Compare no annual fee credit cards
Find a credit card that best suits your needs. Compare interest rates, balance transfer rates, annual fees and more from Australia's leading lenders, big and small.
Annual fees can be one of the biggest costs in a credit card. With an abundance of deals on the market, here’s what you need to know when comparing credit cards with no annual fee.
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For cardholders who like to keep costs down, this low rate, low fee credit card may do just that.
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for 12 months then 18.99%
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Avoid one of the biggest costs of a credit card with this competitive no annual fee offer from Virgin Money.
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Take avantage of a no-interest credit card from big four bank, NAB. Cardholders will not incur interest on expenses but pay a flat monthly fee, depending on the credit limit.
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1 in 3 Aussies don’t know their credit card interest rate, do you?
New research from Defence Bank has found that one in three (35 per cent) of credit card holders don’t know their interest rate. If you’re constantly being stung by credit card interest, it may be worth considering switching to a low-rate credit card.
What are no annual fee credit cards?
Having a fee free credit card is the ideal situation for most cardholders. And one of the biggest ongoing fees of any credit card is the annual fee.
As the name suggests, no annual fee credit cards don’t charge a yearly fee. They are a low rate card designed to help card holders keep ongoing costs down. In some instances, annual card fees may be waived for an introductory period of time. Otherwise they’ll be waived for the life of the card.
Annual fees are typically charged for account maintenance or to support features like frequent flyer programs, rewards programs and complimentary perks. However, if you know you’re a big spender or a reward points addict, no annual fee credit cards may not suit your spending style. Or if you're looking for something more specific, like a Coles rewards card to earn flybuys points or gift cards, then you may not find a no annual fee option.
Before you apply, 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 it that often, a credit card with no annual fee may suit your needs.
What are the pros and cons of no annual fee credit cards?
Benefits of no annual fee credit cards:
- Saving money: The obvious advantage of credit cards with no annual fee is that it saves you money. Credit cards with no annual fee can potentially save you hundreds or thousands of dollars compared to cards that charge anywhere from $30 - $1,200.
- Cost-effective: 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. If you know you’re not a big spender or a rewards program addict, these low frills credit cards can be a better suited option for your finances.
- Introductory deals: Some credit card providers waive annual fees for an introductory period of time, such as the first year. These can help ease the initial costs of signing up to a new credit card. This can also go hand in hand with introductory deals offering lengthy interest free periods.
Disadvantages of no annual fee credit cards:
- Introductory deals: On the other hand, while these can be good value, you’ll want to make sure that you’re still benefitting when the promotional period wears off. Be sure to check the terms and conditions to ensure that the annual fee won’t cancel out any savings you may make.
- Less features: No annual fee cards may come with less features. These fees typically go towards supporting your rewards programs and complimentary perks, such as travel insurance and other complimentary insurance covers. While some frequent flyer cards may waive annual fees, they generally go hand-in-hand with cards offering big rewards and perks. You typically won't find a platinum credit card that doesn't charge an annual fee, for example.
- Other hidden fees and costs: Just because a credit provider isn’t charging you one cost, doesn’t mean they can’t sting you in other ways. No annual fee credit cards may come with higher than average interest rates, minimal interest free days or just charge you other high ongoing fees. Do your research around all the costs you may be charged with your credit card.
Are there fee free credit cards?
If you have a credit card you may be wondering if there are any completely fee free options on the market. Unfortunately, it’s a bit like asking if there’s such thing as a free lunch. Chances are, if something is advertised as ‘fee free’ you may pay in other ways.
Credit card providers still need to make money. So, even if a credit card advertises itself as ‘fee free’ or low in fees, you may be charged through higher interest rates on purchases or cash advances, or even other fees outside of an annual fee, such as foreign transaction fees.
However, you can do your due diligence to ensure the credit card you choose has as little fees as possible - especially ones that you come across more often than others.
For example, if you’re the kind of person who always pays your credit card statement late and incurs interest, you may be better off focusing on a low-rate card option as a priority over low fees. Or, if you love shopping overseas and are frequently hit with overseas fees, opting for a foreign transaction fee free credit card may better suit your finances.
This means checking you’re using the right credit card for your spending profile. Use our guide to identify which fees and costs you may face most commonly, so you can aim to have a fee free credit card based on your own spending profile.
What other credit card fees could I be charged?
Just because you’re not being charged an annual fee, doesn’t mean you won’t be charged other fees and costs. If you're looking to have a fee free credit card, you may want to consider reviewing which of the following your credit card may sting you with:
- Purchase rate: The interest rate charged on any purchases you make after however many interest free days (if any) your card may have.
