If you can't always pay off your balance each month, you should consider getting a credit card with a low interest rate. These are a good way to pay less interest and avoid falling into the vicious cycle of debt. Here are 13 of the best ones available
- How to recognize a low-interest credit card
- HSBC +Rewards Mastercard
- National Bank Syncro Mastercard
- BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard
- Scotiabank Value Visa Card
- RBC Visa Classic Low Rate Option
- RBC RateAdvantage Visa
- Desjardins' Odyssey Visa Infinite Privilege credit card
- MBNA True Line Gold Mastercard
- Desjardins Flexi Visa
- Laurentian Bank's Visa Black Reduced Rate credit card
- American Express Essential Credit Card
- CIBC Select Visa
- Capital One's Low Rate Guaranteed Mastercard credit card
- Frequently asked questions about low-interest credit cards
How to recognize a low-interest credit card
Low-interest credit cards generally offer an interest rate between 8.9% and 14.9%, while regular credit cards usually have a rate of at least 19.99% and can go as high as 29.99%. If you are always making payments, it does not make a difference, but if you don’t always pay your entire balance each month, this rate is critical for your portfolio. For example, with a card offering a low rate of 10.9% and a balance of $1,000, if you only pay a minimum monthly amount of $30, you will pay a total of $1,183.63. With a regular credit card with 19.99% rate, the total is more like $1,431.41.
There are many low-interest credit cards in Canada. Some of these cards have annual fees and others have rewards programs; that's why we've put together a list of the 13 best low-interest credit cards in Canada. Do not hesitate to use the Hardbacon comparison tool to decide on the card that is right for you.
HSBC +Rewards Mastercard
Annual fee: $25
Annual Interest on Purchases: 11.9%
Annual Interest on Cash Advances and Balance Transfers: 11.9%
The HSBC +Rewards Mastercard has an interest rate of 11.9% on purchases and balance transfers. The annual fee is $25, and each additional card is $10. No minimum income is required to get this card.
In addition to its low interest rate, the HSBC +Rewards Mastercard givest you 2 points for every dollar spent on restaurants and entertainment. All other purchases give you 1 point per dollar. You can redeem these points for travel, merchandise, and gift cards. You can also redeem your points for cash back on your credit card statement, a payment on your HSBC mortgage or a deposit into an HSBC savings account.
HSBC +Rewards Mastercard has a generous Welcome Offer if you join by August 31, 2023. You get up to 35,000 points when you spend $2,000 within 6 months (180 days) of account opening. Plus, the annual fees are waived for your first year.
National Bank Syncro Mastercard
- Annual fee: $35
- Interest rate on purchase: 10.7% (6.70% (min) or base rate + 4%)
- Interest rate on cash advances: 14.7% (6.70% (min) or base rate + 8%)
The National Bank SyncroTM Mastercard® is one of the lowest interest rates in the country. As of April 2023, it is 10.7% on purchases and 14.7% on balance transfers and cash advances; National Bank reserves the right to increase these rates if its prime rate changes. This credit card comes with 90 days of coverage on purchases in case of theft or damage. You are also entitled to Zero Liability protection for unauthorized transactions on your card, and an extended manufacturer's warranty of double, up to an additional year. The Syncro Mastercard comes with an annual fee of $35, but additional cards are free of charge. It is easily accessible, since the minimum credit limit is $500, and no minimum income is required to qualify
BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard
Annual fee: $20
Interest rate: 12.99% on purchases/ 15.99% on cash advances
The BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard offers an interest rate of 12.99% on purchases, cash advances and balance transfers. However, it offers a reduced welcome rate on balance transfers of 0.99% for the first 9 months after opening the account. Each transfer must be for a minimum of $100 and a 2% transfer fee applies.
This BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard comes with a $20 annual fee, and no fees for additional cards. You can even get a full annual fee waiver if you have a BMO Performance chequing account. No minimum annual income is required to obtain this card.
Scotiabank Value Visa Card
- Annual fee: $29 (exempt the first year)
- Interest rate on purchase: 12.99%
- Interest rate on cash advances: 12.99%
Offer valid until October 31, 2023.
The Scotiabank Value Visa Credit Card is popular for a very good reason. The interest rate on purchases, cash advances and balance transfers on the Scotiabank Value Visa Card is 12.99%. In addition to a low rate at all times, new members benefit from an interest rate on balance transfers of 0% for the first 6 months.
No insurance is included with this credit card, but you can enroll in one of two optional coverages: “Basic Protection” or “Comprehensive Protection”.
Road trip enthusiasts will be please to know that when you rent a car with the Scotiabank Value Visa Card at participating Avis and Budget locations in Canada and the United States, you are entitled to a discount of up to 25%.
