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Best Low Interest and 0% Credit Cards of 2018

Virginia C. McGuire

Last updated on August 8, 2018

Use the right card and score major interest savings on a big purchase or balance transfer.

Here are our recommended low-interest and 0% credit cards

Best for 0% period and no late fees

Citi Simplicity<sup>&reg;</sup> Card - No Late Fees Ever

on Citibank's secure application

Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever

Best for 0% period and flat-rate cash back

Capital One® Quicksilver® Card - 0% Intro APR for 15 Months

on Capital One's secure website

Capital One® Quicksilver® Card - 0% Intro APR for 15 Months

Best for 0% period and bonus category cash back

Chase Freedom&reg;

on Chase's secure website

Chase Freedom®

Best for 0% period and low fees

Discover it&reg; Balance Transfer

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

Discover it® Balance Transfer

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Intro APR: 0% on Purchases for 6 months and 0% on Balance Transfers for 18 months
  • Ongoing APR: 13.74% - 24.74% Variable APR
  • What our experts like about it

Best for 0% period for transfers plus rewards

Citi<sup>&reg;</sup> Double Cash Card – $150 Cash Back Offer

on Citibank's secure application

Citi® Double Cash Card – $150 Cash Back Offer

  • Annual fee: $0*
  • Intro APR: 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months*
  • Ongoing APR: 15.24% - 25.24%* Variable APR
  • What our experts like about it

Longest 0% intro APR period

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

on US Bank's secure website

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

  • Annual fee: $0*
  • Intro APR: 0%* on purchases and balance transfers for 20 billing cycles*
  • Ongoing APR: 11.74% - 23.74% Variable APR
  • What our experts like about it

Best for 0% period and entertainment rewards

Citi ThankYou<sup>&reg;</sup> Preferred Card

on Citibank's secure application

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card

Best for low interest and low fees

Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard®

on Barclays's secure website

Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard®

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Intro APR: 0% on Balance Transfers for 12 months on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening
  • Ongoing APR: 13.74% Variable APR
  • What our experts like about it

Best for low ongoing interest

Lake Michigan Credit Prime Platinum Card

on Lake Michigan Credit Union's secure website

Lake Michigan Credit Prime Platinum Card

Best for low interest for military

USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card

on USAA's secure website

USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card

Best for low interest for bad credit

Digital Federal Credit Union Visa Platinum Secured Credit Card

on Digital Federal Credit Union's secure website

Digital Federal Credit Union Visa Platinum Secured Credit Card

Not sure which card saves you the most?

Take a quick quiz and we'll find out.

Begin hereBegin here
For a longer 0% period for transfers but shorter for purchases
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card – 21 Month Balance Transfer Offer

Benefits

Benefits

The interest-free period on the Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever is nice and long: 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 18 months, and then the ongoing APR of 15.74% - 25.74% Variable APR. Citi's pledge to never charge fees or a penalty annual percentage rate on late payments is unusual and a nice break for the chronically forgetful.

Drawbacks

Drawbacks

The lengthy interest-free period is super for purchases, but it comes at a cost for balance transfers: 5%, which adds up for big balances. The no-late-fee policy could encourage bad behavior that might eventually affect your credit scores. No rewards or sign-up bonus.

Bottom Line

Bottom Line

This card's long 0% APR period and lack of penalties for late payments mean you’ll have more time to get rid of debt without adding to it.

Benefits

Benefits

The Capital One® Quicksilver® Card - 0% Intro APR for 15 Months recently gave its 0% intro APR period a healthy bump. Whereas the card once gave you 0% for nine months, now you get 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 14.74% - 24.74% Variable APR. This card pays 1.5% cash back on every purchase and offers a tidy sign-up bonus: One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening. It's also a good traveling companion, as it charges no foreign transaction fees.

Drawbacks

Drawbacks

Nowadays, a flat cash-back rate of 1.5% is pretty routine. Depending on how you spend, you might be able to accumulate more cash back with a bonus category cash back card.

Bottom Line

Bottom Line

Cash-back rewards make this a solid everyday card that will earn its keep long after the 0% intro APR period has run out.