- Cash advance rate: The interest rate charged on money withdrawn from outlets like ATMs or supermarket checkouts.
- Balance transfer rate: The rate at which you are charged for transferring an existing balance on to a balance transfer credit card. Typically around 2-3 per cent.
- Foreign exchange fee: Charged when making a purchase in another currency (including online shopping), in addition to the normal exchange rate.
- Foreign transaction fees: Fees covering the extra costs of processing overseas transactions
- Late payment fee: Charged if you fail to make a minimum repayment on time.
- Payment dishonour fee: Charged if you cannot afford a payment.
- Admin fee: Ongoing fees that are charged more frequently, such as monthly, to keep your account running.
- Paper statement fee: Charged for sending you a printed balance statement in the mail.
- Payment handling fee: Fees charged for making transactions. Can vary in person and online.
- Supplementary cards: Credit card providers may charge you if you request supplementary cards for any additional cardholders.
- Rewards points caps: Not a 'cost' in the traditional sense, but a rewards card with a points cap can limit the amount of bang for your buck you're getting for your spending. Meaning you may end up spending more and getting less back than if you chose a credit card with no points cap.
How do I choose the right no annual fee credit card?
With plenty of credit cards with no annual fee on the market, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all card. Here’s how you can help to choose the right card for you:
- Ask yourself what you’ll use the card for. Are you a big spender? Bonus points chaser? Planning an overseas trip? Wanting to consolidate debt? Before you apply for a credit card with no annual fee, factor your spending habits and specific financial situation into the equation. For example, most rewards credit cards tend to come with an annual fee as this helps to fund the rewards program. It may be difficult to find a no annual fee rewards card.
- Compare card types. Would you benefit more from a Visa, Mastercard or American Express? It's worth comparing the different card types to see what better suits your financial situation.
- Compare interest rates. The purchase rate charged on a credit card is one of the biggest charges to consider. If you’re getting a no annual fee credit card to keep costs down, you’ll want to also consider if a low interest rate credit card would suit your financial situation.
- Compare other fees. As mentioned above, just because you’re not being charged an annual fee doesn’t mean you won’t be charged in other ways. Perhaps there are other fees you're looking to avoid besides an annual fee? Calculate the potential costs of keeping your credit card for a year or two against the minimum credit limit and maximum credit limit. Then compare this to your spending profile and budget to see which credit card may suit.
- Compare features and perks. Just because you're looking for fee free credit cards, doesn't mean you can't find one with helpful features and perks. This could mean a card with a high number of days interest free, one with a competitive balance transfer offer, a zero per cent interest rate introductory offer for the first year of the card, complimentary insurance, a high credit limit and more. You may also want to look at a card that can be bundled with other credit products, like a home loan.
- Use comparison tables. In a world of complicated financial jargon, comparison tables can help you to compare apples to apples. Use our comparison tools to filter down and compare different credit card purchase rates, interest free days, late payment fees and much more.
- Eligibility criteria. Before you make a card application, read the terms and conditions, product disclosure statement for a greater breakdown of any eligibility criteria you may need to meet to be approved for a credit card, as well as potential fees, costs and eligible purchases to earn rewards points.
Property Personal Finance Writer
A property and personal finance writer, Nick Bendel covers property, loans, credit cards, superannuation, and other bank products. Nick has previously written for The Adviser, Mortgage Business, Lifehacker, Business Insider, Yahoo Finance, and InvestorDaily, and loves getting elbow-deep in the latest ABS, APRA and RBA data.
Today's top credit cards
Frequently asked questions
Current Annual Fees
How to get money from a credit card
You can get money from a credit card, but generally it will cost you.
Withdrawing money from a credit card is called a cash advance, as it operates more as a loan than a simple cash withdrawal. Because it is a loan, you may be charged interest on your cash advance as soon as you make the withdrawal. Interest rates are also usually much higher for cash advances than standard credit card purchases.
In addition to the interest rate, you may also be charged a cash advance fee. This could be a flat rate, or a percentage of your total cash advance. If you are considering a cash advance, make sure to add up how much it will cost you before committing.
Can a pensioner get a credit card?
It is possible to get a credit card as a pensioner. There are some factors to keep in mind, including:
- Annual income. Look for credit cards with minimum annual income requirements you can meet.
- Annual fees. If high fees are a concern for you, opt for a card with a low or $0 annual fee.
- Interest rate. Make sure you won’t have any nasty surprises on your credit card bill. Compare cards with a low interest rates to minimise risk.
What's the best credit card for rewards?
There is no one-size-fits-all best rewards credit card. It's best you research what type of rewards program you'd like, as well as the fees, interest rate and conditions associated with those types of cards before making a choice.
