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Tuesday, January 26th
Low interest rate credit cards are not a fantasy - you really can get a card that charges less than 15%, or even 0%. But, there's a catch: those low rates are usually only for an introductory period, and after that you'll be paying the industry standard of 15-26%. Also, banks offering these low interest rates generally want applicants to have a credit score of at least 660, making this card a not-likely choice for people with bad or no credit. But, if you qualify and can use a low interest rate card to pay down large balances or pay no interest rates on a large purchase, why not?
Are Credit Cards... Bad?
Credit cards are bad because they all charge an arm and a leg in interest - right? Not necessarily. If you're currently paying more than 15% APR and carrying a high balance from month to month, you're spending a lot on those interest fees. But, with a low interest rate card, you could save all of that money and use it to pay your balance down more quickly. Here's what you need to know.
Low- and Zero- Interest Rate Cards Do Exist
And they're not hard to find. On any given day, you'll find a wide range of options to choose from, depending on what works best for you. Need a card with no late fees - ever? There's a credit card for that. Want to make some "free money" in the form of points or cash back rewards? You guessed it: there are several low interest rate cards from all of the issuing banks you'd expect that give you miles, points, or money on every purchase.
Low Interest Rate Cards (Usually) Charge Interest - Eventually
Be sure to read all of the terms and conditions for the low interest rate credit cards you're considering. Why? You'll probably see that the low (or no) interest rate offer they're giving you has an expiration timeframe. For example, one card might give you an introductory rate of 0% for the first 12-18 months that you have the card, or that rate might only apply to new purchases or balance transfers.
Credit cards make money every time you use your card, in the form of merchant fees paid by the businesses where you make your purchases, but they make even more when people don't pay their balance in full. So, it's not in any credit card company's long-term interests to never charge you interest. That's just the way it works.
After that initial lower rate period, you'll probably be paying the usual 15-26% APR your cards are currently charging. Keep that in mind when you start using your new low interest rate card: take advantage of that timeframe to pay down as much of your balance as possible, before the higher interest rate kicks in.
Low Interest Rate Cards: Good To Excellent Credit Preferred
One last thing to point out: most low interest rate cards currently on the market are offered to people with good to excellent credit. In other words, if your credit score is significantly less than 660, you might not be approved. Take the time to improve your credit history - through on-time payments, fewer credit applications, and so on - and then take advantage of a low interest rate credit card when your score has increased.
TopConsumerReviews.com has partnered with Lending Tree to help you find the best Low Interest Rate Credit Cards currently being offered. We hope this information will guide your decision making as you choose the right card for your needs!
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