Liz Eaton @liz_eaton
What is the lowest APR on a credit card?
Best for Balance Transfers. The Slate Card from Chase (one of our advertisers) is what's known as a free balance transfer credit card, as it offers a 0% introductory rate and charges neither a balance transfer fee (for the first 60 days) nor an annual fee. These unusually attractive terms stand to save the average consumer as much as $1,000 in fees and finance charges while expediting the timeline to debt freedom. A credit card calculator can give you a more-exact sense of how valuable the Slate Card will be in your particular situation. For more information, check out our full review of the Chase Slate Card.
While the VentureOne Rewards Card isn't quite as rewarding as Capital One's flagship Venture Card -- offering 20k bonus miles and 1.25 miles/$1 -- it's not quite as expensive either, having no annual fee compared to the Venture Card. This card also provides an extended 0% introductory term for purchases, enabling cardholders to leave their would-be payments in the bank for longer. It is a very solid option for people with good credit. For full disclosure, Capital One is one of our advertising partners.
Unfortunately, there are no 0% APR credit cards for people with fair credit. Below is the best credit card for people with fair credit.
Best for Rewards. The QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Card from Capital One (one of our advertising partners) represents the absolute best rewards-earning option available to people with fair or limited credit. It boasts a straightforward rewards program, offering 1.5% cash back across all purchases, which will easily overcome its $39 annual fee for users who make most of their purchases with plastic. 1.5% cash back across the board is equivalent to what people with excellent credit get from the best rewards cards on the market.
Unfortunately, there are no 0% APR credit cards for people with limited credit. Below is the best credit card for people with limited credit.
Best for Low-Cost Credit Improvement. Given that it does not charge an annual fee, the Capital One Platinum Credit Card can serve as a viable low-cost credit building tool for consumers who have yet to establish much credit history. While this offer does not include rewards or a 0% introductory interest rate, such perks aren't available on any other no annual fee credit card for fair or limited credit either. It was possible for applicants to find cards offering such an attractive collection of terms in years past, but market dynamics have conspired to eliminate their availability. Note: Capital One is an advertising partner.
For College Students
For College Students
Best for Student Financing. This card is capable of meeting the needs of various types of college students, from those who wish to earn rewards on everyday expenses like gas and groceries to those who need help paying for big-ticket expenses like textbooks. The fact that it doesn’t charge an annual fee and actually pays you $150 just for spending $500 in the first 90 days you have it just makes things sweeter. The one thing you don’t want to do with this card is use it overseas, as it charges a 3% foreign transaction fee. So, if you plan on studying abroad or doing some international travel, you may want to consider a card from Capital One (none of its offers charge foreign fees).
Unfortunately, there are no 0% APR credit cards for people with bad credit. Below is the best secured credit card for people with bad credit.
Best Partially-Secured Card. The fact that the Capital One Secured Mastercard does not charge an annual fee and has the potential to be partially-secured makes it quite attractive for many people. With a partially-secured credit card, your credit line may exceed the amount of your security deposit, thereby providing you with an emergency line of credit, if needed, and enabling you to maximize your available credit. The more credit you have available, the faster your credit standing will improve. The Secured Mastercard credit card from Capital One (one of our advertisers) is therefore an option that at least merits consideration if you have bad or limited credit. To learn more about this helpful credit-building tool, check out our full review.
Best Unsecured Card for Bad Credit. We tend not to recommend unsecured credit cards for bad credit given the prohibitive costs and low credit lines typical of the genre. If you truly need an emergency loan, however, this Credit One Bank Visa Card is your best bet. It charges a relatively modest annual fee of $0 - $75 the first year, depending on your credit standing, and $0 to $99 each year thereafter. And it even offers 1% cash back on gas and grocery purchases. For full disclosure, Credit One Bank is one of our advertising partners.
|Card Name||Regular APR||Annual Fee||Min. Credit Required|
|Simmons Bank Visa® Platinum||9.25% (V)||None||Excellent|
|First Command Bank Platinum Visa® Card||9.50% (V)||None||Excellent|
|First Option Visa® Platinum Credit Card||9.92% (V)||None||Excellent|
|Dollar Bank Low Rate Credit Card||10.24% (V)||None||Excellent|
|Simmons Bank Visa® Platinum Rewards||11.25% (V)||None||Excellent|
|Card Name||Length of 0% Period||Regular APR||Min. Credit Required|
|Chase Slate®||0% for 15 months||16.24% - 24.99% (V)||Good|
|Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever||0% for 18 months||15.24% - 25.24%* (V)||Good|
|Bank of Hawaii Visa Signature® Credit Card with MyBankoh Rewards||0% for 18 months||15.23% - 18.23% (V)||Excellent|
|Bank of Hawaii American Express® Card with MyBankoh Rewards||0% for 18 months||15.23% - 18.23% (V)||Excellent|
Why are even the best credit card rates still so high?
One reason is that credit cards offer "unsecured loans." If you have an auto loan or a home equity loan, the lender can repossess your vehicle or your house used as collateral, so they offer lower rates. A credit card does not have that collateral to secure your borrowing costs, so the risk is higher and the rate is higher.
What’s the best way to use a 0% intro rate?
The best way to use an introductory rate is to make sure it is a card that meets your needs if you plan to stay with the company. If you pay the balance off every month (thereby never being charged interest), the rate will not be important in your decision.
If you are carrying a balance, then you need to look for the lowest rate -- the 0% is very attractive, but it is introductory, and will go up at the end of the introductory period. Some consumers are successful in using low introductory rates and then changing cards at the end of the introductory period -- this can be a problem if you are not highly organized in meeting the deadlines and being certain of the dates regarding the length of the introductory rates. Be sure to read the fine print and thoroughly understand any and all restrictions. It is also critical to be good on follow-through if you are trying to reduce your credit cards costs.
Should you always try to get the credit card with the best interest rates?
you pay off your balance every month, the interest rate should not be important. Also, if you are not good at being organized with your payments, than switching cards may not be the best for your situation. My recommendation is to determine what card best meets your long-term needs (rewards for those that pay off the balance every month, interest rate for those that carry a balance, or maybe a combination of credit behavior), and then come up with a strategy to eliminate your credit card debt. The goal is to pay the full balance every month. If you have a card that provides cash back or travel miles (depending on your preferences), then you can just sit back stress-free and enjoy your rewards.