Credit unions are among the best places to look for an affordable credit card. Many offer some of the lowest rate cards on the market, and some even offer generous rewards rates. Here’s a list of credit union cards with low APRs and strong rewards, and how to qualify for them.
It can be tough to find an affordable card these days, even if you have great credit. Cards with genuinely low interest rates have become all-but-extinct at major issuers.
However, if you plan to carry a balance or want a low interest credit card just in case, you’re still in luck: cards with APRs as low as 7 to 10 percent still exist. You just need to look beyond the largest credit card issuers to find them.Credit unions are among the best places to look for an affordable credit card. Many credit unions, for example, offer some of the lowest rate cards on the market. You don’t necessarily have to give up earning generous rewards in order to snag a low rate card, either. Even credit unions’ best rewards cards charge unusually low rates.
It’s not uncommon, for example, to find a rewards card that charges a minimum APR as low as 10 to 12 percent. Meanwhile, most credit unions cap APRs at 18 percent. So even if your credit is less-than-perfect, you can still count on a rate that’s well below 20 percent.
The average credit card, by contrast, charges a maximum APR of 24.98 percent and a median APR of 21.30 percent, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.
See related: Best credit union and regional bank cards
Credit union cards for everyone
One drawback of credit union cards is that most credit unions restrict who can be a member. For example, some credit unions limit membership based on where you live. Others restrict membership to people who work at certain companies or in specific professions.
Not all credit unions are exclusive, though: A number of credit unions will allow you to join if you become a member of an organization with a small membership fee or if you donate to a good cause.
For example, Affinity Federal Credit Union will let you become a member if you donate $5 to the New Jersey Coalition for Financial Education or to the Connecticut Jump$tart Coalition, a financial literacy nonprofit. Similarly, you can join Alliant Credit Union if you donate $10 to the nonprofit for foster youth, Foster Care to Success.
15 credit union cards that anyone can get
- The Visa Platinum card from Vision Financial Federal Credit Union
- People’s Trust FCU Visa card
- Visa Platinum card from Unify Federal Credit Union
- The Visa Signature card from Signature Federal Credit Union
- Kinecta MyPerks Mastercard
- Max Rewards Visa Signature card from Lake Michigan Federal Credit Union
- Odyssey Rewards World Elite Mastercard
- Summit Ultimate Cash Perks card
- Bellco Visa Platinum Colorado Rewards credit card
- Premier Rewards American Express card from Chevron Federal Credit Union
- Consumers Credit Union Visa Signature Rewards card
- Affinity Cash Rewards Visa Signature credit card
- GTE Financial Go Premier credit card
- TFCU Secured credit card
- Premier America Credit Union Standard Mastercard
The Visa Platinum card from Vision Financial Federal Credit Union
This plain vanilla credit card charges everyone who qualifies for it a fixed single APR of just 7.5 percent. If you don’t have great credit, Vision Financial also offers a Visa Classic credit card with a fixed APR of 12.95 percent.
How to qualify: Pay a $20 membership fee to the North Carolina Consumers Council.
People’s Trust FCU Visa card
This financial co-op also offers a low rate basic credit card. The APR on the co-op’s Visa Platinum card starts at just 7.90 percent. If you prefer rewards, you can also apply for a Mastercard Rewards card that offers 1 percent cash back and charges a minimum APR of just 8.49 percent.
How to qualify: Join the People’s Trust Foundation by paying a $5 membership fee.
Visa Platinum card from Unify Federal Credit Union
You can also count on a low APR from Unify Federal Credit Union. Its Visa Platinum card charges just 8.49 percent. And if your credit score isn’t high enough to qualify for Unify’s lowest rate credit card, you may still be able to snag an ultralow rate. The Visa Gold card, for example, charges just 8.74 percent, while the Visa Classic card charges 8.99 percent.
See related: Guide to minority-owned credit unions
The Visa Signature card from Signature Federal Credit Union
This unusually generous no-annual-fee credit card offers a flat 2 percent cash back (or 2 points per dollar spent) on everything you buy. It also charges one of the lowest APRs around: APRs start at just 8.70 percent.
How to qualify: Allow Signature Federal Credit Union to enroll you into the American Consumer Council for free and deposit $5 into a Signature deposit account.
Kinecta MyPerks Mastercard
A good card for gas and grocery purchases, the Kinecta MyPerks card offers 3 percent cash back on up to $6,000 worth of yearly gas purchases (around $500 a month) and 2 percent cash back on up to $6,000 worth of grocery purchases.
In addition, it offers an extra 5 to 20 percent relationship bonus on every account anniversary. The Kinecta card’s APR is also low: It charges 11.99 percent to 18 percent.
How to qualify: Become a member of the Consumers Cooperative Society of Santa Monica, California, by paying a $10 application fee and a $5 membership fee.
