11 Best Low-Interest Credit Cards in Canada 2022: Borrow For Less

According to Statistics Canada, household credit card debt grew by 6.4% between 2021 and 2022.

If you fall within this demographic, you’re likely to see the interest on your borrowed funds grow significantly each month, especially if your credit card charges an average interest rate of 19% or more.

If you want to stop dishing out so much money on credit card interest, you’re at the right place.

In this post, we’ll be covering the best low-interest credit cards in Canada.

Whether it’s for purchases, balance transfers or cash advances, you’ll see that there are many options out there that charge way less than 19%.

Best Overall
American Express Essential Credit Card
American Express Essential Credit Card
  • Access to American Express Experiences
  • $100,000 Travel Accident Insurance
  • Additional cardholders are free
  • No annual income requirement
  • $0 annual fee
Best for Rewards
HSBC +Rewards Mastercard
HSBC +Rewards Mastercard
  • 11.90% interest on purchases and cash advances
  • Points through the HSBC Plus Rewards Program
  • No annual income requirement
  • Extended warranty insurance,
  • $25 annual fee 
Best Big Bank Option
Scotiabank Value Visa Card
Scotiabank Value Visa Card
  • 12.99% interest on purchases and cash advances
  • $0 fee for additional cardholders
  • Save on car rentals at Avis
  • Balance transfers are available
  • $29 annual fee 

Features You Should Look For In a Low-Interest Credit Card

In Canada, low-interest credit card options start as low as 8.9% and go up to about 15%.

However, there are other features you should consider beyond interest rates. These might include:

  • Annual fee
  • Interest rate on cash advances and transfer balances (if available)
  • Consequences for missed payments, if any (some banks will increase the interest rate to 19% or more if you miss payments, so make sure you read the fine print)
  • Rewards, perks and points
  • Insurance benefits
  • Qualification requirements, including required individual or household income and approximate credit score
  • Minimum and maximum credit limit available
  • Fees for additional cardholders
  • Customer service and Visa/Mastercard/Amex perks

If avoiding high interest is your biggest concern, I would recommend going with a card that has a low annual fee and low interest. Otherwise, other cards may be able to give you the best of both worlds.

Best Low-Interest Credit Cards in Canada

1. American Express Essential Credit Card: Best Overall

American Express Logo

Standout Features:

  • $0 annual fee
  • 12.99% interest rate on purchases and cash advances
  • Access to American Express® Experiences
  • $100,000 Travel Accident Insurance, Buyer’s Assurance and Purchase Protection
  • Additional cardholders are free
  • No annual income requirement

This American Express credit card is simply fantastic.

With a low-interest rate, fantastic travel insurance, no annual fee and great Amex perks, it combines the best of both worlds when it comes to perks and low interest.

It is common for low-interest cards to charge an annual fee, so the fact that this one does not is really great.

Do keep in mind that the applicable rates for this card go up to 23.99% and/or 26.99% if you have missed payments, so be sure to stay on top of your dates for your minimum payments and read the fine print before completing an application.

You can learn more about this American Express Essential Credit Card here.

2. HSBC +Rewards Mastercard: Best for Rewards

HSBC

Standout Features:

  • 11.90% interest on purchases and cash advances
  • Get up to two points per $1 spent through the HSBC Plus Rewards Program
  • No annual income requirement
  • Extended warranty insurance, purchase assurance and optional travel and medical insurance
  • $10 per additional cardholder
  • $25 annual fee

The fact that you can get great points while taking advantage of a low-interest rate with this card is really great.

Through the HSBC Plus Rewards Program, you can get two points for every $1 spent on eligible dining or entertainment purchases and one point for every $1 spent on all other everyday purchases.

You are then welcome to redeem your points for travel, gift cards, valuable merchandise and financial rewards.

This card has an annual fee of $25 and costs $10 per additional cardholder. Given that this is a rewards card and any purchases made by additional cardholders will result in extra points, this is quite normal.

This card also has standard insurance perks (including extended warranty and purchase assurance) with the option to add additional travel or medical coverage for $69 per year.

3. Scotiabank Value Visa Card: Best Big Bank Option

Scotiabank logo

Standout Features:

  • 12.99% interest on purchases and cash advances
  • $0 fee for additional cardholders
  • Save on car rentals at Avis
  • Balance transfer from higher interest rate credit cards is available
  • $29 per year

This card is a popular low-interest option in Canada, and for a good reason. The low-interest rate is coupled with the option to consolidate your high-interest credit card debt to save on interest and make paying bills significantly easier.

