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Compare the cheapest credit cards

Save money on fees and interest, or earn rewards.

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Credit cards can be a great way to free up cash flow while building your credit history, but they often come with expensive rates and fees. Whether you want to consolidate and clear your debt with a 0% balance transfer, pay no annual fee or save with a card with a low interest rate, make sure to compare the cheapest cards to choose the right option for your needs.

How to choose the cheapest credit cards

The cheapest credit card for you will depend on how you plan to use it. For example:

  • If you want to pay off an existing balance over time, a card with low APR or a 0% intro APR period might be the cheapest option.
  • If you hardly ever use your credit card or always pay your balance in full, it might be less expensive to get a card with a $0 annual fee.
  • If you’re traveling overseas or shopping online, a card with 0% foreign transaction fees could help you avoid hefty conversion fees.
  • If you’re using your card for purchases, you could opt for a card with a rewards program.

Types of cheap low-rate credit cards

There are a variety of credit cards out there that fall into this category. These include:

  • Balance transfer cards. These cards often come with a 21-month 0% intro APR period. This can be used to transfer your balance from an existing credit card and pay off the balance interest-free. Be sure to pay off your balance before the intro period ends.
  • Low-purchase-rate cards. This type of card offers a 0% intro APR period on purchases for as long as 18 months. Cashback cards are usually the ones that offer this perk in addition to 0% intro APR period on balance transfers.
  • Low-cash-advance-rate cards. Cash advance APR is often the highest rate you pay with a card. It can be up to 30% and start accruing from the moment you make your cash advance or an equivalent transaction, such as gambling. Credit cards issued by credit unions typically have lower cash advance APR than bank-issued cards.
  • Cards with no annual fee. For this type of card, you won’t pay anything to own the card. Consider a card with an annual fee if you’re looking to earn higher rewards or get additional perks.

Low interest rate credit cards

If you think you can’t pay off your balance by the statement due date or if you regularly carry a balance, you can compare low standard APR credit cards.

These cards usually come with purchase APR between 9% and 13% variable or fixed. This is much lower than other types of cards which can have purchase APR of up to 26%. However, the APR you get in a credit card mostly depends on your creditworthiness, meaning you could still get low APR with other cards. But the lowest APR you can get starts around 15%.

Who are low interest credit cards best suited for?

  • Good if: You want to pay off your purchases over time.
  • Bad if: You always pay your balance in full.

0% intro balance transfer and 0% intro APR credit cards

A 0% intro APR credit cards can be a great way to pay off an existing debt quicker and cheaper. These cards offer a promotional interest rate when you move existing debt to the new account or when you make a purchase and carry the balance.

The interest-free period can generally last from six to 21 months, depending on the card. At the end of the intro APR period, a standard interest rate will apply to any remaining debt.

Who are 0% intro APR credit cards best suited to?

  • Good if: You want to consolidate your debt and pay off your balance without the burden of interest.
  • Bad if: You travel often and you want to save money on foreign transaction fees or if you want to earn travel rewards.

No-annual-fee credit cards

There are two different types of no-annual-fee credit cards. Some give you $0 annual fee for the life of the card, while others offer 0$ intro annual fee for the first year. These credit cards are usually the cheapest option for people who pay back their card balance by the statement due date or who rarely use their cards.

Who are $0 annual fee credit cards best suited to?

  • Good if: You rarely use your credit card or want to cut down on extra costs.
  • Bad if: You want to earn higher rewards or get premium perks and benefits.

Rewards credit cards with no annual fee

Most rewards credit cards come with no annual fees. This means you don’t have to worry about weighing up the value of the rewards you could redeem with the card’s annual fee. Keep in mind, this type of card often has a high standard APR.

Compared to rewards cards with annual fees, these cards generally offer less competitive earn rates, smaller bonus point offers and fewer extra features.

Who are $0 annual fee rewards credit cards best suited to?

