NerdWallet's

Best Low Interest and 0% Credit Cards of 2018

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

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A low-interest credit card saves you money by reducing the cost of debt: When you're paying less in interest, you can pay back what you've borrowed more quickly.

A card with a 0% APR period will save you the most on interest in the short term. Look for one with an introductory interest-free period longer than a year. If you tend to carry a balance most months, a card with a low ongoing interest rate will work to your advantage in the long run.

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 – 18 month BT offer

on Citibank's secure application

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

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% intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable 13.74% APR will apply
  • 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
More on this card
Chase Freedom® Review
For a similar card with flat-rate cash back
Chase Freedom Unlimited®

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

Bottom Line

Bottom Line

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

For bonus rewards on groceries and gas
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Bottom Line

Bottom Line

If you like to keep it simple while paying down transferred debt, the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer gives you generous rewards and a lengthy no-interest period. Unlike some transfer cards, this one is a keeper long after the 0% period ends.

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

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.

Our pick for

Low interest and low fees

More on this card
Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard® Review

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®.

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.

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

The ongoing APR is 13.25% Variable APR. That’s roughly half the rate of many popular secured cards — and better than what you can get on many unsecured cards. The annual fee is $0, and there are no balance transfer or cash advance fees. As with most secured cards, you have to make a security deposit equal to your credit limit, but this one doesn’t put a cap on how much you can deposit, and therefore how high your limit can be.

Drawbacks

Drawbacks

You must be a member of Digital Federal Credit Union. There are a number of ways to become a member, and most people can do so, but it’s still a hoop to jump through.

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

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
Discover it® Balance Transfer 0% period and low fees Intro APR period on Purchases and Balance Transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 13.74% - 24.74% 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 8.00% Variable
Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard® Low interest plus low fees 0% on Balance Transfers for 15 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 September 24, 2018.

To recap our selections...

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

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