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Best Low Interest Credit Cards in Canada 2017

Low interest rate credit cardsWhether you’re looking to get rid of high interest credit card debt, finance a new purchase, or carry a small balance from time to time, low interest credit cards are the best option – better than a line of credit or personal loan – and always better than a rewards credit card.

We compared all the low interest credit cards in the Canadian market. Some credit cards might offer the same or lower interest rates for a shorter-term promotional period, others for an annual fee, others with risk based APR’s, and still others with a variable interest rate that can rise at any point in time.

None beat no annual fee 5.99% fixed rates for new purchases, none beat 0% for 12 month balance transfers, and none beat 0% for 12 month cash advances deposited into your checking account – for everyone who gets approved. None.

With no annual fee and Canada’s best interest rates conveniently available in your wallet when you need them, these credit cards are must haves. None of the cards on our list come with an annual fee, so there’s no cost to carrying them as sound back-up credit cards as well.

Top Low Interest Credit Cards in Canada

Best Low Interest Credit Card in Canada For Balance Transfers

MBNA Platinum Plus® MasterCard®

Low Interest Rate Balance Transfer - MBNA Platinum PlusIf you already have credit card, store card, or line of credit debt, the MBNA Platinum Plus MasterCard will help you cut, consolidate and reduce your debt with Canada’s best standing balance transfer offer of 0% for 12 months, with no annual fee.

You can consolidate all of your store cards or credit cards to the MBNA Platinum Plus at 0% for 12 months – one payment, no interest. There is no annual fee on the card, however each transfer comes with a 1% transfer fee, which is low compared to some at 3%.

Alternatively, MBNA will also allow you to transfer cash into your bank account at 0% for 12 months as well. You can then use that 0% money for ANY purpose – same as cash, only MBNA calls it a “transfer of funds to a bank account”. It’s essentially a 0% cash advance by another name.

Click here to apply for the MBNA Platinum Plus® MasterCard®  

Best Low Interest Credit Card in Canada For Cash Advances

RBC Cash Back MasterCard

RBC Cash Back MasterCardThe RBC Cash Back Mastercard comes with no annual fee and has a superb 1.9% interest rate for 10 months on cash advances and balance transfers! That’s Canada’s lowest rate for cash advances, with the longest term. With no annual fee, it’s a no brainer.

Most Canadian credit card cash advances start charging interest from the moment you withdraw funds at rates of 24% or more, plus charge an initial cash advance fee of $5 or more. With the RBC Cash Back MasterCard promotional rate you get cash advances at only 1.9% for the first 10 months of the card, a massive savings.

You can also decide to use the card for balance transfers, at 1.9% for 10 months, with a 0% balance transfer fee. Most other Canadian cards charge a balance transfer fee of 1%-3% up front!

The other nice thing about this card is that if you want to use it for new purchases, you’ll get 2% on groceries and 1% on everything else. That said, we’d recommend only using the card for new purchases AFTER you’ve paid down your cash advance loan.

Click here to apply for the RBC Cash Back MasterCard

Best Low Interest Fixed Rate Credit Card In Canada

American Express EssentialTM Credit Card

This new offer from American Express is the low interest card you want to make new purchases or take out a cash advance with. With no annual fee and an 8.99% fixed interest rate on new purchases & cash advances, this card stands out. It’s simple, clean andAmerican Express Essential Credit Card transparent, the 8.99% rate is what you see and what you get upon approval, regardless of your credit.

No other cards from the big banks offer such a low fixed rate, and it comes with no annual fee. Not RBC, TD, Scotia, CIBC or BMO. Most have low rate cards at 11.99% for purchases and cash advances, with a $29 fee. Many have cards with cash advance rates as high as 24.99%!

With no annual fee, you can keep the American Express Essential credit card in your wallet as a back-up to your rewards card, cost free. It’s great if you need to finance a new purchase, access cash or if you want to transfer a balance without having to worry about promotional periods.

The 8.99% interest rate, is the lowest fixed rate in the country. Because it’s not a variable rate, there’s no risk it will increase on you. Also, if you get approved for the card, you’ll get the advertised 8.99% rate – there’s no “as low as” trickery, where you apply for one rate, but end up with a higher one.

When you apply, you can also get a 1.99% balance transfer rate for the first 6 months, with a 0% balance transfer fee. Upon expiry of the 6 month promo rate your APR will go to and stay at 8.99% for your transferred balances.

