A low interest rate credit card or a low APR credit card offers consistently low interest rates to help keep your monthly credit card repayments affordable. This means you might not need to switch credit card providers as often.
What counts as a low rate for credit cards?
Any credit card that offers an annual percentage rate - APR - of below 8% would be considered low rate.
It’s important to note that up to 49% of people may never get the advertised low APR for a credit card. That’s because when you apply, the provider can make an alternative offer based on your credit rating and personal circumstances - including any monthly bills you have like a mortgage and direct debits - so this can be much higher than the advertised rate.
The number of consumers searching for credit builder cards, low rate cards and purchase cards, and the percentage of those consumers that are homeowners and non-homeowners – according to MoneySuperMarket data correct as of July 2018.
Why consider a low interest credit card?
Some people consider a low interest credit card because they want to be confident that they won’t pay a huge amount of interest for the lifetime of the card. It can save you from being hit with higher interest rates if a 0% period comes to an end, for example, and allows you to budget your repayments easily.
If you regularly use your credit card, you might receive loyalty points to use with your credit card provider and their partners - which could be points towards travel, entertainment and more.
A graph showing the motivations of consumers searching for credit cards and the percentage looking to pay no interest on their spending, build their credit rating, find a low rate card for everyday spending, pay no interest on their spending and other – according to MoneySuperMarket data correct as of July 2018.
Paying your low rate credit card bill
There are some things you can do to help make sure your low rate credit card repayments stay low:
Set up a direct debit so you never miss a bill – you’ll be charged a set fee for any late payments
Make more than the minimum payment to keep the monetary interest you pay low
If you can pay off the full balance every month then this can help to keep interest charges as small as possible for any months when you do have to carry the balance over
Contact your provider if you will struggle to pay to see what they can suggest
The percentage of credit cards gaining interest on their debt, according to MoneySuperMarket data correct as of July 2018.
How to choose the best low APR credit card for you
When it comes to choosing a low APR credit card, it’s a good idea to think about things like:
If there’s an introductory interest-free period and how long it lasts
Any annual credit card fees you’ll have to pay on top of your monthly repayments
What balance transfer fees you’ll need to pay if you find - and qualify for - a cheaper interest rate with another card provider and want to transfer your outstanding balance
Any extra fees you’ll have to pay for going over your credit limit or if you miss the monthly repayment due date
Any low rate credit card rewards that could help you save money elsewhere
A map showing the percentage of people in the UK looking to apply for a low APR credit card and where they are in the UK, according to MoneySuperMarket data correct as of July 2018.
Check your eligibility before you apply
It’s important to check your eligibility before you apply for any type of credit, because a rejection will have a negative impact on your credit score – and the best deals are reserved for those with the healthiest credit ratings.
How to compare low rate credit cards
Comparing low rate credit cards is really simple. Use MoneySuperMarket’s credit card eligibility checker and fill in a few details about yourself and your finances to compare. You can order the cards by how likely you are to be approved by the provider, APR rate and credit card provider. You’ll also be able to see what balance transfer fees each provider charges, if you’ll get any rewards from using your card and the provider’s customer review rating.
You can apply for the cards via MoneySuperMarket by clicking through to the provider’s site. Applying for multiple credit cards at once can have a negative effect your credit score, so it’s best to wait to hear back from your first choice provider.
The credit card provider will take a look at your credit score and report when they’re deciding whether or not they’re prepared to give you a credit card. If they decide that they will give you a card, they’ll then set your APR rate and credit limit to help them make sure you’re able to meet the minimum monthly repayments. This can mean that the APR rate and credit limit you saw advertised might not be the same as the one you’re offered once credit checks have been made. You’ll then be sent your card in the post and you just need to activate it to start using.