Only 35% of
applying for a credit
card and only 58%
review their credit
F A C T S H E E T 4
Choose the Best Credit Card
Most U.S. consumers use credit cards. But, many don't pay
attention to the interest rate on their credit cards, or to the total
amount of interest they pay every year.
Choosing a credit card with the lowest interest rate can save you
money. Forty-four percent of all U.S. families had an outstanding
balance on some type of credit card after paying their most recent
bill. The median balance for these families was $1900 (in 2001
How to find a lower credit card interest rate
Shopping for the best credit card value can be complicated.
Different issuers of national bank cards such as VISA, MasterCard,
and Discover charge different interest rates. They also use different
methods to calculate finance charges. Under the federal Truth-in-
Lending Act, creditors must disclose the interest rate or the Annual
Percentage Rate (APR). The APR measures the cost of credit as a
yearly interest rate. APRs on credit cards can vary from five to 25
If you're like most people and carry a balance on your credit card
at least sometimes, the APR can make a big difference. The
following chart shows how much a $2500 balance would cost you
at different APRs if you didn't pay it off right away.
How much you’d pay in finance charges on a $2500
Credit card lists
You can get lists of credit
cards with low interest rates
from the group below.
P.O. Box1700, Frederick, MD
Publishes a monthly credit
card report for consumers
and businesses. The report
costs about $5. It’s also on the
1 Hogarth, J.M., Hilgert, M.A., & Schuchardt, J.
(2002, November). Money Managers – The
Good, the Bad, an