No annual fee credit cards let you earn rewards points, receive platinum benefits, and low interest offers without paying fees. Find out what benefits you can receive in this guide.
No annual fee credit cards provide attractive credit card benefits without the annual fee. There are many types of no annual fee credit cards on the market to suit different types of cardholders. Some offer no annual fee for the life of the card, others only have the $0 annual fee for a promotional period such as the first year and others require you to meet a spend criteria to take advantage of the waived fee. Some no annual fees are also teamed up with other perks such as a balance transfer, rewards or frequent flyer program or travel benefits. You can 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.|
|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 24/7 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, saving you from $50 to even $400 per year. The $0 annual fee can be available for a promotional period (such as for the first year only) 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, though. 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. While there is no 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 you can receive with no annual fee credit cards
If you want more than a low 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.
No annual fee credit cards with platinum benefits
Raising the bar on no annual fee credit cards, we find a handful of select platinum cards offering annual fee waivers to top off already appealing complimentary extras. If you’re looking to take advantage of extra credit card perks while saving on standard card costs, these cards may be suitable for you. While some of these only offer first year waivers, you may find that a few platinum cards hand out yearly annual fee waivers or refunds when you meet a minimum spend.
When will I be charged the annual fee?
Depending on your card terms and promotion, you may be charged an annual fee whenever your promotional period ends. If there is a spend requirement, you will be charged the annual fee if your card expenditure doesn’t meet that requirement.
Is there any way to extend my annual fee waiver?
Some banks package mortgage deals to include fee waivers on your other accounts, including credit cards. For instance, NAB and Westpac waive fees for their credit cards when you take out a home loan package with them.
Credit cards with no annual fee and interest-free days
Need to buy the things that matter now and repay later with no interest? 0% purchase credit cards provide a promotional period where no interest is charged on purchases.
Earn credit card reward points and save with no annual fee credit cards.
These cards have no annual fees plus the ability to earn rewards points for every $1 spent. This combination of features means you could be rewarded for nothing.
Frequent flyer cards with no annual fee. These cards are linked to a frequent flyer rewards program, such as Qantas Frequent Flyer or Virgin’s Velocity Frequent Flyer, and earn points without the added cost of an annual fee.
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, travel credit cards waive this cost and also have no annual fee. Travel credit cards allow you to make purchases overseas at the daily exchange rate, which may be higher and more favourable than locking in an exchange rate at home before you leave. Since you're likely to only be using a travel credit card during your holiday, it only makes sense that you compare one with a low or $0 annual fee. Start comparing the best* credit cards for travel no annual fee below.
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.
What to consider before you apply for a no annual fee credit card.
If you want to apply for the best* no annual fee credit card for you, here are some questions to ask yourself before you do:
- 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 this added cost.
- 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 offer, 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, make sure to cancel the card before the end of the first year to avoid paying the standard annual fee.
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.
- 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 high 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 fees.
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 and payable by the first statement date or first credit card bill. Annual fees can be repaid as quickly as you choose, by making a payment to your credit card account. If you have a card with a promotional no annual fee and you don't want to pay the annual fee when the offer ends, make sure you understand when the annual fee will be charged (you can confirm this with the bank) and cancel your card before then.
- Q: What is the best no annual fee credit card?*
A: 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.