The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Wednesday, October 5, 2022

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

Written by: Ashley Dull

Ashley Dull

With more than a decade of experience as a content manager and marketer, Ashley has specialized in finance coverage since 2015. She has worked closely with the world’s largest banks and financial institutions, up-and-coming fintech companies, and press and news outlets to curate comprehensive content and media campaigns. Her credit card commentary is featured on national media outlets that include CNBC, MarketWatch, Investopedia, and Reader's Digest, among others.

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Edited by: Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian brings more than 30 years of editing and journalism experience. She has written and edited for major news organizations, including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the New York Times, and she previously served as an adjunct instructor at the University of Florida. Today, she edits all CardRates content for clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement.

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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.

USAA Rate Advantage Visa® Platinum Credit Card Review

at Usaa Savings'ssecure website

LOW APR RATING
★★★★★
4.8
OVERALL RATING
  • Get a 0% intro APR for 15 months on Balance Transfers and Convenience Checks that post to your account within 90 days of account opening. After this time, the Variable Regular APR will apply to your balance.
  • Our lowest-rate card: Pay less in interest if you carry a balance from month to month
  • Travel benefits include Auto Rental Coverage, Travel Accident Insurance, Baggage Delay and Reimbursement, and Trip Cancellation and Interruption Coverage
  • No annual fee or foreign transaction fees
  • This offer is only open to members of military-affiliated groups and their families
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
0% for 15 Months
9.15% - 26.15% (Variable)
$0
Good to Excellent
Discover it® Cash Back Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

LOW APR RATING
★★★★★
4.8
OVERALL RATING
  • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • NEW! Discover helps remove your personal information from select people-search websites. Activate by mobile app for free.
  • Every $1 you earn in cash back is $1 you can redeem.
  • Get a 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases. Then 14.99% to 25.99% Standard Variable Purchase APR applies, based on credit worthiness.
  • No annual fee.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 15 months
0% Intro APR for 15 months
14.99% - 25.99% Variable APR
$0
Excellent/Good
LOW APR RATING
★★★★★
4.8
OVERALL RATING
  • Start off strong with 0% Intro APR for 18 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers. A variable APR of 17.24% - 25.99% on balance transfers and purchases after the introductory period ends.
  • Lower your interest rate by 2% each year. Automatically be considered for an APR reduction when you pay on time, and spend at least $1000 on your card by your next account anniversary.
  • Raise your credit limit. Get an automatic, one-time review for a higher credit limit when you pay on time, and spend $500 in your first six months.
  • All for no annual fee - You won't have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Slate Edge℠ card
  • Keep tabs on your credit health - Chase Credit Journey helps you monitor your credit with free access to your latest score, real-time alerts, and more
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 18 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 18 months
17.24% - 25.99% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

+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
  • Start off strong with 0% Intro APR for 18 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers. A variable APR of 17.24% - 25.99% on balance transfers and purchases after the introductory period ends.
  • Lower your interest rate by 2% each year. Automatically be considered for an APR reduction when you pay on time, and spend at least $1000 on your card by your next account anniversary.
  • Raise your credit limit. Get an automatic, one-time review for a higher credit limit when you pay on time, and spend $500 in your first six months.
  • All for no annual fee - You won't have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Slate Edge℠ card
  • Keep tabs on your credit health - Chase Credit Journey helps you monitor your credit with free access to your latest score, real-time alerts, and more
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 18 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 18 months
17.24% - 25.99% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent
0% INTRO APR RATING
★★★★★
4.7
OVERALL RATING
  • INTRO OFFER: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!
  • Enjoy 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 3% on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year).
  • After your first year or $20,000 spent, enjoy 5% cash back on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!
  • Enjoy 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 17.24% - 25.99%.
  • No annual fee - You won't have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Freedom Unlimited® card
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 15 months
17.24% - 25.99% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent
0% INTRO APR RATING
★★★★★
4.7
OVERALL RATING
4.8/5.0
  • One-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Earn unlimited 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options. Terms apply
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months; 17.99%-27.99% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
17.99% - 27.99% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

+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.

Discover it® Balance Transfer Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING
★★★★★
5.0
OVERALL RATING
  • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • NEW! Discover helps remove your personal information from select people-search websites. Activate by mobile app for free.
  • Every $1 you earn in cash back is $1 you can redeem.
  • No annual fee.
  • Click "Apply Now" to see terms and conditions.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 6 months
0% Intro APR for 18 months
14.99% - 25.99% Variable APR
$0
Excellent/Good
0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING
★★★★★
4.9
OVERALL RATING
  • No Late Fees, No Penalty Rate, and No Annual Fee... Ever
  • 0% Intro APR for 21 months on balance transfers from date of first transfer and 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases from date of account opening. After that the variable APR will be 17.74% - 27.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Balance transfers must be completed within 4 months of account opening.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Stay protected with Citi® Quick Lock and $0 liability on unauthorized charges
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR Period 12 months on Purchases
0% Intro APR Period 21 months on Balance Transfers
17.74% - 27.74% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good Credit

Additional Disclosure: Citi is a CardRates advertiser.

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING
★★★★★
4.9
OVERALL RATING
  • 0% Intro APR for 21 months on balance transfers from date of first transfer and 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases from date of account opening. After that the variable APR will be 16.74% - 26.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Balance transfers must be completed within 4 months of account opening.
  • 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% 12 months on Purchases
0% 21 months on Balance Transfers
16.74% - 26.74% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

Additional Disclosure: Citi is a CardRates advertiser.

+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.

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.

10. Credit One Bank® Visa® Credit Card with Cash Back Rewards

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
Discover it® Student chrome Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

FAIR CREDIT RATING
★★★★
4.4
OVERALL RATING
  • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! So you could turn $50 cash back into $100. Or turn $100 into $200. There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.
  • Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • No credit score required to apply.
  • NEW! Discover helps remove your personal information from select people-search websites. Activate by mobile app for free.
  • No annual fee and build your credit with responsible use.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 15.99% - 24.99% applies.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 6 months
10.99% Intro APR for 6 months
15.99% - 24.99% Variable APR
$0
Fair/New to Credit
Discover it® Student Cash Back Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

FAIR CREDIT RATING
★★★★★
4.5
OVERALL RATING
  • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! So you could turn $50 cash back into $100. Or turn $100 into $200. There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • No credit score required to apply.
  • NEW! Discover helps remove your personal information from select people-search websites. Activate by mobile app for free.
  • No annual fee and build your credit with responsible use.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 15.99% - 24.99% applies.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 6 months
10.99% Intro APR for 6 months
15.99% - 24.99% Variable APR
$0
Fair/New to Credit

+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 Milestone Mastercard®'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING
★★★★
4.3
OVERALL RATING
  • 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
Poor/Bad
Indigo® Mastercard® for Less than Perfect Credit Review

at Indigo® Mastercard®'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING
★★★★
4.3
OVERALL RATING
  • 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
Discover it® Secured Credit Card Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING
★★★★★
4.5
OVERALL RATING
  • No credit score required to apply.
  • No Annual Fee, earn cash back, and build your credit with responsible use.
  • Establish your credit line by providing a refundable security deposit of at least $200. That means a $200 deposit for a $200 credit line. Or a $500 deposit for a $500 credit line. Bank information must be provided when submitting your deposit, and the security deposit equals your credit limit.
  • Automatic reviews starting at 7 months to see if we can transition you to an unsecured line of credit and return your deposit.
  • Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • NEW! Discover helps remove your personal information from select people-search websites. Activate by mobile app for free.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
10.99% Intro APR for 6 months
25.99% Variable APR
$0
New/Rebuilding

+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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