If you tend to carry a balance, getting a low interest credit card could be one of the best credit decisions you make.
Because, as you probably know, credit card interest is no joke.
If you've ever found yourself caught in its trap, you know how scary it can be. The typical APR is 19.99% – this, on top of your credit card debt, is going to pile up fast.
If you can't afford to pay off your balance right away, it could be a good idea to look into lowering your monthly interest charges. Every little bit helps.
That's where low interest rate credit cards come in. With standard rates as low as 8.99%, you could save hundreds of dollars a year with the right card. Sound worth it?
- Low interest rate credit card rankings
- Top 3 cards in the spotlight
- Lowest interest rate in Canada
- Best introductory balance transfer offer
- Low interest credit card with rewards
- Low interest card with no annual fee
2019 low interest credit card rankings
We compared every low interest credit card in our database using our math-based, unbiased algorithm. For our purposes, this includes all cards with under 18% APR.
Quick tip: APR stands for Annual Percent Rate. This means 18% would be charged against your balance every year, but interest is calculated daily and charged monthly. Just divide the APR by 365 and you'll get how much interest is added every day you keep a balance.
The top 3 Canadian low interest credit cards in detail
A closer look at the details of the best cards will give you a better idea of what's best for you.
For each card, we'll show you just how much you could save. The example we use for each will be at the typical rate of 19.99%, a balance of $2,000, and monthly payments of $100.
1st place: American Express Essential™ Credit Card
The American Express Essential™ has one of the lowest no-fee interest rates available right now.
Why you want it
- 8.99% permanent rate on all purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances.
- Optional 1.99% balance transfer rate for the first 6 months (with a fee).
- No income requirements.
- No annual fee.
Though not the only low interest card with no annual fee on our list, it's a pretty rare sight to see.
And with no minimum income requirements, you have a better chance of being accepted no matter your situation.
Need help paying off existing credit card debt? No problem, the 8.99% applies to balance transfers too, so you can get ahead of your debt even faster.
Compared to the typical rate, you could save $278.09 in the 25 months it would take you to pay off your debt.
You can't earn any rewards with this card and the balance transfer offer leaves a little bit to be desired.
Plus if you do want to take advantage of the balance transfer promotion, you have to make the transfer while signing up for the card.
2nd place: MBNA True Line® Mastercard®
The 10 month 0% balance transfer rate really puts the True Line® Mastercard® over the top.
Why you want it
- Permanent interest rate of 12.99% on eligible purchases and balance transfers.
- Promotional 0% interest rate for 10 months on balance transfers made within 90 days of account opening.
- Travel accident insurance.
- No minimum income requirements.
- No annual fee.
When it comes to interest rates, there's nothing better than 0%.
Even though it's not a permanent rate (we wish!), 10 months is plenty of time for you to get a handle on your debt.
And once the promotion ends, you'll still be ahead of the majority of the cards on the market – 12.99% is 7% lower than the typical rate, after all.
And this card comes with no annual fee and no minimum income requirements. A great choice if you want to get ahead of your payments.
Compared to the typical rate, you could save $186.76 in interest – not factoring in the 0% promotional balance transfer rate.
Despite the impressive promotional balance transfer rate, this card's standard rate is the highest on our list.
3rd place: MBNA True Line® Gold Mastercard®
Though it has an annual fee, True Line® Gold Mastercard®'s permanently low interest rate and impressive suite of insurance makes it a card to consider.
Why you want it
- Permanent interest rate of 8.99% on all purchases and balance transfers.
- 0% promotional rate for 6 months on balance transfers made within 90 days of account opening.
- 7 different types of insurance.
- No minimum income requirements.
- Low annual fee of $39.
Though very similar in name, the Gold version of the True Line® cards has a bit more to offer than its little sister, thanks to its annual fee.
With a 4% lower standard interest rate, this card is tied as one of the best interest rates on the Canadian market.
And it also shines in insurance – 7 different types to give you some extra peace of mind when travelling and shopping:
With no minimum income requirements and a low annual fee of $39 (think of it as $3.25 a month), this might be the card for you.
Compared to the typical rate, you could save $278.09 with this card – not factoring in the 0% balance transfer rate promotion.
Having an annual fee, though not uncommon with low interest cards, is still a bit of a downer.
Not sold on a low interest card yet?
Don't worry – let's break down the category a bit more to find the card that's best for you.
I just want the lowest interest rate in Canada
If you're just looking to save the most money possible, the National Bank Syncro Mastercard might be able to get that for you.
Its purchase interest rate works a bit differently than the other cards we've listed here – in fact, it has a lot in common with variable mortgage rates. This card's rate is actually Prime + 4% with an 8.9% minimum.
As long as Canada's Prime rate is under 4.99%, you'll get the lowest rate currently possible in Canada. The downside is since the Prime rate fluctuates, you can't count on this being the case forever.
But if you like the risk in exchange for some savings, this could be the card for you.
Want the lowest interest rate that doesn't include the risk?
Then the True Line® Gold Mastercard® is the one for you.
Get a permanent rate of 8.99% on all purchases and balance transfers – no matter the Prime rate.
Plus you can get 0.00% interest on balance transfers for 6 months.
I want the best introductory balance transfer offer
If you have some existing debt you'd like to get a handle on, then a great balance transfer offer might be perfect for you.
And there's currently nothing better than True Line® Mastercard®'s offer of 0% for 10 months.
Just keep in mind there are a few things to note:
- balance transfers must be completed within 90 days of account opening and
- there's a fee of 3% of the amount advanced (minimum fee of $7.50).
Once the promotional period ends, you'll still get a pretty good permanent interest rate of 12.99%.
I want to earn rewards on top of low interest rates
It's very rare for low interest cards to give you the ability to earn rewards on your purchases.
Rare, but not impossible.
The Desjardins Visa Modulo will give you 1% BONUSDOLLARS on all purchases. These points are flexible too, you can use them for financial services, merchandise, travel, etc.
All this on top of a 10.90% interest rate on all purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers.
But keep in mind there's a $50 annual fee.
I don't want to worry about an annual fee
If you're looking for a low interest card with no annual fee, the American Express Essential™ fits the bill.
For a grand total of $0 a year, you'll get 8.99% on all purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers.
But if you want a great rate and the best balance transfer on the market, check out the True Line® Mastercard®. You'll get 12.99% on all purchases, plus 0% on balance transfers for 10 whole months.
So what low interest credit card will you go with?
Whether you currently have a balance you want to tackle or you just tend to run late on payments, a low interest card could be a fantastic tool to consider.
Do you have a low interest card in your wallet? Do you want one?
Let us know which you'd choose in the comments!