Pay on plastic and save on card costs with a no annual fee credit card.
No annual fee credit cards let you enjoy a range of benefits without paying a yearly account fee. Depending on the type of card you choose, you can enjoy no annual fee for the life of the card or $0 annual fee for a promotional period (such as the first year you have the card). There are also a few no annual fee credit cards that require you to meet a spend criteria to take advantage of the waived fee on an ongoing basis.
These cards often offer a variety of other perks including balance transfers, rewards or frequent flyer program benefits and other travel benefits. Use this guide to learn how no annual fee credit cards work and compare the features, benefits and drawbacks to find the best* no annual fee credit card in Australia.
No Annual Fee Credit Card Offer
The American Express Essential® Credit Card offers Membership Rewards points per $1 spent, no annual fee and Smartphone Screen Insurance of up to $500.
- Receive $50 credit when you apply online, are approved and spend $750 within the first 3 months of card membership.
- Earn up to 1 Membership Rewards point for every $1 spent on eligible purchases.
- Transfer your points to 8 Airline Rewards Partner Programs including Emirates Skywards and Singapore Airlines Krisflyer.
- Enjoy Smartphone Screen Insurance of up to $500 when you pay for your phone or contract using your Essential Credit Card.
Compare the best* No Annual Fee Credit Cards in Australia
The Best* No Annual Fee Credit Cards Comparison
Compare the features of the no annual fee credit cards below.
|Coles No Annual Fee Mastercard||Pay no annual fee and get a 0% p.a. for 6 months balance transfer offer.|
|A no annual fee for life credit card that offers all the perks of the Citibank Dining Program and Visa Platinum benefits.|
|Pay no annual fee for the life of the card and get a low interest rate offer.|
|This $0 p.a. annual fee credit card offers a concierge service, included travel insurance and $0 foreign transaction fees.|
What you need to know about no annual fee credit cards
What is a no annual fee credit card?
A no annual fee credit card doesn’t charge you for yearly account maintenance, which could save you anywhere from $30 to $700 or more per year. The $0 annual fee can be available for a promotional period (for example, during the first year you have the card) or for the life of the card. These cards can be ideal if you want to keep your costs low or if you don't use your card regularly and can't justify paying high fees.
Credit cards with no annual fee for life often have higher standard purchase rates than other options. So if you regularly carry a balance from month to month, a card with a low interest rate might help you save more money than a no annual fee credit card. Some no annual fee credit cards also offer fewer additional features, such as rewards programs or complimentary extras.
What is the best no annual fee credit card?
There isn't one best no annual fee credit card. Comparing your options, the conditions of the no annual fee offer and the features of the card will help you find the right one for you.
Promotional offers and perks available on no annual fee credit cards
If you want more benefits than just savings on your credit card's annual fee, you can compare credit cards that couple $0 annual fee with everything from a 0% balance transfer offer to a rewards program below.
No annual fee credit cards with a 0% balance transfer offer
Balance transfer credit cards let you move debt from an existing credit card to a new card with a low or 0% promotional interest rate. With no annual fee and a low or 0% balance transfer offer, you could have a cost-free way to consolidate your debts.
No annual fee credit cards with frequent flyer rewards
Let your spending take you to the skies with frequent flyer points and rewards. As frequent flyer credit cards typically have high annual fees, you could save hundreds with one of these no annual fee options.
No annual fee credit cards with platinum benefits
Depending on the card you choose, you could enjoy everything from complimentary travel insurance to no overseas transaction fees, concierge services and platinum offers and discounts without the cost an annual fee.
Credit cards with no annual fee and 0% on purchases
Want to save on interest costs as well as annual fees? A card with no annual fee and 0% purchase will allow you to repay your purchases without any interest charges for a promotional period.
Most credit cards offer a number of interest-free days on purchases when you pay your account balance in full by the due date on your statement. This gives you a way to make interest-free purchases on an ongoing basis.
Earn credit card reward points and save with no annual fee credit cards
These cards have no annual fees plus the ability to earn reward points for every $1 spent, meaning you could reward your spending without any additional costs.
Travel credit cards with no annual fees and no foreign transaction fees
While most credit cards charge between 2% and 3.5% for transactions made in a foreign currency, some travel credit cards waive this cost and also have no annual fee. Since you're likely to only be using a travel credit card during your holiday, you could save on your costs by choosing one with a low or $0 annual fee.
What should I consider before applying for a no annual fee credit card?
