No Annual Fee Cards 101
A no annual fee card is a type of credit card that doesn’t charge an annual fee. By choosing a no annual fee card, you don’t have to worry about covering ongoing fees, meaning you can keep the card in your wallet for ‘free’ – as long as you clear your balance before it starts accruing interest.
You will find most credit cards in Australia charge an annual fee. How much you pay in annual fees usually depends on the type of credit card you have, and the features it offers. Rewards cards typically charge higher annual fees, as do prestige cards, such as platinum and black cards, as they tend to offer more in the way of features.
Basically, the annual fee you pay covers the cost of what your credit card provides. Which is why no annual fee cards are usually pretty simple. While you can find some no annual fee cards that offer rewards and extras, they typically don’t offer the same value in those extras as those found on cards with higher annual fees.
No Annual Fee Credit Cards - Frequently Asked Questions
No annual fee cards can help lower ongoing costs, while helping to keep things simple. How do you know if a no annual fee card is right for you? Let’s take a look.
- You want to save money. A no annual fee card lowers the ongoing costs of keeping a credit to zero (as long as you avoid interest as well).
- You want a basic card. No annual fee cards tend to have fewer extras on offer, which means less small print to keep track of.
- You don’t use your card that often. With a no annual fee card, you can use it when you need it, without paying an ongoing fee for the privilege.
- You want a credit card for emergencies. A no annual fee card is there when you need it, helping you cover unexpected costs. And when you don’t need it, you’re not paying for it.
Choosing the right card really comes down to how you will use it. As you compare the options on CreditCard.com.au, think about the following factors and how they may affect you:
- Purchase Rate: If you know you will always clear your balance before it starts accruing interest, your card’s purchase rate shouldn’t matter too much. On the other hand, if you tend to carry a balance, look for a no annual fee card with a low purchase rate as well.
- Features: No annual fee cards tend to be low on features, but you can still compare the options to see what’s on offer. TIP: If the card offers more features, you may find the purchase rate is higher.
- Rewards: While rewards are rare on no annual fee cards, there are some options out there. You may find the earn rate is actually lower on cards with no annual fee, but as you are essentially earning rewards for free, which could appeal to some users.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make with a no annual fee card is to carry a balance. No annual fee cards tend to charge more in interest, so carrying a balance can become costly. Always try clear your balance each month to avoid interest accruing, and to really make the most of those annual fee savings.
While some cards charge no annual fee for the life of the card, other cards provide no annual fee offers. Here are the two types of no annual fee offers to keep an eye out for:
No Annual Fee Introductory Offer
Opting for this type of card, you will pay no annual fee over an introductory period (usually one year), and after that, you will pay the card’s standard annual fee. This type of offer can provide a great way to trial a card, trying out its features or rewards program for ‘free’. If you plan to keep the card in the long term, make sure you can afford the standard annual fee, and that it provides good value for what’s on offer.
No Annual Fee After Meeting A Minimum Spend
With this type of card, you pay no annual fee as long as you spend a certain amount on the card each year. As long as you can afford to spend this amount – and you pay it off each month before it starts accruing interest – this can provide an easy way to make use of the card’s features while saving on ongoing fees.
While no annual fee cards tend to be basic in nature, some can offer extras such as introductory offers. You may find some no annual fee cards offer deals on balance transfers, and on occasion, some may provide purchase offers.
Opting for a balance transfer offer on a no annual fee card could be very beneficial, helping you to save on annual fees, while you pay down more of your balance. Unlike rewards cards that encourage spending, no annual fee cards help you to focus on clearing your balance rather than adding to it.
As for purchase offers, while these may be uncommon, they can be an awesome find. Not only are you paying no annual fees, you are also paying nothing in interest over the introductory period.