  • Good if: You want to earn rewards while cutting down on standard card costs.
  • Bad if: You want to take advantage of higher rewards rate and bonus point offers.

Credit cards with 0% foreign transaction fees

These credit cards are a cheaper option if you want to pay with plastic overseas. You can use a credit card with no foreign transaction fees to spend abroad or online with international retailers without paying the extra 1% to 3% foreign transaction fee that a lot of credit cards charge.

To put this in perspective, if a card charged you 3% for a foreign transaction worth $3,00, it would cost you an extra $90. These fees can quickly add up, so 0% foreign fee cards offer a cheaper alternative.

Who are 0% foreign transaction fee credit cards best suited to?

  • Good if: You regularly shop online with international merchants or have an overseas trip coming up.
  • Bad if: You want to earn cash back on everyday purchases.

Compare credit cards

Curious how low-rate cards stack up against standard cards? Select your credit score on the table below and click “Show cards” to start comparing cards side-by-side.

Name Product Filter values Rewards Purchase APR Annual fee
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
2% at US gas stations and select US department stores, 3% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year, then 1% after that and on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
$0
Get 3% cash back on groceries on up to $6,000 annually (then 1%) with no annual fee. This is a simple and effective rewards card. Rates & fees
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
5x points on Lyft, 2x points on travel and dining and 1x points on all other purchases
15.99% to 22.99% variable
$95
Earn a huge signup bonus worth $$1,000 with this popular travel card. Combine with other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards for even greater value.
Chase Freedom Flex℠
5% back in rotating categories up to $1,500 combined each activated quarter (then 1%), 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 23.74% variable)
$0
Get up to 5% cashback in rotating and newly added everyday categories. The refreshed Freedom Flex card has lots of earning potential.
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
N/A
0% intro for the first 18 months (then 14.74% to 24.74% variable)
$0
An impressive 18 months intro APR on balance transfers and purchases, as well as no annual fee make this one of the top 0% APR cards available.
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
6% on select US streaming services, 3% on transit and US gas stations, 6% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 annually, then 1% after that and on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 12 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
$95
Perfect for families: Get up to 6% on everyday purchases and a welcome offer worth $250. This heavy-hitter rewards card has uncontested value. Rates & fees
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How to compare low-rate credit cards

When looking for the right low-rate credit card, here are some of the features you’ll want to compare:

  • Rewards program. Many credit cards come with rewards, either as a cash back or points for a partner rewards program. This can include rewards for hotels, airlines, cruise lines or a retailer such as Walmart or Amazon.
  • Annual percentage rate. Paying low interest can save you lot of money in the long run. A 0% intro APR period is often the first choice, but you should also consider the ongoing rate after the intro period expires. So if you’re looking for an intro period, cashback cards issued by banks are often the way to go. On the other hand, credit unions rarely offer 0% intro APR period, but they offer way lower APR than their bank counterparts.
  • Fees. Depending on how you use your card, there is a number of fees you can incur. Keep an eye on balance transfer fees, cash advance fees, late payment fees, returned payment fees and overlimit fees.
  • Additional benefits. Possible benefits include complimentary insurance policies for travel, airport lounge access or free checked bags. Cheaper cards aren’t usually noted for being strong in this area but it still pays to factor this into your comparison.

Pros and cons of cheap low-rate credit cards

Pros

  • Pay less in fees and interest
  • May have smaller credit card surcharge when compared to more expensive cards
  • Often easier to obtain

Cons

  • Don’t earn as many rewards as premium cards
  • Don’t offer as high a signup bonus as premium cards
  • Don’t offer as many features as premium cards

Bottom line

The difference between a cheap credit card and an expensive one comes down to how you spend and repay your credit card balance. Depending on your preference, you can choose a no-annual-fee card, a card with no foreign transaction fee, a rewards card or a card with low or 0% intro APR period.

Make sure to compare all credit card options to find the right card for you.

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