Stop paying annual fees: Compare credit cards with $0 and low annual fees
Although no annual fee credit cards typically have higher interest rate charges and may not offer additional features such as rewards points or complimentary insurance, this type of credit card may still meet your personal needs and situation. No annual fee credit cards can provide you with a practical credit card solution if you clear your balance every month and can offer other ideal perks and benefits such as balance transfers, rewards and frequent flyer features. Even if saving on annual fees is your highest priority, read our guide to learn about the different types of no annual fee credit cards available on the market and make an informed decision suited to your own personal situation.
American Express No Annual Fee Credit Card Offer
The new American Express Essential™ Credit Card offers a low interest rate on purchases, no annual fee, Membership Rewards points and a promotional balance transfer rate.
- Earn up to 1 point for every $1 spent on purchases.
- Transfer your points to a choice of 8 Airline Rewards Partner Programs.
- Enjoy a low interest rate of 14.99% p.a. on purchases.
- Enjoy 0% p.a. on balance transfers for the first 12 months. Conditions apply.
- Smartphone Screen Insurance for up to $500 for screen repairs to your smartphone with 10% excess per claim. Up to 2 claims per 12-month period.
- Receive a $50 credit if you are a new Card member when you apply online, are approved and spend $500 within the first 2 months of Card Membership.
Compare no annual fee credit cards
Rates last updated February 12th, 2016.
- HSBC Platinum Credit Card
$0 annual fee + 0% for 15 months on balance transfers offer extended until 30 April 2016
January 18th, 2016
- American Express Essential Credit Card
$50 credit + 0% p.a. for 12 months on balance transfers offers have been extended.
February 3rd, 2016
- Citi Simplicity Card
0% for 6 months balance transfer offer has been extended until 31 March 2016
February 8th, 2016
What you need to know about no annual fee credit cards
What is a no annual fee credit card?
A no annual fee/ 0 annual fee/ $0 annual fee credit card is a card that waives this charge, either for a specified period of time or for the life of the card.
No annual fee credit cards can suit to those people who reserve the use of their credit card for emergencies, or who make regular purchases on them but always completely clear their balance each month – this is because it is often the case that the interest rate on purchases with no annual fee credit cards is on the higher side. Savings on the annual fee will be quickly negated by higher interest charges if the balance is not cleared in full each month.
The no annual fee on credit cards can come in 2 forms:
- No annual fee for the first year. This is an offer that comes with some credit cards, where the annual fee is removed for the first year after application. It is important to be weary of the following years annual fee, are the features of the card worth the first years discount?
- No annual fee for life. This credit card comes with no annual fee for the entire time the credit card account remains active.
Key usage scenarios of no annual fee credit cards
- You clear your balance every month. This has been discussed at some length already. If you are not going to pay interest on an unpaid balance, then a higher interest rate is neither here nor there if it means you avoid paying an annual fee.
- Emergencies only. If it is rarely or never going to be used over the course of the year because you prefer to use cash or debit cards, then you should avoid paying an annual fee on your credit card and it shouldn’t really bother you what else is or isn’t included.
- You are debt-averse. If you are one of those people who simply will not let themselves fall into debt, then a no annual fee credit card may suit you very well. This does not mean you won’t spend on your card, or that you’re always in a financial position to pay off your bill in full each month; it just means that your attitude to debt is so anti that you will not risk the possibility of debt occurring and will choose to play it safe and keep your card in the dark rather than hand it over for a payment that might cause a problem.
Types of credit cards that don’t charge an annual fee
- No annual fee + balance transfer
- No annual fee + rewards
- No annual fee + frequent flyer
- No annual fee + no foreign transaction fees
- Have a no-cost way of paying down your debt
- These cards have no annual fees plus a balance transfer offer
Why should you get one of these cards?
- Pay 0% p.a. interest on your debt. If you have existing credit, store or charge card debt, you can bring this debt over to a new card and pay 0% p.a. interest for an extended period of time. Some cards let you balance transfer personal loans and other credit accounts, too. Get in control of your repayments and pay down your debt without incurring interest.
- Don’t pay anything extra while you’re getting your debt under control - When it comes to paying off a debt you want to give yourself the best chance possible at paying it off, and that’s where keeping your costs low helps. With no annual fee, you won’t have any ongoing costs to maintain except for your repayments.
- After you pay back your debt, the card is a low-cost line of credit - A no annual fee card can offer you a convenient line of credit once your balance transfer if paid off. Check to see how competitive the standard rates on the card are to see if it will work for you as an ongoing way to spend.