More on this card
Chase Freedom® Review
For a similar card with flat-rate cash back
Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Benefits

Benefits

The Chase Freedom® gives you a little of everything. In addition to a $0 annual fee and a long 0% intro APR period on purchases and balance transfers, it offers a nifty sign-up bonus: Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. You get 5% cash back on up to $1,500 per quarter in spending on rotating bonus categories that have included such things as gas stations, supermarkets and restaurants. All other spending earns 1% back.

Drawbacks

Drawbacks

The 5% balance-transfer fee is high and could be a burden if you're trying to get out of debt. A $3,000 balance transfer would consume the sign-up bonus. And it can be a hassle to track bonus rewards categories and opt in to them every quarter.

Bottom Line

Bottom Line

Free money from a sign-up bonus is always nice, and the lengthy 0% APR period makes the Chase Freedom® a solid choice for financing a major purchase. It’s a poor option for balance transfers, though, because of its high fee.

More on this card
Discover it® Balance Transfer Review
For a different 0% APR structure
Discover it® Cash Back

Benefits

Benefits

The Discover it® Balance Transfer combines a lengthy 0% period on balance transfers with 5% cash-back rewards on rotating bonus categories (on up to $1,500 in spending per quarter) and 1% back on all other spending. There's also an unusual bonus, which Discover describes as: "Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched." No foreign transaction fee is unusual for this category. Discover won’t charge a fee for your first late payment or raise your APR for paying late.

Drawbacks

Drawbacks

The 3% balance-transfer fee will eat into interest savings during the introductory period, and the no-interest offer on new purchases is shorter than for other top cards. It can be a hassle to track bonus rewards categories and opt in to them every quarter.

Bottom Line

Bottom Line

The Discover it® Balance Transfer allows you to earn rewards while creating breathing room to get out of debt.

Benefits

Benefits

Offering 2% cash back — 1% when you make a purchase and 1% when you pay it off — the Citi® Double Cash Card – $150 Cash Back Offer provides easy rewards to go with its solid interest-free period and $0* annual fee. Plus, there's a great cash sign-up bonus: Earn $150 cash back bonus after $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. This is an excellent card that doesn't require excellent credit: You can qualify with good credit.

Drawbacks

Drawbacks

Although the card offers a good 0% APR period to encourage balance transfers, it also comes with a 3% fee on transfers. There's a $25 minimum rewards redemption, too. Some cards have no minimum.

Bottom Line

Bottom Line

If you like to keep it simple while paying down transferred debt, the Citi® Double Cash Card – $150 Cash Back Offer gives you generous rewards and a great no-interest period. Unlike many 0% cards, this one is a keeper long after the 0% period ends.

More on this card
U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card Review

Benefits

Benefits

The U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card has quietly become one of the top cards in the 0% game. In May 2018, the issuer extended the introductory APR period. You now get 0% on Purchases for 20 billing cycles and 0% on Balance Transfers for 20 months, and then the ongoing APR of 11.74% - 23.74% Variable APR.

Drawbacks

Drawbacks

This card offers no rewards, so there's not a very compelling incentive to keep using it after the 0% period runs out. It also requires excellent credit, whereas many low-interest cards require only good credit.

Bottom Line

Bottom Line

If you have excellent credit and need to spread out payments on a purchase as long as possible without interest, here's your card.

More on this card
Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card Review

Benefits

Benefits

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card is one of the few cards that gives you bonus rewards for dining (including bars) and "entertainment," a broad category that includes movie theaters, live music, amusement parks and more. You start with an introductory APR of 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 15.24% - 25.24% Variable APR. You get 2 points per $1 spent on dining and entertainment and 1 point per dollar on all other spending.

Drawbacks

Drawbacks

Unlike many rewards cards, it doesn't have a sign-up bonus. Citi's ThankYou points aren't as valuable or flexible as other reward currencies, in NerdWallet's estimation.

Bottom Line

Bottom Line

Social butterflies who like saving money on interest while earning rewards for spending will want to give this card a look.

