The Best Low Interest Rate Credit Cards in 2019

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low interest rate credit cardsCredit card details are up to date as of June 3rd, 2019. For the most accurate and up to date information, visit the issuer's website.

“Low-interest rates” and “credit cards” are two terms that don’t often go together in the personal finance world, but there are a handful of credit cards in Canada that fit this description. Low interest rate credit cards are a useful tool if you tend to carry a balance on your credit card, or if you are in the midst of paying off high-interest debt.

Whatever your reason for considering a low-interest credit card, there are a variety of options available to you in Canada. Some credit cards offer low-interest rates for a promotional period only (for example, six months), while others offer low-interest rates but with an annual fee for the privilege. Meanwhile, others offer low-interest rates, but the rates are variable and tied to Canada’s prime rate. Here is our list of the best low-interest credit cards available in Canada.

Overview: Best Low Interest Credit Cards 

Credit Card Best For
TD Emerald Flex RateVisa*Low interest variable rates
American Express Essential™ Credit CardLow interest fixed rate
Scotiabank Value® VISA*Low interest fixed rate
MBNA True Line® Mastercard®Short-Term Balance Transfers
MBNA True Line® Gold Mastercard® Credit CardShort Term Balance Transfers
BMO® Preferred Rate Mastercard®*Overall low interest rates

TD Emerald Flex Rate Visa*

td emerald visa

Annual Fee: $25
Purchase APR: TD Prime + 4.50% up to TD Prime + 12.75%
Cash Advance APR: TD Prime + 4.50% up to TD Prime + 12.75%
Balance Transfer Interest Rate: N/A
Annual Income Eligibility: N/A

This offer is not available for residents of Quebec. For Quebec residents, please click here.

This an interesting take on a low-interest credit card. Instead of just offering a flat fee interest rate, the TD Emerald Flex Rate Visa* card's purchase interest rate is variable. It is tied to the TD Prime Rate and varies depending on your credit assessment. Here's how it works:

Customers with a good credit score will qualify for a purchase interest rate as low as TD Prime + 4.50%. Given that TD’s Prime Rate is currently 3.95%, it means:

  •  the lowest possible interest rate is 8.45%.

Less credit-worthy applicants could qualify for:

  • an interest rate of 16.70% (TD Prime + 12.75%).

It’s important to note that the interest rate is tied to the prime rate, which is variable. That means if TD Bank raises its prime rate, your interest rate on your outstanding debt will also increase. Interest rates in Canada are currently trending upwards, so consider that when applying for this credit card. But if you've got an excellent credit rating, this is a good option if you're looking for a credit card with a variable rate.

Learn more about the TD Emerald Flex Rate Visa*


American Express Essential™ Credit Card

american express essential credit card

The American Express Essential™ Credit Card is hands down one of the best low-interest credit cards to keep in your wallet. It offers a fixed rate — which generally means that the interest rate will not suddenly increase. For more details about this card, visit the issuer's website.

Here are some of the cardholder benefits:

  • Lowest interest rate: 8.99% makes this one of the lowest credit card interest rates you’ll find in Canada, outside of promotional rates.
  • Purchase protection: get purchase protection after purchase and buyer's assurance which doubles the manufacturer's warranty.
  • Insurance: Flights booked with this credit card are covered by travel accident insurance.

For more details about this card, visit the issuer's website.


 Scotiabank Value® VISA*

scotiabank value visa

Annual Fee: $29 
Purchase Interest Rate: 12.99%
Balance Transfer Interest Rate: 0.99% for 6 months
Annual Income:  $12,000 per year

If you tend to carry a balance every month, the Scotiabank Value® VISA* is your best bet. One of the best fixed-rate credit cards in Canada, it comes with a low annual fee of $29 and cardholders pay a competitive interest rate of 12.99%.