Max Rewards Visa Signature card from Lake Michigan Federal Credit Union
There aren’t many no-annual-fee cards that offer this much value on everyday purchases. The Max Rewards card offers 3 percent cash back (or 3 rewards points per dollar spent) on up to $500 worth of monthly gas purchases, 2 percent cash back on groceries and 2 percent cash back on dining. It also charges a low APR of just 12.25 percent.
How to qualify: Donate $5 to the ALS Foundation.
Odyssey Rewards World Elite Mastercard
This premium rewards card (which costs $75 a year to own) offers an unlimited 3 points for every dollar you spend on travel and 2 points for every dollar you spend on dining. It also offers a decent 30,000-point sign-up bonus if you charge $3,000 within the card’s first three months.
In addition, it offers a suite of premium travel insurance benefits that can make traveling less stressful, such as trip cancellation and trip interruption protection. Unlike many travel cards, its APR is also relatively low. Rates start at just 12.99 percent.
How to qualify: Pay a $15 annual membership fee to the Computer History Museum or pay $8 for an annual membership to the Financial Fitness Association.
Summit Ultimate Cash Perks card
This low maintenance flat-rate cash back card not only makes it easy to earn rewards. It also makes it easy to breeze through your transaction: It’s one of the few U.S. credit cards to offer contactless payments. As a result, you can just quickly tap your card to any payment terminal that accepts NFC payments, rather than insert your card’s chip.
How to qualify: Summit Credit Union has an open charter and so anyone can join it.
Bellco Visa Platinum Colorado Rewards credit card
The Bellco Visa Platinum card offers a triple-point on a huge variety of everyday purchases, including common categories, such as gas and groceries, and more unusual categories, such as shoe stores, fitness clubs, bicycle shops, movie theaters, golf courses and more.
In addition, it offers a 2-point bonus on cable, internet and phone bills that you pay for with your card. You’ll also get 15,000 bonus points if you charge just $500 within the card’s first 90 days.
How to qualify: Donate $10 to the Bellco Foundation.
Premier Rewards American Express card from Chevron Federal Credit Union
This premier rewards card (which costs $99 a year to own after the first year) offers an outstanding 4 points per dollar spent on restaurant purchases, 3 points per dollar spent on airfare and 2 points per dollar spent on gas. It also offers a 10,000-point sign-up bonus if you charge $1,000 within three months and an application fee credit for TSA Precheck or Global Entry.
How to qualify: Pay $25 a year to become an electronic member of the Navy League of the United States or $40 a year to become a member of the Contra Costa County (California) Historical Society.
Consumers Credit Union Visa Signature Rewards card
A solid everyday spending card, the Consumers Credit Union card offers 3 points per dollar spent on groceries (up to $6,000 a year) and 2 points per dollar spent on gas. Its APR is also on the low end, starting at 13.99 percent.
How to qualify: Pay a $5 membership fee to the Consumers Cooperative Association.
Affinity Cash Rewards Visa Signature credit card
Bookworms will love this unusual cash back card. You’ll get 5 percent on every bookstore purchase, including purchases from Amazon. You’ll also get 2 percent cash back on restaurant, gas and grocery purchases.
In addition, the Affinity card offers a generous $200 cash bonus if you charge $3,000 within the card’s first 90 days. It’s also more affordable than the average cash back card. It charges a single APR of just 14.50 percent.
GTE Financial Go Premier credit card
This unusually generous rewards card offers bonus points on a wide variety of everyday purchases. For example, you’ll get 3 points per dollar spent on gas, travel and restaurant spending and 2 points per dollar spent on groceries and at home improvement stores.
It also offers a decent 10,000-point sign-up bonus if you charge $3,000 within the card’s first three months. Its APR is on the higher end, starting at 14.74 percent. However, it’s still relatively low compared to cards with similar rewards.
How to qualify: Pay a $10 membership fee to CU Savers.
TFCU Secured credit card
How to qualify: Pay $1 to TFCU. Everyone is eligible to join.
Premier America Credit Union Standard Mastercard
If your credit score is too low to qualify for a lower rate card, this unique credit card will help you lower your APR just by paying your bills on time.
You’ll start out with a 19.50 percent APR, which is still lower than the maximum APR on many credit cards. Then, after a year of on-time payments, your rate will fall to 17.50 percent. Every year that you avoid a late payment fee, your APR will fall by another 2 percentage points, until it reaches 11 percent.
How to qualify: You’ll need to join Thousand Oaks Alliance for the Arts. Fees will vary, depending on the donor program that you choose.
It may feel intimidating to apply for a credit union card since it can be a multistep process if you aren’t already a member. However, the money you save on interest (and the extra generous rewards you may be able to earn) could make it more than worth the hassle.