If you're interested in getting a no annual fee credit card now, ask yourself these questions to help compare your options:
- How often do you use your credit card? If you rarely use a credit card but still want one for unplanned expenses or emergencies, a no annual fee option will give you the features that you need without burning a hole in your pocket while you're not using it.
- Do you carry a balance? The higher interest rates typical of no annual fee credit cards can make them expensive if you carry a balance. If that’s the case, you might want to consider a low interest credit card instead.
- Do you have existing debt? If you have existing debt, getting a no annual fee credit card could tempt you to spend more money than you can afford. Aim to pay off your current debts, or consider a balance transfer credit card to save money on interest charges.
- What credit card benefits do you want? No annual fee credit cards sometimes have fewer perks than other options. If you’re interested in features such as rewards programs and complimentary insurance, make sure you look at a range of cards and consider these factors as well as the annual fee so that you can find an option that suits all of your needs.
- Will you use the credit card after the $0 annual fee promotion ends? If the card comes with no annual fee for a promotional period, consider whether you want to use the card once the introductory period ends. If the card doesn't have a competitive interest rate or extra features to outweigh the annual fee cost, you might want to consider switching cards to annual $0 annual fee option before the annual fee applies.
Benefits and drawbacks of $0 annual fee credit cards
- Save money on your credit card. The most obvious perk of these cards is that you won’t pay an annual fee. This could save you tens, hundreds or thousands of dollars over the life of the card.
- Practical. Without the extra perks and additional benefits, no annual fee credit cards can be ideal for emergencies and when extra credit is required.
- Promotional offers and deals. Some no annual fee credit cards come with promotional offers, frequent flyer programs and other perks that you’d regularly have to pay a yearly fee to access.
- Higher interest rates. Credit card companies may charge higher ongoing interest rates on no annual fee credit cards. This could add to your costs if you regularly carry a balance from month to month.
- Fewer extra features. While some no annual fee cards do come with frequent flyer programs and other benefits, they usually have fewer features than cards with a higher annual fee.
- Temporary $0 annual fee. Unfortunately, not all of these cards offer no annual fee for the life of the card. If your card only has a $0 annual fee for a promotional period, make sure you know when the standard annual fee will apply and how much it is to avoid any surprise costs.
As there are many types of $0 annual fee cards on the market, it's important to consider your financial situation and how you intend to use the card. Make sure to consider not only the conditions of the annual fee, but also the other features, benefits and costs of the card before you apply for a credit card with no annual fee.
Answers to the most popular questions about no annual fee credit cards
- Q: If I have a credit card with a promotional annual fee offer, can I cancel the card before having to pay the annual fee?
A: This is possible as long as you don’t have a balance on the card and cancel it before the annual fee is applied. Contact your provider to confirm exactly when the annual fee is charged so you don’t accidentally pay it before cancelling the card.
- Q: When do you normally pay the annual fee on a credit card?
A: The annual fee is usually charged upon account activation, with payment required by the due date on your first statement or first credit card bill. You can repay your annual fee in full or over time by making a payment to your credit card account.
- Q: When will the annual fee be charged if I get a credit card that offers no annual fee in the first year?
A: If you have a card with a promotional no annual fee offer, the fee will usually apply 12 months after you were approved for the card. If you don't want to pay this fee when the offer ends, confirm with your bank when the annual fee will be charged and cancel your card before that time.
- Q: Is there any way to extend my annual fee waiver?
A: Some banks package mortgage deals to include fee waivers on your other accounts, including credit cards. For instance, some institutions waive fees for their credit cards when you also take out a home loan package with them.
- Q: What is the best no annual fee credit card?*
A: Because everyone has different preferences and needs, there is no such thing as the one “best” no annual fee credit card. Instead, you should consider whether or not the $0 annual fee is a promotional offer or an ongoing feature and the other costs and features that come with the card. Make sure that the card is an affordable and functional way to manage your finances before you apply.
- Q: I want a no annual fee credit card for travel. What other features should I consider?
A: To keep your travel costs down, you may want to consider a credit card with no annual fee and no overseas transaction fees or a card that offers complimentary travel insurance. Also, make sure that the card you're using is accepted wherever you're travelling and that it isn't restricted by economic sanctions.
- Q: Is there a business credit card with no annual fee?
A: Business credit cards can offer no annual fee promotions, but most of them charge high annual fees as they come with a lot of extra features. Compare business credit cards here.
- Q: Can I get a no annual fee credit card if I have lots of debt or bad credit?
A: Having a bad credit rating can limit your chances of being approved and getting the card. You can use our bad credit rating credit card guide to see what type of credit alternatives are available for applicants with a negative credit history.