Compare no annual fee credit cards
Find a credit card that best suits your needs. Compare interest rates, balance transfer rates, annual fees and more from Australia's leading lenders, big and small.
Annual fees can be one of the biggest costs in a credit card. With an abundance of deals on the market, here’s what you need to know when comparing credit cards with no annual fee.
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for 12 months then 18.99%
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Avoid one of the biggest costs of a credit card with this competitive no annual fee offer from Virgin Money.
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Interest Free Days
Interest Free Days
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For cardholders who like to keep costs down, this low rate, low fee credit card may do just that.
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Take avantage of a no-interest credit card from big four bank, NAB. Cardholders will not incur interest on expenses but pay a flat monthly fee, depending on the credit limit.
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What are no annual fee credit cards?
Having a fee free credit card is the ideal situation for most cardholders. And one of the biggest ongoing fees of any credit card is the annual fee.
As the name suggests, no annual fee credit cards don’t charge a yearly fee. They are a low rate card designed to help card holders keep ongoing costs down. In some instances, annual card fees may be waived for an introductory period of time. Otherwise they’ll be waived for the life of the card.
Annual fees are typically charged for account maintenance or to support features like frequent flyer programs, rewards programs and complimentary perks. However, if you know you’re a big spender or a reward points addict, no annual fee credit cards may not suit your spending style. Or if you're looking for something more specific, like a Coles rewards card to earn flybuys points or gift cards, then you may not find a no annual fee option.
Before you apply, think about how often you use your credit card. If you’re looking for a backup credit card for those ‘just in case’ moments, or you really don’t use it that often, a credit card with no annual fee may suit your needs.
What are the pros and cons of no annual fee credit cards?
Benefits of no annual fee credit cards:
- Saving money: The obvious advantage of credit cards with no annual fee is that it saves you money. Credit cards with no annual fee can potentially save you hundreds or thousands of dollars compared to cards that charge anywhere from $30 - $1,200.
- Cost-effective: Credit cards with no annual fees can help keep your overall card costs low as well as being cost-effective for those that don’t use their cards that often. If you know you’re not a big spender or a rewards program addict, these low frills credit cards can be a better suited option for your finances.
- Introductory deals: Some credit card providers waive annual fees for an introductory period of time, such as the first year. These can help ease the initial costs of signing up to a new credit card. This can also go hand in hand with introductory deals offering lengthy interest free periods.
Disadvantages of no annual fee credit cards:
- Introductory deals: On the other hand, while these can be good value, you’ll want to make sure that you’re still benefitting when the promotional period wears off. Be sure to check the terms and conditions to ensure that the annual fee won’t cancel out any savings you may make.
- Less features: No annual fee cards may come with less features. These fees typically go towards supporting your rewards programs and complimentary perks, such as travel insurance and other complimentary insurance covers. While some frequent flyer cards may waive annual fees, they generally go hand-in-hand with cards offering big rewards and perks. You typically won't find a platinum credit card that doesn't charge an annual fee, for example.
- Other hidden fees and costs: Just because a credit provider isn’t charging you one cost, doesn’t mean they can’t sting you in other ways. No annual fee credit cards may come with higher than average interest rates, minimal interest free days or just charge you other high ongoing fees. Do your research around all the costs you may be charged with your credit card.
Are there fee free credit cards?
If you have a credit card you may be wondering if there are any completely fee free options on the market. Unfortunately, it’s a bit like asking if there’s such thing as a free lunch. Chances are, if something is advertised as ‘fee free’ you may pay in other ways.
Credit card providers still need to make money. So, even if a credit card advertises itself as ‘fee free’ or low in fees, you may be charged through higher interest rates on purchases or cash advances, or even other fees outside of an annual fee, such as foreign transaction fees.
However, you can do your due diligence to ensure the credit card you choose has as little fees as possible - especially ones that you come across more often than others.
For example, if you’re the kind of person who always pays your credit card statement late and incurs interest, you may be better off focusing on a low-rate card option as a priority over low fees. Or, if you love shopping overseas and are frequently hit with overseas fees, opting for a foreign transaction fee free credit card may better suit your finances.
This means checking you’re using the right credit card for your spending profile. Use our guide to identify which fees and costs you may face most commonly, so you can aim to have a fee free credit card based on your own spending profile.
What other credit card fees could I be charged?
