The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Monday, September 21, 2020

What is a Good Credit Card APR? The 15 Best Low Interest Rate Cards

What Is A Good Credit Card Apr

credit card advice

Ashley Dull
By: Ashley Dull
Updated: November 4, 2019
Advertiser Disclosure

While credit cards are popular among consumers for their perks and convenience, it’s easy to forget that credit cards aren’t only popular with consumers; the card issuers and banks love them too — but for different reasons. For instance, credit cards are a consistent (and abundant) source of income.

In fact, according to the Federal Reserve, credit card interest fees account for nearly 10% of the income of credit card banks, and almost 3% of the income for the average commercial bank.

With so much money on the line, consumers, quite rightly, often look to get the lowest APR they can. But what is a good credit card APR — or a really bad one? As with many things in life, the answer to that question is: It’s relative.

APRs Explained | Best APR Deals

Your Card’s Interest Rate Depends on Your Credit Score

For the most part, the quality of a particular APR will depend more on your credit history than any hard-and-fast numbers. That said, a few generalizations can be made, starting with the fact that a lower APR is always better — and a zero APR is the best. On the other end of the range, double-digit APRs are common for credit cards, but an APR over 30% is always bad.

Outside those broad lines, whether a specific APR is a good APR will depend on both the card and your personal creditworthiness. Nearly all open-loop credit cards will have a range of possible APRs (e.g., 14.99% – 19.99%), typically spanning five to 10 percentage points. This range is determined by issuers based on their risk tolerance and the potential risk of the card’s intended audience.

The APR you are offered when you apply for a particular credit card will come from the predetermined range, but the exact number will depend on your individual creditworthiness. Lower-risk applicants — those with well-established credit profiles and high credit scores — will be offered an APR from the lower end of the range. Higher-risk applicants with lower credit scores will receive an APR from the higher end of the range.

Table of Estimated Credit Card APRs By Credit Score

Along these lines, a specific interest rate can be good for one card and applicant, but poor for another. For example, consider two credit cards, Card A and Card B, with APR ranges of 11% to 16% and 15% to 20%, respectively. Suppose Hypothetical Henry applies for both cards and is offered a 15% interest rate by both issuers. Relative to the possible rates for Card A, Henry’s 15% APR isn’t very good. For Card B, however, the 15% APR is the best possible rate.

The Best Low-Interest Credit Card Deals

In general, the only effective way to influence the APR you receive when you are approved for a particular credit card — other than improving your credit — is to be discerning during the card selection process. If you choose to apply for a credit card with a low APR range, then you are essentially guaranteed to get a low APR if you are approved.

Of course, it’s important to apply for a card for which you are actually likely to be approved, no matter how tempting the APR range of out-of-reach cards. If you have poor credit, for instance, you are likely to be rejected for a prime credit card with a low APR range and may need to settle for a card with a higher APR. Since each application will result in a hard credit inquiry, don’t apply for cards well outside your credit score’s reach.

Low Ongoing APR | 0% New Purchases | 0% Balance Transfers | Fair Credit | Bad Credit

Best Cards with “Low Ongoing” APRs

Although most of us know it’s best to avoid carrying a credit card balance because of the fees, sometimes — life happens. With a credit card that always has a low APR, you can avoid paying an arm and a leg — or any other body part — to your credit card issuer and ensure that life’s little problems don’t turn into big expenses. Our top-rated picks for low ongoing APRs offer rates as low as 11.99% to qualified applicants.

Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Credit Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

LOW APR RATING
★★★★★
4.8
OVERALL RATING
4.0/5.0
  • Better than Prepaid...Go with a Secured Card! Load One Time - Keep On Using
  • Absolutely No Credit Check or Minimum Credit Score Required
  • Automatic Reporting to All Three National Credit Bureaus
  • 9.99% Low Fixed APR - Your Rate Won’t Go Up Even if You Are Late
  • Activate Today with a $200 Minimum Deposit - Maximum $1,000. * Increase Your Credit Limit up to $5,000 by Adding Additional Deposits Anytime
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
9.99%
$48
Poor/Fair/Limited/Damaged
Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard® Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

LOW APR RATING
★★★★★
4.7
OVERALL RATING
4.5/5.0
  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points for every $1 you spend on all purchases, everywhere, every time – no matter how much you spend
  • Earn 3 points per every dollar spent when you book your travel (car, hotel, airline) through the Bank of America® Travel Center
  • Earn 30,000 bonus points when you make at least $3,000 in net purchases within 90 days of your account opening which can be redeemed for a $300 statement credit towards travel purchases
  • Get 75% more points on the base earn of every purchase you make when you’re a Preferred Rewards for Business Platinum Honors tier member. That means you'll earn 2.62 points on all purchases and 4.12 points for every $1 you spend at the Bank of America® Travel Center.
  • 0% introductory APR on purchases for 9 billing cycles from account opening
  • $0 annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 9 billing cycles
N/A
12.24% - 22.24%
$0
Good
Business Advantage Cash Rewards Credit Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

