Credit cards provide a number of benefits, but they can also...
Low Interest Credit Cards - How to Choose a Right 0% APR Card
Zero APR credit card offers are becoming a mainstream today; they are offered by almost every major or small bank. Before jumping on the 0% card, it is good to evaluate what you need more: getting a 6-18 months relief from interest charges with a 0% interest, or getting a low regular APR card.
Low ongoing interest
Low APR is everything below the national average of 13.18% - this is an average credit card rate among all cards accounts assessed interest in 2014 (according to Federal Reserve).
It is usually difficult to compare cards with a wide range of APR’s because it is common for APR to vary based on client’s creditworthiness. We’ll use a low-end range of the APR for comparison.
Another detail to mention: after the Credit Card Act of 2009, credit card issuers started to implement a variable APR on credit cards. Today almost all new credit cards are offered with a variable APR that is indexed based on the prime rate changes.
Here are our editor’s pics for best low regular APR offers:
no annual fee
20,000 miles bonus
1.25 mile/$1 for every purchase
0% intro APR for 12 months
Excellent Credit Required - Applicants that do not have excellent credit will not be approved
Low 9.25% variable standard purchase APR and platinum benefits
No balance transfer fee for balances transferred in response to this online offer
No Annual Fee
A low, variable APR on purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances
No annual fee
No balance transfer fees
No foreign transaction fees
Chip technology, so paying for your purchases is more secure at chip-card terminals in the U.S. and abroad
Free online access to FICO® Credit Score
no annual fee
intro BT APR
points for carrying a balance
Zero interest offers
Another way to save on your card is to use a zero introductory APR that is offered for purchases on the card and/or for transferring your balance on the card. These intro 0% APR’s vary from 6 to 18 months with most offers around the 12-month mark.
Here’s our best 0% interest cards list:
no annual fee
good 0% intro APR offer
up to $30 cashback every quarter
Important 0% APR tips
- Read the fine print. Know exactly how 0% APR offer applies. It is common that 0% APR applies only to balance transfers made in the first 60-90 days of the account, and a balance transfer fee of 3% or more applies.
- You usually need to make at least minimum payments during intro period. If you miss one, your APR will rise to the penalty APR retrospectively for all previous periods together with late payment fees.
- Do not withdraw cash. Do not make cash advance or quasi-cash operations on the card. These operations are exempt from grace period and don’t fall into the intro APR offer. You will owe interest after you get cash from an ATM.
Who needs low APR cards? Good practices and bad cases
If you carry a balance on the card, it is a good idea to forget about rewards and sign-up bonuses and find yourself a lowest APR card instead. Include a card’s annual fee in your considerations.
If you are planning one big purchase which is beyond your monthly spending (like an appliance or furniture) you can benefit from in intro APR to stretch repayment for the purchase for 12-18 months. Just make sure you’re capable of repaying it in full before the intro APR ends. Many consumers screw their credit on overestimating themselves.
If you are struggling with paying your existing balance because of something unexpected (you’ve lost your job for example), and if you believe that you will be able to pay minimum payments and a fixed income situation before the end of the intro period, then go for a zero intro balance APR card. You can transfer your balance on it to get a relief from interest and have some time to regroup. Just remember that if you slip, the fall will be harder this time.
If you use credit cards wisely, you can enjoy free credit for quite a long period, and credit cards will be much cheaper than a loan (and potentially free), but do not fall into a common trap of funding your everyday expenses with a credit card – this leads nowhere.
How to lower APR on existing card?
A recent review by CreditCard.com shows that about two thirds of clients who bothered to call a bank and ask to lower their APR got what they wanted.
It always pays off to try, just be polite, stay cool, but be persistent. If the answer is no, just ask why, and what can they do for you. Ask another person to the phone or ask for a supervisor if you do not get what you want. Mention an average APR, another offer by the same bank, or competing offers that you are currently considering. If the final answer is no, just get another card if it is possible for your credit situation and transfer a balance on it.
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