No Annual Fee Credit Cards

Updated 22 September 2021

You can save money with a no annual fee credit card for as long as you keep the card or for an introductory period.

Most credit cards in Australia charge an annual fee, but you can get a credit card without one. Known as no annual fee credit cards, they help you save up to $100 a year (or more!) by charging no ongoing fees for using the card.

What to know about no annual fee credit cards:

  • The no annual fee offer may be a permanent feature of the card or it might be a limited offer. If it’s a limited offer, you will be charged an annual fee from the second or third year.
  • No annual fee cards don’t usually offer perks such as rewards point.
  • You can also enjoy other benefits, such as 0% purchase rate or 0% balance transfer rates, with no annual fee cards.
We’ve found some no annual fee credit cards for you to compare below. If the annual fee is waived for only the first or second year, we’ve listed what it will be. Make sure you check what other fees and interest rates come with the card before you apply.
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Is no annual fee right for you?

A credit card with no annual fee saves you from ongoing costs that add up over time. It’s perfect for anyone looking for a simple card with a few perks and a focus on saving money over features. Here’s how to know if a no annual fee card is right for you, and the full pros and cons.

No Annual Fee Cards 101

A no annual fee card doesn’t charge ongoing yearly fees, which will save you anywhere from $100 or less each year, up to $1,450 depending on the card.

While that seems like an unbeatable bonus, the decision to use a no annual fee card depends on how you’ll use your credit card each day, because they’re often lower in features and perks.

What’s the difference between a credit card with or without an annual fee?

Annual fees are charged by credit card providers to cover their costs, which is why a card with no annual fee may not include all the same bells and whistles.

Many no annual fee cards don’t offer rewards, frequent flyer points or discounts with partnering businesses, which might negate the savings on the annual fee.

That said, it’s worth comparing no annual fee cards because some offer an introductory fee-free period with all the rewards of a regular card, which might suit you if you’re looking at trialling a card, earning quick bonus points, or wanting to increase your credit score.

Or, you might just be looking for a simple card that’s as close to a free credit card as you can get.

What are the benefits of a no annual fee card?

  • Pay zero in annual fees to have the card, potentially saving hundreds of dollars.
  • No annual fee cards can still offer limited perks, like frequent flyer points and rewards per dollar spent.
  • Can be a great way to pay down debt by doing a zero-fee balance transfer and saving on the annual fee.

What are the cons of no annual fee cards?

  • No annual fee cards may not earn rewards points, or at least earn less points than cards with an annual fee. Typically, the higher the annual fee, the better the rewards and extras.
  • The no annual fee period may only be a limited time ($0 annual fee for the first year, for example).
  • A higher purchase rate often applies on no annual fee cards, which is why it’s important to pay your balance each month in full if you really want to get bang for your buck with this type of card. Check the purchase rate in our comparison guide, and particularly the balance transfer rate if you’re moving your debt from another card. Balance transfers on no annual fee cards often attract the higher cash advance rate once the introductory interest-free period is over.

Who suits a no annual fee card?

There’s no such thing as a free credit card, because there’s always the risk of paying interest on your balance if it’s not paid off in full each month.

But, if you’re diligent about repayments, a no annual fee credit card will cost you nothing to keep in your wallet, which can be a great option for the right person.

A no annual fee card is perfect for:

  • First-time credit card holders as a way to build a credit score, without paying ongoing fees.
  • Having as an emergency card or for infrequent use.
  • Those who pay off their credit card each month in full, and don’t carry any balance over to the next month (so you’ll have no out-of-pocket expenses for your credit card).
  • Anyone who is happy to casually earn rewards and frequent flyer points, or none at all..
  • Those who track their credit card use and switch to a new provider when the annual fee is about to kick in, if it’s an introductory offer.

When another card might be a better option:

Comparing cards for the best no annual fee deal

When you’re using our comparison guide, you’ll find some cards waive the annual fee for life, while others have conditions applied. You’ll see the details alongside each credit card to make it easy for you to compare.

When comparing, look for factors like:

Annual fee: is it free for life or just for a limited time? (A limited time annual fee waiver can still be a good option if you cancel the card before the offer ends).

Balance transfer: what’s the purchase rate (the interest charged) if you’re transferring a balance from one credit card to a no annual fee card? Some cards don’t allow interest free periods on a balance transfer.

