The obvious advantage of a credit card with no annual fee is the money you save. Credit cards with no annual fee can potentially save you hundreds or thousands of dollars over the life of the credit card.
By choosing a credit card with no annual fee, you’ll save on costs and may be able to pay off your credit card balance sooner.
Just because the credit card has no annual fee, doesn’t mean it has no other features. There are plenty of credit cards that have no annual fee and loads of other perks and benefits.
With an abundance of card deals on the market, here’s what you need to know when comparing credit cards with no annual fee.
What is a credit card with no annual fee?
Credit cards with no annual fee don’t charge the cardholder a yearly account maintenance fee. Annual credit card fees can range from $0 all the way up to more than $500, depending on the type of card and the features that come with it. Credit cards with no annual fees can help keep your overall card costs low as well as being cost-effective for those that don’t use their cards that often.
Depending on the credit card you choose, the annual card fee may be waived for an introductory period of time or there may be no annual fees for the life of the card. When you’re comparing credit cards with no annual fee, be sure to check the terms and conditions. If the card offers no annual fee for a set period, check that the ongoing fee doesn’t cancel out any savings you may make.
Even though the credit card may have no annual fee, there may be other fees you’ll want to be aware of when weighing up your options.
If you travel frequently or plan to use the card to buy something online from an overseas retailer, check what the foreign exchange fees are and if there are any additional fees on international currency conversions. If you find it hard to keep track of when your payment is due and you don’t have a direct debit set up, you may find yourself with late payment fees. Check to see what the charges are as these can quickly add up over a year. Other fees to look out for are any cash advance fees or charges for using any ATMs.
When you spend money on a credit card, you’re using the bank’s money to pay upfront instead of using your own funds. Because the bank is loaning you the money upfront, they charge you interest on the money you borrow and can also charge an annual card fee amongst other fees. If the credit card has no annual fee, the bank may look to recoup their costs by charging a higher interest rate. If you don’t manage to pay off your monthly card balance, carrying the balance over from month to month with a higher interest rate can end up costing you more than the annual fee. In this case, a low-fee credit card with a lower interest rate might work better for you.
Before you apply for a credit card with no annual fee, factor your spending habits into the equation and compare all your options to make sure you find a card that works for your circumstances.
What to look for in credit cards with no annual fee
When it comes to comparing credit cards with no annual fees, there is no shortage of options. With some credit card providers offering incentives for signing up and others offering rewards that last the life of the card, it can be challenging to know what to look out for.
Before you apply for a credit card with no annual fee, think about how often you use your credit card. If you’re looking for a backup credit card for those ‘just in case’ moments, or you really don’t use your credit card all that often, a credit card with no annual fee may suit your needs.
You’ll also want to factor in your spending habits. If you don’t manage to pay more than the minimum monthly payment, you may want to consider a low-rate credit card instead of a credit card with no annual fee. Credit cards with no annual fee tend to have slightly higher interest rates, which won’t work in your favour if you carry your monthly balance over.
If you’ve got an existing credit card debt, transferring over to a credit card with no annual fee may not be the best move for you. While you’ll save the annual fee, you probably won’t pay off the debt any faster. A low-rate balance transfer card may work best for you in this instance.
Credit cards with no annual fees don’t tend to have as many bells and whistles as other premium cards. If you’re looking for added extras like a concierge service, complimentary insurance and a rewards program, you may not find a card that offers those without charging an annual fee.
To incentivise new customers to sign up, some credit card companies offer no annual fees for the first year, in addition to other perks. While these can be good value, you’ll want to make sure that when the promotional period wears off, you’re still benefitting.
Even though the credit card has no annual fee, this doesn’t mean that there are no other fees. Keep a lookout for other costs like late payment, foreign transaction and cash advance fees.
Types of credit cards with no annual fee
With plenty of credit cards with no annual fee on the market, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all credit card. Here are some of the more popular types of credit cards with no annual fee that you can find out there.
Credit cards with no annual fee with rewards
While most rewards cards tend to charge annual fees, there are still some credit cards with no annual fees that offer rewards.
Credit cards with no annual fees that offer rewards let cardholders turn their everyday spending into rewards points. With points earned for every $1 spent, these cards can be good value. Depending on the rewards program, points can be redeemed for merchandise, flights or cash. Rewards cards tend to attract higher interest rates, so while you have no annual fee, check that the interest rate doesn’t detract from the rewards.
Balance transfer credit cards with no annual fee
If you’ve got an existing credit card debt on a card with a high interest rate, you may want to consider switching to a balance transfer card that offers a low or 0 per cent promotional interest rate. When you combine a low or 0 per cent interest rate with a credit card with no annual fees, you may be able to pay off your debt faster and save money.
As balance transfer cards usually have a promotional low interest rate, be sure to check what the standard interest rate reverts to. Ideally, if you’re transferring a debt over to a balance transfer credit card with no annual fee, it can be a good idea to pay off the balance before the promotional interest rate wears off.
Other types of credit cards with no annual fees could include cards which offer a 0 per cent promotional rate or low-interest credit cards with no annual fee, as well as frequent flyer credit cards with no annual fee.
There are many different types of credit cards with no annual fee on the market. As these types of credit cards often have higher interest rates, they’re generally best suited to infrequent spenders that pay off their full balance every month. As with any credit card or financial product, you’ll need to be disciplined to take full advantage of any rewards.
If you’re after a credit card that’s packed with features and flexibility, a credit card with no annual fee may not be your best option. Before you make the decision, it pays to do your research and compare your options.