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No Frills Credit Cards

Paying for perks you don't use is a waste – here's how you can save on rates and fees with a no frills credit card.

No frills credit cards give you the features you need, without any flashy extras. As a result, these cards can offer lower interest rates and annual fees than credit cards with lots of perks and premium features.

So if you're more interested in competitive interest rates and low annual fees rather than flashy extra features, we've broken down the key details to help you decide if a no frills credit card is right for you.

What is a no frills credit card?

A no frills credit card is a basic credit card that typically offers a $0 annual fee, low rate or small credit limit, with few or no additional features.

This means they usually don't offer rewards, insurance, concierge services or other perks. The features that no frill cards do have means they are suited to people who don't spend a lot on plastic, want to cut back on card costs or just use their credit card for emergencies.

Types of no frills credit cards

Even though these cards are basic, there are a few different types of cards you can choose from.

No annual fee credit cards

If you don't spend on plastic often or only have a credit card for emergencies, a no annual fee card could help you reduce your yearly costs. These cards offer an ongoing $0 annual fee or waived annual fee in the first year. In comparison, some credit cards with extra features and rewards programs have annual fees of $400 or more.

Compare no frills credit cards

Credit cards that don't charge an annual fee typically fall into the 'no frills' category. However, the cards that have a $0 annual fee just for the first year likely have some perks on offer.

1 - 11 of 61
Name Product Annual fee Purchase rate p.a. Balance transfer rate p.a.
NAB Low Rate Credit Card
$0 first year ($59 after)
0% for 28 months with 2% balance transfer fee, then 21.74%
Get a 0% p.a. interest rate on balance transfers for the first 28 months (with a 2% BT fee). Plus, save with a $0 first-year annual fee.
Virgin Money No Annual Fee Credit Card
0% for 6 months, then 19.99%
Save with a $0 annual fee and 0% p.a. on purchases for 6 months.
ANZ Platinum Credit Card
$0 first year ($87 after)
Get $300 back on your card when you spend $1,500 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months and a $0 first-year annual fee. Plus, complimentary overseas travel insurance.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
$0 first year ($149 after)
0% for 24 months, then 20.99%
Get 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 24 months (with no BT fee) and a $0 annual fee in the first year.
American Express Low Rate Credit Card
Offers a low ongoing interest rate of 10.99% p.a. and a $0 annual fee. Plus, complimentary purchase cover.
American Express Velocity Escape Card
Save with a $0 annual fee and earn 0.75 Velocity Points per $1 on everyday purchases.
Qantas American Express Discovery Card
Earn uncapped Qantas Points for every $1 dollar spent, plus a $0 annual fee.
Kogan Money Credit Card - 0% Purchase and Balance Transfer Offer
0% for 14 months, then 20.99%
0% for 14 months, then 21.74%
Get 0% p.a. interest for 14 months on purchases and balance transfers (with a one-time 0% BT fee). Plus points per $1 on eligible spending.
American Express Platinum Edge Credit Card
$0 first year ($195 after)
Save with a $0 annual fee in the first year. Plus, $200 Travel Credit every year.
NAB StraightUp Card
Save with 0% p.a. interest charges and 0% foreign transaction fees. Plus, $0 monthly fees when you don't use the card or carry a balance.
More Info
Citi Simplicity Card
0% for 6 months, then 21.49%
0% for 6 months, then 22.24%
Get 0% p.a. interest on purchases and balance transfers for 6 months and an ongoing $0 annual fee.
More Info

Low interest rate credit cards

These cards charge low purchase interest rates typically ranging from 8.99% p.a. to 14.99% p.a. If you carry a balance, this can save you a huge amount on interest costs – especially compared to cards with interest rates above 20% p.a.

0% purchase rate offers

Some credit cards also offer 0% interest on purchases for a promotional period, typically between 6 and 14 months.

While these credit cards aren't always no frills options, the introductory 0% interest rate does give you a way to save on upcoming expenses or big ticket items. Just be aware that a higher, ongoing purchase rate will apply if you don't pay off the balance during the interest-free period.

No interest, flat fee credit cards

If you want a credit card but don't like the idea of paying interest, these credit cards offer no interest and charge a monthly fee instead. This fee ranges from $10 to $22 depending on the card and your credit limit, and is usually waived if you pay off the full balance by the due date on your statement or haven't used the card at all.

Apart from the monthly fee, these cards have very few other costs and offer low credit limits and basic features. Because they don't charge interest ever, they're often compared to both credit cards and buy now pay later (BNPL).

Low credit limit credit cards

Your credit limit is the minimum or maximum amount you can spend on your credit cards. While premium cards tend to have high credit limit options, these cards offer low credit limits that can range between minimums of $500 up to maximums of $25,000 for example. A low credit limit could work for you if this is your first credit card, you don't have big-ticket purchases to make or want to avoid overspending.

Key detail: You can request the maximum credit limit you'd like when you're applying for a credit card, but the limit you're approved for will depend on your financial situation and credit history.

The pros and cons of a no frills credit card


  • Lower fees. No frills credit cards typically charge low or $0 annual fee, which helps you cut down on yearly credit card costs.
  • Low interest rates. Choosing a no frills, low rate card can help you save on interest charges if you carry a balance.
  • Simple features. No frills credit cards don't have any bells and whistles, which can make it easier to use and manage the account.


  • Limited extra features. No frills credit cards offer the basics and can help you save on some costs. But they don't typically offer rewards points, complimentary insurance or other extras that offer value in other ways.
  • Less potential value for money. If you are a big spender and frequent traveller who always pays off your monthly account balance in full, you’ll probably get more value from using a frequent flyer credit card even if you’re forking out more for annual fees.
  • Limited spending. While a low credit limit could help curb your spending, it could be a problem in times of emergency or when you want to make a large purchase. Depending on your situation, you may be able to request a credit limit increase.

No frills credit cards are handy for people who really just want the basics of a credit card account. For other people, a card with extras could offer value in different ways. So the bottom line here is that getting a card with frills or no frills comes down to what works for you.

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Written by

Amy Bradney-George

Amy Bradney-George was the senior writer for credit cards at Finder, and editorial lead for Finder Green. She has over 16 years of editorial experience and has been featured in publications including ABC News, Money Magazine and The Sydney Morning Herald. See full profile

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