Here are the other cardholder benefits:

  • Affordable annual fee: The annual fee is $29 per year, but the interest savings easily offset that cost if you plan to carry a balance with this credit card.
  • Low-interest rate: At 12.99% for purchases and cash advances, this card has one of the lowest interest rates on the market. For example, if you carried a balance of $3,000 on this credit card, you would pay $32.03 per month in interest charges. If you carried that balance on a credit card charging 19.99% interest, you would pay $49.29 per month. After just two months you’ve saved enough money in interest to pay for the annual fee.
  • Exceptional balance transfer promo: If you transfer a balance onto this credit card, you’ll only pay 0.99% interest for the first 6 months. After that, the remaining balance will be subject to the 12.99% interest rate.
  • Other perks: Save up to 25% off on base rates at participating AVIS locations and at participating Budget locations in Canada and the U.S.

Learn more about the Scotiabank Value® VISA*


MBNA True Line® Mastercard®

mbna true line mastercard

Annual Fee: $0
Purchase Interest Rate: 12.99%
Balance Transfer Interest Rate: 0% for the first 10 months 
Annual Income:  Any amount

This offer is not available for residents of Quebec. For Quebec residents, please click here.

If you are carrying a balance on another credit card and you’re looking for a balance transfer credit card with a low-interest rate, the MBNA True Line® Mastercard® is an excellent choice.

The benefits of this credit card include:

  • Excellent balance transfer promo: 0%  for 10 months. Carrying a balance on another credit card with higher interest? Transfer the balance to your MBNA True Line® Mastercard® and pay 0% interest for the first ten months on balance transfers completed within 90 days of account opening, with 3% transfer fee (min. of $7.50).
  • The regular purchase interest rate of 12.99%, which is still pretty low, applies on balances remaining after the promotional period expires or if you miss a payment.
  • No annual fee
  • No minimum income requirement
  • 24/7 customer service
  • Around the clock fraud protection

One thing to note: the cash advance interest rate on this credit card is 24.99% — so watch out if you take cash advances on your credit card regularly.

Learn more about the MBNA True Line® Mastercard®


MBNA True Line® Gold Mastercard® 

mbna true line gold mastercard

Annual Fee: $39
Purchase Interest Rate: 8.99%
Balance Transfer Interest Rate: 0% for the first 6 months 
Annual Income: Any amount

This offer is not available for residents of Quebec. For Quebec residents, please click here.

Tied for second, the MBNA True Line® Gold Mastercard® Credit Card is the upgraded relative of the MBNA True Line® Mastercard®, but it may be more appealing for a few different reasons.

Here are the specs:

  • Low-interest rate: This card has a $39 annual fee, but with that comes an incredibly low interest rate on regular purchases: 8.99%.
  • Excellent balance transfer promo: If you are transferring a balance, you pay 0% interest for the first six months, for transfers completed within 90 days of account opening. A 3% fee applies (minimum fee of $7.50).
  • Since interest charges can easily be hundreds of dollars per month on a regular credit card, this promotional rate could be a huge help if you're paying off debt.

This credit card, in particular, is a good choice if you aren’t sure you can pay off the entire balance during the six-month promotional period. If you have a remaining balance at the end of the period, it will be subject to the regular 8.99% interest rate, which is still a low rate. Take note: be careful with cash advances with this credit card because the interest rate on those is a whopping 24.99%.

Learn more about the MBNA True Line® Gold Mastercard®


BMO® Preferred Rate Mastercard®*

bmo preferred rate mastercard

Annual Fee: $20
Purchase Interest Rate: 12.99%
Balance Transfer Interest Rate: 3.99% for the first 9 months 
Annual Income: $15,000 per year

If you’re looking for a card with a competitive interest rate on regular purchases, along with a low annual fee and a promotional balance transfer rate, the BMO® Preferred Rate Mastercard®* is a good option. Here are the benefits for cardholders:

  • Excellent interest rates: 12.99% on regular purchases and cash advances, which is significantly lower than most standard credit cards.
  • Balance transfer promo: A promotional interest rate of 3.99% on balances transferred for the first 9 months, but 1% fee applies to balance amounts transferred. That's still very competitive!

The BMO® Preferred Rate Mastercard®* comes with the standard protections you expect from a credit card including extended warranty coverage, which doubles the manufacturer’s warranty period up to one year as well as purchase protection, which insures your purchases against theft or damage for 90 days.