Rewards credit cards can also come with high annual fees that may end up nullifying the rewards, so think how often you use the card to decide whether the benefits outweigh the extra cost for you. A card with a lower annual fee might require a lot of spending to get any useful rewards, while another card with a higher annual fee might need fewer purchases to get a reward.
How easy is it to get a credit card?
For most Australians, there are no great barriers to applying for and getting approved for a credit card. Here are some points that a lender will consider when assessing your credit card application.
Credit score: A bad credit score is not the be all and end all of your application, but it may stop you being approved for a higher credit limit. If your credit score is less than perfect, apply for the credit limit that you need, rather than the one you want.
Annual income: Most credit cards have minimum annual income requirements. Make sure you’re applying for a card where you meet the minimum.
Age & residency: You need to be at least 18 years old to apply for a credit card in Australia, and most require that you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident. However, there are some credit cards available to temporary residents.
How do you use credit cards?
A credit card can be an easy way to make purchases online, in person or over the phone. When used properly, a credit card can even help you manage your cash flow. But before applying for a credit card, it’s good to know how they work. A credit card is essentially a personal line of credit which lets you buy things and pay for them later. As a card holder, you’ll be given a credit limit and (potentially) charged interest on the money the bank lends you. At the end of each billing period, the bank will send you a statement which shows your outstanding balance and the minimum amount you need to pay back. If you don’t pay back the full balance amount, the bank will begin charging you interest.
Does ING increase credit card limits?
You may want to increase your credit card limit for many reasons, such as having access to more spending money. However, if you are using the Orange One credit card issued by ING, you may not be able to do so.
ING customers can choose a credit limit of their preference when applying for the Orange One credit card. Depending on your financial situation, this limit can be anywhere between $1,000 and $30,000. If you qualify for a Rewards Platinum card, the minimum credit card limit will likely be $6,000.
Ideally, you should set your credit card limit knowing how much you can afford to repay each month and keep your expenses lower than this level. With most credit cards, you should have the option of requesting a credit card limit increase at a later time, although you will need to qualify for any increase. With an ING credit card, limit increases are out of the question (at the time this was published), which means you may want to apply for a higher credit card limit from the beginning. Remember that you have the option of decreasing your ING credit card limit at a later time.
Should I get a credit card?
Once you've compared credit card interest rates and deals and found the right card for you, the actual process of getting a credit card is quite straightforward. You can apply for a credit card online, over the phone or in person at a bank branch.
What should you do when you lose your credit card?
Losing your credit card is a serious situation, and could land you in financial trouble. Here is a simple guide detailing what to do when you lose your credit card.
Lock you card – Contact your provider and inform them about your lost credit card. From here lock, block or cancel your card.
Keep track of transactions – Look out for unauthorised credit card transactions. Most banks protect against fraudulent transactions.
Address recurring charges – If your card is linked to recurring charges (gym membership, rent, utilities), contact those businesses.
Check credit rate – To ensure you’re not the victim of identity theft, check your credit rating a month or two after you lose your credit card.
Which credit card has the highest annual percentage rate?
The credit card market changes all the time, so the credit card with the highest annual percentage rate is also liable to change.
Keep in mind that credit card interest rates are expressed as a yearly rate, or annual percentage rate (APR). A low APR is generally good but also consider:
- There can be different APR's for each feature of the card (e.g. purchases may have an APR of 14 per cent, while cash advances on same card could have an APR of 17 per cent.
- Credit cards with a variable rate can change throughout the year, affecting your APR, so check the full details.
- If you pay your balance in full every month, having the lowest APR is not as important as the other fees associated with the card. However, if you carry a balance from month to month, then you want the lowest APR possible.
What should you do if your credit card is compromised?
Credit card fraud is a serious problem. If your credit card is compromised and you’re wondering what to do, here are a few precautionary steps to take.
Contact you credit provider – Get in touch will your credit card provider. If you feel your card has been compromised, you should be able to lock or block it.
Monitor your accounts – Keep an eye on your credit card accounts. Any unauthorised transactions could be a sign your credit card has been compromised.
Check your credit rating – It’s also important to check your credit rating, to ensure you’re not a victim of identity theft or some other financial mischief.
How to get a credit card for the first time
A credit card can be a useful financial tool, provided you understand the risks and can meet repayment obligations.
If you’re a credit card first-timer, review your options. Think about what kind of credit card would suit your lifestyle, and compare providers by fees, perks and repayments.
Once you’ve selected a card, it’s time to apply. Credit card applications can generally be completed in store, online or over the phone.
When you apply for a credit card for the first time, you must meet age, residency and income requirements. As proof, you must also provide documentation such as bank account statements.
How do you use a credit card?
