Best Low Interest and 0% APR Credit Cards of March 2019

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Last updated on March 1, 2019

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NerdWallet's Best Low Interest and 0% APR Credit Cards of March 2019

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Our pick for

Longest 0% intro APR period

US Bank Visa Platinum Credit Card

on US Bank's secure website

Rates & Fees

on US Bank's secure website

Rates & Fees
Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

14.74% - 25.74% Variable APR

Intro APR

0%* on purchases and balance transfers for 18 billing cycles*

recommended credit score

Our pick for

0% intro period and late fee waiver

HSBC Gold Mastercard

on HSBC's secure website

Rates & Fees

on HSBC's secure website

Rates & Fees
Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

13.24%, 17.24% or 21.24% variable APR

Intro APR

0% Introductory APR on credit card purchases and balance transfers for the first 18 months from account opening.

recommended credit score

Our pick for

0% intro period and flat-rate cash back

Capital One Quicksilver Credit Card

on Capital One's secure website

  • Annual fee: 5.0
  • Rewards rate: 3.0
  • Simplicity: 5.0
  • Redemption: 5.0

on Capital One's secure website

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

16.24% - 26.24% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months

recommended credit score

Our pick for

0% intro period and bonus category cash back

Chase Freedom Credit Card

on Chase's secure website

  • Annual fee: 5.0
  • Rewards rate: 4.0
  • Simplicity: 3.0
  • 0% APR: 5.0

on Chase's secure website

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

17.24% - 25.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months

recommended credit score

Our pick for

0% intro period and low fees

Discover it Credit Card

on Discover's secure website, or call (800) 347-0264

Rates & Fees

on Discover's secure website, or call (800) 347-0264

Rates & Fees
Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

14.24% - 25.24% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% on Purchases for 6 months and 0% on Balance Transfers for 18 months

recommended credit score

Our pick for

0% intro period for transfers plus rewards

Citi® Double Cash Card

on Citibank's secure application

  • Annual fee: 5.0
  • Rewards rate: 5.0
  • Simplicity: 5.0
  • Sign-up bonus: 1.0

on Citibank's secure application

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

15.74% - 25.74% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% on Balance Transfers for 18 months

recommended credit score

Our pick for

Low interest and low fees

Barclaycard Ring MasterCard Credit Card

on Barclays's secure website

Rates & Fees

on Barclays's secure website

Rates & Fees
Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

14.24% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable 14.24% APR will apply

recommended credit score

Our pick for

Low ongoing interest

Lake Michigan Credit Union Prime Platinum Visa Credit Card

on Lake Michigan Credit Union's secure website

on Lake Michigan Credit Union's secure website

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

8.25% Variable

Intro APR

N/A

recommended credit score

Our pick for

Low interest for military

USAA Rate Advantage Platinum Visa® Credit Card

on USAA's secure website

on USAA's secure website

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

9.15% - 26.15% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

recommended credit score

Our pick for

Low interest for bad credit

Digital Federal Credit Union Visa Platinum Secured Credit Card Credit Card

on Digital Federal Credit Union's secure website

on Digital Federal Credit Union's secure website

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

13.75%, Variable

Intro APR

N/A

recommended credit score

Summary of Best Low Interest and 0% APR Credit Cards of March 2019

Credit CardIntro APRRegular APRAnnual FeeLearn More
US Bank Visa Platinum Credit Card

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

on US Bank's secure website

0%* on purchases and balance transfers for 18 billing cycles*

14.74% - 25.74% Variable APR

$0

on US Bank's secure website

HSBC Gold Mastercard

HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card

on HSBC's secure website

0% Introductory APR on credit card purchases and balance transfers for the first 18 months from account opening.

13.24%, 17.24% or 21.24% variable APR

$0

on HSBC's secure website

Capital One Quicksilver Credit Card

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's secure website

0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months

16.24% - 26.24% Variable APR

$0

on Capital One's secure website

Chase Freedom Credit Card

Chase Freedom®

on Chase's secure website

0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months

17.24% - 25.99% Variable APR

$0

on Chase's secure website

Discover it Credit Card

Discover it® Balance Transfer

on Discover's secure website, or call (800) 347-0264

0% on Purchases for 6 months and 0% on Balance Transfers for 18 months

14.24% - 25.24% Variable APR

$0

on Discover's secure website, or call (800) 347-0264

Citi® Double Cash Card

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

on Citibank's secure application

0% on Balance Transfers for 18 months

15.74% - 25.74% Variable APR

$0

on Citibank's secure application

Barclaycard Ring MasterCard Credit Card

Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard®

on Barclays's secure website

0% intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable 14.24% APR will apply

