Save on card costs and enjoy a wide range of benefits with a no annual fee credit card.
No annual fee credit cards help you keep costs down by offering you a $0 annual fee for the life of the card or a waived annual fee for a promotional period (such as the first year you have the card). There are also some credit cards that waive the annual fee on an ongoing basis if you meet specific criteria, such as spending a certain amount each year.
As well as helping you save on account costs, no annual fee credit cards can come with a variety of other benefits including balance transfers, rewards or frequent flyer points and other travel benefits. Use this guide to compare no annual fee credit cards and find out more about different features, benefits and costs so that you can get a credit card to suit your needs.
0% p.a. for 15 months on balance transfers
with a one-time 1.5% balance transfer fee
Offer ends 30 April 2018
Eligibility criteria, terms and conditions, fees and charges apply
Citi Credit Card Offer
Receive up to 5% cashback on all retail purchases, up to $1,000 in your first 90 days from card approval (capped at $50). Plus, no annual fee for life.
- $0 p.a. annual fee.
- 19.99% p.a. on purchases
- 0.00% p.a. for 15 months with 1.5% BT fee on balance transfers
- Cash advance rate of 19.99% p.a.
- Up to 55 days interest free
- Minimum income requirement of $35,000 p.a.
Compare the Best* No Annual Fee Credit Cards in Australia
* The offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of products that finder.com.au can access to track details 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. It is not representative of any product’s star ratings and should not be taken as a recommendation of any form of credit. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your personal financial circumstances when comparing products.
No Annual Fee Credit Cards Trending Now
Compare the features of these popular credit cards with no annual fees.
- American Express Velocity Escape. A frequent flyer credit card that offers no annual fee for life and earns Velocity Points per $1 spent.
- Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard. This $0 p.a. annual fee credit card offers a concierge service, included travel insurance and 0% foreign transaction fees.
- Citi Simplicity Card. A credit card with no annual fee for life that offers Citibank Dining Program perks and Visa Platinum benefits.
- Qantas American Express Discovery Card. A Qantas Frequent Flyer credit card that offers no annual fee for life and earns Qantas Points per $1 spent with no points cap.
What you need to know about no annual fee credit cards
What are no annual fee credit cards?
A no annual fee credit card doesn’t charge you for yearly account maintenance. This could save you anywhere from $30 to $700 or more per year when compared to credit cards that do charge an annual fee. But credit cards with no annual fee for life can have higher standard interest rates for purchases compared to some other options. Some no annual fee credit cards also offer fewer additional features, such as rewards or complimentary extras.
What is the best* no annual fee credit card?
There isn't one "best" no annual fee credit card, because everyone has different spending habits and goals that influence what card works for them. Comparing your options, the details of the no annual fee offer and other features of the card will help you find the right one for you.
Different types of no annual fee credit cards
Some no annual fee credit cards are very basic, while others offer a range of additional features and benefits. If there are other features you want alongside the $0 annual fee, here you can compare credit cards that combine no annual fee with everything from introductory 0% interest rate offers to frequent flyer points, reward points and complimentary extras.
$0 annual fee and 0% balance transfer credit cards
A 0% balance transfer credit card that also offers no annual fee could help you save on fees and charges while you pay down debt. With this type of card, make sure you factor in any one-off balance transfer fees and check whether the $0 annual fee is for the first year or an ongoing feature of the account. Also note that if you have a balance transfer, you usually won't be eligible for an interest-free period on new purchases, so make sure you factor this into your budget if you plan to use the card for new payments.
No annual fee frequent flyer credit cards
Frequent flyer credit cards usually have high annual fees – especially if there are other travel benefits on offer. If you want to save on this cost, you could compare frequent flyer credit cards that offer a reduced of $0 annual fee for the first year. You can also consider the Qantas American Express Discovery Card or the American Express Velocity Escape Card if you want a frequent flyer credit card with $0 annual fee for life.
Platinum credit cards with no annual fee
Platinum credit cards offer you extra benefits such as complimentary travel insurance, purchase insurance, airport lounge access and concierge services. Some platinum credit cards also offer $0 overseas transaction fees or a higher rate of points per $1 spent compared to regular cards. Most platinum cards have annual fees that offset the value of these perks, so getting one that has a $0 annual fee will help you get more value from the card's benefits.
No annual fee credit cards with 0% purchase rates offers
If you have a lot of spending to do in a short amount of time (such as during the holidays), these cards can help you save on interest charges by offering an introductory 0% interest rate on purchases. You could also get no annual fee for life or a waived annual fee in the first year but this depends on the card and the offers available when you're comparing your options. When the introductory period ends, the 0% interest rate reverts to a standard variable rate that will apply to any balance remaining from your purchases. For example, you could get 0% p.a. on purchases for the first 6 months before a standard purchase rate of 17.99% p.a. applies. As long as you paid off your purchases during the 6-month introductory period, you wouldn't be charged any interest.
