Compare low rate credit cards that help you save money when you make purchases or carry a balance.
Use this guide to compare low rate credit card features and offers available now and learn how low interest rate cards work so you can find a credit card that's affordable for you.
0% p.a. for 24 months on balance transfers with no BT fee
$0 annual fee for the first year
Offer ends 13 December 2017
Eligibility criteria, terms and conditions, fees and charges apply
St.George Credit Card Online Offer
A platinum card that features a no BT fee balance transfer offer, first year annual fee waiver and a low variable interest rate on purchases.
- $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter).
- 12.74% p.a. on purchases
- Cash advance rate of 21.49% p.a.
- Up to 55 days interest free
Compare the latest low interest rate credit card deals
You can apply for any card listed here by clicking on the "Go to site" button. This will securely transfer you to the relevant financial institution's online credit card application. There is no fee for applying from this page.
The finder.com.au list of low rate credit cards
Compare the features of the low interest rate credit cards below.
- Bank Australia Low Rate Visa Credit Card: Enjoy a low standard variable interest rate of 9.39% p.a. on purchases and cash advances.
- My Credit Union Low Rate Visa Credit Card: This card has a low ongoing purchase rate of 7.99% p.a. and $0 annual fee for the first year (reverts to $59 p.a. thereafter).
- McGrath Pink Visa Credit Card: Apply by 28 February 2018 and get an introductory rate of 4.99% p.a. for the first 8 (reverts to 8.99% p.a.).
- Virgin Money Low Rate Credit Card: Get a purchase rate of 11.99% p.a. and a competitive annual fee of $49 p.a.
- Westpac Lite Credit Card: This card has an interest rate of 9.9% p.a. for purchases and a $9 monthly fee instead of an annual fee (adds up to $108 p.a.)
How do low rate credit cards work?
What is a low interest rate credit card?
Low interest rate cards offer you a lower ongoing interest rate for purchases than standard credit cards. While credit cards in Australia typically have interest rates that range from 15% to 22% per annum (p.a.), 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 these in finder's guide to 0% purchase credit cards).
A low rate credit card makes sense if you regularly pay with plastic and know you won't always pay off the balance in full each month. It gives you the flexibility to pay off your balance over time, without the higher interest charges of some other cards.
But if you have a large existing credit card debt and want to pay it off, you may want to consider a balance transfer card instead. If you always pay your balance in full, then a card with a low annual fee or extra benefits such as reward points might make more sense.
How much money can I save with a low rate credit card?
Even a small difference in credit card interest rates can save you a lot of money. Say you have a $2,000 balance 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 low rate card that charged 12% p.a., you'd pay $70.60 in interest over the same time period. That's a saving of $47.70. And the bigger your expenditure, the bigger the difference gets. So if you compare credit card rates before you apply, you'll be able to find a card that's affordable based on your needs.
How to compare low interest rate credit cards
With a wide range of low rate credit cards on offer in Australia, comparing your options will help you find one that suits your needs. Here are the key factors you should consider:
Credit card interest rates are usually advertised based on the annual rate that applies to the account, shown as "per annum" or p.a. However, interest on your account is typically calculated daily based on your existing balance and then charged monthly on the statement due date.
Put simply: the lower the rate, the less interest you'll pay. But when it comes to your rates, these factors can all impact on your potential savings and costs:
- Promotional interest rates. Some credit cards give you an introductory low or 0% interest rate for purchases or balance transfers. This can be useful if you have planned purchases or existing debt that you want to pay off. But keep in mind that when the introductory period ends, a higher revert rate will apply.
- Standard interest rate. The "standard" or "revert" rate is the variable interest rate that applies at the end of any introductory 0% period. Depending on the card you choose, this rate could be much higher and not considered as a "low rate" option. So always check the standard rate to make sure the card you're applying for provides an ongoing low interest rate.
- Cash advances. The interest rate for cash advances is usually higher than the rate applied to purchases. This rate is charged for transactions such as ATM cash withdrawals, foreign currency purchases and gambling. Cash advances also aren't eligible for interest-free days.
- Interest-free days. If there's an interest-free period for purchases (and you're eligible for it), interest won't be calculated for those purchases until after that period ends. However, interest will apply in full if you don't pay off the total owed by the due date on your statement. Learn more about how this works in our guide to interest-free days.
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 when you use your card at an ATM, overseas, online with international retailers or even when you apply for a balance transfer. Make sure you're aware of the relevant charges that apply to your card.
While most low rate credit cards have limited features, more premium cards could offer 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 as they are somewhat conflicting propositions. 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 low standard purchase rate.
- No international transaction fee. If you plan to use your credit card when you travel overseas or shop online with international retailers, a low rate card that waives foreign transaction fees – such as the Bankwest Breeze Platinum Mastercard – could help you save even more money.