Just because you’re not being charged an annual fee, doesn’t mean you won’t be charged other fees and costs. If you're looking to have a fee free credit card, you may want to consider reviewing which of the following your credit card may sting you with:
- Purchase rate: The interest rate charged on any purchases you make after however many interest free days (if any) your card may have.
- Cash advance rate: The interest rate charged on money withdrawn from outlets like ATMs or supermarket checkouts.
- Balance transfer rate: The rate at which you are charged for transferring an existing balance on to a balance transfer credit card. Typically around 2-3 per cent.
- Foreign exchange fee: Charged when making a purchase in another currency (including online shopping), in addition to the normal exchange rate.
- Foreign transaction fees: Fees covering the extra costs of processing overseas transactions
- Late payment fee: Charged if you fail to make a minimum repayment on time.
- Payment dishonour fee: Charged if you cannot afford a payment.
- Admin fee: Ongoing fees that are charged more frequently, such as monthly, to keep your account running.
- Paper statement fee: Charged for sending you a printed balance statement in the mail.
- Payment handling fee: Fees charged for making transactions. Can vary in person and online.
- Supplementary cards: Credit card providers may charge you if you request supplementary cards for any additional cardholders.
- Rewards points caps: Not a 'cost' in the traditional sense, but a rewards card with a points cap can limit the amount of bang for your buck you're getting for your spending. Meaning you may end up spending more and getting less back than if you chose a credit card with no points cap.
How do I choose the right no annual fee credit card?
With plenty of credit cards with no annual fee on the market, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all card. Here’s how you can help to choose the right card for you:
- Ask yourself what you’ll use the card for. Are you a big spender? Bonus points chaser? Planning an overseas trip? Wanting to consolidate debt? Before you apply for a credit card with no annual fee, factor your spending habits and specific financial situation into the equation. For example, most rewards credit cards tend to come with an annual fee as this helps to fund the rewards program. It may be difficult to find a no annual fee rewards card.
- Compare card types. Would you benefit more from a Visa, Mastercard or American Express? It's worth comparing the different card types to see what better suits your financial situation.
- Compare interest rates. The purchase rate charged on a credit card is one of the biggest charges to consider. If you’re getting a no annual fee credit card to keep costs down, you’ll want to also consider if a low interest rate credit card would suit your financial situation.
- Compare other fees. As mentioned above, just because you’re not being charged an annual fee doesn’t mean you won’t be charged in other ways. Perhaps there are other fees you're looking to avoid besides an annual fee? Calculate the potential costs of keeping your credit card for a year or two against the minimum credit limit and maximum credit limit. Then compare this to your spending profile and budget to see which credit card may suit.
- Compare features and perks. Just because you're looking for fee free credit cards, doesn't mean you can't find one with helpful features and perks. This could mean a card with a high number of days interest free, one with a competitive balance transfer offer, a zero per cent interest rate introductory offer for the first year of the card, complimentary insurance, a high credit limit and more. You may also want to look at a card that can be bundled with other credit products, like a home loan.
- Use comparison tables. In a world of complicated financial jargon, comparison tables can help you to compare apples to apples. Use our comparison tools to filter down and compare different credit card purchase rates, interest free days, late payment fees and much more.
- Eligibility criteria. Before you make a card application, read the terms and conditions, product disclosure statement for a greater breakdown of any eligibility criteria you may need to meet to be approved for a credit card, as well as potential fees, costs and eligible purchases to earn rewards points.
Property Personal Finance Writer
A property and personal finance writer, Nick Bendel covers property, loans, credit cards, superannuation, and other bank products. Nick has previously written for The Adviser, Mortgage Business, Lifehacker, Business Insider, Yahoo Finance, and InvestorDaily, and loves getting elbow-deep in the latest ABS, APRA and RBA data.
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Frequently asked questions
Current Annual Fees
Can a pensioner get a credit card?
It is possible to get a credit card as a pensioner. There are some factors to keep in mind, including:
- Annual income. Look for credit cards with minimum annual income requirements you can meet.
- Annual fees. If high fees are a concern for you, opt for a card with a low or $0 annual fee.
- Interest rate. Make sure you won’t have any nasty surprises on your credit card bill. Compare cards with a low interest rates to minimise risk.
How easy is it to get a credit card?
For most Australians, there are no great barriers to applying for and getting approved for a credit card. Here are some points that a lender will consider when assessing your credit card application.
Credit score: A bad credit score is not the be all and end all of your application, but it may stop you being approved for a higher credit limit. If your credit score is less than perfect, apply for the credit limit that you need, rather than the one you want.
