero-interest offers for purchases and qualifying balance transfers: 18 months at the introductory 0% rate, followed by 15.49%-24.99% variable APR. In other words, the card gives you an opportunity to avoid interest charges for a year-and-a-half while paying off a big purchase or a qualifying balance transfer. If you also want to improve your spending and budgeting habits, you can use Wells Fargo’s My Money Map.

Highlights:

  • 18-month 0% intro APR on purchases and qualifying balance transfers (then 15.49%-24.99% variable APR)
  • Manage your spending and budget with My Money Map and get easy access to your FICO® Credit Score with Wells Fargo Online®
  • Use the Wells Fargo Platinum card to pay your monthly cellphone bill and get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft
  • No annual fee

Pro-tip

The best use of an intro APR offer is to pay off a big purchase or a balance transfer before the introductory period expires so that you can avoid interest charges. Successfully paying down the debt on your Wells Fargo Platinum card could help your credit score — and a better credit score could mean lower interest on car loans, mortgages and more.

The information about the Wells Fargo Platinum card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

Read our full review and find out how to apply.


Balance transfers to low-interest credit cards

Even when credit card interest rates decline, they’re still higher than interest rates for many other kinds of credit such as personal loans or mortgages. Bankrate estimates the three-month trend for credit card variable APR at 16 percent as of July 1. For anyone who typically carries a balance, a balance transfer credit card with a lower APR can be a game-changer.

If you’re carrying a lot of high-interest debt, a balance transfer could save you significant money. But it’s important to do the math before making the switch. Many cards that offer an introductory 0 percent APR will also charge a balance transfer fee. Typically, this fee ranges from 3%-5% of the amount being transferred.

In some cases, the cost of a balance transfer fee could outweigh the savings of shifting to a low interest card. For example, if you have a balance of $10,000 on a card, but you plan on paying this balance off over the course of a year, it may cost you less in interest than if you transfer this balance to a card with a 0 percent introductory offer that has a 5 percent balance transfer fee, which will cost you $500.

Is a low-interest card right for me?

If you have a big life event coming up — wedding, home renovation, moving, etc. — a zero percent APR card can give you some financial breathing room. However, there are some drawbacks to consider as you’re making your decision. Here are the pros and cons of low interest cards, as well as other options to consider:

Pros:

  • Shifting a high-interest balance to a card with a lower rate can save you money.
  • Paying off large purchases over time
  • Paying off debt faster due to less money going towards finance charges

Cons:

  • If you haven’t paid off your debt by the time the 0% promotional period ends, you could end up with a higher rate than before.
  • Having a card with low or no interest could tempt you to spend beyond your means.
  • Some cards will charge you a stiff penalty APR if you miss or make a late payment, so if you aren’t rigorous about paying your bill, you could lose the advantageous rate.

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 financial institution, and require a bank account for you to make purchases. Unlike credit cards, 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 help you to establish some healthy spending habits, but they don’t have credit limits, and thus can’t help you build your credit score.

Which is better — low-interest or 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 ones with an introductory zero percent offer.

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. If you want a truly interest-free card in your wallet, you’d be better off with a charge card or debit card.

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 card for your situation

If you carry a credit card balance, you are 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

Reasons for falling into debt most often deal with a big life change, an unforeseen event or emergency.

Medical emergencies

Rising health care costs can tack additional financial stress onto the difficulties of a medical emergency. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2020 Consumer Price Index reports that the medical care index rose 4.9 percent over the past 12 months, continuing a decade-long trend. If your income hasn’t kept pace with escalating health care costs, an extended hospital stay could be financially disastrous.

  • Pro-tip: You can frequently negotiate a lower cost for medical bills by talking to someone in accounting.

Job loss

The gap between unemployment and employment can be unpredictable, which means meeting your financial obligations during that time can be also. Credit cards are often an easy option — and sometimes the only choice. But this also means debt can quickly follow.

  • Pro-tip: Many have found that establishing an emergency fund and drawing from that during the gap period can be a safer and more viable option.

