The water-gas shift (WGS) reaction (where carbon monoxide plus water yields dihydrogen and carbon dioxide) is an essential process for hydrogen generation and carbon monoxide removal in various energy-related chemical operations. This equilibrium-limited reaction is favored at a low working temperature. Potential application in fuel cells also requires a WGS catalyst to be highly active, stable, and energy-efficient and to match the working temperature of on-site hydrogen generation and consumption units. We synthesized layered gold (Au) clusters on a molybdenum carbide (α-MoC) substrate to create an interfacial catalyst system for the ultralow-temperature WGS reaction. Water was activated over α-MoC at 303 kelvin, whereas carbon monoxide adsorbed on adjacent Au sites was apt to react with surface hydroxyl groups formed from water splitting, leading to a high WGS activity at low temperatures.