Save money on your credit card by paying lower interest rates
The lower the interest rate on your credit card, the lower your repayments will be. Learn how to compare low interest rate cards to find the best deals and how to make the most of these offers.
Low Interest Rate Credit Card Offer
The NAB Low Fee Credit Card offers a low annual fee combined with a long term introductory offer on purchases and balance transfers.
- Enjoy 0% p.a. on purchases for 15 months.
- Take advantage of 0% p.a. for the first 15 months on balance transfers (reverts to the standard cash advance rate thereafter). A one-off 3% balance transfer fee applies.
- A low annual fee of $30.
- Offer available to approved applicants who apply by 22 January 2017.
Comparison of Low Interest Rate Credit Cards
The finder.com.au list of Low Interest Rate Credit Cards
Compare the features of the low interest rate credit cards below.
|Credit Card||Purchase Rate||Annual Fee|
|11.99% p.a.||$0 p.a.|
|13.99% p.a.||$59 p.a.|
|11.49% p.a.||$49 p.a.|
You can apply for any card listed here by clicking on the Apply button. This will securely transfer you to the relevant financial institution's website. There is no fee for applying from this page.
Complete guide to low interest credit cards
What is a low interest rate credit card?
Low interest rate cards are designed to save you money on interest charges when you carry a balance by offering a much lower interest rate for purchases than standard credit cards. While the typical range for interest rates on cards in Australia is 15% to 24% per annum, low rate cards offer standard variable rates as low as 10% p.a. Some cards even offer promotional 0% rates on purchases for a fixed period (you can learn more about those in finder's guide to 0% purchase credit cards).
A low interest rate credit card makes sense if you make regular use of your card and know you won't always be paying off the balance in full each month. It gives you the flexibility to pay purchases back over time, without the higher interest charges of some other cards. Meanwhile, if you have a large existing credit card debt and want to pay it off, you may want to look for a balance transfer card instead. If you always pay your balance in full, then a card with interest-free days or extra benefits such as rewards points makes more sense.
What types of low interest credit cards are available?
- Standard low interest rate. These credit cards typically offer standard variable purchase rates below 15% p.a. and have a low annual fee. This type of credit card usually has all the non-essential features removed to keep charges low.
- Low interest rate with introductory 0% purchase rate. These cards let you make purchases with 0% interest during the promotional period (typically a few months). After that period, the interest rate will be higher, but if you shop around, the rate is still likely to be better than with a standard card.
- Low interest rate with balance transfer. These cards let you transfer your existing balance from another credit card (usually with 0% interest on that balance for a fixed period), as well as charging a low rate on purchases.
- Premium low interest rate. Gold and platinum cards generally offer additional perks such as complimentary travel insurance or concierge services. While many platinum and gold cards charge relatively high interest rates, there are some low rate options as well. Note that the annual fees for gold and platinum low rate cards will usually be higher than those charged for standard low rate cards as a result of the premium features available.
How much money will I save by applying for a low interest rate credit card?
Even a small difference in interest rates can save you a lot of money. Say you have $2,000 on your credit card and you take 6 months to pay it off. With an interest rate of 20% p.a., you'd pay $118.30 extra on your debt. But if you had a card with a low interest rate of 12% p.a., you'd pay $70.60 in interest charges over the same time period. That's a saving of $47.70. And the bigger your expenditure, the bigger the difference gets.
How to compare low interest rate credit cards
There's more to finding the right low interest rate credit card than just looking at the headline interest rate. Here are the key factors you should consider:
Credit card interest is typically calculated daily on your existing balance, and charged monthly to your account on the statement date. The lower the rate, the less overall interest you'll pay. As well as the rate applying to new purchases and your existing balance, consider the following:
- Interest free days. If there's an interest-free period for purchases (and you're eligible for it), interest won't be calculated on those purchases until after that period ends. However, interest will apply in full if you haven't paid off the total owed by the due date on your statement. Learn more about how this works in our guide to interest free days.
- Cash advances. The interest rate for cash advances is usually higher than for purchases. This rate applies to transactions such as ATM cash withdrawals, foreign currency purchases and gambling. There is also no interest-free period, so avoid using cash advances unless it's a real emergency.
- Revert rate. On a balance transfer or 0% purchase rate offer, the revert rate is the interest rate that will apply after the promotional period expires. Avoid deals where the revert rate is high (if it's the same as the cash advance rate, that's a clear warning sign).
Fees and charges
- Annual fee. Try to find a card with a low annual fee, but don't make this your sole deciding factor. A $0 annual fee isn't helpful if the base interest rate on purchases is a lot higher. Annual fees typically range from $0 (for cards with basic features) to $250 or more (for gold and platinum cards).
- Other fees and charges. Fees may apply for using your card in an ATM; for using the card overseas; or if you overdraw your credit limit. Make sure you're aware of the relevant charges that apply to your card. If you're a regular traveller, consider a card with no foreign currency fees.
While most low rate credit cards have limited features, more premium cards could offer a few extra perks. Some of the most popular include:
- Complimentary extras. Gold or platinum low rate credit cards may include perks such as travel insurance, purchase protection insurance or concierge services. If you use these extras, they have the potential to offset the cost of any annual fee you pay.
- Rewards. Most low rate credit cards don't offer rewards points for your spending. Currently the American Express Essential is one of the only products that earns points per $1 and has a low standard variable purchase rate. Another option is the Coles Low Rate MasterCard, which doubles as a flybuys rewards card and offers a bonus 1 point per $2 spent at Coles Supermarkets.
- No international transaction fee. If you plan in travelling with your credit card or shop online with international retailers, a low rate card that waives foreign transaction fees – such as the Bankwest Breeze Platinum – could help you save even more money.
Pros and cons of a low rate credit card
- You'll pay less interest on purchases, making it easier to manage your credit card debt.
- Many low rate cards also have low annual fees
- You can often combine low-rate cards with other features such as balance transfers or zero foreign transaction fees.
- You're less likely to receive reward points and other perks.
- You'll still need to compare fees and charges to identify the best overall deal for you.
- You may not qualify if you have a poor credit history.
If you frequently find yourself carrying a balance, a low interest credit card could help you save on additional fees and charges. Just remember to consider the other features offered – such as introductory offers, annual fees, and complimentary extras – to help you find a card that suits your needs.