Low interest rate credit cards aren’t completely extinct but you need to have excellent credit and be a smart credit shopper to find the best deals. Unfortunately, when you search for low interest rate cards on the internet, most of the articles and websites that appear mention popular but mediocre cards as the “best”. The banks behind these cards are paying the websites referral fees for sending them customers. If you want the lowest interest rates, forget about the big banks like Bank of America, Chase, Citibank, Capital One, Wells Fargo, Discover, or AMEX. The truly best deals are usually with credit unions, smaller regional banks, and military-affiliated credit unions. The big bank interest rates START at about 01-03% ABOVE the worst of the credit union or regional bank rates!
Do your homework. You can find Credit unions offering variable rates about 2% to 6% above the prime rate if you have good to excellent credit. That could put you in many low interest rate cards at under 12%, others at under 10%, and sometimes even under 8% as of Feb 2019! Even if you don’t live in a certain place or have military service background, you may qualify for membership at a regional CU or military CU by joining certain organizations or making a small one-time contribution to a particular charity. You may also be eligible as a family member of a member or an eligible member of a regional or employer-based credit union.
Most of these cards may offer their lowest rate INSTEAD of popular cash-back or rewards programs so you may be making a choice of one or the other to get the best rates. Both types of cards may be good to have in your wallet if used at the right time for the right expenditures.
Some of the lowest rate cards I have seen are offered by the credit unions below. I’m sure there are many more if you consider ones in your geographic area or that you may be eligible for membership through family members, employment, college affiliation, or industry-related employment affiliation . This list is just to get you started, but some of these cards are often listed on the lesser-seen rankings of permanent low-interest rate credit cards.
Army Aviation Center FCU (Platinum Mastercard – 7.99%) *Special membership rules apply
Navy Federal Credit Union (Platinum Visa 8.24%),
Andrews FCU (Titanium Rewards Visa - 8.24%) *Military affiliation NOT required
Trustmark Bank (Platinum Visa - 8.40%),
Hanscom FCU (Platinum Mastercard – 8.49%) *Massachusetts but anyone can join
UFCU (University of Texas FCU) (Great Rate Visa Card - 8.49%) *Anyone can join
NEFCU (Long Island NY area) – (Visa – 8.49%)
Lake Michigan Credit Union (Prime Platinum Visa - 8.5%) *Anyone can join
Fort Knox FCU (Visa Classic Card - 8.99%),
Northrop-Grumman FCU (Mastercard, Visa – 9.00%) *Anyone can join, not NG employees
USAA (Rate Advantage Visa 9.15%),
Pentagon Federal PENFED CU (Gold Visa - 9.24%) *Military affiliation not required
Langley FCU (Select Visa – 9.25%) *Military affiliation not required
Coastal Credit Union (Rate Advantage Visa 9.5%.) *North Carolina residents
Air Force FCU (Visa – 9.75%) *Military affiliation not required
Chevron FCU (Visa – 10.24%). *Anyone can join beside employees of Chevron
HIWAY FCU (Visa – 10.40%) *Minnesota-based, but anyone can join
Simmons Bank (Visa - 10.5%),
First Command Bank (Platinum Visa - 10.5%)
Premier Members CU (Platinum Rate Visa – 11.15%) *Colorado, but anyone can join.
Check your local area for credit unions you might be eligible for membership.
Some other employer-based credit unions can also be a good deal although membership may be more limited:
Boeing Employees Credit Union (Visa - 9.15%) *Also open to Univ of Washington Alumni and anyone who lives or works in Washington state or select Oregon or Idaho counties.
National Institute of Health Credit Union (NIHCU) – (Visa – 10.24%) – employee or any healthcare worker in MD, DC, NC, VA or WV)
or the American Airlines Credit Union (Platinum Visa - 9.25%) *Also open to employees or retirees in air transportation industry
*Note: Rates are lowest of their range and quoted for excellent credit.
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