Upcoming wedding

Weddings (especially destination weddings) can be a drain on your budget. You want to take advantage of everything the event has to offer – but depending on the details, things can get costly, quickly. And if you aren’t in a position to put a large enough sum of funds to the side in preparation, credit card debt can easily follow.

  • Pro-tip: Funding your wedding experience with a credit union card may help, since they often offer the lowest rates on the market.

Purchasing new furniture

Whether you’re moving, renovating or finally replacing your college sofa, purchasing new furniture isn’t cheap. Even if you strategize by doing one room at a time, the costs (and credit card debt) add up.

  • Pro-tip: Borrowing through the furniture company could be a helpful option, since the interest would not be deferred.

It’s important to choose the right low interest card that will help you to manage your debt and minimize the amount you owe. Consider not just the short-term benefits but how you’ll use the card in the years ahead. In situations like the ones above, low interest options such as the Citi Rewards+ Card would make sense. It allows you to earn rewards on everyday spending, with no annual fees or high maintenance with rotating categories. You want to get value from making needed purchases without adding stress to what can already be a stressful situation.

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 just fair or worse, 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

Credit card offers are all around us. One of the keys to finding a low-interest card is how you compare and evaluate these offers. Go online and contact your bank or credit union. 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.

Frequently asked questions about credit card interest

What is a ‘good/low’ interest rate on a credit card?

Your creditworthiness and financial health play an essential role in the interest rate of your credit card. If you have good credit, your APR (or interest rate), can reflect that and may be a lower percentage than if you carry a less-than-desirable score. Simply put, the higher your credit score, the lower your interest rate could be.

Another factor to keep in mind is the prime rate, or the prime interest rate that banks will charge to the most creditworthy customers. Banks will use the prime rate to set interest rates on short-term loans, like credit cards, and if the prime rate increases, APRs may increase as well. You may be able to find a low interest rate to compare it to current trends, and an APR that is close to or below the average would be ideal.

Federal regulators have taken several steps to keep interest rates low over the past several months. Interest is still interest, however, and letting it add up can make it difficult to manage debt.

Can I negotiate my interest rate on a credit card?

If you’re looking to tackle credit card debt, a low interest rate can be a very valuable and useful tool. The interest that accrues when you carry a balance on your credit card costs you money, so negotiating your interest rate definitely is something worth considering.

To get a lower interest rate, you’ll need to consult your issuer. You can call and ask to lower your interest rate. If you’ve generally been on-time with your payments and have been a loyal customer, use those points in making your case. If the customer service representative on the phone is resistant, you can always ask to speak to a manager, or call back the next day.

It’s important that you have a compelling case for why your interest rate should be lowered, because with the right approach, you could be successful in lowering your rate.

Will credit card companies waive interest?

Before you call up your card issuer and ask them to waive interest, you need to review your creditworthiness and financial health. If you do not regularly carry a balance and do not usually pay interest, there is a chance that your issuer may waive your interest charge.

People make mistakes. Sometimes we forget to pay a bill, or we miss that grace period by a day. In times of widespread economic uncertainty, credit card issuers might be more willing to offer assistance than usual.

However, if you have a substantial balance, your issuer may be less likely to waive interest or late fees. If this is the case, a balance transfer card may be worth considering to help you avoid APR temporarily while you chip away at your debt. Truly, the only way to know if your credit card company will waive your interest is to ask, but make sure to keep your personal credit history in mind as you do.

What causes interest rates on credit cards to drop?

Credit card interest rates are influenced by the Federal Reserve’s prime rate, and the prime rate changes based on the judgment of federal regulators. Such decisions are largely based on the state of the nation’s economy.
If you have an outstanding balance on your credit card, or you tend to carry a balance from month to month, falling interest rates can be welcome news. However, the only sure way to reduce the cost of credit card interest is to avoid it altogether by paying your balance on-time and in full every month.

How we chose our top low-interest credit cards

Bankrate scores individual cards using a five-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

Split between “standard” and “penalty.” 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. This can reach up to almost 30%. With low-interest at the top of mind, we pay particular attention to APR in all its forms.

0% introductory APR offer

This 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 card’s rewards justify the expense?

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.

* 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.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, is accurate as of the publish date. All products or services are presented without warranty. Check the bank’s website for the most current information.