No interest monthly fee credit cards give you a way to buy what you want from anywhere that accepts cards, then pay it off at your own pace. While there are no interest charges, there is a minimum payment amount and potentially a monthly fee, depending on how you use the card. These cards are similar to traditional credit cards, but can also be compared to buy now pay later plans.
In this guide, you can find out how these cards work and what to think about before choosing between a no interest card, typical credit card and a buy now pay later service.
This new type of no interest credit card may charge a monthly fee instead of interest. This fee ranges from $10 to $22 and is determined by the credit limit of the card. Usually, this fee will be reversed if you don't use the card and/or have a $0 balance for a statement period.
No interest monthly fee credit cards have credit limits of $1,000, $2,000 or $3,000. You can use them with any business that accepts Visa or Mastercard payments, but will not be able to withdraw cash or make other cash advance transactions. You also can't get a balance transfer to one of these cards. Put simply: you can use this card for everyday spending, but nothing else.
If you're comparing no interest monthly fee credit cards to traditional credit cards and buy now pay later services, here are the pros and cons to keep in mind.
- Don't use, don't pay. With NAB and CommBank, when you don't use the card and have a $0 balance for the statement period, the monthly fee is reversed. The Westpac Flex allows you to use your card and will waive the fee, as long as you've paid off the previous month's balance on time.
- No interest charges. No interest charges means you'll know exactly what you have to pay every month.
- Wide acceptance. Unlike buy now pay later services, you can use these cards anywhere credit cards are accepted.
- Cost for use. There are no annual fees, but using these cards every month for a year will cost you $120 - $264. The Westpac Flex waives the monthly fee when you've paid off the previous month's balance in full.
- Fewer features. With these cards you cannot make cash advances or transfer a balance and there are minimal perks.
- Credit check. When you apply for these cards, you'll be subject to a credit check, unlike most buy now pay later.
If you're interested in this type of card, here are the key details to look at:
- Monthly fee. This is the only cost of using one of these no interest cards. They do not charge late payment fees or foreign currency exchange fees. Monthly fees range from $10 to $22 based on your credit limit. The higher the limit, the higher the monthly fee.
- Credit limit. The StraightUp and Neo no interest monthly fee credit cards offer credit limits of $1,000, $2,000 or $3,000. You can request a credit limit when you apply but it is subject to lending criteria and approval (the same as other credit cards). The Flex only offers one credit limit of $1,000.
- Minimum repayments. Your minimum repayments with this type of card will either be a fixed dollar amount or a percentage of your balance. For example, the NAB StraightUp card has minimum monthly repayments between $35 and $110 depending on your credit limit, while the CommBank Neo has minimum repayments of $25 or 2% of your balance (whichever is greater). The Westpac Flex offers the choice of a minimum of $40 / month or the full amount owing.
- What you can use it for. You can pay for most of your purchases with a no interest monthly fee credit card. This usually includes bills, although it does depend on how the bill payment is made. If you want to pay off existing card debt, withdraw cash or pay for big-ticket items worth more than $3,000, then you'll have more options when you look at other credit cards.
- Other perks. Most no interest monthly fee credit cards offer 0% foreign transaction fees when you're shopping with overseas businesses (including online), which could save you around 2-3% compared to other credit and even debit cards. You can also get exclusive shopping offers through Mastercard Priceless, Visa Offers + Perks, Westpac Rewards & Extras, or CommBank Rewards, depending on the card.
How a no interest monthly fee credit card affects your credit score
When you apply for a no interest monthly fee credit card, the details will be added to your credit report and can influence your credit score. If you use one of these cards wisely, you'll build up good credit history that can increase your chance of approval for other loans in the future.
This is the same as other credit cards but different to buy now pay later plans, which don't usually add to your credit report. Not having credit history from a buy now pay later plan can make it harder to know where you stand when you apply for new loans, because they could still be considered as part of the financial assessment.
If you want a clearer picture of your credit history and financial health, you can get a free copy of your credit report and credit score through Finder in a few minutes.
How are no interest monthly fee credit cards different to credit cards with 0% interest rate offers?
If you get a typical credit card that offers 0% p.a. on purchases or balance transfers, that interest-free term will only last for an introductory period. After that, ongoing interest rates and charges apply to your balance. These cards may also have annual fees, which typically range from $30 to $300 or more depending on the card and its features.
No interest monthly fee credit cards don't charge interest ever. The monthly fee is the key charge you'll pay. And it can add up to a similar amount as a typical credit card. For example, if you paid a $10 monthly fee every month for a year, it would cost you $120.
How do no interest monthly fee credit cards compare to buy now pay later plans?
With a buy now pay later (BNPL) plan, such as Afterpay or zip, there are usually no fees when you follow the repayment plan. With these plans, you repay the same amount over a fixed period of time. For example, if you used Afterpay for a $1,000 purchase, you'd make 4 repayments of $250 each over 4 fortnights (56 days).
If you get a buy now pay later plan with no fees and stick to the payment schedule, it won't cost you anything. But you will be limited to retailers that offer your preferred buy now pay later service.
In comparison, a no interest monthly fee credit card can be used with any business that takes card payments. You have a monthly fee when you carry a balance, and need to make minimum repayments each month. You can also pay more when it's affordable. Basically, this type of card gives you more options for where you can use it and how long you take to pay it off.