LOW APR RATING
★★★★★
4.7
OVERALL RATING
4.6/5.0
  • Earn 3% cash back on your choice of one of the following six categories: gas stations (default), office supply stores, travel, TV/telecom & wireless, computer services, or business consulting services
  • Earn 2% cash back on dining, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Get a $300 statement credit when you make at least $3,000 in net purchases within 90 days of your account opening
  • Get 75% more cash back on every purchase when you're a Preferred Rewards for Business Platinum Honors tier member. That means you'll earn 5.25% on your selected choice category, 3.5% on dining, and unlimited 1.75% cash back on all other purchases.
  • $0 annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 9 months
N/A
12.24% to 22.24%
$0
Good

+See more Low Ongoing APR Cards

If you have made significant credit score improvements since you obtained your current card, you may be able to request an APR reduction from your issuer. Few issuers will grant decreases outside the advertised APR range, so check your card’s range to get an idea of what rate to ask for based on your credit profile.

Best Cards for “New Purchase” Intro 0% APR

Credit cards are an amazingly convenient way to make all kinds of purchases, especially large purchases that would be a hassle to make with cash. At the same time, the typical double-digit APR can make that purchase a whole lot less convenient.

Cards offering an introductory 0% APR deal are great for financing large purchases you may need a little time to pay off. The best cards, including our favorites, provide introductory periods of 12 months or more. Look for a card with bonus rewards for your purchase category to maximize your potential savings.

0% INTRO APR RATING
★★★★★
4.9
OVERALL RATING
5.0/5.0
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
N/A
14.99% - 23.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent
Wells Fargo Platinum Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

0% INTRO APR RATING
★★★★★
4.9
OVERALL RATING
4.6/5.0
  • Introductory 0% APR for 18 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers (3% balance transfer fee applies)
  • Account protection features such as Zero Liability protection for promptly reported unauthorized transactions, alerts, and cell phone protection
  • My Money Map – tools to help you manage spending and create a budget with ease
  • Access to your FICO® Credit Score with Wells Fargo Online®
  • $0 annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 18 months
0% for 18 months
16.49% - 24.49%
$0
Good
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

0% INTRO APR RATING
★★★★★
4.8
OVERALL RATING
4.6/5.0
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on purchases
  • Earn a $150 cash rewards bonus when you spend $500 in purchases in the first 3 months
  • Introductory 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months from account opening
  • Account protections such as 24/7 Fraud Monitoring, Alerts, and Zero Liability protection for promptly reported unauthorized transactions
  • $0 annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
14.49% - 24.99%
$0
Good/Excellent

+See More New Purchase Intro APR Cards

When taking advantage of introductory APR deals, remember that introductory basically means temporary in this case. After your intro period ends, you’ll be charged the default purchase APR on your remaining balance and new purchases. To avoid sudden interest fees, be sure to pay off your balance before your terms expire.

Best Cards for “Balance Transfer” Intro 0% APR

It’s all well and good to get a new credit card with a low (or 0%) APR for new purchases, but what about the balance you’re already being charged double-digit interest on? That’s where the balance transfer card offer comes in. These introductory credit card offers provide 0% APR on transferred balances and more than 12 months to pay them off. The balance transfer options on our list won’t even charge an annual fee.

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING
★★★★★
4.9
OVERALL RATING
4.7/5.0
  • No Late Fees, No Penalty Rate, and No Annual Fee... Ever
  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 21 months from date of first transfer. All transfers must be completed in first 4 months. After that, the variable APR will be 14.74% - 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • 0% Intro APR on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening. After that, the variable APR will be 14.74% - 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • If you transfer a balance with this offer, after your 0% Intro purchase APR expires, both new purchases and unpaid purchase balances will automatically accrue interest until all balances, including your transferred balances, are paid in full
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 14.74% - 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
0% for 21 months
14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good
0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING
★★★★★
4.9
OVERALL RATING
4.6/5.0
  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 21 months from date of first transfer. After that, the variable APR will be 13.74% - 23.74%, based on your creditworthiness. All transfers must be completed in first 4 months.
  • 0% Intro APR on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening. After that, the variable APR will be 13.74% - 23.74%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • If you transfer a balance with this offer, after your 0% Intro purchase APR expires, both new purchases and unpaid purchase balances will automatically accrue interest until all balances, including your transferred balance, are paid in full.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • Get free access to your FICO® score online.
  • With Citi Entertainment℠, get special access to purchase tickets to thousands of events, including concerts, sporting events, dining experiences and more.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
0% for 21 months
13.74% - 23.74% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good
0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING
★★★★★
4.8
OVERALL RATING
4.8/5.0
  • 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.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
0% for 18 months
13.99% - 23.99% (variable)
$0
Excellent/Good

+See More Balance Transfer Intro APR Cards

Before transferring your balance, check to see if your new card charges a balance transfer fee (hint: most cards do). Typically 3% to 5% of the transferred balance, these fees are often worth the cost to those currently being charged a 20%-plus APR. Depending on your credit, you may be able to avoid a fee, as a handful of cards, including the popular Chase Slate, offer fee-free balance transfers.

