The lingering recession has led many consumers to turn away from fresh debt, as they attempt to protect their futures by strengthening their financial standings. In response to the growing prevalence of responsible spending, many banks are now offering low interest rate credit cards that couple vanilla features with simple fees that are easy to understand. Aimed at wary consumers who tend to be suspicious of the complex language found in the typical application, these offers are becoming more popular; as banks try to reach out to new potential customers who've been burned in the past.
Banks Try to Regain Trust
Recently, Barclays joined the growing list of providers offering low-frills, low interest rate credit cards to American consumers. According to the London-based multinational banking company, the measure is intended to regain the trust of U.S. consumers, who seem to have lost confidence in the banking industry as a whole.
Although these new offers don't provide rewards or incentives, they offer an interest rate of just under half the U.S. average. Additionally, they do not require cardholders to pay penalties for late payments; and according to Barclays CEO Paul Wilmore, his company's plan will allow customers to share in the program's profits and recommend policy changes using an online forum.
Low Rate Credit Cards Not for Everyone
Although the new Barclaycard Ring MasterCard charges only an 8 percent rate of interest (unlike the U.S. average, which comes to approximately 14.87 percent), Wilmore says it won't appeal to Americans looking for incentives and rewards.
Most financial experts agree that low APRs are most important to people who plan to carry a balance from one month to the next. If you are able to zero-out your balance at the end of every month, you're likely to save much more money with a rewards credit card that offers cash-back and/or gas rebates.
Ultimately, the value of any card is wholly dependent on how you plan to use it. If you really want to save money, you'd be well-served to take the time to compare offers. Although no one likes parsing the fine print associated with the average application, it's the best way to determine whether the offer will fit your needs.