Interest free days: some no annual fee cards don’t offer interest free periods.

Purchase rate: it’s not uncommon for no annual fee cards to have a slightly higher purchase rate, or apply the cash advance rate after an interest free period. If you plan to pay off your card in full each month, the purchase rate isn’t as important overall.

Rewards earn: some cards still offer rewards on your spending, but check if the no annual fee waiver may be an introductory offer only. You can also look for bonus offers that include annual fee waivers, like the Qantas American Express Discovery Card that offers uncapped Qantas points with a free-for-life no annual fee as a limited time offer.

Other benefits: does the card have any other helpful discounts, privileges or incentives?

Previous cardholder: some no annual fee cards are only available to new customers.

All rates, fees and offers correct at the time of publication as of 22nd September 2021.

No annual fee cards are simple credit cards that help lower ongoing costs. They’re a good choice if:

  • You want to save money. A no annual fee card lowers the ongoing costs of keeping a credit card 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 suits those looking for simplicity, or to build a credit score.
  • 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.

While some cards charge no annual fee for the life of the card, others provide no annual fee deals that expire after certain criteria are met.

Here are the two types of no annual fee offers to keep an eye out for:

No Annual Fee Introductory Offer

Most introductory offers waive the first years’ annual fee. Once the time period has ended, you’ll pay the standard card fee. This type of offer can provide a great way to trial a card as a new cardholder, or see how much you benefit from the rewards it offers.

You could then cancel the card before the introductory offer expires, or continue using it if the annual fee is affordable or outweighed by the card’s rewards program and benefits.

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.

Yes! Although they’re a more basic form of credit card, plenty of providers still offer bonuses like rewards points, cashback and gift cards. For example, the Coles No Annual Fee Mastercard gives $100 off your Coles shopping when you spend $1500 on eligible purchases within 60 days.

You’ll also find offers on balance transfers, low purchase rates, and free additional cardholders. Easy summaries of introductory offers can be found in our comparison guide alongside each card.

Comparing a no annual fee card to the benefits of a rewards card is a totally personal decision.

You can work it out by comparing the annual fee to the rewards earn rate to calculate which one would benefit you more over the course of a year. For example, the popular ANZ Rewards Platinum credit card charges $95 annual fee and earns 2 points per $1 up to $2000 per month, and 0.5 per $1 thereafter.

22,225 points will get you a $100 Woolworths gift card (although points can be spent on travel and merchandise at various rates), so you’d need to spend around $926 per month on your card to outweigh your annual fee with a gift card redemption.

Typically, the higher the annual fee, the better the rewards, so you’ll need to run some comparisons on rewards cards to see if it’s a good fit for you.

Plenty of no annual fee cards offer zero fees for a balance transfer, and an introductory 0% rate. Be aware that it’s common for balance transfers to have a high purchase rate or the cash advance rate applied after the waived period. If you can set up a plan to pay off your debt within the 0% timeframe, you’ll have paid no interest and no fees for the privilege of being debt-free.

Compare the options on the best Qantas and Frequent Flyer comparison guide and select the arrow to sort by annual fees. You’ll find most cards with great frequent flyer incentives also charge higher annual fees, but providers regularly offer bonuses or 12-month no annual fee offers.

The American Express Velocity Escape Credit Card and Qantas American Express Discovery Credit Card are solid performers who usually offer low or no annual fees and reasonable frequent flyer earn rates, and are worth checking out.

Also look for:

Bonus points offers: some cards offer big sign-up bonus points, although the annual fee waiver is most likely to be for the first 12 months, and can be quite high thereafter.

Points per dollar: a no or low annual fee card with frequent flyer points may have a lower earn rate, such as 0.75 points per dollar rather than 1 or 2.

Other benefits: many credit cards offer other bonuses like discounts on merchandise and entertainment, free travel insurance and perks on holidays and car hire. Sometimes the perks can outweigh the annual fee, so make sure you’re choosing a card that benefits your lifestyle.

No annual fee cards still attract the same penalties and fees as other credit cards, including:

Cash advance fees: you should always avoid withdrawing cash from your credit card because it attracts interest immediately, which will hurt your wallet more with the higher purchase rates attached to most no annual fee cards. Some cards charge up to 22% interest on cash advances, so it’s best to avoid the practice altogether.

