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Low Rate Credit Cards - Choosing the Best Card

Aug 17, 2007
Teaser rates offered on low rate credit cards are a boon to customers. Low APR credit cards are an ideal choice for customers who carry a steady monthly balance. With so many options, finding the right low APR credit card suited to your lifestyle could be a challenge. Yet, it is worth the effort because, over the years, the cost of carrying a balance at a high interest rate could outweigh the other benefits associated with the card.

Shopping for a low APR credit card implies comparing credit offers not just on the interest rate offered but also on various other parameters. Most of these low rate credit cards require you to have a good or excellent credit rating to qualify for their lowest rate. However, a decent credit rating will fetch the card at a slightly higher rate.

The best way to start shopping for a new low APR credit card is to compare costs, terms, and conditions with the cards you already possess. Before switching to another low rate credit card, you should ask your current card company to lower the existing APR. If that is not possible, then choose a card that would fit best with your spending and repayment habits.

Factors to Consider while choosing the Low APR Credit Card:

1) Different rates for different services offered on the same card - low APR credit cards may have differential interest rates for the variety of services offered on the card. For example, the interest rate for cash advances could be 20% but the interest rate for purchases could be 9% and balance transfers could be at 0%! It is important to determine the primary use of the card and then decide on the card that offers the lowest rate for the service that you need.

2) Variable versus Fixed Rate - The interest offered on low APR credit cards could be variable or fixed. Fixed rates tend to be low and are advisable for customers who carry a steady balance. A small change in the APR rate could make a big difference if you carry a balance on a card month on month.

3) Differential Rates for Different Balances on the Same Card - Certain low APR credit cards offer very low interest rate on certain balance amount and charge hefty interest if you cross that range. An interest rate of 9% could be applied on a balance of $500 but if your balance goes to $900, the rate might increase to 15%, for example

4) Low Interest for a Pre-Determined Time - The low interest offered could be an introductory offer or for a limited time period. This is risky, as you may have to pay heavy interest charges if you carry a substantial balance at the end of the said period.

5) Cash Back Options - Many low APR credit cards offer a certain percentage as cash back to you depending on the purchase type. The cash back percentage may be 1% or 5% and could be available on a wide variety of purchase items.

6) Balance Transfers - If you have multiple credit cards and need to consolidate, low rate credit cards offer a good option. Certain cards allow 0% APR on balance transfers with no transfer fees. Since this could greatly help in reducing debt and substantial savings in interest, it is worthwhile to evaluate the different interest rates offered.

7) Air Miles or Frequent Flyer Miles - Some low APR credit cards offer conversion of accumulated reward points to air miles to encourage customer spending. It is not a bad idea to benefit both from the low interest APR along with free air miles.

8) Grace Period (Interest Free Period) - Many low rate credit cards charge interest from day one of your purchases. However, certain cards may give a grace period and not charge interest if you repay the balance in full each month by the due date.

9) Fees - Most low rate credit cards will offer reduced or even no annual fees. Choose the one that does not add to your debt burden by charging hefty annual fees.

If you consider applying for low rate credit cards, there are a variety of websites online that offer comparisons of various low APR credit cards available in the market, and can be tremendously helpful in your search for low rate credit cards.
About the Author
For more information on low rate credit cards, Robert Alan recommends that you visit CreditCardAssist.com.
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