Virgin Money Balance Transfer Credit Card Offer
Take advantage of a card with a no annual fee and 0% p.a. for 18 months balance transfer offer, plus a $100 cashback offer (spending criteria applies). Furthermore, you can enjoy up to 44 interest free days on purchases.
- $0 p.a. annual fee
- 18.99% p.a. on purchases
- 0% p.a. for 18 months with 2% balance transfer fee on balance transfers
- Cash Advance Rate of 20.99% p.a.
- Up to 44 days interest free
- Minimum Income Requirement of $25,000 p.a.
Compare no annual fee balance transfer cards
- Why not be rewarded — for nothing?
- These cards have no annual fees plus the ability to earn rewards points
The benefits are obvious, so what are the things you need to watch out for?
- What rewards program is it linked to? Does this program offer rewards that you’re interested in redeeming? For example, is it a travel-focused program but you don’t travel often? Does it require you to spend at certain places to earn points? Ensure you are familiar with the program so you opt into something you want to be a part of and will find benefits from.
- Is the earn rate competitive? The amount of money you have to spend to earn points will affect the ease at which you earn rewards, so ensure the earn rate compares well to other similar cards. You might find a dual account card, where you have two cards linked to the same account with two different earn rates, a good option as it allows you to tailor the way you spend and earn rewards.
- What other costs are associated with the card? There may be no annual fee, but there is sure to be other costs associated with the card. Apart from the card’s standard rates, including purchase rate, balance transfer rate and cash advance rate, see if there are any other fees involved. These might be rewards program joining fees and other standard fees for late payments and the like.
Coles No Annual Fee Credit Card Offer
Coles No Annual Fee Mastercard offers a low introductory interest rate on purchases. Plus no annual fee and earn flybuys points everywhere you spend. Every 2,000 flybuys points earns you $10 off your Coles Supermarket shop.
- $0 p.a. annual fee
- 19.99% p.a. on purchases
- 0% p.a. for 6 months on balance transfers
- Cash Advance Rate of 19.99% p.a.
- Up to 62 days interest free
- Minimum Income Requirement of $15,000 p.a.
Comparison of no annual fee cards with rewards
- Why not earn frequent flyer points and at the same time save on annual fees
- These cards offer no annual fees while allowing you to earn frequent flyer points
What features should you look for in a no annual fee frequent flyer card?
- Interest rates and other fees. Frequent flyer cards tend to come with less competitive rates than other standard credit cards, so ensure the rates aren’t too high when compared to other similar products. Also, while these are no annual fee products, other fees may be involved. Check to see if there are fees to join the rewards program or any other ongoing fees associated with the card or rewards account.
- Direct and indirect earn cards. Does your card allow you to directly earn frequent flyer points, or will your points be transferred from a standalone rewards program? Keep in mind that the latter may mean the transfer rate sees some of your rewards points lost, so check what the rate is and if the amount of points you earn and transfer are still competitive.
- Frequent flyer points. What is the earn rate on your card and is it easy to earn points? Does your card have a cap on the amount of points you’re able to earn and do your rewards points expire? Also, are you eligible for bonus points or a higher points earn rate when spending on certain products and services? These are things you need to be aware of.
- Extra features. Some of these cards offer you additional features, such as complimentary insurances, promotional rates on purchases balance transfers and even complimentary airport lounge passes. See what’s possible with these cards and how it can benefit you.
American Express Frequent Flyer Credit Card Offer
The Qantas American Express Discovery Card is a frequent flyer credit card that allows you to earn Qantas Points with a $0 Annual Fee.
- $0 p.a. annual fee
- 20.74% p.a. on purchases
- 0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee on balance transfers
- Up to 44 days interest free
- Minimum Income Requirement of $35,000 p.a.
Compare no annual fee frequent flyer cards
- How does a free line of credit for your world travels sound?
- These are cards with no annual fees plus no foreign transaction fees
What you need to know about these credit cards
- What foreign transaction fees might apply? There are a few fees that fall under the ‘foreign transaction fee’ umbrella, so you need to ensure all are $0 and 0% p.a. The fees you need to check are foreign currency conversion fees, which are the fees that are charged, normally represented as a percentage, that you’ll be charged when you make a purchase in another currency. Other fees include overseas ATM withdrawal fees and also overseas cash advance fees.
- What other features come with the card? Do you have any other features that you want from your credit card? Rewards points, travel insurance, purchase protection and other premium features can all be yours, depending on the card you choose.