Annual income: Most credit cards have minimum annual income requirements. Make sure you’re applying for a card where you meet the minimum.
Age & residency: You need to be at least 18 years old to apply for a credit card in Australia, and most require that you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident. However, there are some credit cards available to temporary residents.
Should I get a credit card?
Once you've compared credit card interest rates and deals and found the right card for you, the actual process of getting a credit card is quite straightforward. You can apply for a credit card online, over the phone or in person at a bank branch.
How do you use credit cards?
A credit card can be an easy way to make purchases online, in person or over the phone. When used properly, a credit card can even help you manage your cash flow. But before applying for a credit card, it’s good to know how they work. A credit card is essentially a personal line of credit which lets you buy things and pay for them later. As a card holder, you’ll be given a credit limit and (potentially) charged interest on the money the bank lends you. At the end of each billing period, the bank will send you a statement which shows your outstanding balance and the minimum amount you need to pay back. If you don’t pay back the full balance amount, the bank will begin charging you interest.
How do you use a credit card?
Credit cards are a quick and convenient way to pay for items in store, online or over the phone. You can use a credit card as a cashless way to pay for goods or services, both locally and overseas. You can also use a credit card to make a cash advance, which gives you the flexibility to withdraw cash from your credit card account. Because a credit card uses the bank’s funds instead of your own, you will be charged interest on the money you spend – unless you pay off the entire debt within the interest-free period. If you pay the minimum monthly repayment, you will be charged interest. There are many different credit card options on the market, all offering different interest rates and reward options.
Which credit card has the highest annual percentage rate?
The credit card market changes all the time, so the credit card with the highest annual percentage rate is also liable to change.
Keep in mind that credit card interest rates are expressed as a yearly rate, or annual percentage rate (APR). A low APR is generally good but also consider:
- There can be different APR's for each feature of the card (e.g. purchases may have an APR of 14 per cent, while cash advances on same card could have an APR of 17 per cent.
- Credit cards with a variable rate can change throughout the year, affecting your APR, so check the full details.
- If you pay your balance in full every month, having the lowest APR is not as important as the other fees associated with the card. However, if you carry a balance from month to month, then you want the lowest APR possible.
How to get a free credit card
There's no such thing as a free lunch. All credit cards come with associated costs when used to make purchases, even if it’s simply the cost of making repayments.
However, many lenders offer incentives for customers such as a $0 annual fee or 0 per cent interest on purchases during an introductory period. Additionally, paying off your balance in full during an interest-free period means you could only have to pay back the cost of purchases without interest. You could also be eligible for additional rewards such as cashback during that time, saving you more money.
What's the best credit card for rewards?
There is no one-size-fits-all best rewards credit card. It's best you research what type of rewards program you'd like, as well as the fees, interest rate and conditions associated with those types of cards before making a choice.
Rewards credit cards can also come with high annual fees that may end up nullifying the rewards, so think how often you use the card to decide whether the benefits outweigh the extra cost for you. A card with a lower annual fee might require a lot of spending to get any useful rewards, while another card with a higher annual fee might need fewer purchases to get a reward.
How do you cancel a credit card?
It’s important to cancel your old cards to avoid any additional fees. Unless you’re doing a balance transfer, you’ll need to pay the outstanding balance before you cancel your credit card. If you’ve opted for a card with reward points, make sure you redeem or transfer the points before you close your account. To avoid any bounced payments and save yourself an admin headache, redirect all your direct debits to a new card or account. Once you’ve done all the preparation, call your bank or credit card provider to get the cancellation underway. Once you receive a confirmation letter, destroy your card and make sure the numbers aren’t legible.
How to make a credit card online
If you’re wondering about how to make a credit card online application, here are some steps to follow:
- Test the market. Many credit card options are available online. Compare providers by fees, interest and perks to ensure you’re getting the best deal.
- Complete the application. Once you’ve selected a card, head to the provider’s website and complete the online credit card application form. Forms vary by providers.
- Provide details. Most cards require you to meet age, residency, income and credit status condition, and you need to provide details like a bank account statement to prove this.
- Review details. Ensure the information you’ve entered is correct.
How to get a credit card for the first time
A credit card can be a useful financial tool, provided you understand the risks and can meet repayment obligations.
If you’re a credit card first-timer, review your options. Think about what kind of credit card would suit your lifestyle, and compare providers by fees, perks and repayments.