Learn more about the BMO® Preferred Rate Mastercard®*


Summary of the Best Low Interest Rate Credit Cards in Canada 2019

Credit Card Annual Fee Interest Rate More Info
TD Emerald Flex Rate Visa* $25 4.50% - 12.75% + TD PrimeLearn More
Scotiabank Value® VISA*$2912.99%Learn More
MBNA True Line® Mastercard®$012.99%Learn More
MBNA True Line® Gold Mastercard® Credit Card$398.99%Learn More
BMO® Preferred Rate Mastercard®*$2012.99%Learn More

MBNA True Line® Mastercard®: *This offer is not available for residents of Quebec. For Quebec residents, please click here.
MBNA True Line® Gold Mastercard® Credit Card: *This offer is not available for residents of Quebec. For Quebec residents, please click here.
TD Emerald Flex Rate Visa*: *This offer is not available for residents of Quebec. For Quebec residents, please click here.

What to Look for in a Low Interest Credit Card

  • Annual fees: In all of the scenarios listed above, make sure to take into consideration the annual fee for the credit card. A higher annual fee may offset any savings in interest when you transfer a balance or make a big purchase on the credit card.
  • Balance transfer promos: If you are considering transferring a balance onto a low-interest credit card, you should also take special care to evaluate the promotional interest rate and the term. If the term is too short, you’ll end up paying higher interest rates on any remaining debt. Be honest with yourself about how much debt you can pay off during that time, and pick a credit card with a promotional term that matches your capabilities.
  • Hidden fees: sometimes balance transfer credit cards charge a “balance transfer fee” when you transfer your balance. This fee can be between 1.00% – 3.00% of the balance. Make sure to take this into account when evaluating your options, because it may change which credit card best suits your needs. You can usually find this information in the fine print on the credit card’s website.

Just remember that low-interest credit cards are great options for paying off outstanding debt or carrying debt in an emergency, but they should be temporary measures. If you prioritize paying off your balance every month and get into the habit of maintaining a zero balance, a cash back credit card or travel rewards credit card may be a better option to maximize your spending.

Why Choose a Low Interest Credit Card?

If you use these credit cards prudently whenever you have a balance that you can’t quite pay off, or need to make a purchase that you don’t have the cash on hand for, you’ll be better off financially. Plus, if you’re in debt, transferring your balance to a card with lower interest is an effective debt reduction strategy.

As you can see from our extensive list above, low-interest credit cards are not a “one size fits all” tool. There are three scenarios in which a low-interest credit card will make sense for your finances:

First is, if you are carrying credit card debt. If you have a large amount of high-interest debt, transferring it to a balance transfer credit card will help you pay it off more quickly than if you paid 19.99% interest (or more!) on the entire balance every month.

The second scenario where one of these credit cards will make sense is if you intend to make a big purchase soon and you know you can pay it off in a few months. In this case, a low-interest credit card with a good balance transfer promotion could be a good option. You’ll have time to pay off the purchase without paying any interest charges whatsoever.

Finally, if you want a credit card for emergencies, choose one with a low standard interest rate. In this case, choose a credit card that offers a low-interest rate all of the time, not just on promotional balances. This credit card is your defence against emergency purchases, and the ongoing low-interest rates mean you won’t be dinged on interest too badly if you have to carry the balance over several months.

The Bottom Line

Having a low-interest rate credit card in your wallet will save you oodles of dough if you're paying off debt or carrying a balance each month. It'll put more money back into your wallet, even when you pay a modest annual fee. Just keep in mind that some of these credit cards offer a promotional low-interest rate for a set time period. But if you make it your mission to pay off your credit card debt fast, this shouldn't be a deal breaker. We suggest that you also check out our list of the best credit cards in Canada.

The Best Credit Cards by Category:

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Jordann Brown

Jordann Brown is a millennial money expert and personal finance blogger based in Nova Scotia, Canada. Jordann is the founder of the popular personal finance blog, My Alternate Life, and she frequently appears as an expert in Canada media.

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1 Comment

  1. Jessica on June 22, 2019 at 7:07 am

    Credit card interest rates are only going to go up in the future, better to steer clear of accumulating bank card debt!
    Though an informative article and invaluable article



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