Credit cards are a quick and convenient way to pay for items in store, online or over the phone. You can use a credit card as a cashless way to pay for goods or services, both locally and overseas. You can also use a credit card to make a cash advance, which gives you the flexibility to withdraw cash from your credit card account. Because a credit card uses the bank’s funds instead of your own, you will be charged interest on the money you spend – unless you pay off the entire debt within the interest-free period. If you pay the minimum monthly repayment, you will be charged interest. There are many different credit card options on the market, all offering different interest rates and reward options.
How do you cancel a credit card?
It’s important to cancel your old cards to avoid any additional fees. Unless you’re doing a balance transfer, you’ll need to pay the outstanding balance before you cancel your credit card. If you’ve opted for a card with reward points, make sure you redeem or transfer the points before you close your account. To avoid any bounced payments and save yourself an admin headache, redirect all your direct debits to a new card or account. Once you’ve done all the preparation, call your bank or credit card provider to get the cancellation underway. Once you receive a confirmation letter, destroy your card and make sure the numbers aren’t legible.
What is a balance transfer credit card?
A balance transfer credit card lets you transfer your debt balance from one credit card to another. A balance transfer credit card generally has a 0 per cent interest rate for a set period of time. When you roll your debt balance over to a new credit card, you’ll be able to take advantage of the interest-free period to pay your credit card debt off faster without accruing additional interest charges. If your application is approved, the provider will pay out your old credit card and transfer your debt balance over to the new card.
How do I apply for a BOQ credit card limit increase?
If you’re an existing BOQ customer, you can request a BOQ credit card limit increase over a phone call. However, you should remember that owning and using a credit card is a matter of financial responsibility, so it might be worth thinking this decision through.
When requesting a credit card limit increase, you’ll need to be just as responsible in terms of how much you earn and can set aside to repay the outstanding card balance. A credit card company may approve a credit limit increase only if you can show that you have either the income or the disposable income, which is the amount you have left after all expenses have been paid out.
For this purpose, you may need to submit your latest income documents and bank statements for an increase. You may want to estimate how much you usually have left after deducting your expenses, and then use this amount to try and convince the credit card company. Also, you may prefer to pay off the card balance in full each month and thus avoid paying interest on the card, helping you back up any claims of financial responsibility, as well.
Remember that you may not be able to apply for a credit card limit increase beyond any limitations on the type of card you own. For instance, if you own a card whose ceiling is $10,000, and your current limit is $5,000, you won't likely be able to apply for a $10,000 credit card limit increase.
How do you apply for a credit card?
You can apply for a credit card online, over the phone or in person at the bank. Once you’ve compared the current credit card offers, the application process is quick and easy. Before you get your application started, you’ll need to gather your personal information like proof of ID, payslips and bank statements, proof of employment and details of your income, assets and liabilities. To be eligible for a credit card, you’ll need to be an Australian citizen over 18 and earn a minimum of $15,000 each year. Once you’ve applied for a credit card, you should get a response fairly instantly. If your credit card application has been approved, you should receive a welcome pack with your new credit card within 10-15 days.
How to make a credit card online
If you’re wondering about how to make a credit card online application, here are some steps to follow:
- Test the market. Many credit card options are available online. Compare providers by fees, interest and perks to ensure you’re getting the best deal.
- Complete the application. Once you’ve selected a card, head to the provider’s website and complete the online credit card application form. Forms vary by providers.
- Provide details. Most cards require you to meet age, residency, income and credit status condition, and you need to provide details like a bank account statement to prove this.
- Review details. Ensure the information you’ve entered is correct.
Where can I get a credit card?
Looking to get your first credit card? You might be confused as to exactly where to go to apply for one. Here’s where to go when you are ready to put in that application.
The bank: Your bank is a great place to start, provided that you have a good banking history. Since you already have a financial history, you have more chance of your application being approved.
Credit card provider: Another option is to apply for a credit card directly from the issuer, such as Visa, Mastercard or Amex. This will most likely be an online application, so do your research and apply for a suitable card for your circumstances.
Major retailers: Coles, Woolworths, Myer and David Jones all have credit cards available. But watch out for the interest rate and annual fees – these cards are designed to help you spend more in store.
How is credit card interest charged?
Your credit card will be charged interest when you don’t pay off the balance on your credit card. Your card provider or bank charges you the individual interest rate that is associated with your card, which is usually between 10 and 20 per cent.
The interest will be added onto your bill each month or billing period if you don’t pay off the balance, unless you are in an interest-free period.
You will be charged interest on anything that hasn’t been paid for inside the interest-free period. Usually you will receive a notice on your bill or statement saying you will be charged interest so you have some form of notice before you’re charged.