You also get fantastic support as a big-five customer, save on car rentals in Canada and the US, and can get additional cards at no additional fee.

You can learn more and sign up for this Scotiabank Value Visa Card here.

4. National Bank Syncro Mastercard: Lowest Interest

National Bank of Canada Stock

Standout Features:

  • 8.90% interest rate on purchases
  • 12.90% interest on cash advances
  • No annual income requirements
  • Purchase protection and extended warranty
  • Perks through Mastercard Priceless Cities program

This card may have an annual fee of $35, but you can likely make up for what you pay in fees through one of the lowest credit card interest rates in Canada.

8.90% is a seriously low-interest rate for a credit card. If you are planning on carrying a medium to large balance month after month, I would highly recommend this card to you.

This card also offers purchase protection and extended warranty as well as lifestyle perks through the Mastercard Priceless Cities program, which can give you free hotel room upgrades, exclusive menus and other benefits.

5. MBNA True Line Gold Mastercard

MBNA

Standout Features:

  • 8.99% on purchases as well as balance transfers
  • Up to nine additional cardholders are free
  • No annual income requirement
  • Save on car rentals at Avis and Budget
  • Purchase assurance and extended warranty

This card has an annual fee of $39. Much like the National Bank Syncro Card, however, the low-interest rate on purchases and balance transfers makes it worth it, especially if you will carry over a large balance.

Unlike many other cards on this list, however, the MBNA True Line Gold charges a standard rate of 24.99% on cash advances. If you regularly take out cash advances (which I do not recommend), you should go with another low-interest card that also includes cash advances in its low-interest rate.

Otherwise, this option is absolutely fantastic.

6. Desjardins Flexi Visa

Desjardins Logo

Standout Features:

  • 10.90% interest on purchases and cash advances (up to $5,000 per day)
  • $0 annual fee
  • Additional cardholders are free
  • Interest-free installment feature at participating merchants
  • Up to $1,000 mobile device insurance, travel insurance (for trips shorter than three days), purchase assurance and extended warranty
  • Discounts for car rentals

For the number of perks you get with the no-annual-fee Desjardins Flexi Visa, I’m surprised that it is not talked about more often.

The most attractive features of this free card, beyond the low-interest rate on purchases and cash advances, are mobile device insurance, short travel insurance, discounts at Hertz, Thrifty and Dollar, and the interest-free installment feature.

Installment features are quite popular in Europe and surrounding continents but have not yet made as big of an impact in North America yet.

With this Desjardins card, you can pay for any purchases of $200 or more in equal, interest-free installments as long as you make the minimum payment on your card.

This feature is available only at participating merchants but is a great start nonetheless.

7. RBC Visa Classic Low Rate Option

RBC logo

Standout Features:

  • 12.99% interest on purchases and cash advances
  • Additional cards cost $0
  • Purchase security and extended warranty insurance with add-ons available
  • Perks at Petro-Canada, Rexall, and DoorDash
  • $20 annual fee

This RBC card is a good option if you’d like to take advantage of perks at Petro-Canada, Rexall drugstores and DoorDash deliveries.

You also have the option to add additional insurance on top of the existing purchase security and extended warranty, such as Travel Insurance, RBC Road Assist, BalanceProtector Max Insurance and Identity Theft & Credit Protection.

By doing so, you can make this card the ultimate everyday credit card while taking advantage of the low-interest rate.

8.  MBNA True Line Mastercard

MBNA

Standout Features:

  • 12.99% on purchases and balance transfers
  • 24.99% on cash advances
  • $0 annual fee
  • No annual income requirement
  • Up to nine free additional cardholders
  • Save on car rentals

If you were interested in the MBNA True Line Gold Mastercard but wanted to avoid the $39 annual fee, this card might be a better option for you. Equipped with a 12.99% interest rate on purchases and balance transfers, this card has no annual fee and offers up to nine additional cards for free.

As the cash advance fee is quite high on this card (24.99%), I’d recommend avoiding them as much as you can. Other than that, the low-interest rate at no annual cost is absolutely fantastic. You might also enjoy the fact that you can have up to nine additional cardholders at no cost.

