Credit cards with low interest rates are a huge selling point for the issuers of these cards. This is because they can leverage the fact that people who use these cards can do things like get out of debt faster, pay for big ticket items quickly, or simply have smaller monthly payments. The popularity of these cards also means that you have to do some careful research into finding the best low interest rate credit cards for your use. How can you filter them until you find the right one for you?
1. Know the APR for EVERYTHING. What this means is that you should not only look at the shiny introductory rates, but also check out the fine print. What is the APR for balance transfers and do you have to pay a fee? What is the APR going to be once the introductory rate (assuming there is one), expires? What is the APR on cash advances and penalty fees? Compare all of these things because the best low interest card will be the lowest across the board, not just the one with the longest term of introductory 0%. For example, the Citi Diamond has an 18 month period of 0% on purchases and balance transfers… but a 30% penalty APR on late payments. The Discover it® card on the other hand has an 18 month intro period of 0%, with variable APR after that, and great terms on late payments. Of course, this is balanced out by other perks, but if you’re just looking at the money, it’s important to look at everything for differences like this.
2. What are you going to use this credit card for? Are you using it for a single large purchase (such as furniture or electronics or renovations) or do you want a card to use for daily use? The difference is very important; if it’s the former, you want a card with a long introductory period; if it’s the latter, you want a card that will be consistently low in interest rates. There is a huge difference between the two, particularly since many super low interest rate cards don’t have an introductory period at all whereas cards with an introductory period of six to twelve months have a higher APR when it expires. Another thing to consider in tandem with this is whether or not you’ll be able to pay off the balance before the introductory period expires so you can avoid interest rates. So consider what you intend to use this card for and then go from there to find the best low interest card for your needs.
3. What are your spending habits like? Do you pay off your balance in full every month or do you regularly carry a balance? This will be a very important factor because carrying a balance means you need a very low interest card so that you don’t get stuck in debt for too long. If you are in the habit of paying off your debt in full every month, then the interest rate probably won’t matter as much to you, though a good introductory rate could be beneficial for high ticket items.
4. What kind of features do you want with your credit card? Are you looking just for a card with a super low rate or do you want some other perks such as rewards, prestige perks, services and other goodies? Keep in mind that the more rewards and perks you get, the higher your interest rates will be since this is how the company pays for some of these perks! If you just want a low interest card, then you’ll probably lose out on any perks, but you’ll have a lower monthly payment, so it’s all a matter of what’s important to you.
5. Read everything you can about different cards! There is a wide range of information out there about practically every credit card on the market, including sites devoted entirely to comparing and contrasting different cards, governmental information about credit cards, review sites and of course, each card is required to be transparent about its fees and interest rates. Read everything you can about a wide variety of credit cards before making a decision and choose from a broad selection in order to get the card you actually want and need.
Choosing the right low interest credit card for you will require some effort on your part and the ability to sift through a lot of information. If you do nothing else, make sure to read all of the fine print, compare several different cards, and make sure you understand your own spending habits. When you do all of this, you will find it much easier to find the right credit card for your use and save some money doing it.