14.24% Variable APR

$0

on Barclays's secure website

Lake Michigan Credit Union Prime Platinum Visa Credit Card

Lake Michigan Credit Union Prime Platinum Card

on Lake Michigan Credit Union's secure website

N/A

8.25% Variable

$0

on Lake Michigan Credit Union's secure website

USAA Rate Advantage Platinum Visa® Credit Card

USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card

on USAA's secure website

N/A

9.15% - 26.15% Variable APR

$0

on USAA's secure website

Digital Federal Credit Union Visa Platinum Secured Credit Card Credit Card

DCU Visa® Platinum Secured Credit Card

on Digital Federal Credit Union's secure website

N/A

13.75%, Variable

$0

on Digital Federal Credit Union's secure website

Credit CardIntro APRRegular APRAnnual FeeLearn More
US Bank Visa Platinum Credit Card

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

on US Bank's secure website

0%* on purchases and balance transfers for 18 billing cycles*

14.74% - 25.74% Variable APR

$0

on US Bank's secure website

HSBC Gold Mastercard

HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card

on HSBC's secure website

0% Introductory APR on credit card purchases and balance transfers for the first 18 months from account opening.

13.24%, 17.24% or 21.24% variable APR

$0

on HSBC's secure website

Capital One Quicksilver Credit Card

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's secure website

0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months

16.24% - 26.24% Variable APR

$0

on Capital One's secure website

Chase Freedom Credit Card

Chase Freedom®

on Chase's secure website

0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months

17.24% - 25.99% Variable APR

$0

on Chase's secure website

Discover it Credit Card

Discover it® Balance Transfer

on Discover's secure website, or call (800) 347-0264

0% on Purchases for 6 months and 0% on Balance Transfers for 18 months

14.24% - 25.24% Variable APR

$0

on Discover's secure website, or call (800) 347-0264

Citi® Double Cash Card

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

on Citibank's secure application

0% on Balance Transfers for 18 months

15.74% - 25.74% Variable APR

$0

on Citibank's secure application

Barclaycard Ring MasterCard Credit Card

Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard®

on Barclays's secure website

0% intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable 14.24% APR will apply

14.24% Variable APR

$0

on Barclays's secure website

Lake Michigan Credit Union Prime Platinum Visa Credit Card

Lake Michigan Credit Union Prime Platinum Card

on Lake Michigan Credit Union's secure website

N/A

8.25% Variable

$0

on Lake Michigan Credit Union's secure website

USAA Rate Advantage Platinum Visa® Credit Card

USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card

on USAA's secure website

N/A

9.15% - 26.15% Variable APR

$0

on USAA's secure website

Digital Federal Credit Union Visa Platinum Secured Credit Card Credit Card

DCU Visa® Platinum Secured Credit Card

on Digital Federal Credit Union's secure website

N/A

13.75%, Variable

$0

on Digital Federal Credit Union's secure website

Understanding interest rates and APRs

The annual percentage rate, or APR, is the interest rate your credit card issuer charges on debt on your card. Some cards charge a single rate for all debt on the card; others charge different rates for different kinds of debt (purchases, cash advances, etc.). APRs are listed on your monthly statement.

Although interest rates are expressed in annual terms, they're usually charged on a daily basis. An annual rate of 17%, for example, would translate to a daily rate of about 0.0466%. So for every $1,000 in debt, you'd pay about 47 cents a day in interest.

» MORE: How credit card interest is calculated

Glossary of APR terms

  • Purchase APR. This is the rate your card charges on purchases made with the card. Most credit cards offer a grace period: If you pay your balance in full every month, you won't have to pay interest on purchases. If you roll over debt from one month to the next, then interest will start adding up on a purchase as soon as you make it.
  • Balance transfer APR. This is the rate on debt that you've moved to the card from somewhere else. To attract your business, card issuers often offer a low rate, even 0%, on transferred debt.
  • Cash advance APR. This is the rate charged when you use your credit card to get cash from an ATM. Interest usually starts adding up on cash advances immediately.
  • Introductory APR. Sometimes called a "teaser rate," this is a low interest rate offered when you first open your account. Many credit cards offer people with good credit an introductory rate of 0% on purchases for a year or more.
  • Ongoing APR. This is the "regular" rate that goes into effect once your introductory APR period expires.
  • Variable APR. Most credit card interest rates are tied to the prime rate, which is the rate that big banks charge each other for short-term loans. When the prime rate goes up (or down), your credit card's interest rate will usually go up (or down) an equal amount. "Variable APR" just means that your current rate is not permanent but could change if the prime rate does.

What is a good (or bad) interest rate on a credit card?

Obviously, the lower the ongoing APR on a credit card (or any loan), the better. With the exception of introductory 0% or teaser-rate offers, you're not going to find a credit card APR lower than the prime rate.