Best Low-APR Cards for “Fair” Credit

Although the exact credit score range will vary by model, those with scores in the mid-600s tend to be described as having “fair” credit. These consumers are often building (or rebuilding) their credit, which equates to a fairly substantial credit risk to an issuer — and, thus, relatively high APRs.

Overall, fair-credit consumers will generally be offered an APR at the high end of the range for prime cards, but may qualify for the low end of the range with a subprime card. On the plus side, those with fair credit can still find quality cards, even some that offer purchase rewards, such as some of our expert-rated options below.

Credit One Bank® Visa® Credit Card with Cash Back Rewards Review

at Credit One'ssecure website

FAIR CREDIT RATING
★★★★★
4.5
OVERALL RATING
3.8/5.0
  • Qualified applicants will receive exclusive benefits such as 1% cash back rewards on all purchases, no annual fee, and a competitive APR. Terms apply.
  • Manage your account quickly and easily from your mobile device by using the Credit One Bank mobile app.
  • Use your Apple device to make purchases securely through Apple Pay®. Apple Pay is a registered trademark of Apple, Inc.
  • Your account is safeguarded against unauthorized charges with Zero Fraud Liability at no additional charge.
  • Take advantage of free online access to your Experian credit score and credit report summary so you can track the key factors impacting your credit health. Terms apply.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.99% to 23.99% Variable
$0 - $99
Fair

11. Discover it® Student chrome

This card is currently not available.

Fair Credit Rating
★★★★★
N/A
OVERALL RATING
N/A
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

12. Discover it® Student Cash Back

This card is currently not available.

Fair Credit Rating
★★★★★
N/A
OVERALL RATING
N/A
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

+See More Cards for Fair Credit

A good way to ensure your new card helps build your credit profile in a positive way is to pay your balance on time every month, perhaps by setting up automatic payments. Since your payment history is 35% of your FICO score calculation, late or missed payments can sabotage any progress you’ve made on your rebuilding journey.

Best Low-APR Cards for “Bad” Credit

If there’s anything that scares a prime credit card issuer, it’s a bad credit score (typically defined as a FICO score below 580). As a result, these high-risk consumers instead need to focus on secured credit cards — which require a deposit — or unsecured subprime credit cards. Our list of bad-credit card options includes both secured and unsecured cards to get your search started off right.

Milestone® Mastercard® - Less Than Perfect Credit Considered Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING
★★★★★
4.5
OVERALL RATING
3.9/5.0
  • Prequalify for a card today and it will not impact your credit score
  • Less than perfect credit is okay
  • Mobile account access at any time
  • Protection from fraud if your card is stolen
  • Account history is reported to the three major credit bureaus in the U.S.
  • *Dependent on credit worthiness
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
24.9%
$35 - $99
Bad, Poor Credit
Indigo® Mastercard® for Less than Perfect Credit Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING
★★★★
4.4
OVERALL RATING
3.8/5.0
  • Pre-qualify for a card today and it will not impact your credit score
  • Less than perfect credit is okay
  • Mobile account access at any time
  • Fraud protection for stolen or lost cards
  • Account history is reported to the three major credit bureaus in the U.S.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
24.9%
$0 - $99
Bad, Poor Credit

15. Discover it® Secured

This card is currently not available.

Bad Credit Rating
★★★★★
N/A
OVERALL RATING
N/A
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

+See More Cards for Bad Credit

Many consumers avoid secured credit cards because of the initial deposit, but they may be more affordable than most people think. Not only can you add to your deposit over time if you can’t afford a large deposit upfront, but that deposit is completely refundable. Many unsecured credit cards require several hundred dollars worth of fees just to open the account, making unsecured cards more costly for some consumers.

Earn Better APRs As Your Credit Improves

Every year, large credit card companies and commercial banks rake in hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of interest fees from cardholders around the world. Consumers can do their part to fight back against interest fees by keeping their credit card balances paid off every month and using low-interest credit card deals. Paying off your balance each month is also an important factor in maintaining a healthy credit score because this is one of the main areas credit bureaus look at when determining your score.

If you’re not happy with the high APRs you’re currently being charged, the best solution is to improve your credit. Overall, the higher your credit score rises, the lower the APRs you’ll be charged for credit cards — or any other credit product. With a little research and some diligent credit building, nearly anyone can reduce or eliminate interest fees, keeping their hard-earned money out of the banks’ voracious vaults and in their own pockets.

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