It is possible to find long term low credit card rates, but before you begin searching, you must understand the types included, variable and fixed. Variable-rate APRs can fluctuate over a 12-month period, while fixed-rate APRs are much more stable.
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However, with the passing of the CARD Act of 2009, most of the credit card companies no longer offer fixed rate credit cards to new customers. In fact, according to the survey completed by the Federal Reserve, out of 146 financial institutions offering credit cards, only 44 offer a fixed APR. They are mainly small, local community banks or credit unions but some do provide national service.
The financial institutions that provide fixed APR rates also offer some of the lowest APR rates, ranging anywhere from 9.45% to 18%. Only three companies have APRs over 20%, they are BANAMEX USA, Harbor Bank of Maryland and First National Bank. Each charge fixed rates between 20.99% and 29.9%
Lowest Fixed Rate APR Credit Cards
American State Bank and Liberty Bank and Trust Company issue two of the lowest fixed-rate APR credit cards. Both of these banks offer Visa credit cards with a fixed-rate APR of 9.9%. Citizen’s First Bank offers another low, fixed APR credit card. This credit card, a Visa Platinum, comes with an 11.99% APR.
Valley National Bank, based out of New Jersey, charges 16.8% APR on all purchases and is available to consumers across the United States. The credit card is limited to MasterCard only, as Visa is not available to date.
Of course, the low fixed APR is not the only feature you should consider when researching credit card options, but it is important.
Lowest Variable Rate APR Credit Cards
The Fidelity Bank offers a low variable-rate Visa credit card with an APR of 8.9% and the First Citizens Bank and Trust Company’s Visa Gold Credit Card has a slightly higher APR of 10.15%. The following credit cards are offered by the largest financial institutions and while they are higher in APRs, they provide extra benefits and features the previous cards cannot.
Both Chase Bank and JP Morgan offer MasterCard credit cards with variable-rate APRs of 11.99% and American Express Gold is 13.24%. The rewards associated with the American Express Gold credit card far outweighs the variable-rate APR. Chase and JP Morgan MasterCards have cash rewards bonus points and extraordinary travel options.
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HSBC, Wells Fargo, Discover Card, and Citibank round up the list with variable-rate APRs ranging from 14.99% to 16.99%. Capitol One, well-known for offering credit cards to consumers with less than perfect credit, has the highest APR of all of the credit cards on this list because it is a secured credit card. Secured credit cards always have a high, variable-rate APR as a fail-safe.
Credit Cards with Introductory 0% APR Over 12 months
The credit card companies are consistently using introductory APRs to appeal to new customers. While they are very attractive, they do not last and once expired, the true APR is revealed. Many people new to credit cards fall into this trap and while common, can be easily avoided if you understand the basic principles. You must read the fine print and all of the disclosure statements.
The Discover More Credit Card, for example has two offers regarding APRs. The first includes a 0% APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. The other has split 0% APRs, six months for purchases, but 18 months for balance transfers. The Discover Open Road Credit Card also allows for a 0% APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers.
The Slate Credit Card from Chase boasts of a 0% introductory rate for balance transfers and purchases, and if the transfer is completed within the first month, the balance transfer fee is waived too.
To qualify for a low APR credit card, you must have a good credit score with all three of the major credit bureaus, TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. While the federal government allows you one free credit report every year through Annual Credit Report.com, you may want to monitor your score a little closer when you are looking for low APR credit cards, just to make sure it is as accurate as possible.
Equifax will allow you to review all three credit scores for a low monthly fee and provide you with credit alerts that can be sent to your PC or mobile device.
Having good credit is something everyone will need to examine at some point because today virtually every industry relies on this information. When you begin to work towards acquiring your new credit card, make sure you have a clear understanding of the process and your responsibilities.
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