9. CIBC Select Visa

cibc investor’s edge

Standout Features:

  • 13.99% interest on purchases and cash advances
  • $100,000 Common Carrier Accident Insurance, Visa’s Zero Liability and optional add-ons
  • $0 for additional cardholders (up to three)
  • Up to 10 ¢ off per litre at Chevron and other participating gas stations
  • International money transfers with no transaction fees

This CIBC Select Visa has a $29 annual fee and requires a minimum household income of $15,000. If both of these are okay with you, this card has fantastic perks and a great, low-interest rate.

If you have high-interest credit card debt elsewhere, you are also welcome to transfer it to this card (as long as it is up to 50% of your assigned credit limit) and take advantage of the 13.99% interest rate.

You also have access to great insurance and gas perks with this card. All in all, the annual fee, coupled with the low-interest rate, makes this card worth it. I recommend that you check it out.

10. Home Trust Secured Visa

Home Trust Logo

Standout Features:

  • 14.90% interest rate
  • 19.80% cash advance rate
  • Visa Zero Liability
  • $59 annual fee
  • Secured from $500 to $10,000

I wrote about this card in my recent post going over the best secured cards in Canada. Secured cards can be a great option if your credit score is a bit too low to qualify for traditional credit cards or if you want to avoid a hard credit check (and thus avoid any impact on your credit score.)

This card by Home Trust gives you the best of a secured credit card while also offering a low-interest rate. If the $59 annual fee is a bit too high for your liking right off the bat, you can also opt to pay $5 per month for a total of $60 per year, which is a great option.

11. Capital One Low Rate Guaranteed Mastercard

Capital One logo

Standout Features:

  • 14.9% interest on purchases and balance transfers
  • 21.9% on cash advances
  • Fantastic travel insurance: Common Carrier Travel Accident Insurance, Car Rental Collision/Loss Damage Waiver and baggage delay
  • Price Protection Service, Purchase Assurance, Extended Warranty and Zero Liability
  • Guaranteed approval (may have to be secured based on your credit history)

Given that this card has good travel and everyday insurance, guaranteed approval and a low interest rate, the $79 annual fee could be worth it.

I would also recommend going with this card if you are concerned about your credit score potentially being too low. If that is the case, you will still be approved for this card if you are able to put down security funds.

If that is not of concern to you, however, and you want to avoid the high annual fee, you can go with other cards on this list.

Why Should You Get a Low-Interest Credit Card?

You should consider a low-interest credit card if you are planning on carrying a balance on your credit card month after month.

The best way to avoid paying this high-interest rate is by paying your statement balance in full on or before its due date (usually 20 days after your statement period, also known as the grace period.) We do, however, appreciate that this is not always possible.

In this case, you might only pay your minimum payment due and whatever else you can on top and carry the remaining balance to the future.

The annual interest rate on an unpaid balance usually compounds daily and can add up rather quickly, especially given that the average credit card interest rate in Canada is somewhere between 19 and 20%.

Opting for a low-interest option, in this case, can be extremely beneficial in the long run by helping you pay much less in interest and pay off your debt sooner.

It may also be possible that you can transfer your debt from a high-interest credit card to a low-interest one, helping you take advantage of a better rate even if you hadn’t done so when you borrowed the money in the first place.

How Can I Qualify For a Low-Interest Credit Card?

To qualify for any credit card in Canada, you must first be a Canadian resident and meet the age of majority in your province/territory of residence.

Beyond this, qualification criteria differ slightly from lender to lender and also within the same lender for different cards, as well. Most low-interest cards have little to no income requirements.

This means that you will still qualify for the card if you are unemployed or just have to show for $12,000 to $20,000 household income per year.

Credit scores are also quite important when applying for any credit card, including low-interest cards. The risk assessment team at the specific lender usually makes case-by-case decisions.

However, you will likely get denied for most financial products if your score is lower than 650 (unless you are applying for a secured credit card).

If you struggle with your credit score, check out these steps to improve your credit score by at least 100 points.

Conclusion

Low-interest credit cards can be an excellent way to save money on your interest payments, specifically if you regularly carry a balance on your credit card.

With almost a dozen fantastic low-interest credit card options on this list ranging from no annual fee to fantastic rewards, I’m sure that at least one of these cards will be able to meet your needs.

If you’re doing your research on what credit card to get next, I’d recommend that you check out this post on the easiest credit cards to get in Canada or the best travel credit cards in Canada.

Photo of author
Selin is a seasoned personal finance and sustainable banking expert with several years of experience working in Canadian credit unions, both in the branch networks as well as the head office. A graduate of the University of British Columbia, she's also a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers youth community and is either working with kids or travelling when she is away from her computer.

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