This card has an annual fee of $29. All additional cards on the same account are free. The minimum card limit is $500, and you must have a minimum annual income of $12,000 in order to qualify.
RBC Visa Classic Low Rate Option
Fees: $20 annually
Interest rate: 12.99% on purchases, balance transfers, and advances
As the name implies, the RBC Visa Classic Low Rate Option is the standard Visa card with a flat 12.99% interest rate for all transactions. The fee is $20 for the promary cardholder and 0$ for all authorized users.
This card has gas rewards too. Use your card at Petro Canada stations and you can save 3¢ per litre on fuel. If you have a Petro Points card, your RBC Visa Classic Low Rate Option gets you 20% more Petro Points.
Furthermore, you get purchase protection and extended warranty insurances with this card. You have the option to add on extras. Travel insurances, identity-theft protections, RBC road assistance service, and balance protection features are available when you apply.
RBC RateAdvantage Visa
Annual fee: $0
Interest rate: prime rate + 4.99% to 8.99%
The RBC RateAdvantage Visa Card uses a variable prime rate, determined by RBC, which is currently 2.70%. An additional 4.99% to 8.99% is added, depending on your application information, including your credit score. The higher your credit score, the less interest you should pay. It is, therefore, in your best interest to pay all your balances on time to take advantage of the lowest possible rate.
Like all Royal Bank of Canada cards, this card offers an instant discount of 3¢ per liter at Petro-Canada. This discount is valid on all types of gas (including diesel) at any station. When you use your card at Petro-Canada, you also earn 20% more Petro-Points on all eligible purchases.
Your RBC RateAdvantage Visa credit card also allows you to get a free 3-month DashPass subscription, giving you unlimited free shipping on $12 orders at DoorDash. This card has no annual fees, and it also comes with purchase insurance and an extended warranty.
Desjardins' Odyssey Visa Infinite Privilege credit card
Fees: $295 annually for members, $395 for non-members
Interest rate: 9.9%
The Desjardins Odyssey Visa Infinite Privilege card offers a competitive interest rate of 9.9%. It differs from the other cards on this list because of its higher annual fees: it costs $295 per year for Desjardins’ members and $395 for non-members. Additional cards are free for members and $95 per year for non-members. It is only available to those who have a minimum annual individual income of $150,000, a family income of $200,000 or assets under management of $400,000.
It has a generous rewards program. It should, you just paid $295 to join! You get 4% back of your restaurants, entertainment, and public transit purchases in BONUSDOLLARS, 3% back in BONUSDOLLARS on your groceries and travel purchases and 1.75% on all your other purchases. Each BONUSDOLLAR is redeemable for $1.
Even better, you benefit from full travel insurance coverage for you and your family for up to 60 days. You are also entitled to 12 free accesses per year to the Odyssée Desjardins lounge at Montréal-Trudeau Airport and 6 free passes each year to airport lounges around the world. There is also free room upgrades and breakfasts at the Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection, plus discounts of up to 25% on car rental at Hertz and up to 10% at Thrifty and Dollar.
MBNA True Line Gold Mastercard
Fees: $39 annually
Interest rate: 10.99% (Quebec) or 8.99% (rest of Canada) on purchases and balance transfers, 20.99% (Quebec) or 24.99% (rest of Canada) on cash advances
The MBNA True Line Gold Mastercard offers an interest rate on purchases and balance transfers of 10.99% in Quebec and 8.99% in the rest of the country. However, the interest rate for cash advances is lower in Quebec, at 20.99%, and 24.99% elsewhere in Canada.
You get purchase protection covering loss, damage, or theft of your items for 90 days after the date of purchase. Additionally, the manufacturer's warranty is doubled for a maximum of one year. You also have access to assistance and legal aid, including lost luggage and replacement of lost documents and tickets.
You are also entitled to a minimum 10% discount on car rentals from Avis and Budget in Canada and the United States. Internationally, the discount is at least 5%. The MBNA True Line Gold Mastercard has an annual fee of $39 and offers up to 9 additional cards at no cost. No minimum income is required to qualify.
Desjardins Flexi Visa
Interest rate: 10.9 %
The Flexi Visa credit card offers an interest rate of 10.9% on purchases and balance transfers. It is free, and any additional cards are also free. No annual income is required to qualify. For those who sometimes struggle to pay their balance on time, there is a particularly generous grace period of 25 days after the issuance of the monthly statement. If you fail to pay the minimum amount, the annual rate will increase to 19.9% until you make the payment.
You get insurance on mobile devices when you purchase them with this card. You also get discounts on car rentals of up to 15% at Hertz and up to 10% and Thrifty and Dollar.