Late payment penalties: if you’re late on your minimum payments, you’ll be charged a late fee as per standard credit card custom. You can avoid this by setting up automatic payments from your bank account. Many providers give you the option to autopay the full amount each month so you never have to pay interest.

Currency conversion fees: when you buy from an overseas merchant or you’re travelling internationally, your spending may include a foreign exchange fee, usually a percentage of the purchase amount. Some providers waive this fee, so check the card’s terms and conditions if you’re a frequent global spender.

Once you’ve found a card that suits you using our comparison guide, you can click through to the provider’s online application form and apply directly.

You’ll need to provide some details like identification, bank statements, and payslips, and meet certain eligibility criteria such as age and proof of residency.

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99 questions (showing the latest 10 Q&As)

Ms

Ms

20 September 2021
How can I get free credit card?? By use medicine only??
    Roland B Bleyer - CreditCard.com.au Founder

    Roland

    21 September 2021
    Hi Ms, applying for a credit card is free but you need to make sure that you meet all the eligibility criteria. You can check on our comparison tool for all cards available to us and to check your eligibility. Let us know how you get on.
Kate

Kate

11 September 2021
My current credit card just announced it will charge me 2% for every automatic payment I use it for e.g. Tolls, Electricity, gas, Spotify, etc, etc. Ive never had this before - is it new or is it common? How can I avoid these fees on a new card - they don’t seem to be mentioned either way.
    Roland B Bleyer - CreditCard.com.au Founder

    Roland

    13 September 2021
    Hi Kate, thanks for your comment and we’d like to learn more. If you could reply back with who you bank with we may be able to help more
Matt

Matt

3 September 2021
Am looking for a credit card with no cap on spend, not limited to where I can spend and earn maximum points per $ spent as we want to utilise my points for travelling.
Clinton

Clinton

10 July 2021
When a card says 0% on purchases for 15 months or however long, does this apply to every use of the card and then go to a percentage charge after that for the rest of the life if use.?
    Roland B Bleyer - CreditCard.com.au Founder

    Roland

    13 July 2021
    Hi Clinton, thanks for your question! The 0% offer is for any transactions made with eligible purchases within the time frame advertised. For example, a card with a 0% for 15 months, the 0% offer will expire 15 months after you get the card. Everyday purchases usually include everyday transactions at places like the supermarket, petrol station, doctor's office, restaurants, etc. Once the promotional period is over, it will revert to its regular purchase rate.
alice edwards

alice edwards

23 June 2021
which bank has a credit card with no annual fees but has reward points?
Adam

Adam

17 March 2021
How much do you need to spend a month to make a rewards card more beneficial than a fee free card?
    Roland B Bleyer - CreditCard.com.au Founder

    Roland

    17 March 2021
    Hi Adam, this totally depends on the rewards you're looking at and the annual fee you're trying to outweigh. It's pretty simple to figure out, though: multiply the amount you spend per year by the earn rate, use the bank's reward guide to figure out what you could redeem for that amount of points, and make sure what you'd get is worth more than the annual fee you'd pay. Let's take the Coles Rewards Mastercard as an example. It charges a $99 annual fee, earns 2 Flybuys points per $1 spent and 2,000 points gets you $10 off your shop. In order for the rewards you earn to outweigh the annual fee, you'd need to spend at least $10,000 over the course of a year ($833 per month). I hope that helps.
sam

sam

28 November 2020
A card that has no annual fee and interest free period of more than 55 days
Frances hayes

Frances hayes

29 October 2020
Good afternoon, I just want a simple card that I can use to buy things in line with my own money. I don’t have a huge balance, never overspend and add to the account each month.!if the borders ever open I may relocate to Thailand. Frances
    Roland B Bleyer - CreditCard.com.au Founder

    Roland

    30 October 2020
    Hi Frances, I suggest with the potential of Thailand that you look at a no annual fee card with no foreign fees. https://www.creditcard.com.au/bankwest-zero-platinum-credit-card/. This card comes in 3 versions with the Platinum being the most premium. Though you just complete one application form and they allocate you either standard, gold or Platinum. Platinum has the bonus benefit of travel insurance.
Margaret

Margaret

11 August 2020
do I have to be earning money to get credit card. I have income from my superannuation pension but have assets
    Roland B Bleyer - CreditCard.com.au Founder