- Is the card competitively priced? What will you be paying in interest when you don’t pay back your balance in full? Does the card offer any promotional rates for purchases or balance transfers? Look at how much the card will cost you to own — as a no annual fee product, it shouldn’t cost you much.
Bankwest Zero Platinum
Bankwest offers no annual fee with the Zero Platinum card, ideal for shopping online and as a travel credit card. There are no international transaction charged when you make a purchase or cash withdrawal in a foreign currency.
- $0 p.a. annual fee
- 17.99% p.a. on purchases
- 2.99% p.a. for 9 months on balance transfers
- Cash Advance Rate of 21.99% p.a.
- Up to 55 days interest free
A comparison of no annual fee cards with no foreign transaction fees
Which is the right no annual fee credit card?
No annual fee credit cards can provide various features such as interest-free days on purchases, balance transfer offers, reward points earnings and frequent flyer/ travelling benefits. There are some more or less suited to your needs and intended purpose. Discovering which features are applicable to your lifestyle and personal situation will allow you to find the most suitable no annual fee credit card.
Things you need to consider before choosing a no annual fee credit card:
- No interest-free days. Any credit card which doesn’t have interest-free days is going to cost you in interest — irrespective of whether you pay your balance in full each month. As, on these cards, interest accrues from the day of each purchase. You’d save far more money by selecting a credit card with the usual 55 days interest-free.
- Carrying a balance. If you don’t pay your credit card balance in full each month, you don’t get interest-free days. That is why most cards will say, ‘up to 55 days interest-free’. Carrying a balance increases your exposure to the ways interest can be applied to your credit card usage.
- Thinking you’re earning the most possible rewards. No annual fee credit cards don’t earn as many rewards points per dollar spent as other rewards cards market, so if you are a rewards junkie you may be looking in the wrong place.
- Annual fees and interest. It would appear that all credit cards offered by the big four banks charge interest on the annual fee if you don’t repay them in full immediately. In most cases, the annual fee is treated as a purchase and collects the same interest rates as the other purchases you’ve made with the card. If there is a promotional 0% purchase offer in place, your annual fee won’t accrue any interest. Similarly, if you have interest-free days on the card and repay your balance in full then you won’t accrue any interest. So when comparing, keep this in mind.
Benefits and drawbacks of these cards
- Save money on annual fees
- Beneficial for infrequent credit card users who repay their balance in full
- Some cards can come with offers and rewards you’d expect to pay for
- Higher ongoing interest rates
- As with many credit cards, the late payment fees can be quite steep
- Less features and rewards than paid equivalents
How do you compare no annual fee credit cards?
- Annual fee. Check whether the $0 annual fee is applicable for the first year or an ongoing deal.
- Interest rate. When looking at the interest rate, check the purchase rate of interest and the cash advance rate of interest. Remember that too many interest will outweigh the benefits of having no annual fee anyway.
- Interest-free days. Most credit cards come with a 55 days interest-free credit on purchases to help you save money. Remember that this usually applies when you’ve paid your balance in full every statement period.
- Balance transfer rate offered. This is applicable to all new customers who are looking for a way to consolidate and pay off their existing credit card debt. The balance transfer rate and period offered can help you repay debt.
- Purchase rate offered. A low or 0% purchase rate on your new credit card gives you the chance to save some money while still having an outstanding balance. This comes in handy when you need to make large purchases.
- Late payment penalties. Check the penalties and fees that are charged in the case of any late or missed payments. It is also important to keep in mind that if you do not pay off your balance in full each month, your card ends up accruing more interest on the unpaid amount, which will cancel out the benefit of no annual fee.
FAQ about no annual fee credit cards
Your most Frequently Asked Questions are answered below. If there are any questions you’d like answered, please leave a comment below or use our live chat service.
What is the best no annual fee credit card?*
Will I ever have to pay an annual fee with a no annual fee card?
No, not if you use a ‘no annual fee for life’ style of no annual fee credit card. Be aware however that some cards waive the annual fee for the first year only.
How are these cards able to offer no annual fees while others do?
One thing you’ll notice is that the interest rates on no annual fee credit cards are usually slightly higher than annual fee cards and the rewards programs are less generous. But, because you’ve not forked out any annual fee, you don’t have to play catch-up to come out on top of the deal.
If you pay your balance in full each month and make no cash advance payments — you can readily come out on top, which isn’t always the case with many credit cards. Some rewards cards for example can require $20,000 of purchases to be made on the card before the value of rewards points equal the cost of the annual fee.
