Customer owned banks shine in low rate credit card awards

Father and son sit in front of laptop, holding credit card.

The results of the 2021 Mozo Experts Choice Awards for Credit Cards^ are in and they show customer owned banks excelling when it comes to low rate credit cards. Mutual banks and credit unions made up seven of the ten winners in the best Low Rate Credit Card award category.

It would seem customer owned banks understand that while credit cards can be a useful financial tool, the often high interest rates are something many don’t want hanging over their head. The best Low Rate Credit Card award winners had some of the lowest purchase rates available of all credit cards tracked in the Mozo database. 

How the winners were chosen

To pick the winners, Mozo’s Expert Judges reviewed low rate credit cards based on what their cost would be over a five-year period with a continuous, interest-accruing $4,000 balance.

Our experts took into account the ongoing interest rates that came with each card, any introductory interest rates on offer, the annual fee, as well as any intro annual fee reductions or waivers that may apply. Cards needed to have a minimum 30 interest-free days on purchases to be considered for the awards.

The award-winning low rate credit cards

All seven award-winning low rate credit cards from customer owned banks come with a purchase rate below 10% p.a., an annual fee less than $60 and at least 45 interest free days on purchases.

Both Defence Bank and Credit Union SA stood out for their low six month introductory purchase rates. Defence Bank’s Foundation Credit Card comes with a 3.99% p.a. purchase rate for the first six months which then increases to 8.99% p.a., while Credit Union SA’s Education Community Credit Card comes with an initial 0.00% p.a. purchase rate, which then rises to 9.99% p.a. also after the first six months.

At 7.49% p.a, G&C Mutual Bank’s Low Rate Visa Credit Card has the lowest ongoing purchase rate of the seven. MOVE Bank, Community First Credit Union, Easy Street and Illawarra Credit Union all offer ongoing purchase rates of 8.99% p.a. 

If you’re after a card with a low annual fee, both MOVE Bank’s Low Rate Credit Card and Illawarra Credit Union’s Low Rate Credit Card come with a $0 annual fee for the first year, after which they rise to $59 and $50 per year respectively. Credit Union SA’s Education Community Credit Card comes with an ongoing $0 annual fee.

When low rate credit cards come in handy

Generally, low rate credit cards are designed for people who are after a fairly basic card to help them manage day-to-day finances. The trade-off for offering a low interest rate is that they do not usually come with a rewards program. So if a premium credit card with lots of perks attached is what you’re searching for, a low rate credit card may not be for you.

Besides a lower than average interest rate, low rate credit cards also often come with a fairly low annual fee. While annual fees for rewards credit cards can climb into the hundreds, the yearly fee on low rate credit cards is generally less than $100.

While low rate credit cards are designed to be more cost effective than standard credit cards, there are still traps to watch out for. As with all credit cards, low rate options can come with much higher cash advance interest rates, which apply when withdrawing cash from an ATM with the card. They also usually come with late fees that apply when repayments are not made on time and can charge a foreign exchange fee.

Want to read more about the awards? Check out the methodology report for the 2021 Mozo Experts Choice Credit Card Awards for more information on how the winners were chosen.

Or head to Mozo’s compare low interest credit cards page to see what other cards come with low purchase rates.

Compare low interest rate credit cards - last updated 27 November 2021

Search promoted credit cards below or do a full Mozo database search. Advertiser disclosure
  • Apply By 28 Feb 2022
    Bendigo Bank Low Rate Credit Card

    0% p.a. on purchases for up to 18 months (Reverts to 11.99% p.a). Low annual fee of $45 and no fees for additional cardholders.

    Purchase rate
    Balance transfer rate
    Annual fee
    0% p.a. for 18 months then 11.99% p.a.
    No current offer
    $45
    Details
  • St.George No Annual Fee

    0% p.a. for 12 months on APR requested at card application. The special promotional purchase rate applies from card approval, after the promotional period, the rate will switch to the variable purchase rate. New cards only, Eligibility criteria and T&Cs apply. Offer ends February 24th 2022.

    Purchase rate
    Balance transfer rate
    Annual fee
    0% p.a. for 12 months then 20.74% p.a.
    2.99% p.a. for 15 months and then 21.49% p.a.
    $0
    Details
  • NAB Low Rate Card

    0% p.a. interest on balance transfers for the first 32 months, plus a low ongoing purchase rate after that means you can spend with confidence. There's also up to 55 interest free days on purchases to help you manage your budget better.

    Purchase rate
    Balance transfer rate
    Annual fee
    12.99% p.a.
    0% p.a. for 32 months and then 21.74% p.a. (0% balance transfer fee)
    $59 $0 in the first year
    Details
  • Mozo Expert Choice Badge
    American Express Low Rate Credit Card

    Competitive low rate with $0 Annual Fee. Offers purchase and refund protection. Customers need an annual income of $50,000 or more.

    Purchase rate
    Balance transfer rate
    Annual fee
    8.99% p.a.
    No current offer
    $0
    Details
  • Apply By 30 Nov 2021
    Bank of Melbourne Vertigo

    0% p.a. for 32 months on balance transfers requested at card application. 0% balance transfer fee applies. Rate then switches to applicable variable cash advance rate. No annual fee for the first year, $55 thereafter. New cards only, Eligibility criteria and T&Cs apply. Offer ends February 24th 2022.

    Purchase rate
    Balance transfer rate
    Annual fee
    0% p.a. for 6 months then 13.99% p.a.
    0% p.a. for 32 months and then 21.49% p.a.
    $55 $0 in the first year
    Details
  • Virgin Money Low Rate Card

    Purchase rate
    Balance transfer rate
    Annual fee
    11.99% p.a.
    0% p.a. for 15 months and then 21.69% p.a. (1.00% balance transfer fee)
    $99
    Details
  • Apply By 24 Feb 2022
    St.George Vertigo

    0% p.a. for 32 months on balance transfers requested at card application. 0% balance transfer fee applies. Rate then switches to applicable variable cash advance rate. No annual fee for the first year, $55 thereafter. New cards only, Eligibility criteria and T&Cs apply. Offer ends February 24th 2022.

    Purchase rate
    Balance transfer rate
    Annual fee
    0% p.a. for 6 months then 13.99% p.a.
    0% p.a. for 32 months and then 21.49% p.a.
    $55 $0 in the first year
    Details
  • Apply By 9 Feb 2022
    David Jones American Express Platinum Card

    Earn 70,000 Membership Reward Points or 35,000 Qantas Points when you apply online by 9 February 2022, are approved and spend $1,500 at locations excluding David Jones on your new Card within the first three months. Available to new David Jones American Express Platinum Card Members only.

    Purchase rate
    Balance transfer rate
    Annual fee
    0% p.a. for 12 months then 20.74% p.a.
    No current offer
    $295
    Details
  • NAB StraightUp Card

    Pay no interest and no late payment fees, just a $10 monthly fee for a $1,000 credit limit. Plus, if you don't make any purchases and have an outstanding balance of $0 during the whole statement period, the monthly fee will be reversed. Also pay no foreign currency fees when you shop online or overseas. Mozo Experts Choice Credit Card Innovation Winner 2020^.

    Purchase rate
    Balance transfer rate
    Annual fee
    0% p.a.
    No current offer
    $120 $10/month - waived if no spend & no balance owing
    Details

^See information about the Mozo Experts Choice Credit Card Awards

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