Pros and cons of low rate credit cards
- 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 may not qualify if you have a poor credit history.
- If you opt for a card with a 0% purchase rate, it'll only be available for a promotional period.
If you often carry a balance, a low interest credit card could help you save on additional fees and charges. Just remember to consider the other features – such as introductory offers, annual fees, and complimentary extras – to help you find a card that best suits your needs.
How to get a low interest rate credit card
After you've compared your options, applying for a low interest rate credit card is easy. Click the "Go to site" button from the table above and you will be taken to the bank's secure application page. From there you'll provide details about yourself, your employment, your financial situation and prove your identity. In order to prove your identity you will usually need your driver's licence or passport. Applications usually take about 15 minutes and most provide a response within 60 seconds.
Answers to frequently asked questions about low interest rate credit cards
Does the low interest rate on a credit card apply to balance transfers?
This depends on the credit card and any applicable balance transfer offers. If the card allows balance transfers, it may come with a 0% interest rate for a promotional period before reverting to a standard rate. Some low rate cards apply the standard purchase rate to balance transfers after the introductory period while others apply the cash advance rate. Read our guide to balance transfer revert rates to find out what providers apply the purchase rate.
Do low rate credit cards have other interest rates?
Yes. Low rate credit cards also have a cash advance rate that applies to cash advance transactions. Depending on the card, the cash advance rate will apply to any or all of the following: cash withdrawals from an ATM or supermarket, foreign currency purchases, gift card and prepaid debit card purchases, gambling transactions, BPAY transactions, government charges and balance transfers after the introductory period.
When you compare credit card rates, it's important to consider both the purchase rate and the cash advance rate (as well as any promotional rates) so that you can find a card that's affordable based on how you plan to use it.
What is the best* low interest rate credit card?
There is no one "best" low rate credit card in Australia. With so many cards on the market, the individual features have an impact on how well a card is suited to your circumstances. So the card that's right for you may not be right for someone else. Comparing low interest rate credit cards based on the features you're looking for will help you find a card for your individual needs.
What is the lowest interest rate credit card?
Credit card interest rates are variable, which means they can change regularly. So the lowest interest rate card can vary depending on when you're comparing cards. You can click on the "Purchase rate" column of our comparison table to order the credit cards based on their current interest rates.
Just keep in mind that the lowest rate credit card could be listed as one with a promotional 0% interest rate. When that's the case, you can continue scrolling through the table to find the card with the lowest ongoing interest rate.
Is a low rate card the cheapest credit card option?
There isn't a single"cheapest" credit card option, because everyone uses credit cards differently. There are also other costs to consider beyond the purchase rate, such as annual fees and interest rates for other charges such as cash advances or balance transfers. On the flipside, some people might find cards with high rates and fees "cheap" because of all the complimentary extras.
Simply put, the term "cheapest credit card" is really subjective and varies from person to person. So when you're trying to find a credit card that's affordable, make sure you consider all of the potential costs based on how you plan to use the account. That way, you'll be able to find one with rates and fees that are affordable for you.
Do low interest rate credit cards come with interest-free days?
Most low rate cards offer an interest-free period on purchases, up to a set number of days in each statement period. However, interest-free days are only available for purchases if you pay your balance in full by the due date on each statement.
I have a low rate card with 0% on purchases for 6 months. Do I still have to make repayments?
Yes, you will still have to pay at least the minimum amount for each statement period. Depending on your credit card provider, this is usually around 2-3% of your total balance. If you want to avoid interest charges, you'll need to may higher repayments to clear your balance before the end of the promotional 0% interest period.
How is credit card interest calculated?
Although the interest rate advertised is a yearly (per annum) number, credit card interest is actually calculated daily based on your average daily balance. It's then charged to your account at the end of each statement period.
Will I have to pay an annual fee on a low rate credit card?
Most low rate credit cards do have an annual fee that you'll have to pay each year you have the account. However, there are a few cards that offer low rates and $0 annual fees, as well as some that waive the annual fee in the first year. When you're comparing low rate cards, you can click on the "annual fee" column to compare them by this cost. You may also want to read our guide on no annual fee vs. low rate cards .
Are low interest credit cards good for students?
Typically, low interest credit cards or low fee credit cards are a good option for students to consider. You can also check out finder's specific guide to Student Credit Cards and compare your options.
Are there low interest rate credit cards with balance transfer offers?
Yes, a range of low rate cards also offer balance transfers. With these cards, you can get a promotional low or 0% balance transfer rate during the introductory period when you move debt from an existing card with a different issuer onto the new card.
At the end of the introductory period, a standard rate will apply for any debt remaining from the balance transfer. While some low rate cards will apply the low, ongoing purchase rate to your remaining balance transfer debt, others will apply the higher, cash advance rate. Make sure you check the revert rate for each low rate card you compare so you can find one that's affordable for you.