No Annual Fee Credit Cards

Updated 6 October 2020

By choosing a no annual fee credit card, you will pay no annual fee for an introductory period or for the life of the card.

Also known as a ‘no fee’ credit card, a no annual fee card is designed to help cardholders save money. It’s true, most credit cards in Australia charge an annual fee. Card providers generally charge this fee for providing both access to credit, and access to the various features and rewards the card may offer. However, you can avoid paying an annual fee by choosing the right card or the right offer.

No annual fee cards fall into two distinct categories. Firstly, there are those cards that have no annual fee for the life of the card. By choosing this type of card, you will never pay an annual fee. Secondly, there are cards that feature an introductory offer, which waive their annual fee for one or two years, and re-instate it after the intro period ends.

Using CreditCard.com.au, you can find both types of offer here on this page. Focussing on that feature, you can compare a variety of cards and offers using our handy visual comparison tool. On a desktop, you’ll see a circle, and on a mobile device, you’ll see a bar. The more filled-in that circle or bar, the stronger the offer is.

These types of cards can work well for a variety of cardholders. You may simply want to save money. Or, perhaps you only want to keep a card for emergencies and don’t want to pay for it when it’s not in use. As for those intro offers, they can provide real bang for your buck, especially on cards with bonus points or enticing extras on offer. Just be sure you know what the annual fee reverts to after that intro period ends.

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Is no annual fee right for you?

Whether a no annual fee card is right for you will usually depend on how you use it. No annual fee cards tend to be simple in nature, focusing on saving money over features. If you want a card that helps to keep costs down, that you can keep in your wallet without worrying about ongoing fees, a no annual fee card could be just what you need.

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 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 lower on cards with no annual fee, but 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 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. No only are you paying no annual fees, you are also paying nothing in interest over the introductory period.

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91 questions (showing the latest 10 Q&As)

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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