Interest-free credit card spending hack
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.
Reward credit cards with no annual fee
These cards give you a way to earn reward points for your everyday spending and offer no annual fee or a waived annual fee in the first year. Depending on the card, you could also enjoy thousands of bonus points through an introductory offer. For example, a card may offer you 30,000 points if you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months from when your application's approved. This can help you get even more value from the card when you first get it – especially if there is no annual fee in the first year (or for life).
Travel credit cards with no annual fees and no foreign transaction fees
While most credit cards charge a fee worth between 2% and 3.5% of each transaction made in a foreign currency, some travel credit cards waive this cost. Since you may only be using a travel credit card during your holiday, you could save on even more credit card fees by choosing one that also offers no annual fee.
What should I consider before applying for a no annual fee credit card?
If you're interested in getting a credit card with no annual fee, 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 card will give you the features that you need without burning a hole in your pocket when you're not using it.
- Do you carry a balance? The higher interest rates that many no annual fee credit cards charge 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 cancel the card before the annual fee applies. If you'd prefer to skip that hassle altogether, compare cards with a low or $0 annual fee for life.
- What other credit card fees and charges will you pay? While a $0 annual fee can help you save on costs, it doesn't mean you'll pay no fees or get a free credit card. As well as interest rates, make sure you check for other credit card fees that could apply, such as foreign transaction fees, late payment fees and cash advance charges. This will help you find a card that's affordable based on how you want to use it.
Benefits and drawbacks of $0 annual fee credit cards
- Save money on credit card fees. 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, a no annual fee credit card 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. No annual fee credit cards typically have higher ongoing interest rates than some other 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 credit cards on the market, it's important to consider your financial situation and how you intend to use the card. Then you can weigh up the type of $0 annual fee as well as the other features, benefits and costs to help you find a card that suits your needs.
Answers to the most popular questions about no annual fee credit cards
- Q: If I have a credit card with a promotional $0 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 credit card's annual fee is charged so you can arrange to cancel it before the annual fee applies.
- 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 annual fee will usually be charged 12 months after you were approved for the credit card. If you don't want to pay this fee, ask the provider what date it will be charged and cancel the account before then.
- Q: Is there any way to extend my credit card's annual fee waiver?
A: This depends on the credit card provider. For example, some providers may waive your credit card annual fee when you also take out a home loan package with them. Others may waive or refund your annual fee if you meet specific conditions, such as spending a set amount each year or being a student. Contact your provider to find out if there are any other ways you can continue to pay no annual fee on your credit card.
- Q: What is the best no annual fee credit card?*
A: Because everyone has different preferences and needs, there is not a single “best” credit card with no annual fee. Instead, you can look at whether or not the $0 annual fee is a promotional offer or an ongoing feature and check the other costs and features that come with the card. This will help you make sure that the card gives you an affordable way to manage your finances before you apply.
- Q: Is a no annual fee credit card a cheap credit card option?
A: While a no annual fee credit card has the potential to save you hundreds of dollars on your yearly account costs, that doesn't always mean it's a cheap option. If you always pay off your balance in full and can make use of interest-free days on purchases, then a no annual fee card could be very affordable. But if you carry a balance that attracts a high interest rate, the interest charges could make your credit card an expensive option. In this case, you might want to look at the potential savings you'd get from a card with a low interest rate (even if it has an annual fee). So, if you're looking for a cheap credit card, think about how you'll use it and then compare a few different options to find one that's affordable for you.
- Q: Is a no annual fee credit card free?
A: Technically, there is no such thing as a "free credit card" because there is always the potential cost of interest if you carry a balance. There could also be other credit card fees that may apply for certain transactions (such as cash advances or purchases made overseas). But if you have a no annual fee card and pay off your account balance in full by the due date on each statement, you can get an interest-free period for your purchases that could allow you to use the card without paying fees or charges.
- Q: What costs would apply if I got a credit card with no annual fee and rewards?
A: This depends on the card and how you use it but some factors to consider include the interest rates, cash advance fee and foreign transaction fee. If you're comparing no annual fee credit cards with rewards, make sure you also look at full details of the annual fee – in most cases you only get a $0 annual fee in the first year before a higher, standard annual fee is charged.
- Q: Can I get a credit card with no annual fee for life and an ongoing low interest rate?
A: Generally, these features are offered on separate cards – except when one of the features is promotional. For example, a no annual fee credit card may offer an introductory low or 0% interest rate before reverting to a higher standard rate, while a low rate credit card could offer no annual fee in the first year before a standard yearly account fee applies. But you can compare no annual fee and low rate cards side-by-side to help you find one that is affordable for you.
- 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: While business credit cards can offer no annual fee promotions, most of them charge high annual fees as they come with a lot of extra features. But depending on your circumstances, you may be able to claim the annual fee as a tax deduction. 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 a credit card, regardless of whether or not there's an annual fee. 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.