    Roland

    12 August 2020
    Hi Margaret, no annual fee cards can be harder for approval. Many banks will accept your super pension as income. Others will not. I would look at major banks. Additionally AMEX have some great no annual fee options. You just need to make sure that your super pension meets the minimum income requirements to apply.
Rashmin

Rashmin

7 May 2020
Hi, being an international student I can't find any low fee credit card anywhere, can you please suggest some? thanks
Maryanne

Maryanne

28 April 2020
I want a credit card that get frequent flyer points but has a low annual fee or a free introductory one year period. Can you suggest one please?
Lesley

Lesley

24 April 2020
I am a senior receiving the Age Pension. I would like a simple (pref) no annual fee credit card with no frills for online purchases. I have an excellent credit rating, but low income. Is there a card suitable for me ?
    Roland B Bleyer - CreditCard.com.au Founder

    Roland

    27 April 2020
    Hi Lesley, no annual fee cards can be hard to get approval for. They typically require a higher minimum income. I would speak to your everyday bank and see if they can provide you with a card.
Nikki

Nikki

7 April 2020
Hi, I'm looking for a credit card that earns points with a low/no annual fee. I've seen a few that waive the annual fee for the first year. Is it possible to cancel these cards after the first year, or will I be locked in for a period of time? Thank you!
    Roland B Bleyer - CreditCard.com.au Founder

    Roland

    7 April 2020
    Hi Nikki, it is possible to cancel cards before the 2nd year annual fee is due without penalty. The right card for you will depend on how much you spend. I like the HSBC Platinum Qantas or the Qantas Premier Everyday for lower spenders. Though getting stronger bonus points can be a big shot in the points arm.
Ramesh

Ramesh

17 December 2019
Hi when you refer to “rewards” on credit cards what are they and how do you redeem them. What are the different types. I know qantas ff rewards, those are the only ones I know. Thanks.
    Roland B Bleyer - CreditCard.com.au Founder

    Roland

    18 December 2019
    Hi Ramesh, I think you need to explore the site more. There are a heap of reward programs. Most major banks have a custom program. Of the major airline rewards, its Velocity and Qantas here. Have a look at our Rewards credit card section. Then you can search for each program you want to understand. I prefer Qantas and Velocity direct card earning.
Greg

Greg

8 April 2019
Can u apply 4 a credit card on a disability pension
    Roland B Bleyer - CreditCard.com.au Founder

    Roland

    8 April 2019
    Hi Greg, this is possible. You need to find a credit card provider that will accept the disability pension as income. Then you need to at least meet all other minimum requirements to apply. Such as having good credit and not recently applying for multiple credit items. Have a look at the ANZ Low Rate. The disability pension is accepted as income and this card is generally one of the easier to get approved for.
michael

michael

14 March 2019
Any credit cards for age pension own home car etc
    Roland B Bleyer - CreditCard.com.au Founder

    Roland

    14 March 2019
    Hi Michael, they can be though you would need to meet the minimum requirements. How much income do you get each year? This is a critical component. Most no annual fee cards have a higher minimum income requirement.
Joe

Joe

20 February 2019
Hi, I want to get a no fee credit card with good reward points. please advice.
    Roland B Bleyer - CreditCard.com.au Founder

    Roland

    20 February 2019
    Hi Joe, Good rewards and no annual fee are a combination that is difficult to achieve. AMEX have 2 offerings which fit the bill: Qantas Discovery and Velocity Escape.
Bruce

Bruce

23 January 2019
Is there a card with no annual fee ....Qantas FF points....we use our card for everyday purchases ....direct debits and pay the balance owing in full every month...not interested in American Express due to fee charged by retailers
    Roland B Bleyer - CreditCard.com.au Founder

    Roland

    24 January 2019
    Hi Bruce, AMEX are the only no annual fee rewards card that earns Qantas points. Other than that you will need to pay an annual fee on the card. How much do you expect to spend a month on a card and I can provide some suggestions.
Marlene

Marlene

19 January 2019
Is there a no fee credit card with rewards and fee free days? I always pay balance at end month
    Roland B Bleyer - CreditCard.com.au Founder

    Roland

    21 January 2019
    Hi Marlene, have a look at the Qantas Discovery and Velocity Escape. These are the best no annual fee rewards cards. From there, based reward cards are around the $100 mark.
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