Click here to apply for the American Express EssentialTM Credit Card

Best Low Interest Credit Card in Canada For Purchases

The MBNA TrueLine Credit Card

The MBNA TrueLine credit card, issued by TD, is likely the best low interest credit card in MBNA Trueline MasterCardCanada. No credit cards offer the ability to get a lower fixed rate interest than 5.99%, with no annual fee. It’s transparent, simple and free. Your rate will be applied to all purchases, balance transfers and access checks!

You’ll get a rate between 5.99% & 14.99% depending on the strength of your credit – but you’ll see your rate before you actually apply – without any impact on your credit. Just fill out the quick form, MBNA will tell you your rate, and then you decide whether you want to continue with the application – it takes two minutes and does not count as a credit inquiry to get your rate.

We’ve reviewed low fixed interest rate offers from RBC, BMO, Scotia, CIBC, TD, VanCity, National Bank and none beat MBNA Trueline’s as low as 5.99% fixed annual interest rate with no annual fee, making it our number one ranked fixed low interest credit card in Canada right now. Great no fee, low interest card to keep in your wallet in case you ever have to access a low rate. It’s like having a 5.99% unsecured credit line at your disposal.

Click here to apply for the MBNA TrueLine Credit Card

Summary of the Best Low Interest Credit Cards in Canada 2017

Credit Card Interest Rate Annual Fee Category
MBNA Platinum Plus MasterCard 0% for 12 months $0 Balance & Deposit Transfers
RBC Cash Back MasterCard 1.9% for 10 months $0 Cash Advances & Balance Transfers
American Express Essential Card 8.99% $0 Fixed Interest Rate & Cash Advances
MBNA Trueline 5.99%-14.99% $0 Interest on New Purchases

Summary

If you do carry a balance, it makes no sense to chase rewards. You’ll be spending close to 20% a year in interest, to save maybe 2% in rewards. Even if you carry the balance for 2 statement periods, it will cost you over 3.5% in compounded interest. The math doesn’t work. You’re best option, if you know you occasionally don’t pay down your entire credit card bill, is to get yourself a no fee, low interest credit card. Just keep it in your wallet for those rainy days, unexpected expenses or need to haves – it costs you nothing, but will save you tons.

For whatever reason, most banks don’t offer fixed rates as low as 5.99% to 9.99% with no annual fee. RBC, BMO, CIBC and Scotia offer low interest rate credit cards with rates as low as 11.99%, but they come with $20-$29 annual fees. RBC and TD have low variable rate credit cards of prime plus 4.99% to 8.99% or 1.25% to 12.75%. You don’t know if you’re going to get a rate of 7.69% or 15.45% before you apply. The problem is, even if you’re unhappy with the rate you get, if you were approved, you still have to pay the annual fee!

With many of the new personal loans on the marketplace, while they advertise rates as low as 5.9%, they average more in the 12% range. Furthermore, they require you to send in proof of income and identity verification. Perhaps it’s better than going into the branch to apply for a line of credit, but it’s certainly not easier than applying for a credit card online.

That’s why we love the new American Express Essential credit card. There’s no annual fee, making it free to have whether you need it right away or not, and it has an 8.99% fixed rate. You know what you’re getting before you apply, and it will never change.

MBNA’s 0% for 12 month rate is also unparalleled in the Canadian marketplace. Whether you’re looking to transfer your high interest credit card debt or you’re looking to access cash at 0%, no other issuers currently offer the same published rate.

Just remember, don’t make any new purchases on your balance transfer card – use it for balance transfers exclusively. You’ll be paying 22% interest on new purchases, and when you try to pay the higher interest balance down, only a portion of your repayment will go towards your new purchase. The other portion will go towards your existing balance – you don’t choose. As a result, you’re new higher interest balance will stick until your lower interest balance is completely paid down.

So why use a credit line or personal loan to pay off credit card debt, when you can access 0% rates? It just doesn’t make sense. We continue to recommend balance transfers as the optimal strategy to pay off high interest credit cards, store cards or fixed payment loans you may have. No other products offer interest rates as low.

