The Truth about No Annual Fee Credit Cards

Information verified correct on September 28th, 2016

It’s a fact in Australia and the rest of the western world with credit cards: people despise annual fees.

Whether it’s the security and peace of mind knowing it won’t generate you any automatic debt just lying around inactive, or simply the belief that you’ll be saving money, no annual fee credit cards are always a popular choice among Australian consumers.

No Annual Fee Credit Card Comparison

Rates last updated September 28th, 2016
Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee
American Express Essential Credit Card
Receive a $50 credit on eligible spend and get Smartphone screen insurance combined with a no annual fee for life card. Also enjoy a 0% p.a. balance transfer rate for 12 months.
14.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee $0 p.a. Go to site More info
Westpac 55 Day credit card
Enjoy a balance transfer offer of 0% p.a. for 16 months, an introductory purchase rate of 1% p.a. for up to 12 months, plus a waived annual fee for the first year if applied by 11 October 2016.
1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 19.84% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 16 months $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($30 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
ANZ Platinum Credit Card - Exclusive Offer
Receive $200 back when you spend $500 in the first 3 months. Also enjoy a $0 annual fee for the first year.
19.74% p.a. $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($87 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
ME Bank frank Credit Card
A low interest rate on purchases and cash advances with $0 annual fee for the life of the card.
11.99% p.a. $0 p.a. Go to site More info
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
Receive a full annual fee refund and save $149 if you meet the $6,000 spend requirement. Enjoy a balance transfer offer and platinum card benefits such as complimentary insurances and concierge services.
19.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 15 months $149 p.a. Go to site More info
Virgin No Annual Fee Credit Card
No annual fee credit card with $100 cashback and a long term low rate balance transfer offer of 0% p.a. for 18 months with 2% balance transfer fee. Spend criteria applies for cashback offer.
18.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 18 months with 2% balance transfer fee $0 p.a. Go to site More info
Coles No Annual Fee MasterCard
Earn 10,000 bonus points, 1 flybuys point per $2 spent and enjoy no annual fee for the life of the card.
19.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 6 months $0 p.a. Go to site More info
Westpac 55 Day Platinum Credit Card
Enjoy platinum benefits offering complimentary insurances, 24/7 concierge, balance transfer offer of 0% p.a. for 16 months, purchase rate offer of 1% p.a. for 12 months with $0 annual fee for the first year if applied by 11 October 2016.
1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 19.84% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 16 months $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($90 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
American Express Qantas Discovery Card
Earn up to 7,500 bonus Qantas Frequent Flyer points, plus take advantage of no annual fee for the life of the card. Earn 1 Qantas Frequent Flyer point per $1 spend.
20.74% p.a. 0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee $0 p.a. Go to site More info
ANZ Platinum Credit Card
Enjoy platinum card benefits with $0 annual fee in the first year and complimentary overseas travel and medical insurance.
19.74% p.a. 0% p.a. for 18 months with 3% balance transfer fee $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($87 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info

Let’s do some calculations:

A relatively low annual fee for a regular low rate card sits at around $50 (14 cents a day). Cheaper cards will be around $40, while the most expensive can be upwards of $1200, often cards which offer extensive rewards program and services.

The only cards which don’t feature 44 or 55 interest-free days, are no annual fee credit cards.

If you made:
- $1000 of purchases a year on an average credit card withNo Annual Fee Comparison Chart
- $50 annual fee and
- 55 interest-free days,
- And make all your repayments on time,
You’ve paid $50 for the whole year.

However, if you make
- $1000 of purchases a year on a
- $0 annual fee card with
- 0 interest-free days and an
- interest rate of 19.99% (no annual fee cards generally have higher rates)
- Which you repay after 100 days,
You’ve paid $55 for the whole year.

-

But what if I plan to pay my purchases off straight away?

If you do pay off your purchases straight away, it defeats the purpose of a no annual fee card, since you might as well have:

  • Paid off your purchase on a low rate card with 55 days interest-free.
  • Paid off your purchase on a rewards credit card so you can accumulate reward points at the cost of no interest. If shopping/grocery rewards appeal to you, often there are rewards cards that allow you to get a $0 annual fee or at least for the first year. See our supermarket credit card guide.

A no annual fee card isn’t without its advantages. For instance, if you don’t yet own a credit card, and plan to end up spending less than say $500 per annum which you know you will take 1-125 days to pay off, then a no annual fee card will suit you.

If the card offers a temporary no annual fee or 55 days interest-free offer, it’s good to take advantage of this offer and pay your balance completely in the interest-free day period, since you’ll effectively paying $0 altogether for repayments.

If you do already own a credit card, you may as well pay within the 55 day interest-free period and pay no interest – even if you do exceed the 55 day period, the interest rate will typically be 4-8% lower on a regular credit card as opposed to a no annual fee card.

Cards with 55 days interest-free and ‘no annual fee’ are commonly only introductory first year offers.

Relevant Credit Card Offers

Ultimately, if the above appeals to you think it’s worth the effort applying and owning an extra credit card to save about $30 a year, then browse the range of introductory and permanent no annual fee offers currently available in Australia.

For a modest $55 annual fee, 55 interest-free days and one of the most competitive low interest rates on purchases, see St.George’s ‘Vertigo’.

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5 Responses to The Truth about No Annual Fee Credit Cards

  1. Default Gravatar
    Rhys | September 23, 2008

    I agree with Stacey. I have an Amex Gold Credit card with no annual fee and 55 days interest-free. It costs me nothing as I always repay the full balance on the due date.

  2. Default Gravatar
    K20 | September 23, 2008

    Hi guys,

    Both Bank West Zero & Wizard Clear Advantage have no annual fees and 30-55 days interest fee.

    Hope that helps.

  3. Staff
    CreditCardFinder | September 7, 2008

    Hi Stacey,
    Which credit card is that? Generally, 55 day interest-free cards will occasionally offer an introductory first year ‘no annual fee’ only.

  4. Default Gravatar
    Stacey | September 7, 2008

    That is not true, I have a credit card that has no annual fee and I still get 55 days interest-free. At least get your facts right!

  5. Default Gravatar
    John | September 6, 2008

    This is an excellent article and makes it easy to understand. thanks John

Credit Cards Comparison

Rates last updated September 28th, 2016
Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
Enjoy a 0% p.a. balance transfer offer for 18 months and also earn 2 bonus Velocity Points in the first 3 months on everyday spend.
20.74% p.a. 0% p.a. for 18 months $64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
ME Bank frank Credit Card
Enjoy a low and consistent interest rate on purchases and cash advances, combined with no annual fee.
11.99% p.a. $0 p.a. Go to site More info
St.George Vertigo Visa
Introductory offer of 0% p.a. for 18 months on balance transfers and 1% p.a. for 12 months on purchases, plus a low annual fee.
1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 13.24% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 18 months $55 p.a. Go to site More info
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
Receive a full annual fee refund and save $149 if you meet the $6,000 spend requirement. Enjoy a balance transfer offer and platinum card benefits such as complimentary insurances and concierge services.
19.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 15 months $149 p.a. Go to site More info

* The credit card offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of credit cards CreditCardFinder.com.au has access to track details from and is not representative of all the products available in the market. Products are displayed in no particular order or ranking. The use of terms 'Best' and 'Top' are not product ratings and are subject to our disclaimer. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your own personal financial circumstances when comparing cards.

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