Rewards credit cards are all the rage these days, but your success or failure with them hinges on one crucial aspect: your ability to pay off your balance every month. If you don’t pay off your balance, you’ll incur interest fees that can quickly wipe out any rewards benefits.
Rewards credit cards are a good choice for those in the habit of paying their credit card balance in full every month, but they aren’t a good choice if there’s a chance you’ll carry your balance into the next month. Fortunately, there is another category of credit card that is more suited to this situation — low interest credit cards. The best low interest credit cards typically have much lower interest rates than typical credit cards and offer many of the same benefits for a low annual fee.
Personally, I used a low interest credit card for several years after I graduated from university. I was living on a new graduate salary and had thousands of dollars in student loan debt. My budget left me with no wiggle room for unexpected expenses, so I used a low interest credit card for emergencies. The strategy worked well, and any charges I couldn’t pay off immediately were subject to a lower interest rate than a typical credit card.
Ratehub.ca’s best low interest credit cards in Canada
- American Express Essential Credit Card: 8.99% purchase interest rate (no annual fee)
- BMO Preferred Rate MasterCard: 11.90% purchase interest rate ($20 annual fee)
- Scotiabank Value Visa: 11.99% purchase interest rate ($29 annual fee)
- Home Trust Secured Annual Fee Visa Card: 14.9% purchase interest rate ($59 annual fee)
The American Express Essential Credit Card is a great place to start if you’re looking for a credit card with a low interest rate. With this credit card, you’ll pay just 8.99% on any purchases that aren’t paid off after the 21 days grace period.
You’ll also have the opportunity to take advantage of a special balance transfer rate of 1.99% for six months (8.99% after that). These two offers make this a great credit card for anyone getting serious about paying off their credit card debt in 2018.
To apply for this credit card, you must be a permanent resident of Canada and have a minimum income of $15,000 per year. When you shop with this credit card, you’ll enjoy an extended warranty, purchase assurance, and zero liability coverage. Finally, when you charge your travel expenses to the American Express Essential credit card you’ll also be covered by travel accident insurance.
The BMO Preferred Rate MasterCard offers a competitive interest rate of 11.90% on all purchases, balance transfers and cash advances for just $20 per year. To apply for this credit card, you need to be a resident of Canada and have an annual income of $15,000 per year.
The Scotiabank Value Visa is an excellent choice for Canadians looking for a low-interest credit card that extends that low interest rate to cash advances and balance transfers. With this credit card you’ll pay 11.99% interest on all purchases and cash advances, and for the first six months you’ll pay just 0.99% on balance transfers, and 11.99% after that. These low interest rates will cost you $29 per year.
To apply for this credit card you’ll need an income of at least $12,000 per year, and you must be a resident of Canada. If you use this credit card to book a car rental through AVIS, you’ll enjoy a discount up to 20%.
While the credit cards above are great options for Canadians with good credit, if you have bad credit or you haven’t established credit yet, you may not qualify for them. In this case, a secured credit card is a good way to build up your credit. Most credit cards are unsecured, which means you don’t have to offer collateral for the loan. With a secured credit card, you’ll pay a cash deposit equal to the value of your credit limit.
With the Home Trust Secured Annual Fee Visa Card, you’ll pay a deposit equal to the credit limit of the credit card, which can be as little as $500 or as much as $10,000. The annual fee for this credit card is $59, and the purchase interest rate is 14.9%. You can use this credit card online or in person as you would any other credit card, and you can qualify for this credit card even if you are in consumer proposal or have been discharged from bankruptcy.
- The Best Credit Cards in Canada for 2018
- 3 Reasons Why You Should Consider a Low Interest Credit Card
- Low Interest or Balance Transfer: Choose the Best Credit Card to Help Pay Off Your Debt