If there’s a chance you’ll carry a credit card balance from month to month; you should look for a low interest credit card. Low interest credit cards have interest rates that are lower than typical credit cards (for example, 12.99% versus 19.99%) which will result in less accumulated interest if you can’t pay off your balance every month.
Low interest credit cards are also useful “backup credit cards” or credit cards to use in case of emergencies. If you have to charge an emergency flight home to your credit card, you won’t have to pay hundreds of dollars in interest charges if you don’t pay off your purchase within the 21 day grace period.
Below we’ve compiled a list of the best low interest credit cards in Canada for 2019. Many of the cards on this list are the same as the best low interest credit cards for 2018. We’ve kept them on the list because they are just that good.
The best low interest credit cards in Canada for 2018 – 2019
|Credit Card||Interest Rate (APR)||Annual Fee|
|American Express Essential Credit Card (VIEW)||8.99%||$0|
|True Line® Gold Mastercard® (VIEW)||8.99%||$39|
|True Line® Mastercard® (VIEW)||12.99%||$0|
|BMO Preferred Rate MasterCard (VIEW)||12.99%||$20|
|Scotiabank Value Visa (VIEW)||12.99%||$29|
|Home Trust Secured Annual Fee Visa Card (VIEW)||14.99%||$59|
The American Express Essential Credit Card has no annual fee and a low interest rate of 8.99% on purchases, cash advances and balance transfers. You’ll need an income of at least $15,000 per year to qualify for this credit card. If you have unpaid balances on other credit cards, you can transfer it to this credit card and qualify for a promotional interest rate of 1.99% for the first six months. This offer is only available at the time of application.
Why we like it:
The American Express Essential Card is the quintessential low interest credit card: it has the lowest fixed interest rate in Canada (8.99% on purchases, balance transfers and cash advances) and there is no annual fee, which means there is no downside to applying for this credit card and keeping it in your wallet in case of emergency purchases.
As a cardholder, you’ll have access to American Express Invites, which offers exclusive shopping offers, special events and the ability to skip the line at some concerts and shows.
The True Line® Gold Mastercard® is the only other credit card on this list to offer an 8.99% interest rate on purchases and balance transfers (cash advances are closer to the status quo at 24.99%). In addition to its low purchase interest rate, this card also features a 0% introductory rate on balance transfers for the first six months for eligible new applicants who sign up by March 29, 2019 (an additional fee of 1% of the transferred amount or a minimum of $7.50 also applies). That’s an enticing bonus for cardholders looking to consolidate and more easily manage their outstanding debts on a single card. There is an annual fee of $39 and there is no minimum income required to qualify for this credit card.
Why we like it:
This credit card combines the lowest fixed interest rate on regular purchases with the best promotional rate on balance transfers in the country. The icing on the cake: you can take advantage of the promotional balance transfer option up to 90 days after opening your account (instead of immediately, which is the case for several other credit cards).
This credit card offers around the clock fraud prevention, 24/7 customer service and a variety of insurance options if you book travel and make purchases with this credit card.
In the Venn diagram of features most sought after by those looking to minimize their credit card debt, the MBNA True Line® Mastercard® has some considerable overlap. The card has no annual fee, a below-average purchase interest rate of 12.99% and boasts a competitive six-month introductory rate of 0% on balance transfers (plus a 1% fee on transferred amount of at least $7.50) for eligible cardholders who are approved by March 29, 2019.
Why we like it:
Most credit cards require you to apply for a balance transfer at the time of your application. The MBNA True Line® Mastercard® gives you the flexibility to apply for transfer within 90 days of opening the account. This extra time gives you considerable leeway when planning your debt repayment strategy. The fact this card charges no annual fee is another big plus.
The MBNA True Line® Mastercard® isn’t packed with exclusive like many other fee-based credit cards, but it does offer you fraud protection, 24/7 customer service and access to over 1 million ATM’s around the world.
The BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard has a $20 annual fee and charges 12.99% on purchases, cash advances and balance transfers. You need to earn at least $15,000 per year to qualify for this credit card. As a special welcome offer, the BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard offers a 3.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for nine months, plus a 1% fee.
Why we like it:
The interest rate of 12.99% is among the lowest in Canada and applies to purchases, cash advances and balance transfers. The balance transfer promotional period is also longer than those offered by most other credit cards (nine months versus six months), giving you a longer period to pay down any outstanding debt.
When you make purchases with the BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard, you’re covered by free extended warranty which doubles the manufacturer’s warranty up to one year and purchase protection. You’ll also qualify for Zero Dollar Liability, which protects you from unauthorized purchases made with the credit card.
If you bank with Scotiabank already and are looking for a convenient and competitive low interest credit card, the Scotiabank Value Visa is a perfect choice. While this credit card does have some restrictions, for example, a minimum income requirement of $12,000 per year and a $29 annual fee, it also has a lot to offer. The Scotiabank Value Visa has a flat interest rate of 12.99% on purchases, cash advances and balance transfers. If you have a balance to transfer when you sign up for this credit card, you can take advantage of 0.99% interest for six months.
Why we like it:
We love that this credit card has the same interest rate for purchases, cash advances and balance transfers. You don’t need to worry about whether a cash advance will cost more than a purchase or a balance transfer – the rate is the same for everything. The card’s balance transfer offer is also among the strongest in Canada.
The Scotiabank Value Visa has the same high level of customer support and fraud protection that you expect from all Scotiabank products, and it has a bonus perk: up to 25% off AVIS car rentals, perfect if you travel frequently.
The Home Trust Secured Annual Fee Visa Card is a secured credit card, which means it requires a security deposit equal to the credit limit of the card. For example, if you applied for the credit card with a $2,000 credit limit, you would need to put down a deposit of $2,000. You can use it just like a regular credit card, and the purchase interest rate is 14.90% – not the lowest on this list by any means, but still five percentage points lower than standard credit cards. There is an annual fee of $59 for this credit card, and it’s not available to residents of Quebec.
Why we like it:
This credit card is great for anyone with bad credit or with no credit score at all. You can apply for this credit card and use it to build up your credit before you graduate to an unsecured credit card. You can apply for this credit card if you have been discharged from bankruptcy or if you are in Consumer Proposal.
Some secured credit cards have limited uses, but you can use the HomeTrust Secured Annual Fee Visa Card just like a regular credit card, including making purchases online, over the phone, and at 24 million locations across the globe.
- The Best Credit Cards in Canada for 2019
- 3 Reasons Why You Should Consider a Low Interest Credit Card
- The Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards in Canada for 2019
- Credit Card Cash Advances – Everything You Need to Know