Best low annual fee credit cards September 2017

Sally McMullen 22 September 2017

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The credit cards to compare this month if you hate fees.

Look, no one enjoys paying fees. But if you hate paying credit card fees more than most, this line-up is for you. We’ve picked out cards with low or no annual fee and competitive purchase rates to help you cut your card costs. So you won’t find any cards mentioned here that have an annual fee higher than $60 or with a purchase rate above 15%.

We’ve also based this round-up on the cards that are currently available through finder this month.

In case you stumble on this after September, please remember that the rates and fees mentioned here are correct at the time of publication.

American Express Essential credit card

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  • Annual fee. $0.
  • Purchase rate. 14.99% p.a.

The American Express Essential credit card is the only product in this line-up that boasts a $0 annual fee. However, it does have the highest purchase rate of 14.99% p.a. (which is relatively low for an Australian credit card).

If you’re struggling to repay an existing debt, you can also take advantage of 0% on balance transfers for the first 12 months (reverts to 14.99% p.a.). You'll be required to pay a 3% balance transfer fee when you first move the debt to your new card.

Or if you’d prefer to use this card for purchases, you can also earn 1 Membership Rewards point per $1 spent on eligible purchases and 0.5 points per $1 spent on bills, utilities and government transactions. You’ll also score a $50 credit to your account if you spend $750 in the first three months. Not bad!

HSBC Low Rate credit card

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  • Annual fee. $55.
  • Purchase rate. 13.25% p.a.

Next up is the HSBC Low Rate credit card, which has an annual fee of $55. As suggested by the card name, it also has a low purchase rate of 13.25% p.a.

Thanks to in-store financing options, you can also pay 0% for 3 to 60 months with 1,000 participating retailers. Minimum purchase amounts apply and you can check out the full list of participating retailers on the HSBC website.

If you want to consolidate and repay a debt interest free, you can also opt for 0% on balance transfers for the first 15 months if you apply by 30 November 2017. Please note that a 2% balance transfer fee applies and the interest rate reverts to the cash advance rate of 21.99% p.a. after the promotional period ends.

ANZ Low Rate card

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  • Annual fee. $58 annual fee.
  • Purchase rate. 12.49% p.a.

The ANZ Low Rate credit card has a competitive annual fee of $58 and a standard purchase rate of 12.49% p.a. This is the lowest purchase rate in this particular round-up of cards.

You can also take advantage of 0% on balance transfers for the first 16 months, although you’ll be charged a 2% balance transfer fee. The interest rate reverts to 21.74% p.a. thereafter.

Unlike some of the other cards here, this card doesn’t come with any significant extra features. So if you want to concentrate on keeping your card costs low without any bells and whistles, this could be the right card for you.

Westpac Low Rate card

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  • Annual fee. $59.
  • Purchase rate. 13.49% p.a.

The Westpac Low Rate credit card has an annual fee of $59, which is still relatively low although it’s the largest fee in this line-up. It also has a purchase rate of 13.49% p.a.

If you apply online by 26 October 2017, you can also take advantage of 0% on balance transfers for the first 24 months. Not only is this the longest balance transfer offer in the line-up, but it’s also one of the longest on the market at the moment. Similar to the other offers here, it charges a 2% balance transfer fee. The balance transfer interest rate will revert to the purchase rate at the end of the 24 months.

This is another card that doesn’t come with many extra perks, so it could suit you if you want a card without the frills.

How can I compare these cards?

Although all of these cards offer competitive annual fees and interest rates, you can determine which one is right for you in the details.

If you always pay your balance in full and rarely collect interest, you’ll benefit more from a card with a low or $0 annual fee than a low purchase rate. If you regularly carry a balance, the cards with the lowest purchase rates could help you save more.

If you want to earn reward points as you spend, the American Express Essential credit card could be better suited to you. If you don’t want any extra perks, maybe you’d prefer the Westpac Low Rate or ANZ Low Rate cards.

All of these cards offer a 0% balance transfer offer, so you could also base your decision on the length of the offer if you also need to repay an existing debt.

There is no one best card for every cardholder, so make sure you compare your options before applying. You can broaden your comparison with our low annual fees and low interest rate credit card guides.

Rates last updated November 25th, 2017
Name Product Bonus Points Rewards Points per $ spent (VISA/MC) Rewards Points per $ spent (AMEX) Purchase rate (p.a.) Annual fee Product Description
American Express Essential Credit Card
1
14.99% p.a.
$0 p.a.
Get Smartphone Screen Insurance of up to $500 when you pay for your phone or contract with your Essential Credit Card.
HSBC Low Rate Credit Card
0
0
13.25% p.a.
$55 p.a.
Receive up to 55 days interest-free on purchases. Also enjoy exclusive offers with the home&Away Privilege Program.
ANZ Low Rate
12.49% p.a.
$58 p.a.
Receive up to 55 days interest-free on purchases, up to 3 additional cardholders at no cost and Mastercard PayPass.
Westpac Low Rate Card - Online Only Balance Transfer Offer
0
0
13.49% p.a.
$59 p.a.
Take advantage of 0% p.a. for 24 months on balance transfers with a 2% balance transfer fee when you apply online by 31 January 2018.

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