The benefits of a no frills credit card

Save with low annual fees, interest rates and credit limits with a no frills credit card.

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Couple paying for lunch at cafe with credit card.

If you're more interested in competitive interest rates and low annual fees rather than flashy extra features, you might want to consider a no frills credit card. These cards are suited to people who use their credit card for emergencies and want to cut back on credit card costs. You can use this guide to 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.

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

Rates last updated September 21st, 2019
Name Product Annual fee Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate Product Description
Latitude 28° Global Platinum Mastercard
$0 p.a.
21.99% p.a.
Save with 0% foreign transaction fees on purchases. Plus, complimentary flight delay passes and a global wifi access.
Citi Clear Platinum Credit Card
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
12.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 14 months
Offers a long-term balance transfer and $0 first year annual fee. Plus, insurance covers and Citibank Dining Program perks. Ends 30 September 2019.
ME frank Credit Card
$0 p.a.
11.99% p.a.
Save money with an ongoing $0 annual fee, the same low 11.99% p.a. interest rate on purchases and cash advances, and up to 55 days interest free.
St.George Vertigo Classic - Exclusive Offer
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
0% for 14 months, reverts to 13.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months
Finder Exclusive:
Low rate card offering 0% p.a. interest on purchases for the first 14 months and on balance transfers for 6 months. Plus, a $0 first year annual fee.
HSBC Platinum Qantas Credit Card
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($79 p.a. thereafter)
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months
Save with a $0 first year annual fee and a long-term balance transfer offer. Plus, complimentary travel insurance.
Citi Rewards Platinum Credit Card - Balance Transfer Offer
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($199 p.a. thereafter)
20.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 26 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
Earn reward Points per $1 spent, take advantage of a 0% p.a. for 26 month balance transfer offer, plus $0 first year annual fee.
BOQ Platinum Visa Credit Card
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months
Enjoy 1,000 bonus Q Rewards points monthly when you meet the spend requirement, a 12-month balance transfer offer and $0 first year annual fee.
Virgin No Annual Fee Credit Card
$0 p.a.
18.99% p.a.
6.9% p.a. for 36 months
Offers 6.9% p.a. for 36 months on balance transfers and up to 44 days interest-free on purchases, all for a $0 annual fee.
BankSA No Annual Fee
$0 p.a.
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
Offers a 0% p.a. for 12 months balance transfer, up to 55 days interest-free on purchases and an ongoing $0 annual fee.
Bank of Melbourne No Annual Fee Card
$0 p.a.
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
Take advantage of 0% p.a. for 12 months on balance transfers, up to 55 days interest-free on purchases and no annual fee for the life of the card.
St.George No Annual Fee
$0 p.a.
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
Receive up to 55 days interest-free on purchases, a low minimum credit limit of $500 and a long-term balance transfer offer.
NAB Low Rate Business Card
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($60 p.a. thereafter)
0% for 12 months, reverts to 13.25% p.a.
Save with 0% p.a. interest for 12 months on purchases and receive complimentary unauthorised transaction insurance. ABN required.
Westpac Low Fee Platinum Card
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($90 p.a. thereafter)
0% for 9 months, reverts to 20.09% p.a.
Save with a $0 first year annual fee and a 0% p.a. interest rate for 9 months on purchases with platinum perks.

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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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Credit Cards Comparison

Rates last updated September 21st, 2019
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate Annual fee Product Description
Citi Clear Platinum Credit Card
12.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 14 months
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Offers a long-term balance transfer and $0 first year annual fee. Plus, insurance covers and Citibank Dining Program perks. Ends 30 September 2019.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Annual Fee Offer
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months
$50 p.a.
Save with an ongoing $50 annual fee and 0% balance transfer offer. Plus, the ability to earn up to 30,000 bonus Velocity Points in the first 3 months.
NAB Qantas Rewards Signature Card
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$295 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($395 p.a. thereafter)
Collect up to 120,000 bonus Qantas Points. Get 90,000 when you spend $3,000 on eligible purchases in the first 60 days and 30,000 after 12 months.
Latitude Low Rate Mastercard
11.99% p.a.
$69 p.a.
Offers a competitively low interest rate and annual fee, plus up to 55 interest-free days on purchases.

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* The credit card offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of credit cards finder.com.au has access to track details from 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. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your own personal financial circumstances when comparing cards.

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