Once you’ve selected a card, it’s time to apply. Credit card applications can generally be completed in store, online or over the phone.
When you apply for a credit card for the first time, you must meet age, residency and income requirements. As proof, you must also provide documentation such as bank account statements.
What should you do if your credit card is compromised?
Credit card fraud is a serious problem. If your credit card is compromised and you’re wondering what to do, here are a few precautionary steps to take.
Contact you credit provider – Get in touch will your credit card provider. If you feel your card has been compromised, you should be able to lock or block it.
Monitor your accounts – Keep an eye on your credit card accounts. Any unauthorised transactions could be a sign your credit card has been compromised.
Check your credit rating – It’s also important to check your credit rating, to ensure you’re not a victim of identity theft or some other financial mischief.
What should you do when you lose your credit card?
Losing your credit card is a serious situation, and could land you in financial trouble. Here is a simple guide detailing what to do when you lose your credit card.
Lock you card – Contact your provider and inform them about your lost credit card. From here lock, block or cancel your card.
Keep track of transactions – Look out for unauthorised credit card transactions. Most banks protect against fraudulent transactions.
Address recurring charges – If your card is linked to recurring charges (gym membership, rent, utilities), contact those businesses.
Check credit rate – To ensure you’re not the victim of identity theft, check your credit rating a month or two after you lose your credit card.
How to increase my Commonwealth credit card limit?
Commonwealth Bank credit cards are extremely popular in Australia for everyday purchases and big ticket items alikers. A number of the card’s functions can be customised, depending on your needs and desires. If you wish to increase your Commonwealth credit card limit using the CommBank, you can usually do so on the app or via NetBank.
In the CommBank app, tap on the ‘Cards’ icon and choose your credit card. Then, click on ‘Credit Limit’ and select the ‘Increasing your limit’ option. If you don’t have the CommBank app, you can also increase your Commonwealth Bank credit card limit through NetBank. Simply log on and go to Settings, then click on ‘Product Requests’ and then choose ‘Credit Card Limit Changes’.
Once the bank has received your application, they will review your account and payment history. Based on this assessment, your application will either be approved or denied. If approved, your new limit will be applied to your card instantly.
While increasing your credit card limit may be an easy process, it’s important to remember that you should only request limits that you can manage. A high limit increases the risk of having a larger debt, even with cards that provide low-interest rate options. So, it’s important to think carefully and seek advice from people you trust before increasing your Commonwealth Bank credit card limit.
How can I increase my credit card limit on my American Express card?
If you want to increase the credit limit on your American Express (AMEX) credit card, you will need to apply through the AMEX Online Services, or by calling the number on the back of your card. You may need to share personal information that the bank can use to assess whether the requested limit is suitable for you and your current financial status. Once your application is approved, your new limit will be ready for use within an hour.
How to pay a credit card
There are a few ways to pay a credit card bill. These include:
- BPAY - allows you to safely make credit card payments online.
- Direct debits - set up an automatic payment from your bank account to pay your credit card bill each month. You can choose how much you want to pay of your credit card bill when you set up the auto payments.
- In a branch.
- Via your credit card provider's app.
How do I apply for a credit card online?
What is a credit card?
A credit card is a payment method which lets you pay for goods and services without using your own money. It’s essentially a short-term loan which lets you borrow the bank’s money to pay for things which you can pay back – potentially with interest – at a later date. Credit cards can also be used to withdraw money from an ATM, which is known as a cash advance. Because you’re borrowing money from a bank, credit cards charge you interest on the money you use (unless you repay the entire debt during the interest-free period). When you apply for a credit card, the bank gives you a credit limit which sets the maximum amount you can borrow using your card. Credit cards are one of the most popular methods of payments and can be a convenient way of paying for goods and services in store, online and all around the globe.
Where can I get a credit card?
Looking to get your first credit card? You might be confused as to exactly where to go to apply for one. Here’s where to go when you are ready to put in that application.
The bank: Your bank is a great place to start, provided that you have a good banking history. Since you already have a financial history, you have more chance of your application being approved.
Credit card provider: Another option is to apply for a credit card directly from the issuer, such as Visa, Mastercard or Amex. This will most likely be an online application, so do your research and apply for a suitable card for your circumstances.
Major retailers: Coles, Woolworths, Myer and David Jones all have credit cards available. But watch out for the interest rate and annual fees – these cards are designed to help you spend more in store.