No Annual Fee Credit Cards

Pauline Hatch     

With these cards, you can save money on annual fees for either an introductory period or, for as long as you keep the card open. They may have fewer perks, but are great for simple everyday use.

Most credit cards in Australia charge an annual fee, but you can get a credit card without one. Commonly 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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245 reviews for 22 cards listed
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Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard

12 reviews
$0 saved over 28 months

Coles No Annual Fee Mastercard

18 reviews
$0 saved over 99 months

NAB Low Rate Credit Card – Balance Transfer Offer

27 reviews
$0 saved over 28 months

American Express Platinum Edge Credit Card

4 reviews
$0 saved over months

NAB Low Rate Business Credit Card

5 reviews
$0 saved over months

American Express Velocity Escape Credit Card

11 reviews
$0 saved over months

Qantas American Express Discovery Credit Card

4 reviews
$0 saved over months

American Express Essential Credit Card

9 reviews
$0 saved over months

American Express Low Rate Credit Card

2 reviews
$0 saved over months

Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer – 0% Balance Transfer

61 reviews
$0 saved over 24 months

Virgin Money No Annual Fee Credit Card

20 reviews
$0 saved over 12 months

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.

The Monthly Scoop: February No Annual Fee Update

Updated 5 February 2023 by Pauline Hatch, chief finance expert.
Cards with no annual fee are a good option if it's your first credit card as the eligibility criteria are usually more forgiving (because these cards are often more basic).

They're also good for those who want a cheap card to use occasionally.

However, basic doesn't mean you can't get some great perks like rewards points, zero international transaction fees and even insurances.

Editor’s Pick-of-the-Bunch credit cards for February

  • The Coles No Annual Fee Mastercard is a neat little card because it has zero annual fee and gives you 6 months interest-free on new purchases, plus 20k bonus Flybuys points. You’ll also earn 1 Flybuys point per $2 spent.
  • The Bankwest Zero Platinum card has no annual fee but some great extras: 28 months interest-free on balance transfers and waived foreign transaction fees.
  • The NAB Low Rate card comes with a 0% balance transfer deal for 28 months. It has no annual fee the first year, then $59.

No annual fee + low interest rates: If you're after a low interest rate as well as low fees, use the toggles at the top of the comparison guide above to sort by Purchase Rate.

T&Cs apply for all card offers so check our review and the PDS for details.


How do credit cards with no annual fee work?

A no annual fee card doesn’t charge ongoing yearly fees, which will save you anywhere from $60 or so per year up to $1,450 depending on the card.

If you're thinking, "wow, that's too good to be true!", it's a good idea to pause and weigh up the pros and cons.

Pros

✔ Saves money on annual fees
✔ Handy to have as an emergency card
✔ Can come with bonus points, 0% balance transfers and other offers

Cons

✖ Often have fewer features
✖ Reduced annual fee may only be promotional for the first year
✖ May have a very high interest rate

As you can see, no annual fee cards have some great perks but won't suit everyone. Let's look at who suits these cards.

Who would choose a card with no annual fee?

Annual fees help cover costs, which is why a card with no annual fee may not include all the same bells and whistles.

That's ok though, because no annual fee cards can be useful if you want to:

👍 Have an emergency card that doesn't cost anything to keep in your pocket
👍 Use a special feature like a balance transfer to help pay off credit card debt
👍 Earn points without paying a big annual fee
👍 Build a credit score while keeping costs down
👍 Offset your mortgage with a low-cost credit cardWhile you won't get the same features as a high-end platinum card, no annual fee cards are incredibly helpful for keeping costs down while getting the benefits of a credit card.

💡 Try to pay off your card each month to avoid interest charges. If you think you'll need to pay interest, you could look at low interest rate cards as well.

 

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 29th November 2023.

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.

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, you might earn 30,000 bonus points if you are approved and spend $2,000 on your card in the first 3 months.

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.

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.

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 30% 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.

Pauline Hatch

Pauline Hatch is a personal finance expert at Creditcard.com.au with 8 years of finance writing under her belt. She loves turning complex money concepts into simple, practical actions so you can win financially. You can ask Pauline any questions by submitting a comment below and get a personal reply.

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131 questions (showing the latest 10 Q&As)

Kishore Bhambhvani

Kishore Bhambhvani

18 December 2023
I am looking for a credit card with zero annual fees every year along with free add on cards for family, movies offers, travel points, international lounge access to me and add on card holders. Please advise a couple of them to select from. Thank you
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    19 December 2023
    Hi Kishore, the thing about cards with no annual fee is that they don't come with many extras! For instance, lounge access is usually reserved for premium cards with higher annual fees. You can earn rewards on the Coles No Annual Fee card, and the Amex Discovery card, and add extra cardholders. If you're looking for discounts and offers, any Visa credit card will give you access to Visa Offers and Perks, which has deals on travel, entertainment, dining and experiences. You'll need to read the reviews and see which one has the features you like. Thanks Kishore!
Gerhard

