No Frills Credit Cards

Paying for perks you don't use is a waste. With a no frills credit card you can save money with lower interest rates and low annual fees.

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If you're more interested in competitive interest rates and low annual fees rather than flashy extra features, a no frills credit card could be for you. These cards 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. Compare the different types of basic credit cards and find the right one for you.

What is a no frills credit card?

A no frills credit card is a basic credit card offering a low interest rate or $0 annual fee, but with little or no additional features. The types of credit cards that fall under this category include cards with low interest rates, no annual fees and small credit limits. They typically won't offer rewards, insurance, concierge services or other perks.

Low interest rate credit cards

These cards charge low purchase interest rates that range between 8.99% p.a. and 14.99% p.a. This is competitive compared to other cards with interest rates ranging between 18% p.a. and 22% p.a. Some cards even offer 0% interest on purchases for promotional periods that can range between 6 and 14 months. At the end of the 0% introductory period, the purchases attract the standard purchase rate. Low rate cards are suited to people who regularly carry a balance from month to month and want to reduce their interest costs.

No annual fee credit cards

While credit cards with extra features and rewards programs generally charge high annual fees, there are some no frills cards that charge $0 annual fee. Depending on the card, the $0 annual fee may apply for the first year or for the life of the card. You'll find cards that charge no annual fee across a few different credit card types including balance transfer, rewards, frequent flyer credit cards and travel cards that offer zero annual fees. 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.

Compare no annual fee credit cards

Name Product Annual fee Purchase rate Balance transfer rate
Coles No Annual Fee Mastercard - Exclusive Offer
$0
0% p.a. for 12 months, reverts to 19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months
Finder Exclusive, ends 30 June 2021
Earn 10,000 bonus Flybuys points and save on interest charges with 0% p.a. on balance transfers and purchases for 12 months.
Kogan Money Black Card - Exclusive Offer
$0
20.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 24 months
Finder Exclusive
Save with a $0 annual fee and a 0% introductory rate on balance transfers. Plus, earn $50 Kogan.com Credit and uncapped rewards points.
Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard
$0
14.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 26 months with 2% balance transfer fee
Get 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 26 months (with a 2% BT fee), ​an ongoing $0 annual fee and 0% foreign transaction fees.
ANZ Low Rate
$0 annual fee for the first year ($58 p.a. thereafter)
12.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 30 months
Save with 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 30 months (with no BT fee) and $0 first-year annual fee. Plus a 12.49% p.a. purchase interest rate.
Bankwest Breeze Classic Mastercard
$0 annual fee for the first year ($49 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 15 months, reverts to 9.9% p.a.
0% p.a. for 15 months
Save with 0% p.a. on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (with no BT fee). Plus, a $0 first-year annual fee.
Westpac Low Rate Card
$0 annual fee for the first year ($59 p.a. thereafter)
13.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 28 months with 1% balance transfer fee
Save with a $0 annual fee for the first year, plus, a 0% interest rate on balance transfers for 28 months.
ANZ Platinum Credit Card
$0 annual fee for the first year ($87 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 17 months, reverts to 20.24% p.a.
20.24% p.a.
Receive a 0% purchase rate offer for 17 months and a $0 first-year annual fee. Plus, complimentary overseas travel and medical insurance.
Bankwest Breeze Platinum Mastercard
$0 annual fee for the first year ($69 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 15 months, reverts to 9.9% p.a.
0% p.a. for 15 months
Get 0% interest on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, a $0 first-year annual fee and no foreign transaction fees.
St.George No Annual Fee
$0
0% p.a. for 12 months, reverts to 20.74% p.a.
Save with a 0% p.a. interest rate offer and a $0 annual fee. Plus, a minimum credit limit of $500.
MoneyMe Freestyle Virtual Mastercard
$0
16.99% p.a.
Get approved quickly online and start using your card right away. Plus, the ability to transfer money to a bank account.
Bankwest Zero Mastercard
$0
14.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 26 months with 2% balance transfer fee
Features an ongoing $0 annual fee and an introductory rate of 0% p.a. for 26 months on balance transfers (with a 2% BT fee).
Coles Rewards Mastercard
$0 annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
Get 20,000 bonus Flybuys points (worth $100 at Coles), a $0 first-year annual fee and an 18-month balance transfer offer. Ends 30 June 2021.
NAB Low Rate Credit Card
$0 annual fee for the first year ($59 p.a. thereafter)
12.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 26 months with 2% balance transfer fee
Get a 0% interest rate on balance transfers for the first 26 months (with 2% BT fee). Plus, save with a $0 first-year annual fee.
Qantas American Express Discovery Card
$0
20.74% p.a.
Earn 0.75 Qantas Points for your everyday purchases, uncapped, and pay $0 annual fee for the life of the card on this no-frills frequent flyer card.
BankSA No Annual Fee
$0
0% p.a. for 12 months, reverts to 20.74% p.a.
Offers 0% p.a. on purchases for 12 months and an ongoing $0 annual fee.
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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. 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

Pros

  • Save with low fees. No frills credit cards typically charge low or $0 annual fee, which will help you cut your yearly credit card costs.
  • Low interest rates. If you don't usually repay your balance in full each month, a card with low interest rates can help you save and reduce your accumulated debt compared to cards that charge higher rates. Even if your card charges a low rate, you should still aim to pay off as much as you can each month.
  • Less temptation to spend. If your card has a lower credit limit or doesn't offer reward points as you spend, you may be less likely to make unnecessary purchases or spend beyond your means.

Cons

  • Limited extra features. You can usually expect more competitive rewards programs and extra features with premium cards that charge higher rates and fees. There are some cards that offer extra perks and points as well as competitive rates and fees, so you should compare your options to find the right balance for you.
  • Less 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.
  • Low credit limit. 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 can be beneficial and cost-efficient for some people, but will not be suitable for everyone. As always, we recommend that you research and discover all the available credit card options out there before deciding on the one that will best serve your personal needs and spending habits.
Images: Getty

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