Barry Choi • Oct 30, 2019
Credit card debt happens. You may have made some mistakes in the past or perhaps you had to use your credit cards to help you through a tough time. Now that you’ve got things under control, it’s time to pay down your debt as soon as possible. The problem is, when you’re paying 19.99%-29.99% interest, reducing your debt can seem impossible. The good news is, if you switch to a low-interest credit card, you’ll instantly reduce the amount of interest you pay. As an added incentive, most low interest credit cards allow you to do a balance transfer so you’ll start paying that lower rate on any existing debt.
Another option to help you reduce your debt is to take out a personal loan, but that’s only favourable if you can get a lower interest rate than what you’re paying now or if you don’t qualify for any of the following low interest credit cards.
The MBNA True Line Gold Mastercard is arguably the best way to lower your debt since you’ll pay 0% interest for 12 months on balance transfers made within 90 days of opening an account. The 0% rate is amazing, but keep in mind there is a balance transfer fee of 3% with a minimum amount of $7.50. That means you’d pay $3 for every $100 you transfer. There’s also the $39 annual fee that you need to pay for this card.
Once the promotional period ends, you’ll pay 8.99% interest which is less than half of what most credit cards charge, so this is a great way to pay off any remaining balance that you may have. You might be tempted to continue spending since your interest rate is so low, but try not to fall into that trap.
When applying for the Scotiabank Value Visa Card, you have the option to balance transfer at a rate of 0.99% for six months. Once that promotional period ends, your interest rate goes up to 12.99% which is still reasonable. You might be thinking that the MBNA True Line Gold Mastercard offers lower rates so that’s the better choice, but the Scotiabank Value Visa Card has no fee when doing a balance transfer so you might end up paying less in the end. Do keep in mind that there’s an annual fee of $29 with this card.
One additional perk of holding the Scotiabank Value Visa credit card is that you can save up to 25% off base rates at participating AVIS and Budget car rental locations in Canada and the U.S when paying with your Scotiabank Value Visa Card.
The MBNA True Line Mastercard is similar to the Gold version but it has two minor differences that can make a big impact on your budget. This card has no annual fee (compared to the Gold card that charges $39) and the interest rate goes up to 12.99% (vs. 8.99%) once the promotional period ends. You still get 10 months of 0% interest on balance transfers completed in the first 90 days but the 3% balance transfer fee (minimum $7.50) also still applies.
You might be saying to yourself that the MBNA True Line Gold Mastercard is the better deal, but it really comes down to your individual circumstances. If you’re positive that you can pay off the debt you balance transfer within the 10 months where you’re paying 0% interest, then this card is a great choice since you won’t be paying an annual fee. Now, if you believe that you’ll still have an outstanding balance after 10 months, then the Gold version will likely be the better pick.
Just like MBNA, Scotiabank offers a no-fee version for their low-interest credit cards in the No-Fee Scotiabank® Value Visa Card. The 3.99% interest rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months isn’t bad, but other cards on this list offer lower rates. Once the promotional period ends, the interest rate goes up to 16.99% which is still better than most credit cards.
The Capital One Low Rate Guaranteed Mastercard has an annual fee of $79 and an interest rate of 14.90%. Essentially, this card is aimed at people who have a low credit score and find it difficult to qualify for any of the credit cards listed above. What sets this card apart is that that you’re guaranteed to be approved as long as you meet the following four conditions:
The 14.90% interest rate is not the lowest, but it’s better than what most credit cards charge and can make a huge difference when you’re trying to pay down your debt. All of your payments also get reported to a credit bureau, so as long as you’re making your payments on time, your credit score will slowly go up. Once it’s up, you can apply for a credit card that gives you a lower interest rate (if you haven’t paid off your balance by then).
Now that you know the best low-interest credit cards in Canada, it’s time to get out of any high-interest debt. Check your free credit score with Borrowell to see all the financial products available to you.
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