The Flexi Visa card also comes with insurance for trips of less than 3 days for the cardholder, their spouse, and any dependent children. It covers theft, damage or loss of baggage, trip cancellation and emergency health care up to $5 million per person.
Laurentian Bank's Visa Black Reduced Rate credit card
Fees: $30 annually
Interest rate: 12.49%
Laurentian Bank's Visa Black Reduced Rate card comes with an interest rate of 12.49%. There is a $30 annual fee to obtain it, but any additional cards are free. It also comes with a Zero Liability policy that protects you in case of unauthorized transactions.
With this card, you also have the option to sign up to the Assur-payment program. This program offers, among other things, reimbursement of your balance in the event of accidental death or dismemberment, as well as the payment of the minimum monthly amount due on your card in case of loss of employment or disability. Assur-paiement also offers financial and legal assistance services and psychological support. A monthly premium of $0.97 per $100 of balance used is charged and you must be between the ages of 18 and 64 to be eligible.
American Express Essential Credit Card
Interest rate: 12.99%
The American Express Essential credit card offers an interest rate of 12.99%. It has no annual fee, and additional cards are also free. There is no required minimum income. In addition to protection on your purchases and an extended warranty, you are also entitled to travel accident insurance; this covers you for up to $100,000 in the event of accidental death or dismemberment by paying for tickets purchased from a common carrier with your card.
If you love concerts or dining out, this card also gives access to the many exclusive benefits of American Express Experiences. This program includes pre-sales of tickets and dining out. You are also eligible for personalized Amex offers, which are available on the app and online, they help you save money at restaurants and during your shopping.
CIBC Select Visa
Fees: $29 annually
Interest rate: 13.99%
The CIBC Visa Select Card offers an interest rate of 13.99%. It also comes with an interesting welcome offer if you’re looking to consolidate your debts: you get a 0% interest rate on balance transfers for the 10 months after opening your account. You only have to pay a 1% transfer fee and you can transfer up to 50% of your assigned credit limit. There is a $29 annual fee, and no annual fee for up to 3 additional cards. Your minimum annual household income must be $15,000 to qualify.
This card only offers common carrier accident insurance, up to $100,000. There is also a discount of up to 25% from Avis and Budget car rental services throughout Canada and the United States.
Capital One's Low Rate Guaranteed Mastercard credit card
Fees: $79 annually + $75 security deposit or $300 if required
Interest rate: 14.9% on purchases and balance transfers, 21.9% on cash advances
With its Low Rate Guaranteed Mastercard, Capital One provides access to credit even for those with poor credit score. Indeed, if the bank deems that you do not have a good credit score, you will have a card with secured card and will therefore have to pay a fund of $ 75 or $ 300. Secured or unsecured, the card has an annual fee of $79 and an interest rate of 14.9% for purchases and balance transfers. The rate for cash advances remains quite high, at 21.9%. If you use your card well, you will be able to rebuild your credit quickly.
This card also comes with travel insurance, including coverage for baggage delay, collisions and damage in rental vehicles, and accidents on board a common carrier. You'll also receive purchase insurance, an extended warranty and price protection that will reimburse you the difference if you buy an item and find the same one at a lower price elsewhere.
Frequently asked questions about low-interest credit cards
It depends on if it is a balance transfer rate or the regular APR. Most cards are in the 19.99% to 23.99% APR range now. If you find something in the low teens, it is a low rate. Anything in the single digits is a great low-interest rate, and those cards do exist.
A low interest rate matters if you have trouble paying off your monthly credit card balance or if you need cash advances. The card issuer charges the interest rate on any outstanding balance. The higher the APR, the more accumulated interest to pay. The lower the rate, the more interest money you save.
You can search for a low-interest credit card using Hardbacon’s credit card comparison tool. This type of tool compares credit cards from different issuers at one time. Otherwise, you can do an internet search or speak with your bank.
You can negotiate a lower rate for your credit card. You need to speak with Customer Service. It helps if you have at least one year using the card, have a good payment history, and a good credit score. If it is a bank-issued card, you can leverage your other accounts and investments with the bank.
Yes, some low-interest credit cards have annual fees. A lot of credit cards have promotional offers that waive the fee for the first year.
Find the best credit card for your needs by answering a few questions.
About The Author: Antony Youssef
Antony is a project manager at Harbacon. A future graduate of the DESS - Business Analyst - Information Technology program at HEC in Montreal. He helped initiate and develop the Hardbacon comparison tool with the IT team. Passionate about the economy and the financial well-being of others, his goal is to inform readers on different topics concerning finance through his articles.
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