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How to Pick a Low APR Credit Card

by Gerri Detweiler

How To Pick a Low APR Credit Card

A low APR credit card can save you a lot of money in interest charges. But how do you pick one?

1. Check Your Credit Score

The best low APR credit cards go to those with the best credit scores so you’ll want to know where you stand before you apply. You can get a free look at your credit scores with’s free Credit Report Card.

2. Research Offers

If you are getting credit card offers in the mail, gather them up and then spend an hour or so comparing them with low interest credit card offers online. Both mailed and online offers must present the “Schumer Box,” a box that lists the key terms of the card so you can weigh what’s important to you.

Remember that APR isn’t everything. If you plan to pay your balance off in full in the future, you’ll also want to make sure the card has a grace period so you can avoid interest charges. You’ll want to take the annual fee into account as well. If you travel overseas or regularly buy items from a foreign company (say, a Canadian pharmacy, for example), you may also want to look for a card with no foreign transaction fees.

3. Give It Your Best Shot

It’s frustrating to be rejected, so try to avoid that by applying for cards you are more likely to be qualified for. When you get your free Credit Report Card from, for example, you can look through offers from issuers that are targeting customers with a profile similar to yours. There’s no guarantee you’ll get the card, but you’re shopping with better odds.

Another option is to use’s credit card comparison page, which allows you to sort offers by various features (low APR, no annual fee, cash rewards, etc.) as well as by credit score.

Keep in mind that sometimes the offers you get in the mail or see online will present a range of interest rates and what you will actually get depends on your credit score, among other factors. Also keep in mind that even preapproved offers are not guaranteed, either: the card issuer may turn you down or charge you a higher interest rate after processing a complete application.

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  • Meet Our Expert

    gerri_detweiler GravatarGerri Detweiler is's Director of Consumer Education. She focuses on helping people understand their credit and debt, and writes about those issues, as well as financial legislation, budgeting, debt recovery and savings strategies. She is also the co-author of Debt Collection Answers: How to Use Debt Collection Laws to Protect Your Rights, and Reduce Stress: Real-Life Solutions for Solving Your Credit Crisis as well as host of
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