Brought to you by GreedyRates.ca – Compare The Best Credit Cards In Canada

31 comments

  1. Hey there! So I have been offered 2 promotions and I’d like to see what makes sense and is ok to do. My CIBC card is offering a balance transfer at 0% at 10 months. My MBNA card is offering a 0.99% balance transfer for a year. I do carry a balance on my MBNA and I already did a balance transfer last year, my due date for that promotion is up in October. Since my CIBC has a higher balance, could I do the balance transfer from my CIBC onto my MBNA and then after take advantage of moving all that over to the CIBC balance transfer?

    • Hey Michele, thanks for your question. We think that you should put as much of your balance as possible on the CIBC card first, and then use all of your discipline to pay off this balance before accruing any interest at all. If you cannot, that’s totally fine, because then MBNA can work as your backup. This also works better because of your current balance with MBNA. Come October, if you need to, you can take advantage of MBNA’s offer. Basically, your plan is sound, but you should simply switch the order of the cards you’ll use. Assuming that you work hard to pay down your balance, you should end up with less total interest in the end. Let us know if you have any additional questions!

      GreedyRates Staff

  2. I was looking for information on paying down debt and came your site and find it very informative. Does greedyrates have any financial affiliation with any of the institutions it mentions in this or any other of your articles?

    • Hey Jan, thanks for your question! We try to be as transparent as possible when describing our relationship with the issuers we review. We do have financial affiliation with some of these entities, as you can see from the advertisements on the side of GreedyRates’ pages. However, this does not prevent us from sharing our own personal impartial views and opinions about their products. If a card has positive attributes, we give praise where praise is due, and if it has negative attributes, we warn customers of these downsides (an example is the Canadian Tire Mastercard review). What’s more, we compare different credit cards side by side in clear tables, making it easy for readers to see the differences from one card to the next. If you have any further questions, we’d be happy to answer as soon as possible. Thanks very much!

      GreedyRates Staff

  3. I am interested in transferring a balance of $5000 to a low interest card. I also need one that allows automatic charges every month as I have several of those. I know my credit score is not very high. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Brenda, thanks for your question.

      MBNA will approve your application with your creditworthiness in mind, but given a healthy financial history, a transfer of $5,000 seems likely. Even if your credit score is lower, don’t worry: MBNA often approves customers that have weaker scores or rocky credit history.

      If the automatic charges you’re referring to are automatic debits from your account, then you should know that only one-time balance transfers are eligible for the 0% rate, so you might be better off telling your lender to charge you the entire sum, and then transferring it to the Platinum Plus. If not, please disregard. The Platinum Plus is a credit card and can make automatic purchases, but again, avoid carrying a balance. That is not what this card was designed for.

      Good luck in your application – if you need any more assistance let us know and we will be happy to provide. Thanks.

      GreedyRates Staff

  4. Hi,
    I want to apply to MBNA. But I read a lot of bad reviews about MBNA online. Is there any truth to that?

    • Hi Sarah!

      Thanks for asking your question, we will do our best to answer it. As far as issuers go, there are really none that are better or worse than others. Each is governed by strict laws that protect customers like you.

      The best way to determine which is best is simply by comparing their credit cards. MBNA, as an issuer, has some of the best offers we’ve seen among the others available in the marketplace, which is the reason we’ve taken so much time to review their cards.

      Among the MBNA products on Greedyrates, the only disappointment you may experience is in picking a card that isn’t suited to your needs. Otherwise, if you find one that looks good, you can trust that you’ll get exactly what is written in our reviews.

      We hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

  5. I am looking to transfer a balance of $2600 to another card with a very low or no interest rate. I have also been offered to increase my credit limit from $3000 to $5000 without any complications of reapplying. My husband does not have a card at all. Would it be best for him to apply for one as he makes the most and then transfer my balance to his, avoiding paying interest for a year? What would be the charge then if we were to use the new credit card for a necessary purchase? Also does greedyrates have any financial affiliation with any of these institutions? I am looking for completely unbiased advice and as you can suspect, I don’t have much faith in banks to do what is best for me.Thank you.

    • Hey Jan, thanks for reading GreedyRates!

      Let’s see if we can help you out a bit. We understand you and your husband currently have a $2,600 balance on your existing card, and the issuer has offered to help you by raising your credit limit. However, this does not solve the problem of high rates, only that you can now add to your debt.

      We recommend you pick up the MBNA Platinum Plus for a couple reasons. You can use it to get 12 months of relief on the interest rate that you’re currently paying on that $2,600, and give your husband access to credit at the same time. Considering that your debts and incomes are shared, he should be the one to apply and request that the entire balance be transferred.