The interest rate you pay on your credit card is partially determined by the card and partially by your credit. The better your credit, the lower the rate you can expect to pay. The richer the rewards on the card, the higher the rate is likely to be.

Issuers commonly set their rates at a certain number of percentage points above prime. For example, your rate might be "prime + 12 points." As of February 2019, the prime rate was 5.5%, so your APR would be 17.5%.

As a very general rule of thumb:

  • If you have good or excellent credit (a score of 690 or more), look for prime + less than 12 points.
  • For average credit (630 to 690), you'll likely see prime + 15 to 20 points.
  • For bad credit (below 630), expect to find APRs more in the range of prime + more than 20 points.

» MORE: What is a good APR on a credit card

Can you lower the INTEREST RATE on your credit card?

Probably the most important thing to keep in mind about credit card interest rates is that if you don't carry debt from month to month, your APR doesn't matter because you won't pay any interest. If you do carry debt and want to reduce the amount you pay in interest, you have a couple of options:

  • Open a new credit card with a 0% introductory period and transfer your debt to that card. You'll pay a fee, but you'll get breathing room to pay down your debt. However, 0% offers are generally available only to people with good or excellent credit.
  • Ask your issuer if you qualify for a lower rate. This may be an option if your credit score has improved considerably since you opened the account. The issuer might knock some points off your rate, or move your account to a card with a lower rate. You issuer might say no to your request, but you don't know unless you ask.

» MORE: How to get a lower APR on your credit card

How do 0% APR offers work?

Say you have a card with an introductory 0% purchase APR for 15 months. A "0%" rate means no interest at all will be charged on purchases, in this case for the first 15 months you have the card. Once that introductory period runs out, interest will be charged at the ongoing APR — but only on your balance going forward. There is no "retroactive" interest. (One note of caution, though: If you have a 0% offer, make sure you pay your bill on time every month; a late payment can cancel your 0% rate and immediately move you to the ongoing rate.)

Zero-percent periods on credit cards are different from the "no interest for 12 months" offers you see in stores. Those are what's known as "deferred interest." In those offers, you don't have to pay interest during the promotional period, but interest is silently being calculated in the background. If you have any balance remaining at the end of the period, you will be charged interest on your whole purchase, going all the way back to the time of purchase. That could cost you hundreds of dollars.

» MORE: Deferred interest vs. 0% APR

How to choose a 0% or low-interest credit card

When choosing a 0% or low-interest card, let your specific needs be your guide:

  • If you're looking for a low-interest card because you have a big purchase coming up and will need time to pay it off, your best bet is a card with a lengthy 0% introductory APR period. Many rewards cards offer a year or more at 0%, which allow you to collect rewards on your purchase, then pay it off interest-free.
  • If you find you're consistently carrying a balance a from month to month, look for a card with a low ongoing interest rate. Cards with an introductory 0% period tend to charge higher rates down the road.
  • If you want to transfer a balance from a high-interest card to pay it down at a lower cost, you'll want a card with a 0% intro period and a low (or no) balance transfer fee. Many of the cards on this list are good for transfers, but check out our best balance transfer credit cards for further options.

For more, see our guide to choosing a 0% credit card.

Making the most of your 0% or low-interest card

If your card has a 0% intro period, strive to eliminate as much debt as possible before that introductory period ends and the interest resets to its ongoing rate. A 0% card should be a tool for getting rid of debt, not just a place to park debt and forget about it. If you find yourself moving debt from one 0% card to another but never paying it down, it's time to consider other debt solutions.

Although a card with a low ongoing rate can save you a lot of money over time, you're still paying interest. Apply those savings toward whittling down your debt faster. Saving, say, $20 a month on interest means you have $20 more you can use to reduce the balance on your credit card and move that much closer to freedom.

With any card, watch your balance. For the sake of your credit scores, it's best to keep your balance under 30% of the credit limit on the card. Under 10% is even better. When balances rise above 30% of credit limits, scoring formulas start to interpret that as a sign of financial stress.

Other cards to consider

Looking to transfer a balance to save money? Our roundup of the best balance transfer cards evaluates cards — including many of the cards on this page — with that specific goal in mind.

Do you even need a low-interest card? You might not. If you pay your balance in full every month, the APR on your credit card doesn't matter, because you're never actually charged interest. In that case, consider a rewards credit card, which gives you a little something back very time you make a purchase. Rewards cards fall into two major categories: cash back credit cards and travel credit cards.

Last updated on March 1, 2019

Methodology

NerdWallet's credit cards team selects the best cards in each category based on overall consumer value. Factors in our evaluation include fees, promotional and ongoing APRs, and sign-up bonuses; for rewards cards, we consider earning and redemption rates, redemption options and redemption difficulty. A single card is eligible to be chosen in multiple categories.