Gerhard

19 October 2023
I´m living for three month a jear in Australia in my house in Camberwell an I´ve an account with an australian bank. Can you give me a credit card with no exchange fees and no annual fees ? thanks Gerhard Kloé
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    23 October 2023
    Hi Gerhard, there are only a handful of credit cards that provide both no foreign transaction fees and no annual fees. While some of the cards mentioned above don’t have annual fees, you'll find several other options for cards with no foreign transaction fees here to consider. I recommend thoroughly examining the specifics and conditions of these cards to identify the one that aligns with your requirements. Additionally, you can directly inquire with your bank about the credit card choices they provide to their customers.
Gerhard Kloe

Gerhard Kloe

15 August 2023
I´m looking for an australian Credit Card with $0 international transaction fees on purchases My family is living in Melbourne and I have an account at a australian bank, but I´m german ist there a possibility
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    16 August 2023
    Guten tag Gerhard! You can have a look at the cards on our comparison guide for no international fees. A popular card is Latitude 28 Degrees Platinum which has no foreign fees on purchases and no annual fee. At the bottom of each of our review pages you'll find a summary of the eligibility. Whether you can apply depends on what kind of visa or residency you have. For instance, Latitude says you can apply if you're an Australian resident or temporary resident with legal work rights, intending to stay for at least 12 months. I hope that helps you get started Gerhard!
Jason

Jason

1 August 2023
Do you know of any cards that earn cash back and also have no annual fee? We would prefer to not have points that we have to use on travel if possible. We also plan to pay off the card monthly and avoid interest.
Mark

Mark

7 June 2023
We will be travelling overseas and looking for a card that we can use that has no international fees when converting Australian to US dollars as cruise ship is American what do you suggest
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    8 June 2023
    Hi Mark, we’ve compiled a range of credit cards that don’t charge foreign transaction fees that you could take a look at. We’ve also provided detailed reviews for each of the cards to help you to select one that fits your needs. You’ll need to take into consideration things like annual fees, interest rates and other factors important to you. We hope you enjoy the cruise! 🚢
Tim Kelly

Tim Kelly

22 May 2023
I'm looking for the best card for overseas travel. it will only be used for a holding card for hire car's or for emergencies. What would you recommend?
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    22 May 2023
    Hi Tim, there are several credit cards available that offer rental car excess coverage. We’ve compiled a list of travel credit cards with complimentary travel insurance, which includes some of these options. Be sure to read our expert card reviews, as they provide details on the included insurances too. You can also check each card’s insurance T&Cs. Once you’ve done the research you’ll be in a much better place to decide on the card for you. The best card will be one that will fit your personal spending needs, so make sure to compare the features that matter to you.
Marion

Marion

21 May 2023
Hi Pauline. Looking to change my current credit card to one earning Qantas points and no annual fee. The blue AMEX card states that no points are earned when paying Government bills. Is this correct?
Terry Carter

Terry Carter

16 May 2023
Which is the best credit card for me. Transfer of say $2,600. Credit Limit of $5,000. No yearly fees. Card is not used often.
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    17 May 2023
    Hi Terry, selecting the "best" card depends on your specific preferences and usage requirements. We have compiled a list of some credit cards with no annual fees, some of which also provide balance transfer options. To help you narrow down your selection and make an informed decision, you could read our reviews for each card. Hope this helps you select the most suitable card for your needs.
ELIZABETH JOHNSTON

ELIZABETH JOHNSTON

5 May 2023
I would like too apply for a credit card
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    8 May 2023
    Hi Elizabeth, please feel free to view the cards listed above or try our comparison tool to compare a range of cards we have access to and their features in one place. Take your time to find the one that ticks all the boxes for you. Also, you can read our expert reviews for each card to get more details on the card. Happy hunting!
I just want a bike

I just want a bike

21 March 2023
I want to buy a motorbike $30,000 I'm putting in $20,000 I originally looked at a bank loan or finance for the rest but fees an interest uurrgghh hahahaha I've seen cards with no anual fee no interest for minimum 12 months some longer. I'm 1000% confident of paying the $10,000 in a 12 month time frame. Is it as clear cut as it seems? Spend money pay it back and it costs me only what I spent? Seems to good to be true Is there a weird way or I literly tap the card at the showroom for the 10,000?
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    22 March 2023
    Hi there! Thanks for these great questions! Before you ride off into the sunset, there’s a few things we should point out though in the interest of due diligence. So, the first thing if you're buying a bike with a credit card is to make sure the dealership actually accepts credit card payments. The second is to make sure that your approved credit limit covers the total cost and on-road expenses. Remember to account for the percentage fee charged for credit card payments too. It’s also important to keep in mind that vehicles are depreciating assets and if you don’t manage to pay off the debt in the interest free period the credit card interest (way higher than car loan interest rates) can raise the total cost of the vehicle. I hope you found this useful!
Peter

Peter

17 March 2023
Morning Pauline, Am looking at the American express credit card options, for a new credit card. Historically in my experience, ( I last had an Amex about a decade ago)many merchants would not accept Amex... Is this still the case ??
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    17 March 2023
    Hi Peter, gladly, this is definitely no longer the case for American Express 2023. More businesses worldwide are now accepting American Express credit cards. In fact, their card acceptance rate more than doubled since 2017 as they are now partnered with over 66 million businesses globally. They also launched their Shop Small campaign in Australia to highlight their wide acceptance now. It’s worth noting that transaction fees on Amex’s are sometimes higher, but this can sometimes be outweighed by the higher rewards points. Hope this helps!
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