      Now, do not cancel your other card! In the meantime, you can accept a higher credit limit on it and use it for purchases that you wouldn’t make with the Platinum Plus. This will let you slowly pay off your outstanding debt and make smart purchases at the same time.

      Let us know if you have any concerns or need further guidance. Thanks for reading!

      GreedyRates Staff

  6. I am looking at the MBNA Platinum Plus MasterCard 0% for 12 months $0 Balance & Deposit Transfers
    A friend has told me this card makes the insurance mandatory and that’s where most of his monthly charges came from which was more than the interest. Is this true? It says nothing about insurance costs in the comparatives above
    thanks in advance
    Pam

    • Hi Pamela, thanks for your question.

      Regarding your concerns about the MBNA Platinum Plus card, we’re not sure where your friend got his or her information but we have never heard of MBNA charging customers for the insurance that comes as a default.

      The basic travel protection and rental car coverage that comes with the card is a common feature among several other credit cards – and we are not certain that these features cost cardholders money. To be sure, check with customer service at MBNA and let us know what you find. We think a short conversation will clear up your doubts for good. Thanks again!

      GreedyRates Staff

  7. Thanks to your blog I applied for and got the American Express Essential Card. Since I already have an American Express card, I figured I would call them and apply over the phone. What a mistake!!!! Please inform your readers that the balance transfer deal is ONLY available if they apply online! Because I applied over the phone, I was not able to take advantage of the balance transfer offer and I didn’t know that until my card arrived in the mail and I attempted to do so.

  8. Hi Staff, thanks for your knowledge on credit card. I would be interested in transferring my credit card balance to another card. From what i read you mention MBNA Platinum Plus MasterCard at 0% for 12 months. First of all, should i at the end of the 12 months period do a “deposit transfer? Second, Can this be done online? Can I do the same for a business credit card/

    • Hey Judy, thanks for your great questions.

      We understand that you want to transfer a balance from one card to another, and you were correct in choosing the MBNA Platinum Plus MasterCard as your optimal solution.

      When applying to transfer your balance, MasterCard and MBNA will approve you for both the specific amount that can be transferred, as well as your credit limit with the new card. For one year, interest will not accrue on the balance you carry, but cross the one year boundary and the APR will quickly change from 0% to a higher rate.

      If you are still carrying a balance at the end of the 12-month introductory period, you apply to do another balance transfer to a new introductory rate card. This can all be done online or over the phone. If this isn’t possible, then you might want to look into a deposit transfer. Whether or not you should transfer your remaining balance to a checking account and take care of it from there depends on the account’s rate, versus the post-bonus period MBNA rate.

      Your question about business credit cards is also interesting. While what you can get approved for depends on your current credit score, we think you will enjoy the RBC Visa CreditLine for Small Businesses. The card has an extremely low interest rate and also brings value in the form of points that accrue with purchases and a flexible line of credit. You can look at all of the credit cards for businesses that we recommend to find the best fit for your circumstances.

      We hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

  9. Thank you for this article, it’s very helpful. I did the inquiry to get my rate for the MBNA TrueLine Credit Card and got 9.99% (out of a possibility of 5.99%, 7.99%, 9.99%, 12.99% and 14.99%).
    What does that say about my credit strength in your opinion? I unfortunately don’t have the time or funds to get my credit report before making a rather urgent application… Thanks for your help!

    • Hi Jenny, great questions and comments!

      While it isn’t totally necessary to check your credit report before applying for a new credit card, it should be noted that applying may affect your credit score, and that by checking it beforehand you’re able to better understand your chances of approval and also at what rate. This gives you a bit more foresight, but it’s ok that you didn’t check. While every card issuer is different, that MBNA quoted you at 9.99% probably means your credit score is relatively healthy. If you’re not happy with that, we recommend taking advantage of one of the many free credit report services out there to learn what may be stopping you from increasing your score and then putting what you learn into action.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

  10. This site never fails to inform. Great work! One question, however. Are any of these low interest rate cards also paired with a high limit? I am looking to do a balance transfer of approximately $5000, and if these cards are all low limit cards, a balance transfer won’t help me much. Any ideas?

    • Hey Colin!

      We really appreciate your comments and are glad you enjoy the site.

      To address your question, we’re happy to report that the MBNA Platinum Plus card may suit your needs well. Credit and balance transfer limits run up to $100,000 on this card, depending on what you’re approved for. Plus, for those who transfer balances from other cards, MBNA offers a beneficial 0% interest rate for a full year.

