When it comes to credit card interest rates, lower is always better. The lowest interest rate you can have on your credit card is 0% APR, although that’s typically only for a limited time. Zero percent APR also tends to be exclusively for balance transfers (when you’re transferring over balances you’re carrying on other credit cards). Balance transfers can be a great way to save money by consolidating debt. However, if you’re not transferring a balance, an interest rate of around 12% or lower is considered good by credit card standards.
As mentioned, the interest rate you’re offered largely depends on your credit score. It also depends on the lender itself. Each lender has its own criteria for determining the interest rate to charge you on your credit card. That’s why it’s so important to shop around if the interest rate on your credit card is something that matters to you.
When Credit Card Interest Rates Do and Don’t Matter
Getting a low interest rate on your credit card can save you a ton of money in interest (paying 12% sure beats paying 29% that some retail credit cards charge), but it only matters if you believe there’s a good chance you’ll be carrying a balance on your credit card at some point. If you’re someone who’s never carried a balance on your credit card, you pay off it off in full each month like clockwork and you have emergency savings or a line of credit to use in a financial emergency, then getting a low interest rate on your credit card probably doesn’t matter.
However, if you intend to make purchases on your credit card that will take several months to pay off, then that’s when the interest rate on your credit card matters. Since the interest rate tends to be high on your credit card, the interest can really add up quickly. By shopping around and getting a credit card with a slightly lower interest rate – or even one with a zero percent APR for the first few months – it can go a long way in saving you a lot of interest in the short – and long-term.