With a no annual fee credit card, customers get a head start.
Are there any other hidden fees that make up for the free cost?
No. Although there are often higher interest rates, these can be avoided by paying your balance in full each month. There are also the normal fees you’d expect with credit cards that can be costly, such as late payment fees.
What is meant by ‘the life of the card’?
‘The life of the card’ is for as long as the cardholder holds the original credit card account.
Can I get a card that charges no annual fee, interest or charges if I don’t use the card?
Yes, this is what no annual fee credit cards are all about. They don’t charge you money if you don’t use the card which is perfect for infrequent credit card users.
Do rewards points come with no annual fee cards?
Yes. Some, but not all, no annual fee credit cards come with rewards points which can be used to redeem some exciting benefits such as flights, gifts, vouchers and shopping discounts.
Can I get complimentary overseas travel insurance on a no annual fee credit card?
Yes, some cards offer this great money saving feature. Usually this cover is triggered by paying for part or all of the trip on your card. See your card’s terms and conditions for details.
Do ‘no annual fee credit cards’ have the same security features as others?
Yes, credit card security features come as standard according to the various similar schemes from Visa, MasterCard and American Express.
What is the best no annual fee credit card?
The best no annual fee card will offer the value and features you are looking for. Our comparison table will explain other product features such as the purchase rate and balance transfer rate. To find out more about a particular credit card you can click ‘More info’ to read a review and explanation of all the features available on that card.
Is there a no annual fee credit card with a low interest rate?
No annual fee credit cards include low interest rates and 0% interest rate promotions, you can compare these cards by clicking on the ‘Purchase Rate’ column which will arrange the credit cards in descending/ ascending order from lowest to highest interest rate.
Is there a business credit card with no annual fee?
Business credit cards can offer no annual fee promotions. See this page for comparing business credit cards.
Do the banks offer a credit card with no cost at all? (ie. no interest charges or fees?)
All credit cards will charge interest since they are a credit loan product. However credit cards can have discounted fees and interest rate promotions. You can compare the most competitive offers available on this page.
Credit cards with a low annual fee
Low interest rate credit cards typically have low annual fees and can also offer $0 annual fee promotions. You can compare low annual fee credit cards here.
Banks in Australia offering no annual fee credit cards
You can compare which banks offer no annual fee credit cards here.
Which credit card has the highest credit limit and no annual fee?
You can compare high credit limit credit cards here. This page will also allow you to compare the credit cards based on annual fees.
Can you get a no annual fee credit card with bad credit?
Having a bad credit rating can hinder your chances of being approved and getting the card. The best place to start is to learn about your options if you have a bad credit rating, by using our bad credit rating credit card guide.
Is it possible to have your credit card annual fee waived?
Many banks offer waivers on the annual credit card fee as a promotion to new customers. If you are an existing customer with a credit card you can contact your bank’s customer service team to discuss the possibility of an annual fee waiver.
When do you normally pay the annual fee on a credit card?
The annual fee is charged upon account activation and is payable by the first statement date/ first credit card bill. Annual fees can be repaid as quickly as you choose, by making a payment to your credit card account.
What are the benefits of getting a card with an annual fee vs paying no annual fee?
Having a card with an annual fee can offer other benefits such as reward points, frequent flyer membership, complimentary insurances and other benefits. As a result it is important to assess which features/ benefits you are after and to compare your options when choosing a credit card.
What is the lowest annual fee on a credit card?
The lowest annual fee available on a credit card is $0 for the life of the card.
Which credit cards have no annual fee and no rewards program joining fee?
Click here to compare rewards credit cards with no annual fee.
Do any no annual fee credit cards come with travel insurance?
Click here to compare credit cards with free complimentary travel insurance with no annual fees.
What is the average credit card annual fee?
Credit card annual fees can vary from $0 p.a. to $450 for more premium cards such as Platinum and Gold credit cards. The average credit card annual fee will depend on the type of credit card you are comparing.
Is there a credit card with no interest on purchases and no annual fee?
To compare credit cards with 0% on purchases and no annual fee click here.
Which no annual fee credit cards are suitable for travel?
Travel credit cards offer benefits such as no currency conversion fees, no ATM withdrawal fees and complimentary travel insurance.
At what point does paying a credit card annual fee become worth it?
Calculating the points earned from your credit card spending and the value you are receiving against the annual fee, will assess whether you are breaking even with the cost of receiving the frequent flyer benefits on the card.