More on this card
Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard® Review

Benefits

Benefits

The card has an annual fee of $0, charges no foreign transaction fees and has an ongoing interest rate lower than what you'll find on a lot of other cards with a 0% intro period. Though we don't generally recommend getting cash advances from a credit card, the Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard® makes advances less taxing, with a $3 flat fee per advance. For balance transfers, this card offers an interesting choice between a 0% intro APR period or a $0 transfer fee. The APR is 0% on Balance Transfers for 12 months on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening, and then the ongoing APR of 13.74% Variable APR. Transfers in the first 45 days incur a balance transfer fee of 3% (minimum $5). After 45 days, there is no transfer fee.

Drawbacks

Drawbacks

This card used to offer both a 0% intro APR and no transfer fees. Now it's either-or. If you have to pay a fee anyway, you can find longer 0% periods for transfers on other cards.

Bottom Line

Bottom Line

People with good credit looking for a long-term lower-interest, low-fees option should take a look at the Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard®.

Benefits

Benefits

While many cards have interest rates that float above 20%, the Lake Michigan Credit Prime Platinum Card boasts one of the lowest APRs on any card — as low as the prime rate plus 3%.

Drawbacks

Drawbacks

No 0% period and no rewards. To get this card, you must be a member of the Lake Michigan Credit Union, although anyone can join with a $5 donation to the ALS Foundation.

Bottom Line

Bottom Line

With one of the lowest ongoing interest rates anywhere, the Lake Michigan Credit Prime Platinum Card is worth a look for those who regularly carry a balance.

Benefits

Benefits

If your credit is good enough, the USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card offers a very low ongoing rate. The ongoing APR is 8.65% - 25.65% Variable APR. There are no foreign transaction fees, and the card is backed by USAA's well-regarded customer service.

Drawbacks

Drawbacks

Although this card is available to applicants with average credit, the best rate goes only to those with good or excellent credit. There are no rewards, nor is there a 0% period.

Bottom Line

Bottom Line

Military members and their families can get an outstanding interest rate if they qualify.

Our pick for

Low interest for bad credit

Benefits

Benefits

This is a secured card for bad credit, yet it has a lower interest rate than many unsecured cards for people with good credit. The ongoing APR is 13.25% Variable APR. The card has no annual fee, balance transfer fees, cash advance fees or foreign transaction fees.

Drawbacks

Drawbacks

Your account must be backed by a savings account at the credit union. When you use the card to make purchases, you're using your savings account as collateral. You must be a member of Digital Federal Credit Union to get this card, although you can join by becoming a member of a partner organization for as little as $10.

Bottom Line

Bottom Line

Having bad credit doesn't have to mean paying high interest and onerous fees. Used responsibly, the Digital Federal Credit Union Visa Platinum Secured Credit Card can help you build your credit so you can qualify for better cards in the future.

HOW THEIR INTEREST RATES STACK UP

Discover it® Balance Transfer0% period and low fees0% on Purchases for 6 months and 0% on Balance Transfers for 18 months, and then the ongoing APR of 13.74% - 24.74% Variable APR

Card Our pick for .. APR
U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card Longest 0% intro APR period 0% on Purchases for 20 billing cycles and 0% on Balance Transfers for 20 months, and then the ongoing APR of 11.74% - 23.74% Variable APR
Chase Freedom® 0% period and bonus category cash back 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 16.74% - 25.49% Variable APR
Capital One® Quicksilver® Card - 0% Intro APR for 15 Months 0% period and flat-rate cash back 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 14.74% - 24.74% Variable APR
Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever 0% period and no late fees 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 18 months, and then the ongoing APR of 15.74% - 25.74% Variable APR
Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card 0% period plus entertainment rewards 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 15.24% - 25.24% Variable APR
Lake Michigan Credit Prime Platinum Card Low ongoing interest The ongoing APR is 7.75% Variable
Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard® Low interest plus low fees 0% on Balance Transfers for 12 months on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening, and then the ongoing APR of 13.74% Variable APR
USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card Low interest for military The ongoing APR is 8.65% - 25.65% Variable APR
Digital Federal Credit Union Visa Platinum Secured Credit Card Low interest for bad credit The ongoing APR is 13.25% Variable 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 initial 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% 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% 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.

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.

Last updated August 8, 2018.

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best Low Interest and 0% Credit Cards of 2018

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