      Thanks and best of luck!

      GreedyRates Staff

  11. Hello I’m new to the credit card world. I was looking for something that has a no annual fee, low fixed interest rate, and that builds up my credit. And maybe something if possible with cash back. Is there a credit card that has that all?

    • Hey Ryan!

      What a great question. Let’s see if we can help you out.

      While it’s hard to find a card that “has it all”, there are some great options that will serve your needs well – even without prior knowledge of your current credit score. Since you mentioned first that you’re looking for something with no annual fee and low interest rate, one of the best cards in that category is the American Express Essential Credit Card, which has no annual fee and a fixed rate of 8.99% on all purchases – including cash advances! (which usually range around a 20% interest rate). We estimate that this card will save you over $1300 a year on interest, something that a new cardholder can definitely appreciate.

      For a card with cash back, know that most will come with the interest rates standard among the industry’s best. Expect around 19% if cash back is your primary goal. Since you are new to the credit card world, we recommend you start with a basic card that makes it easy to manage your finances (low rates, no annual fees). The Amex Essential mentioned above is great, but for the single purpose of establishing credit, the Secured Visa from Home Trust (no annual fee) is also great. You will be approved no matter your current credit score, and given the chance to build credit quickly, provided you are responsible with your finances.

      Good luck!

      GreedyRates Staff

  12. I love coming to this site. Always informative and honest! Love it! I did the MBNA balance transfer last year based on this advice and am just using it to pay my balance off. However, I won’t be able to pay it off in full. Can I do another balance transfer or is that not a good idea?

    • Hi Michele,

      You can absolutely get another MBNA Platinum Plus MasterCard at 0% for 12 months. However, because no banks allow balance transfers form one of their own cards to another of their cards, you’ll have to do what’s called a “deposit transfer”. Once you get your card, simply request MBNA to do a deposit transfer into a Canadian checking account of your choice. MBNA will transfer the sum from your new Platinum Plus credit card to your checking account at 0% for 12 months. You will then use the money now in your checking account to pay down your balance on the old MBNA Platinum Plus credit card.

      Hope that helps!

      GreedyRates Staff

  13. I have MNBA master card. they changed me 1% transfer fee And i pay 1% of what i owe goes to my payment every month.

    • Hi Virginia,

      That correct. You pay 0% interest, however each month you pay the greater of 1% of your balance or $5. Since htere is no interest, 100% of your payment goes towards paying down your balance.

      GreedyRates Staff

  14. I am interested in applying for the MBNA true line credit card – and while doing some research I came across your article. My question is wouldn’t inquiring a rate from MBNA on the card impact score? Since in order for them to give me a low rate, they have to look at my history? I would also assume that by not providing my sin card, the rate would probably be the highest, which defeats the whole purpose of getting pre-approved interested rate.

    • Hi Nika,

      MBNA performs what’s called a “soft” inquiry, which does not impact your score at all. It’s the same type of inquiry a bank might use to pre-approve its customers. Only “hard” inquiries impact your score.

      Not providing your SIN should not impact your interest rates at all. So long as the lender can identify you and pull your score and history without your SIN, you should get assigned an interest rate and credit line reflective of your credit worthiness.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

  15. When referring to the ‘balance transfer card’ in the second last paragraph above, which card are you referring to exactly?? Thanks!

    • Hi Nigel,

      We were speaking generally about any balance transfer card. Try to keep one card specifically for balance transfers, and make any new purchases on a separate credit card.

      The reason we make that recommendation is as follows. Most Canadian credit card issuers use the proportional payment allocation method. As a result, if you have a balance on your credit card at 0% and other balances at 19%, when you pay your credit card statement, the issuer will allocate your payment to each balance based on the proportion each balance represents of the total balance on the card. As a result, you won’t be able to pay down your high interest balance until your low interest balance is paid down completely.

      Hope that helps and was clear enough,

      GreedyRates Staff

  16. I am looking for a no fee, fixed low interest rate credit card. Does one exists? Promotional rates dont interest me they just raise it afterward whatever and whenever

    • Hi Carol,

      The Alterna Platinum Plus MasterCard above offers a 9.99% fixed annual interest rate (forever) on purchases and balance transfers, with no annual fee.

      Hopefully that’s what you were looking for!

      GreedyRates Staff

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