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.
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.
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.Back to top
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